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Sanctuary magazine issue 14 - On a Shoestring - Castlemaine, VIC green home profile

Sanctuary magazine issue 14 - On a Shoestring - Castlemaine, VIC green home profile

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Published by Sanctuary Magazine
Minimal floor plan changes, new north windows and a collection of retro doors revive a tired weatherboard in central Victoria - all on a modest budget. Green home profile from www.sanctuarymagazine.org.au, Australia's only magazine dedicated to sustainable house design.
Minimal floor plan changes, new north windows and a collection of retro doors revive a tired weatherboard in central Victoria - all on a modest budget. 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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MiNiMAl flooR plAN ChANgeS, New NoRThwiNdowS ANd A ColleCTioN of ReTRo dooRSRevive A TiRed weATheRboARd iN CeNTRAlviCToRiA – All oN A ModeST bUdgeT.
AA Cmmg
RAC PgRm
Deciduous plants will eventuallyshade the west-facin windowsin the enclosed back verandah,preventin the space over-heatin in suer. n theeantie, hoeowner Franhas put up shadecloth.
SANCTUARY52hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl viCToRiASANCTUARY 53hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl viCToRiA
When community consultant Fran bought her house
on the edge of Castlemaine in central Victoria four years ago, it was“dark, dirty and dingy”, but it fit the bill. “I wanted to buy a cheap housethat I could renovate in the way I wanted to, not deal with somebody else’s renovations,” she says. Also, a good sense of community wasimportant to her, and she was already friends with the artists next door.Sawn in half and relocated to the large site by truck around 20 yearsearlier, the weatherboard house had had little love lavished on it in thattime. Fran initially planned a small-scale renovation to improve thenatural light access and make the house more energy efficient: “I hadpreviously lived in a house that was off-grid, with a wind turbine, solarpower and solar hot water, and it was really important to me that I spendmoney on those features.”However, she quickly realised that achieving her aims was goingto require more work than she had thought. The house was a warrenof small, dark rooms, with few windows to the north, making it cold inwinter. Lacking any significant thermal mass, the house needed to bethoroughly insulated to achieve better passive thermal performance.Polyester batts were installed in the roof and almost all internal andexternal walls, a job that necessitated removing weatherboards andreplastering inside. The underfloor was insulated too.
A vintage mirror etched with alyrebird design was the catalystfor a hunt for similar pieces thateventually yielded three pairs of etched French doors.
Castlemaine building design firm Lifehouse Design came on boardto produce a design for a floor plan reconfiguration that would workwithin Fran’s small budget. They concentrated on opening up the spacesand adding carefully placed windows for better solar gain and cross-ventilation, and to make the most of the rural views while maintainingprivacy.The two bedrooms and the bathroom were retained as they were,but a collection of small walls and a triangular cupboard in the northernpart of the main living room were demolished to open up the space.The door and part of the wall between the kitchen and the living roomwere removed, leaving a large L-shaped cut-out that brings light into thekitchen and connects it with the living space. Lifehouse Design’s RobynGibson is particularly pleased with the long, thin window made by a localbuilder and set into the south wall. “The shape of the window capturesthe peaceful treetop views to the south without letting too much warmthescape or giving the neighbours a view in,” she says. Double glazingand low-e glass reduce the heat loss from the window. The tiny existingwindow was salvaged and incorporated as an opening section at one endof the new window unit, to allow for cross-ventilation.Along with some help with painting and carpentry from friends,Fran employed local tradespeople for the renovation. She and her son
Two of Fran’s collection ofsalvaed etched lyrebirddoors lead fro the ainbedroo to the deck on thehouse’s north-east corner.
A sall section ofsupportin wall wasretained when the livinspace was opened up. t’sbeen faced with stackedslate as a feature wall. Acorner study space istucked in next to theentry to the kitchen.
For budet reasons, Franchose an kea odularkitchen. While she’s happywith the carcase, soe of thesurfaces haven’t worn verywell. She says that next tieshe would have the tiberbenchtops and cupboarddoors custo ade locally.
SANCTUARY54hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl viCToRiASANCTUARY 55hoUSe pRofileRegioNAl viCToRiA
lived in a friend’s 1950s caravan onsite for most of the four months ittook to get the house liveable, using a makeshift kitchen on the backverandah. “It was a great adventure for about a month, but then it wasn’tso much fun any more,” she laughs. During the renovation the originalkitchen and part of the bathroom were pulled out, the carpet came upand the hardwood boards underneath were sanded and polished. Afterthe insulating and replastering were completed the house was paintedinside and out. For the interior, Fran chose untinted white low-VOCpaint: “The tints can be toxic, and I like the pure white, it feels very clean and very open,” she explains. She also invested in Luxaflex Duetteblinds to insulate the north- and east-facing windows. The blinds’white translucent fabric lets diffused light in, while the honeycombstructure makes them an efficient window insulator. As a bonus, they arelightweight and take up very little space when open.Though there wasn’t much of the original interior worth retaining,the previous owners left Fran a vintage mirror etched with a lyrebirddesign. This was the catalyst for a hunt for similar pieces that eventually yielded three pairs of etched French doors, mostly salvaged from a 1950shouse in Melbourne. Two panels were reworked as internal doors and theothers installed to access the deck from the living area and from Fran’sbedroom; the flock of lyrebirds that now parades through the houselends character to the white walls and simple lines of the interior.With the house’s passive thermal performance much improved, thenext step was renewable energy. Fran purchased a 1.5kW grid-connectedphotovoltaic system through a local environmental group’s community bulk-buy program, and says it provides about 75 per cent of the smallfamily’s electricity needs. She also installed an evacuated tube solar hotwater system with an instantaneous gas booster.Fran is very happy with what she’s achieved so far. “It’s a very liveablehouse; it’s beautifully light, the view is spectacular and people alwayscomment on that.” The next thing on her list is to pay some attentionto the front garden, neglected so far in favour of a productive vegetableand herb garden at the back. In the future, she’d like to add water tanks,replace the septic tank with a more eco-friendly option, terrace thegarden and plant an orchard, and do some work to make the enclosed,west-facing back verandah more liveable. In the meantime, she’senjoying being several steps closer to her energy-efficient ideals.
ew lazin to the northaxiises the liht enterinthe livin area and the larerefurbished east-facin windowfraes the view over theCastleaine hills. The houseis furnished with second-handpieces collected over a lifetie.
Openin the kitchen up tothe livin area was a centralpart of ifehouse’s desin forthe renovation. The newcut-out in the wall fraesthe windows and views tothe east and south.
The retro irror etched witha lyrebird otif now haninin the bathroo was left inthe house by the previousowners and was thebeinnin of Fran’s collectionof etched lazin. The handbasin is secondhand andtted with recycled low-owtaps picked up at a araesale.
flooR plAN
1  Bedroo2  Bathroo3  allway4  ivin/Study5  Dinin6  Kitchen7  WC/aundry8  Sunroo

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