Apparte Studio Transform a Victorian Cottage From Dull and Dreary to Cozy and Contemporary

Located in Carlton North in Australia, this site was once home to a dilapidated, damp Victorian cottage. In 2017 it was taken on by new owners who sought to have it renovated.


The owners came in the form of a local firm called Apparte Studio, they set about bringing the old home back to life, converting it into a comfortable, contemporary home, fit for its new owners.



The project, titled Curtain Cottage, consists of a 1,023-square-foot (95-square-meters) site, of which 646-square-feet (60-square-meters) is dedicated to the building. In an unusual twist, the architect on this project also doubled as the the builder and joiner.



For Apparte Studio, the house was an investment, and required the designer to imagine a potential owner and what they would seek from a home: “How might a professional couple live comfortably inside a formerly tight and dingy Victorian… To add to the challenge, an extension was out of the question due to budget constraints.”


With no option for expansion, they set making the most of the existing plan. Creating a light and airy home was a high priority – they wanted the space to feel larger than it was. They achieved this in part by raising the ceiling height and exposing the timber ties.


LED lights were then introduced illuminated the ceilings backdrop. The majority of surfaces in the home are finished in white, helping to bounce light further into the home – a good move when windows opportunities are limited. Some of the homes original features were left as they were, like the red-brick wall in the kitchen.


The long narrow plan features rooms stacked one after another, connected by a corridor until you reach the second half of the property. It then gives way to a kitchen and utility room at the rear. The occupants also have access to the rear garden from the kitchen, which is a secluded retreat from the surrounding homes.


For more small houses check out Samantha Mink’s Culver City Home that strives for simplicity on a small scale. Or, Old Stone House, a Hudson Valley home that breathes new life into an old building. See all small houses.

Photos © Daniel Aulsebrook

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

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