Good Life House by Mrtn Architects was designed using passive design principles and takes advantage of the long northern boundary by placing the living, eating and sleeping spaces to capture ample natural light and warmth. The home is kept cool or warm through the use of thermal mass provided by the reverse brick veneer, burnished concrete floor slab and high performance windows.
Also helping to keep the house comfortable are ceiling fans and high operable windows to flush out hot air. The roof and deep eaves are designed to shade the interior from harsh summers but allow the home to be warmed by the winter sun. This all electric home uses heat pump technology to power the heating and hot water system, which also contributes to keeping the power usage low.
From the street, this new build is a clever and creative reinvention of the existing homes in the surrounding area and the roof form was central to allowing the home to fit in with it’s neighbours. It compliments the neighbouring houses but gently suggests a new design take on the Californian Bungalows and Arts and Craft styles which dominate the area.
Pivotal to the success of this home is the architects approach to the client’s brief to be able to “live together apart”. Designed for a family of five, it was important that there was ample space for them to spend time together and also allowed for enough space where each family member could be on their own, together apart. Design cues were taken from the rambling floor plans of country homes with dedicated rooms for family life plus little nooks carved out as timber lined window seats and in hallways for solitude.
The materials palette is defined by low maintenance and durable materials, such as exposed brick, timber and burnished concrete, reminiscent of the hardworking and honest materials you’d find in a country home. For a splash of fun, the children’s upstairs bathroom is a brilliant shade of blue contrasted against terracotta coloured flooring. It’s a completely unexpected addition to the overall colour scheme but it’s a wonderful visual surprise and it really injects a vibrant energy into the kids quarters.
– Designed using passive design principles
– Living spaces and bedrooms are orientated to the north
– Internal materials selected for thermal performance and durability
– Reverse brick veneer construction and burnished concrete floor work together to provide thermal mass and reduces need for heating and cooling
– High performance windows
– In slab hydronic heating
– Heat pump technology used to power the heating system and hot water
– Ceiling fans are used for cooling the home
– 100% electric home using energy efficient appliances
– Large overhanging eaves to provide shade in summer
A generous entry space allows you to shed the accoutrements of life as you before entering the living areas. The rest of the house is arranged in a pinwheel fashion around the kitchen – the heart of this home. Two distinctly and separate living spaces allow for active and more quiet activities to occur simultaneously. The north facing upper level is the domain of the children providing not only bedrooms but space to lounge and to be in.
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.