A delightful addition

Issue 27 Words: Sarah Robertson Photography: Neil Prieto
Northcote, Victoria
  • "We love the functionality of the kitchen, the space works easily with us both in there," says homeowner Emily.
  • Double glazing and a better insulated building fabric means less noise seeps in from outside.
  • Beautiful local and recycled timbers have been used in this home extension.
  • The south-facing rear of this Northcote home looks out onto a water-efficient rain garden designed and landscaped by homeowner Rob.

A new addition makes a small Northcote cottage light, warm, functional and cosy.

If ever there was a homely home to make you feel comfortable, cosy and happy, it might just be this one in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote. The renovated house, home to designer Emily Wright of accessories label Nancybird and her partner and ecologist Robert, marries an impeccable and eclectic interior aesthetic with a keen sense of environmental stewardship.

Emily and Robert commissioned architect Olivia van Dijk to redesign the weatherboard house, giving the façade a fresh coat of paint but focusing on bringing much more warmth and light into the south-facing living and kitchen areas.

Together they decided on a single-storey extension incorporating living, kitchen and dining areas, as well as a new bathroom and laundry. It was Olivia’s job to design it to be highly functional, light-filled and based on passive solar design principles. Emily and Rob wanted an addition that didn’t mimic the original cottage but complemented it in materials, scale and presence.

The extension needed to open up to the south to build a strong connection between the new living space and the garden, so one of the challenges was to bring northern light into the home in an interesting way,” explains Olivia. Her design opens the living room to the north through a courtyard and angled roofline with clerestory windows. “I’m really happy with how the project has worked out … it feels spacious and open but still has a lovely sense of intimacy, warmth and craftsmanship,” she says.

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Cover of Issue 27
You can read more about A delightful addition in Issue 27 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Olivia van Dijk


Martin Brothers Building

Kitchen cabinetry

Damien Wright, Wright Studios

Project type


Project location

Northcote, VIC




Existing house 80 sqm, Addition 52 sqm, land 293 sqm

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