Merrijig home wins Master Builders award
■ Property draws on Swiss styled architecture
TUCKED into the side of Alpine Ridge is a subtle concrete home.
Basic in appearance, with grey walls and black framed windows, the house is designed to blend in with its surroundings.
Designed and constructed by Brent Chandler, of Chandler-Built, partnered with Brayshaw Architects, the house recently took out the prestigious Best Custom Home title at the Master Builders Awards.
Praised for its clean finish, high quality design and modern approach to living, the home offers a glimpse into what the future could look like.
“We wanted a home that looked good, was easy to live in but most importantly - had a good passive design,” Brent said.
“A passive home is one that requires minimal heating and cooling, achieved by sealing the home tightly from outside elements.”
Constructed using poured concrete, with closed cell spray foam for insulation and double glazed windows, the overall result is a home that requires no air conditioning, no split systems and a single wood fire that is as much about atmosphere as it is warmth.
“Concrete has a really good thermal mass, and allows the home to stay cool in summer and warm in winter,” Brent said.
“We also have an airtight roof seal to eliminate drafts.”
Proof of the home’s heating capacity is the Chandler family’s most recent power bill – at just $200 for the quarter, there is obviously not a lot of electricity being used.
“This kind of design is something we are really passionate about – building homes that pay back their construction costs long term, while also working for the environment,” Brent said.
Designed in conjunction with Roger Brayshaw, architect, the home features four bedrooms – two with full ensuites and walkin robes – and two living areas spread across two floors.
Largely drawing on Swiss styled architecture, inside the house is simple; clean lines, raw finishes and a pure aesthetic.
The floors are traditional Baltic pine – sealed using a nontoxic finish – and the walls and roof are lined in low Voc Hoop wood ply from Queensland.
The overall effect is one that encourages you to look outside, rather than being distracted by the internal fixtures and fittings.
“There is a lot of work to make a house look this simple,” Brent said.
“Because there is no cornice, arcs or skirting boards, every piece of timber has to be hand crafted.
“These days people can be more interested in the fitouts of their home, the furniture and tap wear, and they miss the beauty that is found in a simple layout, designed to maximise space and encourage family connection.
“It isn’t a large house in square metres but has a much larger presence - it is built to last generations.”
Although this is the first house Brent has designed and built himself, it is certainly not his first foray into the industry.
With more than 15 years of building experience, the Chandler family moved to Merrijig three years ago, drawn by the lifestyle and Brent’s desire to be involved in homes with a passive and environmentally based construction ethos.
Initially, the family had plans to rent the home out as accommodation – but the finished product was too good to give out to strangers.
“It just felt right for us,” Brent’s wife Katie said.
“Even as it was being built, I thought I just don’t know if we can rent it out.
“Brent worked so hard on it, getting the design right, and when it was finished we knew it was the place to raise our family.”
EMBRACE THE ENVRINOMENT: Passively designed using poured concrete and closed cell spray foam insulation, the Chandler home is warm in winter and cool in summer.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: Brent and Katie Chandler have built the house of their dreams, and taken out a Master Builders award in the process.
WHAT A VIEW: All finishes inside are streamlined and raw, designed to draw the eye to the vistas outside.