This project is the home of clients totally committed to living resourcefully in small spaces. These guys walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk - willing to do everything they can to reduce their energy use and create a low impact lifestyle for their family.
I first met Zoe and Cameron when they came to chat with me at a 'Speed date a sustainable expert' event a few years back. When they got back in contact they had been working with Matt from Greensolar Designs to resolve a small extension design (building out to a boundary wall on one side) containing a third bedroom, light-well and a study.
After realising they could add two extra rooms and that the modestly-sized Collingwood cottage could really work for their family long term, they decided that they would need to include a renovation of the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, study, living room, and bedrooms. BNE was engaged to design these alterations including lighting, interior + exterior finishes, window + door furniture and soft furnishings. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Matt to create a modest, hyper-functional, super-cute home.
Above: The kitchen contains an induction cooktop, new highly efficient appliances, and beautiful matt black Paperock benchtops made from recycled bamboo and paper. Joinery was kept simple, with a combination of laminex and Vic ash veneer.
We started with the notion that a reconfiguration of the interior zones and good joinery design was the key to the small-spaces working for the family. We re-arranged their current furniture to better utilise the open-plan living spaces so they could test out a new layout whilst the design was being developed. In order to keep the kitchen small and simple, a metre wide extension to the boundary wall was suggested, allowing a walk in pantry to be included to allow for bulk purchasing and overflow appliances.
Above: The ventilated plywood-shelved walk in pantry was designed to house the Thermomix and toaster - keeping the kitchen bench space clear.
Above: Built-in robes and drawers were added to each room, with handmade hardwood handles by a local joiner. A study was designed with space for books and two desks, one standing and one sitting.
The interiors were painted throughout with non-toxic paints and timber sealants, retrofitted with LED lighting, eco-rated joinery materials were used and no MDF was used for mouldings or doors.
Above: The bathroom and laundry were reconfigured to allow for a large linen press for household storage. Handmade timber vanities were installed and custom mirror surrounds made with the left-over timbers.
Above: The bathrooms are compact but work a treat. Matt porcelain tiles in soft green and charcoal, combined with matt white penny rounds are durable and provide interest in the small space.
Above: Built-in-robes included drawers and a "play and study" nook in the children's room to reduce any need for extra pieces of furniture and keep the rooms open and spacious.
Water tanks, fully retrofitted insulation, a PV array, solar hot water, secure bike storage, and security window screens and doors for cross-flow ventilation complete the project making it an outstanding example of a sustainable retrofit home, not only in energy use but in encouraging sustainable lifestyle habits for this family and any future inhabitants.
Above: Brave New Eco also completed a landscape design featuring decking and built-in productive garden beds, composting systems, and adjustable exterior shading.
All photographs by Emma Byrnes.