Functional modern residence retains and restores the existing 260sqm weatherboard Victorian cottage in this award-winning project

Altereco won the award for Residential Design – Alterations & Additions $200K-$500K construction cost in the BDAV’s 2013 Building Design Awards for their Stompbox project in Northcote.

The brief was to create a functional modern residence for a young professional couple whilst retaining and restoring their existing 260sqm weatherboard Victorian cottage. They wanted modern internal spaces. Demolition of rear lean-to rooms and incorporation of existing studio on the rear boundary were also required.

“Bringing the courtyard forward on the site draws north light into the heart of the home, making it a focal point for the house,” said James Goodlet of Altereco. “The design integrates a traditional timber house with modern additions that are emphasised through timber cuboid forms (stomp-boxes) both internally and externally. Sharp and simple interiors allow the clients’ stylish furniture and art to dominate spaces.”

The Judges highly praised this project. “The designers here really thought ‘outside the box’ and have used a running theme of timber cuboid combinations by way of stomp-boxes and other timber forms to create a bold twist on an old circa 1900’s dwelling,” said the Judges. “Whilst careful consideration and retention of the heritage aspects of the Victorian cottage were part of the design brief, the professional clients also requested a modern and workable internal space, which has been achieved.”

The front façade gives little hint as to what lies beyond. The entry hall reveals a definition between the old and new with a glimpse of what’s to come. One step into the kitchen lounge area reveals the transition which is now complete.

An extensive use of timber is a statement and is no better displayed than in the quirky but very usable ensuite and pantry box rooms. Sandblasted Oregon and Messmate abound.

Lines are clean, the palette simple and inviting, and the use of space on this confined allotment are well thought out to combine indoor and outdoor living areas.

The simple white palette is warmed with the extensive use of recycled timber on the stompbox details and kitchen joinery. Mark Tuckey sand-blasted Oregon vanities add a natural dimension to warm the bathroom and ensuite. The understated design and palette ensures the clients’ personal quirky style shines.

The result is an airy, light filled house, with both the charm of the old and the practicality and WOW of the contemporary.


Designer:  Altereco
Builder:  Owner-Builder
Photographer:  Tara Pearce

Kitchen showing pantry housed in ‘timber box’, accentuating the high ceilings
Kitchen showing pantry housed in ‘timber box’, accentuating the high ceilings - Images: Tara Pearce