When Rosehip Cafe opened in 2003, it quickly became the focal point for Parnell's Gladstone Rd neighbourhood. Owners Kylie and Pete Adams loved the area and already lived on Stanwell St, so in 2005 they snapped up what Pete calls "the worst house on the street".
The previous owner had lived there for 25 years, and the cottage was suffering from a fake-brick frontage and tacky 1960s fittings. "We just painted over the grot and moved in," says Pete. At renovation time, they called on architect Julian Guthrie, who'd designed Rosehip's interiors. "Our brief was simple: 'keep the old cottage'," says Kylie.
From the street, only the hip-roofed cottage is visible. The original profile weatherboards have been replicated and what appear to be twin sets of French doors mimic the former front veranda. "We love being on the street," enthuses Pete, so one set of doors leads to a hedged courtyard where they can wave to the neighbours. The other set yields a surprise: a garage with elevator stacking for two cars.
That respect for the street's heritage is echoed throughout the house. Working with council's heritage advisers, the renovation carefully distinguishes between old and new. The two-storey rear addition is invisible from the street and separated from the original cottage by a slim line of louvre windows.
Inside, the architect made clever use of the original pitched roof-line with a series of slim skylights above circulation areas, also tucking an upstairs bathroom and tons of storage into the roof volume. A light well between old and new structures collects morning sun and creates a sheltered courtyard between downstairs bedroom and living areas.
In the open-plan living space, polished concrete floors soak up winter sun, while the LouvreTec patio roof means light and temperature control can be maximised.
Kylie claims she's not a chef, but the sleek Cronin kitchen has hosted plenty of off-duty kitchen crew and photo-shoots. She must have whipped up impressive spreads with the Gaggenau appliances, while the glossy white storage wall hides a butler's pantry and double fridges and freezers. Dark-stained oak trims the island and forms a built-in dining table, echoing the storage units beside the gas fireplace.
At night, Kylie prefers to snuggle in front of the fireplace in the front room, which was sound-proofed as Peter's music practice room. Those high specifications are typical of the rebuild, which included ducted heating and air conditioning and solar hot water.
The downstairs double bedroom, bathroom and generous laundry came in handy when son Chris moved back with his young family. The resident toddlers enjoyed the full bath in the sky-lit upstairs bathroom, and playing in carpeted storage areas under the roof. Another double bedroom and separate office alcove upstairs meant plenty of space for work and guests.
The sunny master bedroom, with a glass Juliet balcony, offers views across town. "We can lie here and see the city lights and harbour bridge," enthuses Pete. Clever detailing includes the curved bathroom wall - "plenty of room to dry off", says Pete, plus storage drawers with outlets for electric toothbrushes.
That thoughtful detailing continues outside, with a matching garden shed, manicured lawn and lighting. Kylie says the design process was like visiting with friends and Pete so enjoyed it, he wants to do it all again. But they're adamant: the next project has be here, in their favourite neighbourhood.