Mer­ri­jig home wins Master Builders award

■ Prop­erty draws on Swiss styled ar­chi­tec­ture

Mansfield Courier - - Opinions/People -

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.

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