Wakarara 2018

Grapetree QLD 4352
Full address will be displayed on 05 Sep 2019
Tour times only
House Open Style
Guided Tours – Booking essential (address will not be listed on website)
Entry fee or Donation
$5 tickets – donation to Local Voluntary Rural Fire Service
Housing Type
Standalone House
Project Type
New Build
Ross Campbell
Tim Emmert, Emmert Homes
House Size
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Open with support of
ATA Toowoomba South Branch

Tour bookings are now closed for 2018

Tickets are $5 per person (children under 12, free). All profits will go to Local Voluntary Rural Fire Service.

After inundation of their Brisbane home in the 2011 floods, Chris and Marlene Norris sought higher ground. Resilience was at the forefront of their minds when they commissioned the design of their new home at 670 metres above sea level on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, not far from Toowoomba.

Building designer Ross Campbell ensured the home responded to its climate of hot summers, frosty winters, chilly winds and frequent mist and drizzle, setting it back from the edge of the escarpment. Two long wings of single-room-depth maximise northern aspect while providing separation between the main home and secondary wing. Low-e glass was used strategically, in combination with thermal mass, heavy insulation and internal blinds. Double doors enable the house to be compartmentalised for privacy and thermal efficiency. An outdoor room with openable glazing on two sides make the space usable year-round. A north-facing pergola with deciduous vines complements this space, providing an alternative outdoor area close to the kitchen while improving solar control for the house.

Finishes are generally simple, and appliances and fittings chosen for their reliability and water- or energy efficiency. Taking a long-term view meant considering accessibility. Hallways and doorways are oversized to allow easy access, and the powder room, cost-effectively shared with the master bedroom (no toilet in the en suite), is designed to be wheelchair-friendly.

The owners have experienced the benefits of their home’s sustainable design for more than two years. They are off-grid, have set up the home and grounds to be low maintenance, and enjoy all the conveniences of a modern ‘connected’ home. An established 160m2 food garden provides for the majority of their fresh produce needs.

Designed by Ross Campbell of Eco Blueprints and built by Emmert Homes in Toowoomba.

Read more about this home in Sanctuary issue 36 – ‘Toowoomba Retreat’


Previously Open
Roofing materials
Metal (colorbond)
Window and door types
Louvre windows
Low-e, films
Window and door shading
Deciduous tree/vegetation
Insulation - Ceiling
Type: Raked
Rating: R5.0
Insulation - Internal/external walls
Type: Colorbond, linear board, natural stone
Rating: R3.5
All electric home
Renewable energy
Solar PV off-grid
Size of PV system
Water heating
Gas heating
Passive heating cooling
Thermal mass
Active heating cooling
Ceiling fans
Wood fire, ethanol fire
Energy efficiency
Draught proofing
Efficient lighting
Efficient appliances
Smart home features
Water harvesting and saving
Above-ground rainwater storage
Garden / Outdoors
Edible garden
Native plants
Water-wise plants