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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Workers Cottage Kitchen

Come inside 30 Smith St.
Grand historical homes are somewhat preserved but it's the ordinary cottage that is fast loosing a lot of their original fixtures. Many of them were cheaply built and time has worn them out.
Before being sold in 2011, it had been in the same family for 100 years and altered little.

Kitchens of this kind are becoming endangered as they are becoming renovated all over the city.
This cottage was probably built in about 1840 after George Smith's land holding was subdivided creating Smith St. 
Kitchens with recognisable built in cabinets similar to today became popular in the early 1920's. In modest homes these were often owner built and often from recycled and salvaged materials. By today's standards this kitchen is considered inferior, impractical and most definitely rustic...but let me show you some golden charming features.

The cupboard door slides open beautifully in its hand cut channels to reveal a below bench drawer. This slides out smoothly and easily on simply constructed runners.

Inside a perfectly cut square of 1940's linoleum to line the drawer.
Layers and layers of history.

The cabinetry on the other wall is constructed of strong timber frames, the shelves are like packing case off cuts. As the cupboard is built onto the rough hand made brick wall, the back and sides are lined with a metal gauze to keep them vermin proof.

It's tiny but modest kitchens had far less equipment and appliances than one finds nowadays.

Could I live and work in this kitchen? If it were my property would I rip it out?
Yes absolutely, but it's such a shame isn't it. So I had to take some photos and preserve some of it's glorious ordinariness for posterity because it and all it's fellows will be changed and we will lose those hand made gems.

A wonky old cottage with sloping ceilings and old tin roofs and up and down floors...

Beautiful ornate vents on lathe and plaster walls...

Heavy, sturdy internal doors with layers and layers of paint and keys long lost.

The houses have tiny or no front gardens and these golden pencil pines enrich the street scape and are considered historically significant. The council had them recently trimmed sensitively to ensure easier pedestrian access but maintain their profile.

There are plenty of glamorous mansions and significant properties of old preserved in time but it's the humble workers cottages and the homes of the ordinary that I also salute. On the face of things they stay relatively the same but within they are getting radical makeovers.
It's precisely the make do and mend of these plain cottages that is what Suburban Jubilee celebrates.


  1. This is a wonderful post! I'm delighted that you shared the photos of this humble building.

  2. Oh, I love this! We renovated the bejeesus out of our original 1930s kitchen. I do feel a bit sad about that now..
    Is this an open home you visited, or has someone you know bought the house?

    1. But it must be done hey Jo. We have become so spoiled and ease of living requires more storage and ease of access. It wasn't all rainbows and light. It was freezing in the winter in these outer rooms that are all a bit tacked on as they are in cottages and the taps drove you mad! It was where my daughter had rented for the past four years and I was helping her clean after the move. This area is so special, though it is part of a large city it truly has a community feel. Everyone knew each other; mainly because of the dog park on the corner behind and the pub on the corner "Waggon and Horses" (it is said to have been a pub on that corner since 1823). It was a short walk to the State theatre and the trendy shopping and dining strip. It was wonderful Mummy accommodation when visiting Hobart.

  3. so agree with you tanya..i felt sad when i removed the original kitchen cupboards when i renovated..but they just weren't functional enough..but i retained as much of the house's character as i could while adding a bit of modernity..x


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