Treehouse retreat

Issue 24 Photography: Shantanu Starick

The chance to peak into treetop living at Currumbin Ecovillage, seven minutes inland from the Gold Coast, has been a Sustainable House Day highlight.

When they walk people through the Tallowoo Treehouse, building designer Rob Norman and interior designer Sally Stent show people through a house with a difference.

Homeowner Heike has happily opened her doors on Sustainable House Day to other homeowners interested in sustainable design. “I wanted to show my house so people could see that you can have a sustainable house that can be really stylish – you do not have to compromise anything,” she says.

Named after a lovely tallowood growing on the block, the treehouse is a spectacular home. The living spaces and verandahs look out over canopies of leafy Queensland gum trees.

Good design has ensured the house uses very little energy. It’s toasty warm in winter due to appropriate window placement and internal thermal mass and cool in summer, needing only ceiling fans to help move air around on still days. Other sustainable design features include rainwater tanks providing all house water, recycled hardwood telegraph pole floors, 60 per cent recycled slurry bathroom tiles, a 1.5 kilowatt solar power system, a solar hot water system, and a resource monitoring system tracking energy and water use.

Heike has no idea how many people have seen her home but knows that many have learnt from it. She recognises her ideas in other homes as friends ask ‘do you recognise that?’ and point out Heike-inspired features in their own homes. Contact details for tradespeople have also been passed around; a local furniture maker has had plenty of jobs as a result of people seeing his work there.

“It’s so simple to [build a sustainable home],” says Heike. “It’s not even rocket science – why don’t we all do it?”

Heike sees her home as a retreat with functional spaces and an atmosphere of wellness. There are nooks and crannies that make it cosy and indoor spaces have a real connection with nature. When you stand in the shower it’s like you are outside. “The living room and verandah open up and become one big space and the trees are right there.”

See Sanctuary 15 for a full feature on this project.

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Cover of Issue 24
You can read more about Treehouse retreat in Issue 24 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Sanctuary: modern green homes is Australia’s premier magazine dedicated to sustainable home design. More...

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