From 19th century dwelling to modern dynamo

A heritage-listed worker's cottage in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Petrie Terrace presented an irresistible challenge for architectural firm bureau^proberts director Terry McQuillan and his wife Charlie, who is an interior designer.

A small and steeply sloping site, together with a compact floor plan and building challenges owing to the cottage's age and location, were no barrier to the pair's imagination.

"We wanted to create a contemporary home that not only overcame the site's limitations but unlocked its potential too," Terry says.

ALIGNED: It's hard to tell from the roadside that the pavilion is three storeys while the cottage is just one.

ALIGNED: It's hard to tell from the roadside that the pavilion is three storeys while the cottage is just one.

The cottage is affectionately known as Albert Villa, a homage to its original builder Peter Albert who constructed the home back in 1885.

Unlike Albert, Terry and Charlie were able to take full advantage of the site's elevated position.

"The addition of our pavilion, behind the cottage, enabled us to greatly increase the living space and capture views out to nearby Mt Coot-tha and the surrounding neighbourhood," Terry says.

The new pavilion comprises a spacious living area, central courtyard, kitchen, master bedroom and storage for two vehicles.

Meanwhile, the cottage now accommodates two guest bedrooms, a study and sitting room.

LIGHT AND BRIGHT: Views capture the surrounding neighbourhood.

LIGHT AND BRIGHT: Views capture the surrounding neighbourhood.

A covered breezeway separates the pavilion from the cottage. "The physical demarcation was a device we deployed to respect the difference between the 'old' and the 'new' structures," Terry explains.

"From inside the pavilion, sight lines provide glimpses of the cottage that foster a sense of connection and flow from one dwelling to the next."

When viewed from Albert Villa's side street, the rooflines of both structures appear in alignment - despite the pavilion standing at three storeys and the cottage at just one.

Thoughtful alignment of the eaves and a steeply raking roof form were deployed to create this sense of symmetry.

Building materials were also carefully curated to ensure the design of the pavilion was sympathetic with the design of the cottage.

The texture of the stone on the base of the cottage is mirrored in the stone that anchors the pavilion.

Similarly, the width of the cottage's chamfer boards has been replicated in the dimensions of the pavilion's new boards.

OLD AND NEW: Sight lines provide glimpses of the cottage and pavilion, that foster a sense of connection and flow.

OLD AND NEW: Sight lines provide glimpses of the cottage and pavilion, that foster a sense of connection and flow.

While Albert Villa is Terry's personal home, its professional influences abound.

"When I'm working with a client, I enjoy the rigour of the process - presenting ideas and developing them with the client," he says.

"That collaborative relationship definitely helps the design evolve. As an architect, I really believe this evolution is what makes a project special."

Terry adds that the design process was different for his own home. "Ideas were developed and tested with Charlie. She provided a great critique of my early drawings, which allowed the ideas to develop and I did likewise for her interior sketches.

"After all, we wanted to make sure Albert Villa really was a home that respected and reflected how we both like to live."

The pavilion's central courtyard invites the outdoors in, whilst the adjoining kitchen features louvered windows to regulate ventilation and capture cooling Brisbane breezes.

"We often comment that cooking indoors now feels more like we're having a relaxed barbecue," Terry says.

By all accounts, the design of Albert Villa serves up all the essential ingredients.