tiny house undergoes light and material transformation

Erskineville NSW, 2015

This little house is inspired by the tiny white houses of Japan with a local terrace vernacular twist.

The original one bedroom house, one of eleven identical workers cottages in a row, was a little tired and very dark inside when it first came to us. Whilst it’s not exactly a micro-house at 72 sqm This Charming House, for a family of four (five if you include the dog) is certainly small by Sydney standards. 

The added value in this substantial renovation can really not be measured in quantitative area (we only added one bedroom of 19 sqm) but is instead found in the transformative qualities of light and material – improvement to the daily ‘experience’ of the house.

This Charming house employs a variety of architectural devices to manipulate light and generate interest. Perforated white metal panels act as balustrades, privacy screens, sunshades and safety barriers. First introduced as a privacy screen by the front door this simple dot pattern repeats in various places as the house unfolds.

A built-in bunk bed sits in the void-space above the stairs making good use of extra space in such a small house. The desk, also built-in, looks eastward, into the light court. A ‘flappy-door’ at the left of the desk allows the kids a diagonal view through the light scoop, down into the kitchen.

Bi-fold doors and louvred windows provide the flexibility to open up the house for ventilation in summer and keep the wind out but let the sun in during winter. The front and rear of the house are bifurcated by a void and double-height light scoop. It is this transitional space that gives the house a bright, character-filled heart.

A white-glass wall between bathroom and gallery floods the bathroom with natural light by day. The effect is reversed at night where lights in the bathroom illuminate the space outside.


Client: Private Services: Architecture

Awards: Voted by the Houzz community as a winner of their Best of Houzz 2016.

Project team: RAW Architects, Adam Russell, Prudence Duncan and Brooke Jackson
Collaborators: Cantilever Consulting Engineers, Create Construction