Sustainable renovation keeps cottage character

Issue 25 Words: Anna Cumming Photography: Jamie Gill
Beulah Park, SA
  • "Rammed earth is a lovely material," says Georgy. It's good acoustically, good regulating humidity, and of course good thermal mass."
  • Eaves and a pergola provide appropriate shade to the north-facing windows year-round.
  • The study nook, right next to the kitchen, is deliberately public so homeowners Georgy and Luke can keep an eye on their kids at the computer.
  • The garden is watered with rainwater collected from the extension's roof, which is pumped and distributed via a sub-surface irrigation system.
  • Keeping the building's footprint small kept a generous and much-loved backyard with room to grow vegetables and to play.

A north facing extension to an Adelaide cottage provides flexible and energy efficient family living spaces without compromising the character of the original home.

Luke and Georgy’s dream of having a sustainable home was first imagined in 1996, when Luke picked up a copy of Sanctuary’s sister magazine, ReNew.

Years later, when they bought a dilapidated cottage, Luke and Georgy were able to realise their dream by sustainably extending an 1880’s cottage through a simple renovation.

The extension is designed to provide practical, flexible space that will meet the changing needs of the family over time. Moving into the extension, a laundry and small shower room wrap around a private courtyard with an open-air hot water bath. Stairs lead down to a large basement, or a couple of steps take you up to the open kitchen and living area with its raked roof, floor-to-ceiling windows to the north, a concrete slab floor and a feature rammed earth insulated wall to the south. Small southern windows and northern clerestory windows provide plenty of cross ventilation.

The living space extends outside, with a generous covered deck to the west that helps shade the house from the hot afternoon sun, and a pergola to the north that extends over a lawn. The lawn is watered with rainwater via a sub-surface irrigation system. Rainwater is used in the laundry and to flush the toilet; two of the three water tanks are tucked in behind the rammed earth wall.

The catalyst for action was finding a sympathetic builder. She found Danny Pauley and Donna Bartsch of Energy Aspect Living, who was able to incorporate natural materials including recycled time, to fulfill Georgy and Luke’s dream of having a sustainable and healthy home.

With a limited budget, Georgy and Luke opted to invest in expert green design for their extension and leave many projects for the future.


ShareShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter
Cover of Issue 25
You can read more about Sustainable renovation keeps cottage character in Issue 25 of Sanctuary magazine.

Buy it now at our webshop!

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

Subscribe to our newsletter


Design: Troppo

Interior design: Hannah Hiscock-Croft, Troppo

Builder: Energy Aspect Living

Landscape design: Amanda Balmer, WAX designs


View houses by state