A curious cottage transforms into a contemporary haven

24 Sep 2019

When a shack-like cottage changed hands in New South Wales, Australia, it was the subject of much curiosity. Formerly owned by a well-loved character in the small seaside suburb of Coledale, members of the community wondered about the new form it would take. The new owners were a young family with two children who value and embrace the ideas of authenticity and vibrancy, and with the help of Morgen Figgis and Mignon Steele of Barnacle Studio, they sought to create an unpretentious home, economical in size, which maintained strong connections to the surrounding escarpment through a naturalistic palette of Resene paint colours.

Illawarra-based architect Morgen is not only known for the distinctive new-build projects he designs, but also for his approach to modifying existing structures to better suit their site and occupants. His designs consider how buildings fit into the natural world and a considerate use of resources. Mignon, a graduate of the National Art School, is a painter and sculptor who develops colour palettes, specifies materials and creates site-specific paintings for Barnacle Studio building jobs. The two have collaborated on design, construction and art projects together ever since they first met in Sydney in 2001.

With a tight budget, Morgen and Mignon set out to rekindle the old cottage, peeling back a few layers while also accepting its limitations. They focussed primarily on a new addition that faced the street.

Keeping the old house was the first of many decisions based on sustainability. Though much of the internal floor plan had to be reconfigured, Morgan and Mignon tried to use as many second-hand components as possible, including windows, doors, a bathtub, terracotta tiles and light fittings. They also focused on using low-toxicity finishes and sealers, which made the choice to use Resene products clear and simple.

“Unifying the old cottage and the new addition without maxing out the budget and bringing the old house up to scratch were some of the biggest challenges we faced. The timeframe was also very tight, with the whole job turning around in just eight months from the purchase of the property to completion,” says Mignon.

“The new addition follows a similar material palette as the old with recycled tallow wood floors, a timber structure, spotted gum doors and windows and cypress pine cladding to match what was already there.”

Since the flooring material is not consistent throughout the cottage, the choice was made to keep most of the walls uncomplicated by using an easy-going neutral, Resene Quarter Ecru White. Two bedrooms have feature walls – one in Resene Half Crisp Green and the other in Resene Beryl Green. Architraves and skirting boards are in Resene Ecru White. Accents of Resene Florentine Pink and Resene West Coast feature in selected areas, such as the concrete floor in the music room and on the quirky collection of second-hand doors.

“The homeowners have very young children so durability and washability were a priority. The majority of the painted woodwork inside is painted in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel for vibrancy of colour and to pick up and reflect the light.”

When it came to the outside, instead of majorly modifying the appearance of the existing cottage or using a stark contrast in styles, Morgan and Mignon used the same cladding as the original shack but changed the colour and orientation of the cladding from horizontal to vertical to demarcate the old from new.

“The exterior colour scheme was devised to converse with the other remaining miners’ cottages

and fibro shacks in the neighbourhood. The dusty lichen tone of Resene Beryl Green on the vertical cladding allowed the form of the addition to feel light without a glaring reflectivity while Resene Ecru White applied on the old house creates a nuanced shift,” says Mignon.

“Resene West Coast and Resene Florentine Pink provide warm and idiosyncratic accents around the banks of windows and on the front door. Resene West Coast was also used on the flat fibreboard surfaces, behind the large glass slider and the recessed section connecting the addition to the house on the eastern side. In these applications, the deep colour and velvety finish of Resene SpaceCote Flat were used to evoke a void allowing the two paler buildings to stay encapsulated and separate.”

The end result is a light and airy achievement of form-meets-function. The new living area acts like a periscope for the old house, capturing the northern sunlight, sea breezes and impressive escarpment views.

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing [email protected].

exterior inspiration, exterior design, exterior ideas, neutral exterior, indoor outdoor flow, resene

Post renovation, the grooved panel ceiling in the main living space was painted in Resene Beryl Green. Viewed through the high windows from outside, its sloping nature makes it appear to be folded from the same material as the external skin of the pavilion. The striking exterior features cladding painted in Resene Ecru White, Resene West Coast and Resene Beryl Green while the doors (seen at right) and the flaps on the front windows are painted Resene Florentine Pink. Inside, the walls are painted Resene Quarter Ecru White.

exterior inspiration, exterior ideas, deck ideas, kitchen design, kitchen inspiration, resene

Thanks to a large sliding door, the patio and deck area outside of the house become a natural extension of the interior space. The exterior cladding is painted in Resene Ecru White with window trims in Resene West Coast and a front door in Resene Florentine Pink. Inside, the kitchen walls are painted Resene Quarter Ecru White and the ceiling is painted Resene Beryl Green.

kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, dining room ideas, dining room inspiration, home decor, resene

A large sliding door in the kitchen and dining area allows for increased flow and additional borrowed floor space from the deck outside. The walls are painted Resene Quarter Ecru White while the grooved ceiling is in Resene Beryl Green.

music room inspiration, music room ideas, music room design, green interior, white interior, resene

Looking into the music room, two sliding doors were painted Resene Lustacryl tinted to half strength Resene West Coast to visually connect with the coloured legs of the antique table. The walls are in Resene Quarter Ecru White, the ceiling is in Resene Ceiling Velvet tinted to Resene White, while the main portion of flooring is painted Resene Florentine Pink.

living room ideas, living room inspiration, living room design, white interior, neutral interior

An airy sense of spaciousness is prevalent throughout the home. The walls in the living room and hallway are painted Resene Quarter Ecru White while one of the bedrooms, seen at the left, features an accent wall in Resene Half Crisp Green. The ceiling is painted in Resene White.

exterior inspiration, exterior ideas, exterior design, white exterior, neutral exterior, resene

The shape and angle of the protruding sunshade truly set this property apart. The exterior cladding is painted in Resene Ecru White with window trims in Resene West Coast and window flaps in Resene Florentine Pink.

designer Barnacle Studio
images Kat Lu

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Resene Beryl Green

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Resene Ecru White

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Resene Florentine Pink

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Resene West Coast

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Resene Beryl Green

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Resene Ecru White

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Resene Florentine Pink

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