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