The decision for a young family to invest in a quality block with ba smaller house rather than buy in a sub-division on the outskirts of town to build a large house was a clear statement for their aspirations, and an exciting brief to embrace. 

In architecture, small and compact is usually much more challenging to successfully finesse than large and expansive. A rigorous approach to the design allowed to accommodate the low budget on a beautiful, sloping 490m2 block within walking distance to the town centre of Margaret River.

Taking a traditional gable, the design splits the compact 90m2 floor plan down the middle, with bedrooms and a bathroom on one side, and the living/kitchen on the other. This design has resulted in no wasted space or hallways, while enhancing the sense of spaciousness through raked ceilings following the roofline.

With no developers covenants to restrict the design, we were able to use cost saving materials such as zincalum for its unique properties: by reflecting the surrounding vegetation, it blends the house into its setting, and helps the architectural form enhance the quality of the environment, rather than impose itself on it.

Outdoor living areas were carefully designed around an established peppermint tree, giving the space a sense of enclosure and conjuring the charm of the house. By setting the deck 1m from the ground level, expensive balustrading is not required, consolidating the connection between interiors and exteriors.

Part of on ongoing interest in small footprint living, this project delighted us, demonstrating how spacious a small house can feel when following a rigorous linear design. This project was also a testimony for the power of collaboration between owners and designers/builders, that architecture is a collective effort.


  • Material: Timber frame
  • Project size (sq.m.): 92
  • Price range (AU$): 270K
  • Location: Margaret River
  • Year: 2018