The Complete Restoration Of An 1842 Tasmanian Cottage – The Design Files

When Taylor and Hinds Architects were brought on to restore this 1842 cottage in Oatlands, Tasmania, the property was in a state of impending ruin. With a collapsed north-easterly elevation patched up with asbestos panelling, and decaying interiors due to a lack of light and rising damp, significant work was required to restore the home to its former glory.

Despite its dire condition, the building fabric contained much of its original character, including pit-sawn hardwood floorboards, hand-hewn ashlar sandstone, and brick. Uncovering these Georgian qualities of the original interior through a process of adaptive repair was key. 

Most renovation projects include an extension element, but this cottage was actually reduced in size over the course of restorations. ‘More an alteration and subtraction, than an addition,’ is how Mat Hinds, director of Taylor and Hinds Architects, describes the project. New works include two large format windows, a small bathroom, and a rear porch guided by An Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture and Furniture (1833), which the architects referred to throughout. 

Mat describes the characteristics of Tasmanian Georgian architecture as ‘peculiar’, defined by honest material expression and direct detailing. He says the style is also ‘subtle and delicate, but also suffused with qualities of economy, purposefulness, and austerity.’  The architect acknowledges how this style speaks to the ‘unresolved histories of exile of both the colonial and Aboriginal peoples of this island.’

The new name of the house, Bozen’s Cottage, references the previous owner, Bozen Stuart Pennicott, whose family lived in the house for over a century. The family worked as blacksmiths, carpenters and pastoralists, and this history is reflected in a series of finely crafted new mild steel and timber insertions. 

Mat has loved seeing how the owners have furnished this home to include Van Diemonian Georgian furniture, books and ephemera. When visiting the project shortly after its completion in 2019, Mat noted the framed original land deed on the wall, colonial artworks recognising prior and continuing occupation by Tasmania’s First Nations Peoples, and plates decorated with Tasmanian floral patterns. Perhaps the most delightful touch is a series of wallpaper fragments originally from the cottage, which have been preserved, framed and hung above the library mantel. ‘It was a perfect, complete, encounter with the promise of the interior,’ says Mat. ‘For us, that moment was like watching the interior of a small four-room Van Diemonian Georgian Cottage expand to hold the entire history of the island.’

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