Di perched on island paradise
STANDING on the “G& T deck” at Diana Droog’s new Flinders Island home, overlooking the emerald and sapphire water, it is easy to see how this place lures people into leaving behind their old lives and starting anew in this unique environment.
Diana and her husband Hugh Sarjent’s home The Perch, at Blue Rocks, was completed just a couple of months ago after many years in the making.
“My husband bought this block in 1972 sight unseen and we’ve been coming here for well over 25 years on holidays,” Di said.
“We’d bring anywhere between six and 12 friends over and we’ve normally hired houses [ but] there weren’t any houses here I wanted to buy so we decided to build instead.”
Moving from Hawthorn, in Victoria, building on an island was always going to be a challenge.
“It’s been a long project because originally we planned it about six years ago but then the GFC came in and we couldn’t get any good builders,” Di said.
“It’s taken about two years to get to this stage. We’re heading towards a retirement phase so everything’s been designed to suit us as we get older. It was built to be energy effi cient and it’s very well sealed to keep the wind out.”
The abode rises out of the rock base, giving the property the feel of a moonscape.
Designed by Flinders- based architect Peter Reid and built by a local team under Steve Kacir, the home features double glazing, hydronic heating and thermal mass.
Island living also means water must be carefully considered. Both bathrooms only contain showers to avoid wastage and a separate compost toilet has been so effective, Di said she wished she’d added another close to the second bedroom.
“When we put the plans together, we didn’t know how much room we’d have underneath because of the rocks,” she said.
“I think we would have had another room for a second toilet. That’s the only major thing in hindsight which I’d change.”
Working from home, the couple have set themselves up with work stations in both bedrooms, which they move between after deciding the second bedroom had a better view.
The huge open- plan living, dining and kitchen space is fi lled with light via the northfacing, fl oor- to- ceiling windows and doors which slide back onto the wrap- around deck.
Most of the home is on this level but downstairs also provides a gym/ recreation space where Hugh can play his French horn without anyone around to complain about the noise.
The project was not without its challenges but the rewards far outweighed any struggles, said Di, who nominated dealing with the Flinders people as the best part of the whole experience.
“You meet all the locals and they’re all different,” she said. “This place has such an interesting collection of people.”