Multi-disciplinary design studio Akin Atelier have pulled back the layers of the typical farmhouse vernacular to reveal a minimalist detached-style holiday home in the NSW countryside. Built on the footprint of the existing weatherboard house and shed, Little Cottage remains restrained in both scale and materiality to pass as a calming counterpart to its rural surrounds.
Wraparound verandah offers a full-circle connection to the landscape.
CDK honed Turco Argento limestone clads the kitchen and bathroom benches.
The main part of the home, the cottage, follows a mirrored layout consisting of two bedrooms – each with en-suite bathrooms – on either side, a mud room, and an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area. Like many traditional farmhouses, each of these volumes opens onto a wraparound verandah, offering a full-circle connection to the landscape. The northwest shed has then been repurposed into a separate studio space for when guests come and stay. A carved-out, open-air fire-pit area acts as a common ground between the two buildings.
To address the clients’ aspiration for a modern farmhouse, Akin Atelier have used a rustic-infused palette for both the interiors and exterior of Little Cottage. Shed-like galvanised steel roofing has been paired with reclaimed blackbutt vertical cladding, cultivating a warm, textural facade. Inside, off-white walls, European oak flooring and Turco Argento limestone combine to form one coherent material language. “We’ve taken the elements of the traditional farmhouse and distilled them into a modern iteration through deliberate material application,” Akin Atelier founding director Kelvin Ho says.
A freestanding central fireplace lends to the farmhouse aesthetic. The dining space features PP Møbler 58/68 chairs.
Landscape architecture practice Dangar Barin Smith worked closely with Akin Atelier to take a careful, purposeful approach to the garden. “We worked very closely with Dangar Barin Smith on developing a clear dialogue between the home and surrounding nature,” Kelvin says. As a result, clean-cut lawn meets raked gravel at sharply defined lines; neatly trimmed beds of grass border the verandah; and small shrubs line the site’s perimeter at deliberately spaced-out intervals. Standing tall between the cottage and studio is a single Canary Island Date Palm – the garden’s focal point.
Emerging as an exercise in restraint and replanning, Little Cottage represents Akin Atelier’s resolute approach to design and ability to produce firm – and sometimes even surprising – outcomes. “The cottage was initially intended only to be a guest or workers’ accommodation. However, we’ve seen the clients embrace it as their own, using it as a little escape from the city,” Kelvin reveals.
Standing tall between the cottage and studio is a single Canary Island Date Palm – the garden’s focal point. The finely milled vertical timber cladding is recycled blackbutt; Robert Plumb supplied the timber decking; the roofing is heritage galvanised steel.
Clean-cut lawn, raked gravel, neatly trimmed beds of grass and small shrubs combine to form a calming counterpart to the rural surrounds.
A carved-out, open-air fire-pit area acts as a common ground between the two buildings.