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

Ceiling Renovation

Major alterations to the structure completely changed the way the existing spaces felt. We worked with our engineers to remove the existing flat ceiling in the living room. We then replaced it with a high, pitched ceiling instead. We also removed and replaced the existing windows opening onto the backyard. Where some narrow windows were, full height glass slides away onto the new, expansive deck. In fair weather, this will functionally double the size of the living areas. This new space feels much larger than the existing. Which is interesting because it did not actually gain any ‘new territory’.
The master bedroom received similar treatment. With a large stacking slider opening onto the deck. We oriented this to keep the views into the room private from the main living areas.

Small Renovation, Big Changes

The kitchen performs double-duty with laundry. We put 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.
We increased the sustainability of the house through new insulation (to ceilings, walls and under floors), uPVC windows and energy efficient blinds. 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 and colours. We also added a new deck, facade lightling, downpipes and gutters. Keeping the existing floors, exterior roof and cladding made this a cost effective, but big renovation.



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 rooms) is now open and filled with natural light. With eastern and northern glazing and high ceilings, the space is now bright and open. At night, a custom lighting design reflects light off the high ceiling creating ambience without the 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. This effectively doubles the size of the living room and maximises sun in wintertime. This feature is repeated in the master bedroom.

Outdoor Rooms

The deck functions as an additional ‘outdoor room’. It extends the living areas out into this beautiful Canberra garden. We designed the deck around existing deciduous trees. This maintains the canopy and protects the windows and deck from hot summer sun.

Australian Homestead Garden by Architecture Republic