The earliest parts of the cottage, which was built by John Caldwell, are thought to date from around 1868. Extensions had been added in the early twentieth century to supplement the four small central rooms, and several outbuildings constructed to increase the accommodation. Considering its age, Koonoona is a relatively well-preserved example of early vernacular building.
However, extensive structural remediation and conservation works have been necessary, particularly to the pole-framed sapling and mud walls. The original Morewood & Rogers metal roof tiles have been reproduced especially for the project. Internally, the floors have been reinstated and the kitchen refurbished. One of the later wings has been reconstructed.
The two small outbuildings have been replaced with new studio accommodation, built in the vernacular style and meeting bushfire rating BAL-29 regulations. The pair are identical but mirrored in plan, each with a verandah facing a view. To help the studios feel like living rooms, not just bedrooms, their bathrooms have ‘secret’ doors.
The final phase of the project is the landscaping. Working with consultant Site Design’s plant selections, and with historic trees on the site, we developed a scheme that includes reinstatement of planting beds, paths and the drive, and the installation of new rainwater tanks serving the cottage, studios and grounds.
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