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Yippee, home renovation completed!

It’s been over a year now since the 'back of our house fell off’ as we prepared for a major adventure in home renovations to recreate the back part of our 1950’s house. After all these months of seemingly endless hard work, things have finally wrapped up and we’re really enjoying our redesigned space!

The main sustainable features of our renovation include:

Solar passive design: Being mindful of using the sun to our advantage for heating and cooling, we’ve placed lots of windows with louvers on the north, and very few windows on the east and west side. We have large eves, and the windows feature a ‘low-e’ glazing, which means they have better insulation properties than standard windows.

Reverse block veneer construction: Using core-filled concrete blocks gives the building a great ‘thermal mass’ that combined with solar passive design, helps keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. This is helped even more by the ‘reverse construction’ technique. The blocks are exposed on the inside of the building to soak up the winter sun, and insulated on the outside from the cold nights or hot summer sun. It’s usually the other way around with most building walls around here, where you see bricks on the outside and have insulation on the inside.  

Reuse and recycle: We've reused decking from the original back room for battening off the cladding in the new build, and the old kitchen cupboards have been re-used in the storeroom.  

Using local, sustainably harvested timber, FSC certified timber and cork flooring.

Using natural sealers and bio paints.

Greywater reuse: water from the washing machine and shower can be diverted to the garden.

A feature of our kitchen we just love is our built-in compost bucket under the sink!

We’re so grateful to our amazing architect Morgen Figgis from Barnacle Studio, Min Figgis for her artistic inspiration, our builder Matt Tyler from MRT Constructions, Tony Misfud from Coastwide Joinery and the many other tradies who were all key to making this build happen. We’re also so very thankful to our wonderful family and friends who chipped in many a hard working day and suggested great ideas that have helped create this beautiful new space.

Now we’re through on our adventure in renovating, we’re looking forward to spending more time gardening and blogging – so look out for more posts soon! If you’d like to hear more about any of the sustainability aspects of our renovation, let us know and we could potentially do another post just about that.

Reader Comments (16)

It looks great! You should be very proud :-)

It's particularly nice the way the house looks entirely "normal", while hiding a heap of carefully thought-out eco features, including the reverse block veneer, etc.
August 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames Robertson
Beautiful! You guys have done an amazing job!

We would love to hear more about the sustainability aspects of your renovations. Did you use the kunos for the kitchen bench, floor and window frames? Is it natural or tinted?

Look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing your journey :o)
August 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid and Janne
Bet you're relieved to have it finally completed. Some outside comparison photos from your "back fell off the house" post would be wonderful. I'm trying to picture how you took a gable roof and (I'm assuming) made it into one long skillion, with the highest point facing north. I'm trying to place the new inside photos with out old outside ones.

The interior looks harmonious and open - I love open designs and based our house on that concept too. The only dividing walls I wanted were for the bedrooms and utility areas. When you have a growing family, there's something very zen and reassuring about having a large open space for everyone to mingle and yet do their own things too. I know I wanted to be able to see my kids as they were exploring the world, and didn't want the fact I was cooking in the kitchen to hinder me from interacting.

Did you guys have to move out as the house was being remodeled? It looked like a lot of the interior was renovated.
August 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris
I have been looking forward to hearing all about this renovation and it's come up an absolute pearler! What a magnificent a. view b. kitchen & c. use of sustainable materials.
It looks fantastic- i'm in love with the kitchen.
I am engaging a sustainable architect to design our renovation coming in the next few months.. any hints or tips on what to do/what not to do? what to expect?

Thanks for sharing & I hope we get to see more pics of the process & result!
August 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda F
I'd love to hear more about the sustainability choices you made in the renovation - it looks fantastic!
August 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBec
I love the flooring! Is it cork? It looks so much like wooden floorboards. I am definitely getting a few good ideas for my place....
August 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKali
Congratulations! It looks fabulous! And doing it with a baby in tow is impressive!!
I'd love to know more about your grey water diversion/reuse? We're in the Southern Highlands and on tank water only... in Summer we get quite low (55000 capacity) and really want to divert all our bath/shower water and laundry water would be great too! Would love to hear your suggestions!

Really love how the house looks and look forward to reading more posts from you - love catching up on your blog - it's nice to hear from other locals (we were in the Illawarra for 6 years)! :)
August 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBek @ Just For Daisy
Wow looks like your having fun there, i know what its like i have been painting all the windows of my parents house and its taking me ages and i have only got half way so far :)
September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterI Home Improvement Tips
Home looking so beautiful...
October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHouse Designs Bellarine
Nice post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information.
January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRV Leaks Repair Roofing
Good publish. I like the way you begin and then determine your ideas. Thanks for this details.
January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSTILE TILING
Thanks for discussing & I wish we get to see more photos of the procedure & result!
January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMillenium Tiling NSW
Thanks for talking about & I wish we get to see more images of the process & result!
January 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFloors On Parade
Your home looks great, well done! The last picture is just astonishing. This should motivate more people to consider the ideas. Would love to read your future posts on gardening.
March 6, 2014 | Unregistered
Your house is looking amazing, congratulations on a great job. What kind of lighting did you use in the renovation?
It is such a relief when the project is finally over and everything is completed. The process can be stressful and adjustments have to be made along the way so having it finally complete is very fulfilling.
April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaleb

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