Going out on a limb
AFFORDABLE and sustainable are two words which, for some time, did not always go together in the same sentence when talking about housing.
But more and more in Tasmania we are seeing examples of highly sustainable and effi cient homes that do not cost an arm and a leg to build.
One of the most recent cases is the ninestar energy- rated house in South Hobart by Leighton Building and Construction, but Woodbridge- based designer and builder Rowan Reynolds and his team have been perfecting the art of affordable sustainability over the past several years.
Completed in 2010, Sue Thain’s Kettering home was built on the practice’s philosophy of simplicity, beauty and effi ciency.
Situated on what was a bare block with only three other houses in the street, the cedar and Colorbond house has an open, fl ow- through feel and an octagon- like shape, making the most of its direction and position.
“The view is to the east and the sun is to the north so the challenge was capturing both,” Rowan explained.
“Half the windows are picking up the view and the other half gets the sun, as well as the views of the mountain.”
While a move to the heart of the Channel region may be a move away from city life for many, it was actually a step closer for the Thains at the time.
“We were living at Charlotte Cove and my late husband Malcolm wanted to move to
Kettering because he was into boats,” Sue said.
“The design of this house is similar to the one at Charlotte Cove.
“What I love about this space is the warmth and it’s a very peaceful spot.
“Because of the design, now I’m on my own, I don’t feel lost in all the space. I love being able to see through the house no matter where I am in it. That to me is a lovely way of living; you’re in touch with everything.”
Entering the home past a heavy timber gate and a set of Japanese- style doors, each room slowly unfolds to reveal itself.
Timber- framed windows in the living area and the master bedroom capture the views of the countryside and the Kettering marina.
Timber is the standout feature of the home, from the cedar exterior to the Tasmanian oak fl ooring and Lunawood kitchen, doors and joinery.
Lunawood is a sustainable baltic pine from the managed forests of Norway.
“It’s modifi ed by a rigorous cooking program which turns it brown. It’s an appealing- looking wood and although it’s come in a container, it’s relatively cheap,” Rowan explained. “It’s much better quality than radiata pine. “Bringing timber to Tasmania is a bit like bringing coal to Newcastle but you can’t use many Tasmanian timbers without treatment.”
An internal courtyard is well- sheltered from the elements and Sue’s pottery shed is fi lled with her creations.
The passive solar home captures the winter sun while the deep eaves ensure the summer rays does not penetrate beyond the deck.
“This house was affordable to build and it works so it’s not expensive to run,” Rowan said.
“We haven’t had to spend a million dollars to save a thousand. It’s just about using current technology cleverly.”