Saoir House: A Contemporary Home Rooted in Heritage

SAOIR House / refresh*design

Project: SAOIR House
Architecture: refresh*design
Builders: Craft Building Company
Location: Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia
Area: 230 m2
Year: 2022
Photo Credits: Christopher Frederick Jones

Saoir House by refresh*design transforms an existing workers’ cottage into a luxury residence in a vibrant inner-city suburb of Brisbane. Situated on a small 256 m² lot with overlooking neighbors and limited sunlight, the design maximizes its connection to the outdoors while maintaining privacy and access to light, air, and breezes. This approach creates a residence perfectly suited for the Brisbane subtropical climate.

Design Concept

The project splits into three distinct volumes, each linked and grounded by a concrete datum that forms a base for the plunge pool and feature stair. The centrally located and covered courtyard links the original cottage to the new extension. Its generous double-height space allows vistas through the house, generating a sense of lightness and spaciousness. The extension takes formal qualities from the original cottage and addresses the rear street as a separate volume.

Integration of Old and New

Contemporary additions extend and evolve the original structure, focusing on craft to shape the form and feel of the home. A muted tonality throughout binds the spaces and reinforces a sense of flow. Timber and joinery add warmth, enhancing the cohesive design.

Climatic Responsiveness

Saoir House exemplifies compact inner-city luxury living. Its restrained material palette, use of soft filtered light, and minimalist detailing create a seamless union between old and new. The design fosters a climatically responsive, beautiful, and liveable family home in a small urban space.


In conclusion, Saoir, the Gaelic Scottish word for carpenter, becomes an expanded contemporary home connected and openly engaging with its context, climate, and history. The familiarity and warmth of the design, along with its innovative use of space, make Saoir House a standout example of inner-city luxury living in Brisbane.

SAOIR House / refresh*design

living room

dining room

SAOIR House / refresh*design

SAOIR House / refresh*design






SAOIR House / refresh*design

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