Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I am working on a wee renovation - I have to confess I am a bit of a frustrated architect and the opportunity to design an extension is pretty exciting.

We have made a decision that the house should serve our life not our life serve our house so are doing our best to keep this extension as cheap as it could possibly be.

Designing on a small budget should be daunting and frustrating, but I have to say it is helping us to be more sustainable in our approach. My view on sustainable design and building comes from the perspective that to be sustainable we need to do as little as possible and reuse as much as possible. Magazines articles and architectural awards of beautiful houses promoted as sustainable often show a modest dwelling turned into an exercise in excessive consumption.

What I have found interesting in the response from friends when we tell them we are planning to all live together is that few believe we can possibly be without two living spaces, 4 bedrooms and the all that goes with it. But, 30 years ago a family of 5 would have lived in my less than 100m2 house and seen it as totally normal. We plan to find a happy medium.

So what are we doing?

We are starting with this

We are extending a 96 m2 60's tragedy to create a 124m2 wonderfully livable space for 5 people .

come back to find out how!


Rose Red said...

renovations are so exciting! can't wait to see! lots of before and after shots please!

Bells said...

i think it can be done too. I'm not really a believer in massive living spaces - it seems to just up the cost of living so much and I think a modest life can be achieved and be happier. Good for you! I'll watch with interest.

Michelle said...

Warning! Long comment ahead!

You're speaking my language! I weep everytime I see a perfectly functional ex-govie get ripped down for a 2 story concrete monolith in a style not consistent with the area it's in. I don't believe in renovation for renovation's sake, but you do have to deal with what you already have in your house, and how you want to live.

I wonder whether the "need" for two living spaces and a bedroom and a half for each child comes from people not wanting their children to play outside for safety's sake, and kids wanting to spend more time inside playing video games. In the 70s, for instance, rumpus rooms were for rainy days and an entertaining space for the adults. Now people have home cinemas, play rooms, and 4000 bathrooms.

BUT! I am very old-fashioned, long for the days of old, complete with orange paisley curtains, remember large families I grew up with who used to sleep on the verandah of their Queenslander with a mosquito net and some aeroguard. But having said all that, I wouldn't mind having an ensuite bathroom, especially at 2 am on a winter's morning. And I do live in an old 4 bedroom house with only one other person ... so glass houses, and all that.

Hope your plans are going well! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Sarah said...

Love your approach - and so looking forward to watching along with you