The right move
Australian House & Garden Magazine|January 2022
A century-old cottage presented some tantalising possibilities for an Adelaide couple: the opportunity to downsize and upgrade at the same time.
Chris Pearson
For Jane and Michael, the owners of this home in Adelaide’s inner east, downsizing opened up a whole new world. They shifted from a rambling traditional family home, where they had lived for 23 years raising three children, to this light and airy retreat, its luminous spaces symbolising a fresh start. “We had no misgivings about the move,” says Jane. “It was time. We felt right at home here, comfortable and familiar from the beginning.”

Perhaps not quite from the beginning. When they discovered the 100-year-old sandstone villa in 2017, it was a warren of rooms with an ill-matched 1970s rear extension sporting aluminium windows, together with the floral carpet and wallpaper typical of that era. And, because its informal living areas faced south, they were sun-starved. But the original building, which had many of its architraves and cornices intact, had seduced the couple. They could see its promise.

Jane and Michael turned to the multidisciplinary design firm Williams Burton Leopardi (WBL) to achieve the dramatic transformation they desired. “I liked the WBL aesthetic. It’s sharp and graphic, with lots of black steel windows and doors, yet soft at the same time,” says Jane. “For this house, I wanted smart and minimal, with no clutter, blending old and new in an interesting way.”

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