Monday, March 28, 2011

SFC Love!

MOTH & I don't agree on too many things (politics, religion, footy team & exterior house colours for a start!), but one thing we are unanimous about is that the Single Fronted Cottage (SFC) is our very favourite architectural style! SFC's abound particuarly in Adelaide & Melbourne, with sandstone & brick being the favoured building material in Adelaide, with Melbourne doing the timber thing, due to plentiful supplies in country Victoria in the 1880's & beyond.

The majority of SFC's were built in the Victorian period (1837-1901), with a small number still being constructed during the Edwardian era (1901-1910). Long & skinny, with all the rooms leading off one side of a lengthy central hallway, the original floorplan was nearly always the same. The front room looking out onto the street was the parlour, then through an archway directly beind the parlour was the main bedroom, with a kitchen at the rear. A semi-detached lean-too often contained the washhouse (laundry) & sometimes a second small bedroom.

Often referred to as 'Workman's Cottages', these small houses were occupied by working & lower middle-class families & are clustered in the suburbs bordering the inner-city such as Parkside, Norwood & Eastwood in Adelaide & Fitzoy, Carlton & Brunswick in Melbourne. Generally, the majority of the cottages didn't have a driveway. The home owners of the time would not have the financial means to own a horse & buggy, so didn't require a way to access stables at the rear of their property.
However, most have rear access from a small laneway running at the back of the house. This existed for the Night Cart driver, who needed to access the outhouse (loo) near the back fence to empty the cisterns.

Over the years, the layout of the SFC's have changed dramatically.

The kitchen & old lean-to's have been demolished & extensions built to house a new kitchen, family room. bathroom, study etc.

This has meant that the amount of rear garden has diminished, so careful planning of the available outdoor space has occurred.

While some SFC's have a verandah & front door almost bordering the street, others have quite a set back, allowing for a substantial front garden area.

With the advent of informal living areas in new rear extensions, in nearly all cases, the master bedroom is now occupying what would have been the front parlour.

This is a wonderful example the typical configuration of the SFC, with a long hallway leading from the front door. Where the step down occurs would have probably been where the previous back door had stood.

Most of where this new extension is built would have originally been rear garden space.

So enjoy the SFC's on this tribute post. Lots of lovely ideas, clever design & use of available space makes my heart skip a beat. Not grandiose, the SFC is just perfect for MOTH & myself at this time of our lives.

Our goal is to live in one prior to our very last address on this earth - The Twilight Home For The Terminally Bewildered Renovator!



  1. They are absoluetly wonderful aren't they Millie?
    I love the SFC. I only wish we'd kept my Nan's after she passed away.

  2. *** ABSOLUTELY CHARMING... each and every pic is a smile-making heart warmer!!!!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  3. So will it be Adelaide or Melbourne for MOTH and Millie?

  4. So nice to look at houses. Never get tired of it, ever...Thanks!!

  5. ahhhhh, what a fabulous post! It has done nothing to help my obsession with the SFC either. Time to start saving my pennies to get out of my shanty and into a SFC!

  6. Millie, what a stunning collection. I will need to look at these again and again. You are the font of all wisdom re the SFC an admirable skill indeed. HOpe you had a good weekend with your boys.

  7. oh, I LOVE these houses Millie! It's so surprising how small they "look" on the exterior and how large they actually are! So beautiful and such an efficient use of space-I love that! Their charm runneth over!

    howdy to MOTH!!


  8. Millie - you've brought the SFC to life. I used to (and still do!) dream of living in one. Here in Adelaide of course. Unfortunately, 70's cream brick just doesn't have the same appeal. I'm still working on my husband to convince him that a SFC would be plenty big enough for our little family of 3 :) Bxx

  9. They are so fabulous Millie, and I had no idea that they were called an SFC. To me they are the perfect mix of old and new - lovely character details with everything for modern living. The perfect pad before the Twilight Home!

  10. Hi Millie
    Hope you and Moth are in good spirits. One of my sisters lives in a SFC in Parkside she loves it and says she's never leaving.
    So another reno boy your brave
    Kind Regards

  11. oh gosh they are all so gorgeous..they are hidden surprises too and often so big inside ! Mel xxx

  12. I could be very happy in one of these cottages. I have no issue with small spaces, as long as they are this stylish!

  13. I visited quite a few of these during my stints in both Melbourne and Sydney and love them too. I sometimes managed to persuade my husband to pop into a few open homes in between Saturday morning footy and shopping... just to look, with the hope that he might whip out his wallet on the spot! I saw some amazing renovations and was constantly amazed how such a small frontage could magically enlarge to become a spacious home inside. Not quite spacious enough for 6 kids though and so my dreams of owning a SFC have been put on hold for a good number of years1
    Clare x


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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