When the owners set out to renovate this old double-fronted Edwardian home which was tumbling down within a rambling garden, a large extension was originally planned.
But when they met with Brave New Eco, a more efficient renovation was suggested which had a smaller overall footprint.
Nick and Sarah had raised their sons in this previously grand but now leaky home, with its lack of insulation and makeshift kitchen, and it needed to be re-designed for future needs. In the coming decades, their home has to adapt to multi-generational living to accommodate their aging parents. Brave New Eco felt they could achieve this by reconfiguring existing spaces to make the house more functional without needing to greatly increase the size of the home.
The charm of the existing Edwardian elements in the home were preserved and blended beautifully with a contemporary, yet timeless, sustainable new addition or extension.
Locally manufactured materials and finishes were prioritised, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint of a project. The house is filled with warmth and personality provided by the extensive use of timber, including the Australian FSC certified floorboards, timber kitchen and timber framed double glazed windows. The gorgeous raw brass tapware and handles, which will age and develop an ever changing patina over time, are the most sustainable tapware finish available as no additional coatings have been added.
Other sustainable finishes include using low VOC paints and timber sealants throughout the house.
→ Low VOC paints and timber sealants
→ Brass tapware and door hardware – no chrome. All are locally manufactured
→ FSC certified engineered floorboards
→ Kept existing footprint by utilising attic space of pitched roof extension
→ Replaced all windows in the house (except front bay windows with original decorative glass) with timber-framed Argon-filled double-glazed windows
→ Living, dining and kitchen areas oriented to the north. Majority of glazing is to the north with minimal in this area to the west
→ The passive solar design includes fixed shading to the north for the summer sun
→ Passive ventilation includes an operable skylight on the top level to ventilate hot air from the house using the stairs as a thermal chimney
→ Installed ceiling fans throughout
→ Added a 5000L litre custom tall water tank in a narrow space plumbed to toilets and laundry
→ Replaced drafty original floors in the existing house with new floorboards, insulating underneath the floors throughout
→ Relined internal walls of existing and adding wall and ceiling insulation throughout
→ Removed ducted heating and replaced with healthy radiant hydronic heating
→ Opted to retain existing hot water and cooktop (on gas) as relatively new and will be replaced at end-of-life for electric
→ Installed air-drying racks and rails in the laundry
→ Repurposed existing coloured glass window internally in the main bedroom upstairs
→ Repurposed existing appliances
→ Used low maintenance colorbond cladding on the exterior shell to avoid having to paint and maintain upper levels later on. Exposed hardwood timber cladding on the undersides of eaves is better protected from elements and more easily accessible for maintenance.
The new living, dining and kitchen areas have been orientated to the north to draw in the northern sun and to provide lush views of the garden.
The house is kept warm through new insulation to the walls, ceilings and underneath the floors and is supplemented by a new radiant hydronic heating system. Keeping the home cool is quite simple and cost-effective – an operable skylight on the top level releases any hot air and ceiling fans have been installed throughout the home, meaning there is no need for an air conditioning unit.
While we’re talking about cost-saving additions, a 5000L water tank provides water to the toilets and laundry and they’ve cleverly minimised the need for a clothes dryer by installing a nifty ceiling hung drying rack in the laundry.
This truly special home is full of many clever sustainable design ideas, with the most important being its ability to be able to adapt and morph as the family grows and changes over time. The home is very deserved of the name it’s been given as it will undoubtedly see the family through the next phase of their lives and whatever the future may hold for them.
1. Always try and use as many locally sourced items such as materials, finishes, fixtures and furniture as you can
2. Using passive solar design will create a comfortable home with lower bills
3. Bigger is not better. A well-designed home can make clever use of space instead of costing you more to build, more to heat and cool and taking up valuable garden space
I’d love to hear what you think about this project – let me know in the comments section below.
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.