The simple life

Issue 24 Words: Jacinta Cleary Photography: Brendan Finn
Campbells Creek, VIC
  • A 600mm-deep spine running along the southern side of the house (to the right in the image) fulfills different purposes in each room, including a window seat in the living room, wardrobes, cupboards and a desk in other parts of the house.
  • The home’s passive design, including thermal mass and double-glazed windows along its northern side, helps to naturally warm it in winter. The small floor plan ensures it happens quickly. A wood-fired slow-combustion heater adds additional warmth.
  • This modular 7.8 Star home sits on an east–west axis with large north-facing double-glazed windows that let sunlight flood into the home for passive solar design.
  • The modular home was constructed on-site to promote social sustainability by involving local builders and tradespeople.

The pared back design of this modular home promotes sustainability, simplicity and liveability.

Designers Robyn Gibson and Paul Hassall had an ambitious plan: to create a small, energy efficient home for people who didn’t want to go through an extensive design process.

Over four years they developed a concept and refined its design to produce a space-efficient home based on based on versatile 3 by 5.4 metre modules. It’s not delivered in sections like a prefabricated home, but is built entirely on-site.

The concept’s simplicity is evident in the linear layout of the new Campbells Creek home. The house is only as big as it needs to be, providing the shell for an uncluttered life. Their personalised rectangular plan comprises six design modules in a row, creating a compact 90 square metre home. Side by side are a bedroom, study, bathroom and open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. No more, no less.

The home retains heat in the cool months due to high levels of insulation in the roof and walls and double-glazed windows throughout. Its house energy rating was boosted to 7.8 Stars with the choice of a waffle slab; the concrete was poured over a layer of pods that help insulate the slab from the ground’s temperature changes. The 2.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system covers the home’s low electricity needs.

“There’s a simplicity with living here, it’s just quite beautiful,” says Robyn of her new home. “I love its warmth and lightness on winter mornings, the flow of spaces, and the textural interest created by the mix of finishes and materials.” It seems this building designer has created her ultimate place, an elegant, uncomplicated abode, and one that’s intended for others to replicate and enjoy.


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Cover of Issue 24
You can read more about The simple life in Issue 24 of Sanctuary magazine.

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