Thorough planning and a polished material palette reinvigorate a 140-year-old worker’s cottage in Sydney’s inner-west.

The first hallmark of intelligent residential design is a sensible approach to materials. The second hallmark and – in this case, equally discernible – is an awareness of space in the context of how we live, work and play. In this two-storey home in Leichhardt, Sydney, we see Porebski Architects engage a striking palette of granite, timber and concrete while considering new spatial possibilities for the family that lives there. 

Porebski Architects co-director Victoria D’Alisa describes the home’s material palette as “refined but rich in texture”. Downstairs, vertical timber batten screens set the scene, forming the staircase at the front of the home and the joinery in the kitchen. Alpha Patagonia granite stained with indigo and coffee is introduced in the kitchen island and continues into the dramatic accents in the living room.

In the living space, the softness and intensity evoked by the timber and granite is paired with the strength of an off-form concrete wall and balanced by sophisticated furniture from notable brands such as Jardan, Spence & Lyda and &Tradition. The intensity of the granite downstairs is recreated in the upstairs bathrooms; one set in luminescent green quartzite, the other set in pastel peach terrazzo.

The existing home assumed a typical L-shaped layout, with a small kitchen and bathroom tacked on to the end that gradually fell down to the rear. This falling motion still applies to the new home, realised through a series of steps descending from the dining into the kitchen, and from the kitchen into the living and courtyard beyond. “The design takes advantage of the gradual landfall, generating this beautiful transition of volumes as the house steps from the street down into the rear garden,” Victoria says. In this central part of the home, bi-fold doors and skylights let in light in from curated angles, helping to achieve a “light-filled contemporary family home” just like the clients had envisioned. 

Leichhardt House’s hallmark is that it gradually and gracefully unfolds; from material to material and from volume to volume.

Leichhardt House by Porebski Architects

The void and circular skylight in the kitchen are a focal point of the house. The space features Tongue n Groove Hekke oak flooring, &Tradition Betty TK8 bar stools, Smeg and Fisher & Paykel appliances, and Brodware tapware.

Leichhardt House by Porebski Architects

Leichhardt House by Porebski Architects

The upper floor accommodates two bedrooms and bathrooms connected via a hallway and study, while the lower floor features the dining, kitchen, living and third bedroom.

Leichhardt House by Porebski Architects

Artwork by Marisa Purcell

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