What’s old is new

issue 9 Words: Fiona Negrin Photography: John Bodin Photography
West Brunswick
  • This home renovation cleverly reconfigured the living spaces to create a more comfortable and energy efficient
    home.
  • This home has a custom-built ventilated pantry and fridge space using a “stack effect”.
  • "I wanted to focus on my loves: cooking, eating, gardening and living. But sustainability is the mantle over everything," says Bron.
  • Bron’s garden includes 17 fruiting trees, herbs, vegetables, and ornamental shrubs – all watered by a rainwater tank and a simple grey water harvesting system.
  • Simply by reconfiguring the existing rooms and passageways – by moving a few walls and doors – Bron gained an extra bedroom and new living areas in the sun-filled north side of the house.

This renovated house featured in Sanctuary 9 is open on Sustainable House Day.

When Bronwyn moved into her inner Melbourne home 20 years ago she knew one day she’d like to make a few changes. The kitchen was south facing, making it dark and uninviting, while the north facing laundry and toilet enjoyed some of the loveliest light in the house! She would have also preferred a little extra space when friends and relatives came to stay.

After years of planning, making sure she knew exactly what was needed to improve her home’s liveability, Bron was ready at last to begin her sustainable home renovation. But something was nagging at her. To build an extension for an extra bedroom would mean taking space away from her beloved garden. Bron was reluctant to sacrifice her edible herbs, colourful ornamentals or fruit trees. She was also concerned about the impact that an extension would have on her “ecological footprint”.

Finally, Bron found a solution that would improve her home’s amenity and allow her to keep her garden. Simply by reconfiguring the existing rooms and passageways – by moving a few walls and doors – Bron gained an extra bedroom and new living areas in the sun-filled north side of the house. These spaces allow her to give priority to the activities she loves most – cooking, gardening and being with people – while barely enlarging the house’s existing floor plan.

In collaboration with local architect Ande Bunbury, the new design has left the front, eastfacing section of the house intact but jumbled the rooms in the rear. The laundry and toilet were moved from the north side to the west (which necessitated a tiny extension, less than 1.5 metres wide) that in turn has freed up the north side for living spaces. Doorways were shifted to create a new, more direct passage through the house.

Ande says the new design emerged from her sustainability principles, which are shared by Bron. “Often people come to me with a brief for a renovation or extension to the back of the house, but I’ll always ask how we can improve the comfort of the whole house, not just the extension. I always first look to reconfiguring existing spaces, before building new ones.”

This house is open Sunday September 7. Find out more, including address details closer to opening at http://sustainablehouseday.com/item/bronwyns-house/

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Credits

Designer

Ande Bunbury Architects

Builder

Rex Building

Location

West Brunswick, VIC

Project type

Renovation

Cost

$170,000

 

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