Mod­ern is­land haven

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard

MOV­ING from in­ner city Mel­bourne to build a house on a re­mote, ru­ral Tas­ma­nian is­land is chal­leng­ing enough but throw in hav­ing to de­sign the house for a life­style you have not yet ex­pe­ri­enced and things get very in­ter­est­ing.

In 2005, David and Bron­wen Grutzner de­cided to make the big move from St Kilda to Flin­ders Is­land and re­tire.

Or at least that was the plan – ar­chi­tect David has been in­volved with more than 100 ren­o­vat­ing and build­ing projects on the is­land since mov­ing into their home Sarah Blanche in late 2006.

When it came to de­sign­ing their own house, there were many con­sid­er­a­tions which were all new even to David.

“My orig­i­nal idea was just to have this blank stone wall buried into the hill­side and the house was be­hind it,” he ex­plained.

“But Tuppy [ Bron­wen] said, ‘ Hang on, if we’re go­ing to build here, we don’t want any­thing that’s ag­gres­sively ar­chi­tec­tural in this com­mu­nity, it’s not go­ing to work’. Which was a very good point, I hadn’t re­ally thought about how we were go­ing to in­te­grate.”

Chang­ing the con­cept, the re­sult was a three- bed­room, tim­ber- lined home over­look­ing Sarah Blanche Point.

“We had a choice to build for shel­ter, which is the tra­di­tional is­land way, or build for the view which is the mod­ern baby boomer way,” Bron­wen said.

“We de­cided that we would build for the view be­cause if we didn’t, we might al­ways think why did we come to Flin­ders Is­land if we’re not go­ing to be en­joy­ing the view.”

Build­ing ma­te­ri­als hav­ing to be shipped in and a dam­ag­ing storm put the process back quite a bit and, while some com­pro­mises had to be made – with­out a crane to lift the large win­dows into place, the Grutzn­ers de­cided to forego dou­ble glaz­ing – both say they love their is­land home.

“We didn’t want to spend mil­lions of dol­lars on this house, so all the join­ery through the en­tire house – the kitchen cab­i­nets, the pantry, wardrobes and all the laun­dry and bath­room cup­boards – is Ikea,” Bron­wen said.

“It was all bought in Mel­bourne in fl at packs and put in the container and shipped here. We made up all the cab­i­nets and the builder in­stalled them.”

Ad­vanced for its time, the house pro­duces its own en­ergy and wa­ter is stored in sev­eral large tanks.

“Liv­ing in the city you take a lot for granted,” David said.

“You plug some­thing in and it turns on or you turn on a tap and the wa­ter flows out. Here, we had to re­think all that. It was a joy for me be­cause com­ing here you have to use all these dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sional skills that aren’t of­ten re­quired.”

Al­most all rooms en­joy the stun­ning wa­ter views and on the other side of the home a sun­room traps the warmth. Orig­i­nally, this area was a deck. “In Vic­to­ria, we were al­ways out on our deck but we just found that un­der the weather con­di­tions here we weren’t us­ing it,” Bron­wen said.

“So we built it in and it’s been ab­so­lutely bril­liant be­cause it’s been like a heat trap.”

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