Compass Architecture
Compass Architecture

Cottage Alteration and Addition, Mount Kembla

located on the land of the WODI WODI PEOPE of the DHARAWAL NATION

Key Features

Multigenerational Home
Improved Orientation Plan
Open Living Spaces
Natural Light

The Site

Mount Kembla boasts the character of a small mining village, lying at the foot of the Illawarra escarpment. Situated on two residential blocks with an established native garden and in-ground pool, the northern aspect of this site faces street frontage, with no connection to these two lovely areas.

The Brief

Seeking to transform and extend the existing cottage into a spacious and functional living area, the alteration and addition design had to accommodate the needs of three generations, within a budget. It was also essential to create living room areas that opened and extended the home towards the pool, while bringing the house up to green living standards.

The Process

Sensitive to the family history on the site, the design process was fuelled by a willingness to explore a way of intergenerational living uncommon in the Australian context. The final design became a manifestation of shared occupancy concepts borne from sustainable development implementation strategies.   Challenges that arose from the particularity of the site also created fertile ground for innovative, functional design. Over time, and through careful listening, implementation and revisions, the final design provided the family with inspirational living spaces, in tune with the offered quality of the established environment.


  • BASIX Certificate 
  • Rainwater Harvesting: Oversized gutters and downpipes to maximise rainwater collation 
  • Water-Wise Garden: Including vegetable garden 
  • Insulated Walls, Ceilings and Subfloor 
  • Solar Hot Water System 
  • Green Living Practices 
  • Reduce Waste: Reduced demolition waste and construction waste practice 

“We knew we were not looking for something ordinary. Nathalie has risen to the challenge admirably.

Our new rooms with huge decks provide indoor and outdoor spaces which come together when the huge bi-fold doors are opened. Our existing living rooms are modified to create spacious living and retreat areas for me. Clever modification of internal space with redirection of two sets of stairs dramatically opens up our entry hall. We gain a new kitchen and dining room and more effectively link all parts of the house, including the pool area and garden, to allow us to live, play and entertain with activities flowing easily while keeping our bedroom areas separate and private.

We are starting to enjoy our new spaces. We appreciate that we would not have achieved this outcome without Nathalie’s professionalism, passion for creating spaces for people to live and work in, attention to detail and willingness to work with us while we explored options and ideas ourselves.

She has also helped us communicate effectively with our builder and all the other trades people whose work actually creates the spaces she has designed, to make sure that her ideas are translated accurately.

I highly recommend Nathalie as both a designer and a professional adviser.”

- Vivien, Ben and Bridie