A retired couple wanted to build a small house with a separate wing for family visits. The brief was for the house to blend harmoniously with the natural landscape and the street. As keen gardeners, the design rationale allowed for a front yard landscaped exclusively with endemic plants, and a back yard with suitable fruit and olive trees.

The owners had strong views on the need to incorporate sustainable principles in the house design, and use the technology of a 3kw solar system to address their energy needs. Although on scheme water, water tanks were incorporated for drinking, as well as for the garden.

At 150m2, the 3×2 house has a small footprint, but incorporate all the amenities modern living demands. The abundance of window openings capturing the northen light not only reduces the need for artificial lighting but also facilitates passive ventilation. In summer, angles louvre awnings at 30 degrees helps create shade, while the house’s narrow axis cools the living areas. In winter, the polished concrete floors help trap the heat.

The house strikes a balance between elegance and minimalism, while championing the notion of sustainable living.


  • Material: Timber frame
  • Project size (sq.m.): 150
  • Price range (AU$): 400K
  • Location: Cowaramup
  • Year: 2011