Waterdragon Cottage is nestled between the ocean and the Illawarra escarpment in Coledale, south of Sydney. The site was home to a much-loved weatherboard cottage that was slowly being overshadowed as the neighbourhood is developed. The design approach was to retain the existing cottage and to utilise the dramatic slope of the land to create a stepped addition to the rear that would capitalise on the magnificent ocean views and connect the living spaces of the house to the garden.

The rear addition is a single storey volume creating a kitchen and dining space that is generously connected with the garden and stepping up to an ocean-facing deck. The slope of the land is such that the point of connection between the new and the old house is a dynamic double-height space that becomes the heart of this family home. As you move through the private bedroom spaces of the old house into the communal living spaces upstairs, a sequence of light-filled beautifully crafted spaces is revealed.


Project Team

Alex Symes

Katja Gavran

Branko Jaric

Imogene Tudor



John Arnold Constructions and Souter Built



Detom Engineering



Barton Taylor Photography



Wollongong City Council