Jury comment

Stable and Cart House beautifully balances the retention of an existing building with very bold and practical new insertions. There is a real sense of the heritage nature of the original structure, and the new elements make it even more appealing.

The jury acknowledged that re-using a big, dark space for residential living posed challenges and so were especially impressed by the transformation. Cutting in a courtyard to bring in natural light and air creates a stunning intervention, while the new material palette contrasts with the old, highlighting what was already there. There’s nothing self-conscious about this project, and its honesty is complemented by the striking rawness of the existing building. The design’s balance and restraint makes it simply amazing.

Design statement

Stable and Cart House is a humble interior fitout that values the past, preserving it for the future for both its occupants and the context it sits within.

Having owned the warehouse for 25 years, the client retired and relocated from New South Wales. This move was the catalyst to undertake the conversion from commercial tenancy to home. Originally a stable and cart store designed by esteemed architect Harry Norris, the house had a rich history of varied tenants, including an ironworks, a salvage warehouse and a dressmaking atelier.

Defined by double-height perimeter walls, the existing stables present as an enclosed, singular volume, encumbered only by the original feed loft cutting through the central airspace. Industrial patina, aged timbers and rusted corrugated roofing were key historic characteristics
to be retained and celebrated.

Built on the land of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin nation

Project credits

Design practice — Clare Cousins Architects

Project team — Clare Cousins, Oliver Duff, Elliot Lind

The Residential Design Award is supported by SubZero Wolf. The Australian Interior Design Awards are presented by the Design Institute of Australia and Artichoke magazine. For more images of this project, see the Australian Interior Design Awards gallery.

Related topics

By AKDSEO