Project: Leichhardt House
Architects: Porebski Architects
Builder: Pamment Projects
Structural Engineering: Alba & Associates
Interior Designers: Porebski Architects
Landscape Designer: Topos Landscape, Starr Landscapes
Location: Leichhardt, Australia
Photo credits: Tom Ferguson
Located in Sydney’s inner-west, this small 1882 worker’s cottage was given a large transformation resulting in a home, named Leichhardt House that provides generous living areas filled with light for contemporary family living. The brief was to convert the typical L-shaped layout of the original house into one that maximized the site whilst respecting the parameters.
The design has taken advantage of the gradual landfall creating a lovely transition of volumes as the house steps down from the street to the rear living area and garden. At the same time, the new additions sympathetically tie in with the original cottage front and are aided by the chosen finishes. The ground floor accommodates one bedroom while the first floor contains two more bedrooms and bathrooms which are connected via a hallway with a study.
A crucial element in the design is a circular skylight above the central void which brings light into the center of the house. Another skylight runs the length of the northern wall of the living area and highlights the off-form structure. A cellar accessed via the living room provides an element of surprise.
Internally the finishes palette is refined but rich in texture using striking granite, quartzite, and terrazzo with natural timber floors and veneer offset by white walls and polyurethane joinery. A delicate timber batten screen forms the staircase and then a vertical timber batten wall conceals a powder room and pantry downstairs.
The extensive renovation is concealed behind the unassuming frontage, which is traditionally finished with steel palisade fencing and tessellated tiles. Visitors to the house are continually surprised at how generous the areas feel, given the modest floorplate. Etched in the entry door fanlight is ‘Cymru’ (Wales) by the owners, an homage to the family’s Welsh ancestry.