Located on the southern face of a heavily wooded hill containing remnant Blue Gum forest to its North/East, Linda and Robin’s existing 1970’s brick veneer house always struggled for light and passive solar gain in the winter. They came to us wanting their home to have a stronger connection with the forest as well as improved environmental performance. The ground floor plan of the house was compartmentalised adding to the poor passive solar performance. There was also had a need for some improved accommodation as well as an artist studio for Linda.
Linda and Robin love being buried in the forest and it was crucial that any new works had no negative impact on the forest and native vegetation. Our aim was to try and remain within the existing footprint of the house, thus reducing any impact on the native flora. The house is located in a bushfire zone, so restrictions were imposed on material selection and construction methodology. The house was almost entirely deconstructed, stripped back to its bones. We re-orientated the house to the North/East and introduced north east facing skillion roofs with clerestory windows to catch as much passive solar gain in the winter as possible. Very minor extensions to the building footprint meant that we had no impact on the native flora. A loft office space was introduced to resolve the accommodation shortfall. High thermal mass comes from an exposed concrete floor with active space heating provided by an in slab hydronic heating system. Natural cross-ventilation designed to pick up the cooling summer sea breeze comes from strategic window and door placement, eliminating the need for air conditioning, while ceiling fans provide active cooling when necessary. All household potable water is supplied from a 15,000 litre water tank, making this eco home fully self-sufficient for water. The house makes substantial use of recycled and reclaimed timber with recycled Tallowood timber flooring, recycled Jarrah stair joinery and reclaimed Blackbutt for the external deck. Many items from the old house were salvaged and recycled back into the new such as external Cedar cladding and solid timber kitchen doors used to make vanity units, the granite kitchen bench top was re-used as vanity and laundry joinery bench tops. Highly rated insulation materials, low e glass in windows and doors, water and energy efficient appliances and fixtures were installed throughout the home. All paint finishes are low and zero VOC and sustainably forested, super low formaldehyde emission plywood was also utilised for the kitchen cabinetry to round out this sustainable healthy, green house.