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View of kitchen, timber dining table and work space

Like most owners excitedly approaching the build their new home, the owners of the delightful Golden Valley Small Home compiled a list of all the things they wanted. They had the opportunity to create their dream home on an expansive 4-hectare property in Tasmania, which they achieved in spades but not in the way you might assume.

Rather than focussing on writing a list which included a myriad of rooms which would inevitably include those perceived must-have ‘spare’ spaces (think a spare bedroom or bathroom), aired out for the occasional visiting guest or well-intentioned pursuit of a future hobby – this couple got clear on what their dream lifestyle was and exactly what was needed to create it. Their version of a ‘dream home’ was a place which was ‘simple but significant’. It is thoughtfully enough.

To help create this dream lifestyle, they sought the help of Designful, a team of building designers who believe that great design should support a healthy, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

Related: Are you interested in off-grid homes? Check out more articles here

Recycled brick wall and black kitchen cupboards with log burning stove
Two women sitting on timber window seat

With a footprint of 96m2, this off-grid small home has one bedroom home and is pared back to the essentials – yet it feels generous, comfortable and the perfect size to be able to drink in the gorgeous valley views from every room in the house. It is often the case that in larger homes you become distanced from the view, with the indoor/outdoor connection becoming lost in the internal rooms and spaces, but for these nature-lovers, having a strong connection to the land was central to achieving their dream.

The size of the home helps to make the most of passive solar design with an exposed concrete slab floor, carefully selected windows, high level of insulation and good cross ventilation. Speaking of windows, their placement was also carefully considered to frame and capture and rolling greenery outside. I’m always a sucker for a bathroom with a view (because bathrooms are often a neglected afterthought, squished into to a dark and leftover corner of the home) but this bathroom is a marvel! With its timber lined walls and ceiling, combined with the gorgeous dark green mottled tiles, you can enjoy views for miles while having your morning shower. What a blissful way to kickstart the day!

Women sitting on timber deck of sustainable home with solar panels on roof


> Passive solar design

> Carefully placed windows provide ample sun, warmth and cross ventilation

Off-grid small home

> 6.6kw solar PV system with batteries

Hot water produced by an evacuated tube solar thermal system, which is boosted by either the wood fired stove or solar electricity when required

> Not connected to gas

Two 10,000 litre rainwater tanks

> Double glazed windows

Concrete slab provides thermal mass

> Internal brick walls also provide thermal mass

Recycled bricks

> PEFC certified Spotted Gum cladding

Timber clad off grid sustainable house
Golden Valley Small Home Floor Plan
Lounge room with recycled brick wall and wood-fired heater in eco home

The off-grid small home sits overlooking the Tasmanian hillside, in an area which gets its fair share of snowy days – yet the owners spent their first winter in the new home toasty warm and only needed to use their wood-fired heater on occasion. It’s testament to the architects’ skill in creating a home which is has struck the perfect balance between its size, its passive solar capabilities to create a truly sustainable home.

Internally, a design feature of the home is the wall of recycled bricks which also provide thermal mass and play their part in creating a thermally comfortable home. Complimenting the bricks is the Tassie Oak panelling which brings additional texture and visual warmth into the home. From the outside, the simple corrugated Zincalume cladding, enhanced by some gorgeous PEFC certified Spotted Gum, speaks to the simplified form of traditional Tasmanian sheds and shacks.

I’ll leave the final word on this house to the building designers – who have perhaps written one of the most moving and poignant descriptions of a house that I’ve read. It also serves as an aspirational life goal for us all.


Having ‘enough’ doesn’t have to mean sacrificing what’s important to you. It’s about working out what it is you value, and letting the rest drop away.


Bedroom with timber wall and glass window overlooking the valley
Women sitting on timber deck overlooking valley


1. Using passive solar design will create a comfortable, affordable and sustainable home

2. Always try and use recycled or sustainably produced or sourced materials

3. Go all electric. Ditch gas if you can and create an all electric home

Floating timber shelves in kitchen on recycled brick walls
Window seat in off-grid sustainable home
Beanbags on timber deck overlooking valley
View along recycled brick wall and timber kitchen bench next to the timber dining table
Green tiles in shower with timber wall lining
Timber lined walls in bathroom with green tiles
Looking up towards off-grid house with solar panels on roof
Vintage laundry tub used as bathroom sink
Wood pile and shoes near backdoor on timber deck
Close up of timber stool and timber dining table
External view of zincalume cladding on off-grid home
Looking down driveway of Golden Valley Small Home

I’d love to hear what you think about this project – let me know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Designful. Photography by Natalie Mendham

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