Small, Smart Canberra Renovation

Though not a ‘tiny house’, this little Canberra cottage is quite small, managing three bedrooms in under 94 square meters. Our task was to completely refurbish the home, adding height, connection to the outdoors and storage. The design process was meticulous; we went through the entire structure square meter by square meter to maximise utility, practicality and liveability. In a small home, it’s crucial that every square meter is functioning to its full potential.

Major alterations to the structure completely changed the way the existing spaces felt and functioned. We worked closely with our engineers to affordably remove the existing flat ceiling in the living room and replace it with a high, pitched ceiling instead. We also removed and replaced the existing windows opening onto the backyard. Where some tall, narrow windows once existed, the entire wall seems to slide away and opens the space directly onto the new, expansive deck. In fair weather, this will functionally double the size of the living areas. This new space feels substantially larger than the existing, despite not actually gaining any ‘new territory’.

The master bedroom received similar treatment, with a large stacking slider opening onto the deck, oriented to keep the views into the room private from the main living areas.

The kitchen performs double-duty with laundry functions under the breakfast bar bench as well as kitchen storage. Broom and pantry storage sit hidden behind minimalist cabinetry. Our goal was to maximise storage and bench space while keeping everything open and airy. The white cabinetry was a deliberate choice to reduce the bulk of so much storage in a smaller space.

New insulation (to ceilings, walls and under the floors), European uPVC windows and energy efficient blinds hugely increased the sustainability of the house. A cold, draughty house became warm, inviting and cheaper to heat and cool.

The outside of the building received a ‘facelift’, with new window frames, colour palette, deck, facade lightling, downpipes and gutters. Keeping the existing timber floors, exterior roof cladding and wall cladding made this a cost effective, but radical transformation.



Building Features:

  • Spotted Gum hardwood decking
  • Deceuninck uPVC windows from Windows For Life
  • Restored original timber cladding and hardwood floors
  • Great Dane lighting and furnishings


Australian Homestead Living Room by Architecture Republic

Light-filled living

This open plan living area (formerly four separate rooms) is filled with natural light thanks to generous eastern and northern glazing, high ceilings and minimalist finishings. At night, a custom lighting design reflects light off the high ceiling to create ambience and avoid glare.

Storage, space and function

The kitchen balances large amounts of storage with generous circulation and preparation space. The laundry functions are hidden behind minimalist cabinetry, under the generous island bench. This is the social hub of the house, with connection to all living areas, including the outdoor deck.
Floor Plan by Architecture Republic, Australia
Australian Homestead Rammed Earth Colorbond by Architecture Republic

Indoor/Outdoor Living

The generous north-facing stacking slider connects onto the adjacent outdoor living area, effectively doubling the size of the living room and maximising solar gains in wintertime. This feature is repeated in the master bedroom.

Outdoor Rooms

The deck functions as an additional ‘outdoor room’, extending the living areas out into this beautiful Canberra garden. We designed the deck around existing deciduous trees, maintaining the canopy and protecting the windows and deck from hot summer sun.
Australian Homestead Garden by Architecture Republic

Like What You See?

Feel free to contact our offices in Canberra and Bowral. We also operate in Goulburn, the Southern Highlands, Sydney and throughout New South Wales.

Mobile: 0404 654 225
Post: PO Box 1572 Bowral, NSW 2576 and PO Box 3062 Belconnen, ACT 2617
Architect Registration Number: 9651 (NSW) 2525 (ACT)