From the street, Highbury Grove House by Ritz&Ghougassian appears to fit in with its traditional federation-style neighbours. The white single-storey home is unassuming, and only when you turn the corner do you get a glimpse of the dynamic new concrete cottage extension. The sea of grey blocks is eye-catching amongst the row of terraces, with the stacked concrete block walls referencing the cobblestone laneway next door. The new extension addresses space and privacy issues, and provides a contemporary backdrop to the interior and outdoor spaces.
The floor plan is a series of rectangular spaces spanning the length of the narrow site including a generous master suite overlooking the fern-filled courtyard. These rectangular shapes are repeated in the stacked concrete walls, and within the sleek lines of joinery throughout the home. Selected walls have been cut short to allow clerestory windows to be perched high above eye level, letting natural light in and maintaining privacy from the laneway.
The material selections are striking, moving from cool concrete textures on the floors and walls to joinery in rich spotted gum. Hints of black and metal elements break things up and keep the home feeling lived-in and comfortable. The addition of floor-to-ceiling curtains in the master suite and living room softens the abundance of concrete and wood, adding an extra element of privacy to this modern cottage. Ritz&Ghougassian have been able to achieve a highly contemporary result that is conducent to modern, open-plan living while staying respectful of its original heritage site.