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Sanctuary magazine issue 14 - Japanese Story - Chewton, VIC green home profile

Sanctuary magazine issue 14 - Japanese Story - Chewton, VIC green home profile

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Published by Sanctuary Magazine
A Victorian holiday rental illustrates the age-old idiom that good things come in small packages. Green home profile from www.sanctuarymagazine.org.au, Australia's only magazine dedicated to sustainable house design.
A Victorian holiday rental illustrates the age-old idiom that good things come in small packages. Green home profile from www.sanctuarymagazine.org.au, Australia's only magazine dedicated to sustainable house design.

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Published by: Sanctuary Magazine on Mar 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A ViCToRiAN holidAY ReNTAl illUSTRATeSThe Age-old idiom ThAT good ThiNgSCome iN SmAll pACkAgeS
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SANCTUARY32hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl ViCToRiASANCTUARY 33hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl ViCToRiA
the size of JaPanese rooms has traditionally been
measured by the number of tatami mats needed for the floor. A tea roomwas always four and a half tatami. Rooms were designed with one of many “auspicious” tatami layouts; an “inauspicious” layout had fourtatami mat corners touching – unthinkable! Perhaps understandably, itwasn’t the rigorous custom associated with tatami, but the aesthetic andenvironmental credentials of the material that won over the Seyd family.Tatami imbue a grassy scent and a serene quality to an uncluttered room,and traditionally they’re made with a woven soft rush grass cover over arice straw core – all renewable and biodegradable materials.But when they started building their new home in Chewton, asmall hamlet near Castlemaine in rural Victoria, the Seyds knew they’dbe borrowing more than tatami from the Japanese. They also tookinspiration from other Japanese design sensibilities: house size anddesign function, and, according to building designer Daniel Seyd, the“Japanese sense of style”.Japanese houses have an average floor plan of 94 square metres,which is modest compared with Australia’s world record average of 215square metres. Careful furniture, tone and material choice in traditionalJapanese homes can ensure they remain human scaled, comfortable andwelcoming. Daniel embraced these design philosophies in his Chewtonhome beautifully.Firstly, there’s the size of the home. It comes in under even theJapanese average at 85 square metres, including two bedrooms (one witha double, the other with bunk beds), a toilet, bathroom, and a roomy shared living, dining and kitchen room. It sleeps five comfortably, but itcan stretch to eight.Daniel’s home also features sliding screens, traditionally used inJapanese homes. With sliding screens you can create functional smallerrooms, and they conserve space usually needed for swinging doors.Sliding screens also foster a connection with the outside, which in Japanis usually a gracious manicured courtyard. In a climate appropriateapplication, the sliding screens in this house are custom-made galvanisedsteel. They line the northern facade and can be fully extended, keepingout summer sun from the home. On cooler days they can be drawn aside,letting in winter sun.Like many Japanese homes, there are no underutilised spaces in theSeyds’ house. Daybeds and benches have storage underneath, verticalcupboards make up almost the entire southern wall of the living space,and an external cupboard doubles as the laundry. Benches in the livingroom store futons, so that the raised tatami can serve its customary function as a foundation for bedding.A small home creates intimate spaces, which is ideal when you wanta romantic getaway, but less ideal when the kids are playing up and youneed ten minutes to regroup. Daniel beefed up the acoustic insulationthroughout the internal walls to ensure this small home works harderthan the average at keeping sounds at bay. He also wanted the houseto be able to accommodate many guests, so he designed the bathroomand toilet to be accessible from the outside to cater easily for campingfriends. This appreciation of the need for privacy, as well as intimacy,is key for small space design.The kitchen appears conventional, but upon closer inspection thechoice of appliances makes good Daniel’s desire for a smaller home.There’s a half size fridge, and a half size dishwasher which Daniel says
Daniel chose residential gradecement sheeting for theexterior cladding for its lowmaintenance care and simleaesthetic. He’s not sure howit will wear over the long term.“n hindsight, we should haveitten the ullet and sentextra mone on a commercialgrade cladding: it’s thicker,more durale and has ettererforming joint details, whichimroves the roduct’slongevit.”
Daybeds and benches havestorage underneath, verticalcupboards make up almost theentire southern wall of the livingspace, and an external cupboarddoubles as the laundry.
Slatted steel sliding doors onthe northern facade can edrawn aside to oen thehome and exose the daed, visile in the centre.t night or in extreme sunconditions the doors can eclosed, roviding rivac andretreat from the elements.
SANCTUARY34hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl ViCToRiASANCTUARY 35hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl ViCToRiA
he unk room has a singleed at low level with a douleunk aove that extends overthe da ed o the exteriorassage.  cavit sliding doordisaears into the walletween the unkroom andthe main edroom shown.When oen it allows thesaces to ow into oneanother. ll doors are solidcore to imrove acoustics inthe comact saces.
he living room showing theraised tatami ooring and thelwood internal wallcladding. While Daniel hadoriginall considered nishingthe lwood, he decided tokee it raw once he saw it insitu. Once it starts to wear itcan e stained or limed, orrelaced easil  the sheet.
his modest iteration of thegalle kitchen ts everthingou could need – fridge,dishwasher, stoveto, oven,sink and storage – into animressive four linear metres.he simle sliding cuoarddoor face is red acrlic.
he west-facing alcon hasreccled ironark oors, anoenale steel screen, avertical lind for sun shadingand a sliding doule-glaeddoor from the living room.

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