Be prepared to be surprised. This charming little 1880 Victorian cottage in Adelaide, Australia is not all it appears to be. When Kylie Brammy and George Kyprianou bought the house in 1999, the house had a very small footprint and was only 20 feet wide.
in his own words
“The rear of the original house was very dark and, functionally, the space just didn’t work. We love having friends and family over for dinner, but the tiny galley kitchen was only just big enough for two people to walk sideways past each other. There was only one bathroom—right next to the dinner table—so it was a bit uncomfortable when guests had to use it! We decided to open the whole rear of the house right up; it’s north facing, which here in Australia gives you beautiful sunshine all day long. We could see the potential in having a big, tall glass structure to let all the light and warmth in.” —George Kyprianou
A New Rear Addition
With the help of Phil Harris of Troppo Architects and designer Susanna Bilardo of Enoki, Brammy and Kyprianou extended an additional three feet out to the property line and transformed the small Victorian into a spacious, modern retreat.
Beautiful and subtle, the addition is virtually undetectable from the street. To meet local heritage requirements the roofline had to mirror neighbors on the laneway side of the house, so the new roof has a unique asymmetrical shape.
[right] The shape of the roof eave on the new addition is designed to allow warmth from the winter sun into the house while cutting out the hot sun during summer.
Inspired by a local winery, George Kyprianou wanted a glass top on his subterranean wine cellar.
The three-quarter-inch glass top of the subterranean wine cellar sits flush with the wood flooring. It opens with an ingenious device that Kyprianou devised using a 12-volt air compressor and a remote-controlled switch. When you push the button, the glass lifts just enough for it to be removed by hand.
The interior is lit, casting soft light into the living space at night and revealing the house’s 132-year-old stone foundation.
The addition made room for a new guest bathroom and laundry in the middle of the original part of the house.
The new guest bathroom is flooded with natural light. To get light into the space, the designers clad the roof over the guest bathroom with Danpalon, a translucent polycarbonate that brings in a lot of softened natural light.
Walls and door are frosted glass.
in her own words
"Our bedroom is up on the mezzanine level, making us feel like we are in a suspended tree house. At night we are so lucky to be able to see the stars and moon; we sleep so well up there." —Kylie Brammy
Australia has strict regulations due to drought. To reduce water consumption, a clever PVC “water bladder” from Eco Sac was concealed under the rear deck. It holds 3,000 liters of water, collected from the roof, for flushing the home’s toilets and running the washing machine.
Sinks and a toilet in the master bathroom are from Laufen‘s Il Bagno Alessi line.
in her own words
"I love our pool—it provides a yin element of cooling, moistening, and grounding to the house, in contrast to the warm and dry materials we’ve used elsewhere. I can actually touch the water from inside through the sash window at the end of the bench seat, which gives me a sense of serenity. Being connected to the environment is important to me. As a physiotherapist, I realize the importance of life balance and our home helps to give this to us. It is simple, open, and flexible, and it supports our casual lifestyle.” —Kylie Brammy
Windows—and there is a lot of glass—areViridian ComfortPlus glass, which is coated with an insulated film that is energy-efficient, reduces sound, and filters UV radiation. Other green features include: reclaimed timber and doors; the large-volume water storage tanks hidden under the outdoor decking; grey water reticulation; energy-efficient tap ware, sanitary fixtures and appliances; LED and compact fluorescent lighting; and natural oil finishes and low VOC paints.
Architect: Troppo Architects.
Photos: James Knowler and Simon Vaughan, Evolved Images.