Faced with a heritage restricted building in a tightly packed part of inner Melbourne suburb Fitzroy, Adrian Amore Architects have converted a former worker’s cottage to a three bedroom home, enhanced by a dramatic spiral staircase.

DESIGN Adrian Amore Architects | PHOTOGRAPHY Fraser Marsden

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While Fitzroy may be an extremely covetable location when it comes to wining and dining, the average block doesn’t give you much space to play with – and those picturesque worker’s cottages often come with heritage and planning guidelines to wreck havoc on your grand renovation plans.

In tackling the expansion of a single storey two bedroom cottage, Adrian Amore Architects have delicately worked an innovative extension in through the heritage restraints. Using contemporary materials in the home’s existing colour palette subtly brings the existing and additional spaces of the home together, and the new second storey adds some striking features to the home with a large open light well and spiral staircase.

As demonstrated in previous projects like their West Melbourne loft, Adrian Amore architects have a great respect for and understanding of the conceptual form – and while in the aforementioned project this meant swirling corners and soft edges, here the central staircase and its surrounds are geometrical in form, angular and striking (yet never at the compromise of the rest of the design). Unfolding like origami, the staircase manages to be both a standout design feature and fit gracefully within the rest of the interior space, balanced by the monochrome colour palette and earthy wooden boards.

The angular emphasis continues through the design in the kitchen, where marble and stainless steel contrast the bold black cabinetry. Following a similar pattern to the steel frame windows of the double-storey lightwell, the cabinets geometric form plays nicely against the classic materials and minimalist design.

Throughout the home, the tension between structural form and refined materials plays out nicely, giving the impression of space even amongst tighter corners. Taking the conceptual approach plays out well for space, natural light and flow, but by ensuring the form never overpowers the function the design still has a light touch, allowing the home’s everyday identity to sink in.

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The triangular structure of the central spiral staircase elevates it from a functional feature to an aesthetic standout in its own right – just look at the sharp structural lines!

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With the home surrounded on each side, natural light is maximised in the double-storey windows and upstairs light well, with steel framed windows and doors opening to the small courtyard to the side and back of the home. 

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