Go­ing out on a limb

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jessica Howard

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.”

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