A transformed cowshed has become a modern dream home for a young family. Located in Glebe, Sydney, Cowshed House was redesigned by Carterwilliamson Architects to open up the existing floorplan while rearranging the layout to accommodate better living, all the while preserving the original character of the historic structure.
The award-winning design now features a master suite plus two bedrooms and an additional bath. Adhering to the clients’ budget was simple, as the architect wished to use raw materials, nothing fussy, when building the new dwelling. Sustainability also played a key role. As a result, concrete slab floors, recycled brickwork, energy-efficient glass, exposed timber, fibre cement board and steel embody the home.
Situated on a street corner, the family needed privacy so this contemporary house is oriented towards the rear courtyard, which includes the beautiful preserved jacaranda tree that has been growing on the property for years. Original exterior brick walls are high and were maintained while a second level was added. The angled roof plane is clad in corrugated steel and becomes a sculptural highlight of this residence. A border of pop-out clerestory windows maximize cross-ventilation, while interiors are secluded from the street noise and views, while garnering plentiful light flooding downwards into the core of the home.
A large pivoting, barn-red wood door greets at the street entrance and leads to the central grass yard with stepping stones. Sliding wood-frame doors open to the shared kitchen, dining room and living room, a somewhat narrow, yet flowing space with smooth polished (heated) concrete flooring. The kitchen is fun in bold red and clean white, with rustic brick walls which wrap the entire interior. In the adjacent dining room, built-in bookshelves parallel the wood table which is adorned with a bold red chandelier resembling a big bow–so cheery!
The living room becomes double-height and with minimalist furniture, brick and concrete, is resplendent with such humble design. The plywood ceiling is trimmed with black steel supports and silver metal grating which gracefully deposits bulbs on wires as lighting pendants throughout this area. Two bedrooms are off of this space, as is the amazing red-tiled bathroom. A window at the foot of the tub opens directly onto the courtyard, for fresh air and views of nature.
The living area opens upwards towards the mezzanine level, along a set of cantilevered stairs with glass railings bolted with steel. On the second level resides the airy master suite with a work desk overlooking the living room. Grass-green hued tiles in the bathroom are gorgeous, though still understated. Windows and a glazed walk-in shower complete the spa-like feel.
A work of historic preservation with keen innovation, the Cowshed House is a modern dream home any vibrant family would undoubtedly enjoy for years to come.
Pictures by Brett Boardman.