Worker’s House by Clayton Orszaczky

  • Clayton Orszaczky scrupulously rework a worker’s cottage in Sydney’s inner east to accommodate a family of five on a sustainable footprint.

    Located in Bondi Junction, this double-fronted weatherboard home charmed its owners with its cosy cottage atmosphere, lush garden and close proximity to the city. The client approached Sydney-based design duo Clayton Orszaczky with an ambitious brief despite the 217m2 site; a home that would comfortably house three bedrooms, a study, an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area and three new bathrooms. With its heritage facade still intact, Clayton Orszaczky have restored this inner-city home with a strong emphasis on scale, natural light and flow.

    Clayton Orszaczky co-founder Rebekah Clayton says in each of their projects, they like to have something that’s unexpected or something that makes the project unique. “For this home, we decided to wrap the entire first floor in a fixed screen,” she says. Tackling the issue of restricted light flow in the home, operable glass lies behind this unique panelled screen, making the first floor appear much larger than it is. 

    The ground floor of the home maintains a very similar layout to its previous form. A reinvented study, laundry and bathroom remain in their original spots while the compact kitchen has now been transformed into a combined living and dining hub backing straight onto the manicured garden and pool. A dining nook runs parallel to the kitchen bench, clad in the same linear panelling as the kitchen cabinetry.

    “What this project demonstrates is that we don’t need the vast volumes of space that we think we do. We just need to make our homes better and allow them to connect to our environment and to connect us as people.” 


    – Clayton Orszaczky co-founder Rebekah Clayton

    Natural light is incorporated wherever possible in the home. Northerly light douses the staircase in sunlight – its panelled balustrade reminiscent of the contemporary rear addition. Floor-to-ceiling glazing integrates the outdoor area and living room as one, and a transitional entrance to the study allows it to open up and increase the volume of the living space.

    “In some ways, this house is the opposite of a stand-out and that’s what we consider to be its greatest success,” co-founder Rebekah Clayton says. “It’s modest in almost all aspects; the street façade retains its original charm and character as the rear addition is completely invisible.” Everything brought into the home has been considered for its functionality and purpose; a testament to a ‘less but better’ approach. 

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