Earth & Hearth
Daryl and Nat engaged us to design a new home on a small suburban block in Hurstbridge, Melbourne.
They were both passionate about building a comfortable home aligned with their health and sustainability/environmental values.
This included an openness to exploring all possibilities for going ‘off-grid’ and using natural, locally sourced building materials.
With adult children leaving the nest, Daryl and Nat also wanted this to be their ‘forever home’ – one that best supported them to live independently into their old age.
The site was a difficult one with challenging constraints – tricky access via a shared driveway and a steep block meant many interested buyers had overlooked its potential.
But, on our first inspection, we saw the perfect opportunity for an innovative Earthship inspired solution.
As a result, the residence has been built into the north-facing, sloping landscape – so the earth herself lends a hand in maintaining year-round comfortable temperature.
Daryl and Nat’s willingness to collaborate closely with us, while challenging themselves, means they’ve created a unique suburban home they love living in.
A mud brick rear wall celebrates a locally sourced, natural building material while maintaining stable humidity to help moisturise and nourish the skin.
A north-facing greenhouse captures year round sun providing a seed propagation space for Nat’s off-site organic farm.
Earthbag foundations, minimised concrete and reused excavated soil from the site.
Gabion retaining walls reused demolition concrete and a source of crushed bricks headed for landfill.
Recycled and reclaimed hardwoods form the bones of the house, adding durability and natural beauty.
The composting toilet and grey water treatment system have dramatically decreased water usage.
A 60,000 litre capacity underground water storage system further reduces mains water use and doubles as additional thermal mass.