Crisp House: Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House

Architects: buck & simple
Project: Crisp House
Location: Mona Vale, Australia
Architect in Charge: Peter Ahern
Area 140.0 m2
Project Year 2017
Photography: Simon Whitbread

Crisp house is the transformation of a modest 1.5 bedroom brick veneer cottage into a light-filled, environmentally inclusive home for a young family of 6.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 1

The original cottage has been transformed into a modern beach house with a sophisticated interplay of natural materials and considered volumetric arrangement. A rectilinear timber form now sits atop the original brick veneer podium keeping much of the existing dwelling intact.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 2

The site is unique, in that it is a battle-axe lot with a tight 180sqm of usable land, however, the minimal outdoor area is compensated by a short walk to the sand at Warriewood Beach. Previously 1.5 bedrooms, the addition of 2 more bedrooms and 2 bathrooms makes it suitable for the current family of 6. North facing and with 8 neighbouring dwellings, the site offers surprising vistas from the new first floor addition of unobstructed natural features in multiple directions including glimpses of the ocean beyond. The modest envelope ensured every nook has been considered and formed into functional space in order to create variation in the space and best utilise the site.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 3

Blackbutt timber is the principal material for external areas with the first floor cladding, carport, and entry screening being made out of the locally sourced Australian hardwood. Blackbutt was a natural choice as it grows locally, is fast growing, is naturally termite resistant, and not susceptible to lyctus borers.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 4

Lower floor windows are also made from blackbutt where they are easily reached for maintenance, whereas, upper floor windows use white aluminium frames to reflect heat and avoid maintenance of high level glazing. The upper floor is clad in large sections of vertical blackbutt cladding forming a continuous rain screen which has been laid similar to decking boards and fully ventilated behind to allow heat to dissipate before entering the outer skin of the facade. Lower floors retain the existing brickwork finished in naturally heat reflective white paint.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 5

The design utilises passive environmental systems and materials chosen in consideration of their environmental impact. Upstairs rooms utilise cross ventilation and high level operability to create a stack, or chimney effect, drawing cool air through the house in summer. Priority has been given to the use of timber in the structure, cladding, windows and joinery to create a carbon bank, and on a small scale, contribute to the support of the plantation timber industry.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 6

There is deliberately no artificial heating or cooling and temperature regulation is achieved with solar penetration onto thermal mass in winter and operable shading and ventilation in summer. External adjustable louvres and awnings are positioned over large areas of glazing, allowing the home to be “trimmed” to the weather conditions like a yacht.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 7

A “timber on white” aesthetic is continued indoors with concrete, tiled or oak floors and timber details accentuated by white walls creating a clean, robust, relaxed coastal environment.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 8

It is an ambitious goal to house a family of 6 in a 140sqm home, however, with attention given to the social dynamic and quality and variation of the spaces within, Crisp house is up to the challenge.

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 9

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 10

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 11

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 12

Modest Cottage Transformed into a Light-Filled Home: Crisp House 13

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