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Cooks River House 2018, Marrickville, NSW / Complete Project 


‘Ellerslie’ in Marrickville was constructed in 1886 for a coach maker in the Victorian Italianate style. The original two storey terrace hugs the eastern boundary of the block allowing for a driveway for the coach to the west and river access to the south.  


The dwelling is now a representative example of a freestanding two storey Victorian Italianate terrace house which makes a positive aesthetic contribution to the streetscape. ‘Ellerslie’ is an excellent example of an aspirational Victorian dwelling, modest in scale yet dignified, decorative and ebullient.

‘Ellerslie’ had been poorly treated. Much of the original Victorian Italianate detail had been removed by the 21st century. The original roof coverings had been replaced with concrete tiles, the front balcony built in, decorative fascia’s, iron lace and cast iron columns all removed, tessellated tiles covered with concrete pavers.


Internally dividing doors between the formal living rooms had been removed, cornices and ceiling roses taken off for built-ins and modern light fittings. Some windows had been replaced with aluminium, doors removed, stained glass covered up and floors covered in tiles. The work to the property included a full restoration to all these elements of the original house.



To the rear is an addition to create new living areas and a main bedroom suite. The design response was all about the Cooks River and the magic of the sylvan view. The new work utilises a contemporary palette sympathetic to the original house including internal and external timber linings and a simple corrugated iron clad structure and large timber doors on the key facades. The form of the new work is intentionally modern and the line between new and old is very clear both outside and within the dwelling. The new work whilst simple also has its own geometric decorative flair to partner with the exuberance of the original house.


New sandstone retaining walls cut from site remake terraces down to the riverside past exposed sandstone strata. A plunge pool, deck, pool fence and boat house by the river are constructed entirely from recycled timbers. Original sandstock bricks from the demolished single room and laundry structure were hand cleaned and used to pave the driveway and western side outdoor dining area.

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