Project Description

The brief was simple; create a spacious family home & future investment property in the heart of Manly, NSW.

Like all simple things in life it is the complexities behind them that drive the outcome.

With a heritage listed site measuring less than 200m2, multiple neighbours, a shared laneway and an agreement to design & build simultaneously with the adjoining neighbour, this project set a challenge. This challenge was not only in design but also in logistics, timing, project management and collective focus on the common goal.

As the design stages evolved it became clear that it was not so much ‘what’ was built but ‘who’ had built the cottages that was significant. The past life of the cottages emerged as the original home of the Sly Brothers in the late 1800’s, who were the pioneers of Surf Life Saving in Australia at Manly Beach, less than 200m from the site. The essence of the past was celebrated and contrasted to the modern, minimal, elegance of the new owners and their young family.

Creative design was a necessity on this project to provide four bedrooms, two large bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry and as much storage as possible into 150m2 of floor space. This is a working example of modern, spacious living on a small footprint.

From the street front only a slither of the addition is visible, hovering delicately over the existing ridgeline of the two cottages, with a single strip of glazing hinting at a space within. The textures of original exposed brick and timber panelling line the internals of the original cottage, while the midnight blue kitchen and living room open up taking full advantage of the northern light, with high ceilings and large sliding glass doors leading to the rear courtyard.

The rear façade presents a stark contrast to the front not only in shape, but also in colour and scale. Maintaining the theme of unified but unique, this cottage recedes on the first floor revealing a large sun soaked private balcony off the parent’s retreat. Battened timber screening provides privacy and allows a playful display of light and shadow throughout the day.

Materiality was refined to a simple palette of clean white internals wrapped in a unified dark exterior.