greensmart sustainable home award-winner
– michael francis, millhaven
Sick of the squeeze of life in Sydney, Michael and Denise decided to retire in rural Tassie. They loved the wide open space but they didn’t want to live in one of the ordinary houses they had seen in other areas. Instead they dreamed of a design-led home, deeply connected to the outside world, with plenty of room to breathe.
The result is this stunning statement home in modern minimalist style with sweeping valley views from almost every room.
Located just 15 minutes’ drive from all the facilities of Launceston, this home feels worlds away, surrounded by space and peace.
A separate shed houses a gym and a carpentry workshop. Micahel used this to put together the deck and built-in barbecue, which has put his personal stamp on the construction of his home. A separate office space enjoys stunning views across the valley, while a guest wing with a bedroom and bathroom provides comfortable accommodation for visiting friends and family.
The house has a long design to fit along the natural contour of the slope. A slight twist in the middle of the house allows the bedroom window to line up nicely with the view. The hallway windows are positioned to ensure maximum passive solar heating to spread warmth throughout the house.
The ideal positioning of the house required additional approvals to change setback allowances. We decided to extend the timeframe by six weeks to make the application and ensure their home was situated in the perfect spot to maximise the view, and also catch the sun.
Michael is ex-Navy and likes things ship-shape with minimalist design and plenty of storage to keep things tidy. The master bedroom has a huge walk-in wardrobe, and the concealed walk-in pantry is large enough to allow for a stripped-back kitchen space without overhead cupboards. Even the fridge has been tucked away from view. There’s more storage in the laundry, workshop and garage, allowing the living areas to remain airy and clutter-free. A dedicated service room houses the hydronic heating and heat pumps.
The master bedroom is in a private wing, on the opposite side of the house from the guest bedroom and away from the main living space to minimise the impact of noise.
Denise is sensitive to the sun and is careful about protecting herself from damaging UV. The large outdoor deck space is undercover, providing protection from both sun and rain. The area is also protected from the wind by the wrap of the house.
The couple loves to breathe fresh air while they sleep so small windows on each side of the bedroom offer natural ventilation and mold resistance without undue heat loss. Huge windows flood the living spaces with natural light, and the guest bathroom has a skylight window to let in the sun.
The open, airy feel of this home is apparent from the moment you approach the front door. A wooden deck funnels you towards the entrance where you can see straight through the house to the stunning view beyond. The exterior is clad in beautiful silver top ash timber, which curls like a snail shell through the front door, around the interior walls all the way to the kitchen. The timber is oiled to keep its lovely warm colours and pairs beautifully with the matte-finish steel cladding.
The living space is dominated by the view through wall-sized windows lining the north side of the house. The home was designed to match and fit the custom-built furniture, while the bathrooms have a luxury feel with premium finishes, a freestanding bath, plenty of space, and his-and-hers sinks.
Millhaven is the winner of the 2020 HIA GreenSmart sustainable home award, and uses a Tesla powerwall to store solar-generated power. The panels are concealed by the V-shaped roof which also angles them toward the sun. A smart onsite wastewater treatment system and water tanks mean the home could operate off grid, though it is connected to mains power.
The home is heated by underfloor hydronic heating and passive solar design, aided by tight insulation and double-glazed windows. The concrete flooring is thicker than usual to accommodate the heating system. Michael and Denise chose polished concrete with a scattering of small white pebbles. The pebbles were sprinkled on top by hand, like fairy bread, before grinding. This created a beautiful, even surface and reduced the cost of the materials.
greensmart sustainable home
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