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Small Change Design and Construction, has developed a number of standard designs for small homes, the Norlane house being an example of her ‘XS Quark’ model customised, to suit the block. She has built another one next door to her own home.
Walking into the house, an entry space opens into a bright kitchen/living room area. There’s a study nook at the extension of the entry, facing the bedroom which has a built-in robe. A bathroom and laundry are tucked into the south-west corner of the house. To create room for storage, the house has a loft perched above the kitchen, accessed by a ladder.
The tiny size of the dwelling is belied by the generous feeling of space created by the high vaulted ceilings of a steep, gabled roof made of Custom Orb steel, and it is the combination of clever design and size (and consequently low embodied energy) that makes the home most appealing from a sustainability point of view.
A north-facing orientation, polished concrete waffle pod slab and double-glazed windows with thermally improved aluminium frames provide the passive solar credentials. Two ceiling fans are used to move air around and a split system air-conditioner is in position to heat and cool as needed. “The house is very stable temperature-wise,” Sally says.
But it is the home’s tiny size that remains its raison d’être and most outstanding feature. There is a growing interest in tiny houses in Victoria in recent years, largely due to the unaffordability of larger, more standard housing, and granny flats are starting to be more common in major cities in Australia. Tiny houses recommend themselves strongly on sustainability, she says, in both reducing energy bills for homeowners and greenhouse gas emissions through less embodied energy.
This home is an example of comfortable and practical, sustainable living that can appeal to many. It represents the meeting of canny, green design and affordability. “With the very high vaulted ceilings it feels surprisingly grand,” Sally says. “It actually feels huge, like the Tardis.”
Designed by Sally Wills of Small Change Design and Construction
To find out more about the NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) click here.