Pear Tree House: An 1890s Cottage Blends Original Charm With Modern Luxury

In Prospect, South Australia, Glasshouse Projects has designed a mid-century inspired extension and renovation for an 1890’s sandstone cottage – the Pear Tree House – that delicately balances the past with the present. The clients asked that the firm preserve the original character of the cottage while adding more communal spaces for entertaining, as well as increasing the private areas. In addition to the renovation, a 300-square-meter extension was built to house a new primary bedroom with en suite bathroom, a kitchen, dining room, pantry, laundry room, powder room, guest bathroom, and study. The backyard was also included with the completion of a new swimming pool and outdoor living area.

A glass building with a pool in the back.

A standout feature is the cantilevered slab hovering over the courtyard and pool, which holds the new open living space with two sides of windows. Wood details flow seamlessly from the kitchen to the outdoors, framing spaces and creating a harmonious visual flow.

A modern house with a swimming pool in the backyard.

While the yard’s footprint is small, the design utilizes every inch for year-round entertaining. The outdoor space even includes the family’s beloved pear tree, hence the project’s name.

A modern backyard with a wooden deck and a pool.

A modern house with a glass wall and a wooden deck.

A modern kitchen with wooden cabinets and a sink.

A modern kitchen with a wooden island and bookshelves.

A modern kitchen with a dining table and chairs.

The minimalist yet warm kitchen features Japanese ceramic tiles, a stone island, and upper cabinets with vertically hung wood slats.

A dining table with brown chairs in a room.

A modern living room with a glass wall.

An open plan kitchen and dining room.

A skylight spanning the entire length of the living space brings natural light into the central part of the home, blurring the boundaries between old and new.

A woman is standing in front of a glass door in a modern home.

A living room with a stone fireplace and bookshelves.

“Pear Tree house is responsive and a considered solution to what clients were trying to achieve. It was a small footprint, so every last bit of space needed to perform. We added texture by the use of wood, stone and concrete and pairing this with ample glass, we were able to create a radiant openness and richness which was a real contrast to its starting point,” shares Lead Architect, Don Iannicelli.

A modern living room with a glass wall.

A modern home office with a wooden desk and bookshelves.

A bathroom with a sink and mirror.

A bathroom with wooden walls and a sink.

A bed with pillows and a lamp.

The older part of the home has become the new primary bedroom suite, complete with its own bathroom that gives nod to a luxurious Roman bath with the use of textured Turco Argento Limestone across the floors, walls, and shower area.

A modern bathroom with wooden cabinets and a bathtub.

A modern bathroom with two sinks and mirrors.

A house with a blue door and a stone wall.

Glasshouse Projects kept the front facade and veranda the same as to be sensitive to the original home’s character, creating a juxtaposition with the new modern interior.

A doorway to a house with a blue and white tiled floor.

A woman is running out of a doorway.

Photography by Art Department Creative, courtesy of BowerBird.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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