"Convertible" House at Stringybark 2019

“Convertible” House at Stringybark
Scarsdale VIC 3351
10am – 4pm
House Open Style
Open House – No booking required
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
New Build
Designology – Kevin Starling
Designology – Kevin Starling
House Size
136m2 approx.
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Open with support of
BREAZE Ballarat renewable energy and zero emissions co op.

The unique design of the Convertible House with its barrel vault ceiling gives a small space a big feel. The aim was to create a home that had minimal impact on the environment through the use of good orientation for passive solar gain and use of the natural resources available on site – rainfall and solar.

Innovation was the key. We wanted to use as much new building technology as possible. This included Mega Anchor foundations – minimal soil disturbance, no trenches, no concrete. Pre-fabricated Hopleys Steel forms the structure of the building and, because the external wall is the only load-bearing wall, we were able to custom-design the interior dividing walls. Large sliding, double-glazed doors form most of the north wall, with small double-glazed skylight windows on the south side. A colorbond roller shutter covers the double-glazed doors on the east side.

The building is rated BAL29 for bushfire protection. A 10,000L bladder bag collects water from the roof. The house relies on off-grid solar power and a battery bank with generator backup. Hot water is supplied via solar evacuated tube with gas booster. All waste water from the house goes directly to a worm farm for processing and doesn’t leave the site. The house is nestled in 20 acres of native bushland and uses exterior colours that blend with this environment. The design and insulating properties of the house make it comfortable all year round with minimal heating and cooling, even in Ballarat.

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

Designed and built by Designology.


This house achieved a NatHERS rating of 7.2 stars using NatHERS accredited software (First Rate5). Find out how the star ratings work on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) website.


This home is supported by


Years Open
Total cost of home when constructed
Estimate of annual savings
$2000 p.a.
Universal design accessability
Adaptive design
Disability access
Wheelchair access
Universal Design Features
80cm minimum door opening width
No Corner cupboards
Ramps and path gradients must be less than 20:1
Remote power open and close doors
Shower head on rail for various heights
Slip resistant flooring
Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower
Washing machine/dryer on plynth for easy access
Window openings easily accessible
BAL Rating
BAL – 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 29kW/m2
Roofing materials
Metal (Colorbond)
Wall materials (external and internal)
Lightweight construction (steel frame)
Lightweight construction (timber frame)
Window and door types
Double glazing
Sliding windows/doors
Window and door shading
Awnings (external)
Roller door
Recycled and reused
Recycled rubber/cork composite flooring
Sustainable materials
Steel, compressed cement sheet
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Aircell Insulbreak sarking, R4.0 batts
Rating: R4.0 + 1 layer of foil
Insulation - Internal/external walls
Type: R2.0 batts
Rating: R2.0
Insulation - Internal walls
Type: Bulk – natural wool
Rating: R4.0
Insulation - Under floor
Type: Wet areas = 18mm compressed cement sheets, dry areas = 19mm plywood
Rating: R3.0
Healthy home
Airtight house design
Cross flow ventilation
Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
No carpets
Victorian residential efficiency scorecard rating
10 stars - Very High
All electric home
Renewable energy
Solar PV off-grid
Size of PV system
Water heating
Solar hot water (evacuated tube)
Passive heating cooling
Passive solar designed home
Active heating cooling
Ceiling fans
Small slow combustion wood heater
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Water harvesting and saving
Above ground rainwater storage
Type: Standard tanks, plus bladder bag under house
Size: 85,000 – 90,000L
Worm farm septic tank system
Garden / Outdoors
Native plants
Waste Reduction
Compost all food scraps