This Passive House integrates Passive House, Living Building, and Homestar methodologies.
Passive house properties include site placement, glazing position and its materials, construction method including airtightness and insulation.
Living Building methods include the actual construction materials being Red List free, striving to be a Net Zero Building for its power, water use, and waste.
Through these two methodologies, it can be (at least) Homestar 7 certified, if not higher.
Integrating all these design practices does not limit the design, but actually enhances it. The home is made using natural materials making it warm and inviting. The use of timber throughout connects the home to nature without that stark new house look. The home is safe and healthy for its inhabitants with no harmful chemicals, no drafts, even temperature throughout the year, and with a small footprint, it does not take too many resources from the land.
Follow me for more on this project as it progresses over the year.
A red-stained 1967 Cedar clad house was in desperate need of a renovation. The house had been added to over the years with a second storey tacked on to the back in the ’70s and a new master suite type room/bigger lounge in the ’80s.
All these extensions meant for a strangely configured house that was in need of a rehaul and rethink.
This article will look at the living and kitchen space. As this renovation is still underway, and at the moment this space is unfinished, it will show you the progress of what is achievable on a very tight budget. The clients are doing all the work themselves with the help of myself and some borrowed tools.
This house had an addition in the late ’80s which gave the main bedroom an ensuite and made the lounge larger. The ensuite is on the outside wall with the bedrooms only window, therefore blocking all natural light into the main bedroom.Unfortunately, the positioning of this ensuite means that, by today’s building code, the bedroom is not legally a bedroom, therefore it could only be listed as a 3 bedroom home for resale. The previous owners got away with this by not having a door on the ensuite, therefore the building code clause (G1 and G2) of outside awareness and natural light, means it is still technically a 4 bedroom home.
Seeing as most people are not that open in their spousal relationships, a door is kind of necessary for privacy.
Initial designs saw us moving the ensuite over and creating a new exterior window for the bedroom and an ensuite door. However, the ensuite is surrounded by 3 load bearing walls. So moving it was too expensive and a hassle.
This pushed the design into the direction it has now taken. By moving the entire bedroom to the front/side of the house, it can now have a window and the ensuite stays where it is.
The design of the bedroom/ensuite will come in a later post as it is being built.
The removal of a load bearing wall dividing the new kitchen and dining space will open the room up and allow the kitchen the room it needs to be functional.
The fireplace will move to the new living area and the bed will take the fires spot in the new bedroom.
The first thing to change for this house is the colour. Stained red, this cedar house looks dated and the cedar is terribly dry and in need of oil.
Unfortunately, you can only go darker than your original stain (unless you want to strip it all off and start again, but not in this budget!)
The staining of the house will be finished when we are not in a summer heatwave. The cedar has not been stained in over 15 years. So it is very thirsty and takes an effort to stain. An oil based stain (rather than water-based) was chosen to rejuvenate the cedar.
The kitchen for this 4 bedroom home was far too small and could only fit one person at a time. Not ideal for a family home. The pantry was small and difficult to get to and there was inadequate room for all the kitchen appliances we have in the 21st century.
The client requested an island bench with the hob top on. So as not to be facing away from the dining space and a much better range of storage with a bigger pantry.
To not only keep costs down, but also to prevent huge amounts of waste going to landfill, most of the existing cabinetry was reused (replacing the countertop and doors). What couldn’t be reused was sold.
This was a very small pokey space with enough room for a 4 seater table if it was against the wall. Once again, not ideal for the house size.
In the new layout, a new large sliding door replaces the existing window to provide access to a new front garden. With the large load bearing wall being removed, ease of movement between the dining and kitchen has been created.
The lounge was already a very large room and could easily fit a family gathering in it. However, it had to move to accommodate the new Bedroom location.
With its new location, the TV in the lounge will now suffer from less glare. The lounge is more suited to be an enclosed space.
Sustainability and design considerations
During this project, not only was the budget a huge consideration, the sustainability of the renovation, but also the resale value of the property. As this house is not a forever home for the clients, the design needs to account for the future use of the house.
This is a large sustainability aspect for me. You don’t want to sell the house just for the new owners to rip everything out and start again, again!
So making the space more user-friendly for potential future owners is important. Whilst you cannot predict who will be the new owners of a home, you can at least generalise to say that a four bedroom home with a swimming pool will be a family home. As the 2 upstairs bedrooms are isolated, this may suit a family with older children. With these deductions, we can assume that a new owner may have up to 3 children. Therefore, providing more space for a family to dine, lounge and cook is important. If we do not provide for these things, the home may not sell for its full value potential.
There has been no skip used for this renovation. All the timber from the removed walls is being reused in the house. Or for a new hothouse in the garden.
Any Gib that is being removed as whole sheets where possible, to be reused.
The carpet will be reused in the new room layouts.
All the veneer doors are to be painted and reused.