1960s Retrofitted Home Improvement – Burwood 2019

1960s Retrofitted Home Improvement – Burwood
Burwood East VIC 3151
10am – 4pm
House Open Style
Open House – No booking required
Entry fee or Donation
Gold coin
Donations supporting
Pharmacists for the Environment Australia (PEA)
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
Continual Improvement
Baustelle Construction
House Size
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms

We saw potential in this ’60s brick veneer: easy access to amenities and public transport, good solar access and a workable floor plan.

Since purchasing it in 2014, we’ve removed gas from the property and installed energy-efficient appliances, 8.4kWh solar array with Enphase microinverters and 6kWh of Enphase batteries. Thermal comfort has been optimised with retrofitted Thermawood double glazing, Greenstuf insulation, shading and other projects.

In the garden, we’ve also added two water tanks, dripline irrigation, a composting system, lots of perennial edibles, and chickens.

Since Sustainable House Day 2017, the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and toilet have been renovated. We’ve reused original ’60s features (bathtub, sink, spouts, towel rail, bathroom cabinet), rehomed unwanted items (kitchen cabinets, kitchen sink, salvaged hardwood) and tried to incorporate sustainable options where we could (low VOC waterproofing, laminate, paint, wall insulation, secondhand lights, Australian-made products).

Read more about the renovations made to this home in the Secret Design Studio blog here

The house also achieved 10 stars with the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard. If you would like to find out more click here.

Since Sustainable House Day 2018, we have been busy in the garden installing water-saving wicking beds, and a chook run around our fruit trees. Our garden is starting to produce fruits, so we are learning how to preserve some of the harvest. We have also upgraded to a Hyundai Ioniq electric car, which is fuelled by the excess energy generated by the solar panels. Like many others, we have been inspired by Marie Kondo to live with things that only ‘spark joy’, but have been conscious with new things we bring into the home, and rehoming items that are no longer wanted.

Electric Vehicle (EV) – Blue-Drive Hyundai (Doncaster) will be on site with Kona electric 2019 .


Years Open
Cost estimate of sustainable home/features
Estimate of annual savings
$3000 minimum p.a.
BAL Rating
Roofing materials
Tiles (Concrete)
Wall materials (external and internal)
Brick veneer
Window and door types
Double glazing
Low-e, films
Pocket doors
Sun Tunnel/SolaTube
Window and door shading
Awnings (external)
Deciduous tree/vegetation
Recycled and reused
Bathroom cabinets
Light fixtures
Sustainable materials
Builder and trades salvaged wood from our site to turn into furniture and for kindling. Kitchen cabinets to be repurposed as storage units in a friend's home. Gas stove rehomed at another friend's property.
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Bulk – polyester
Rating: R4.0 (higher in some parts)
Insulation - Internal walls
Type: Bulk - glass wool
Insulation - Under floor
Type: Bulk - polyester
Healthy home
Indoor plants for air filtration
Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
Victorian residential efficiency scorecard rating
All electric home
Renewable energy
Energy storage/battery
Solar PV grid connect
Size of PV system
Water heating
Hot water heat pump
Passive heating cooling
Active heating cooling
Heat pump
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Electric vehicle
Manufacturer/type:Hyundai Ioniq
Water harvesting and saving
Above ground rainwater storage
Type: 2 x plastic rainwater tanks
Size: 8040L (combined storage)
Low flow shower heads
Low flow taps
Drip irrigation
Garden / Outdoors
Drip irrigation
Edible garden
Electric (instead of petrol) garden tools used, water-wise wicking beds
Waste Reduction
Compost all food scraps
Sell, donate, or gift items that are in good condition