This old-new house in Fremantle is the antithesis of modern project homes in the same way sailing is to air travel. Where one is cheap and fast, and has negative implications for the planet, the other is carefully planned, meticulously researched and more sustainable, although progress is inevitably slower.
The project commenced in late 2009 when Greg and Alice bought a small house in a poor state on a 304 square metre block near where Greg grew up; they wanted to put down roots. From the outset, they wanted their new home to be more sustainable than current regulations dictated. They wanted to use natural and recycled materials, and they wanted a house that would be comfortable in all seasons and sit congenially in the street. They chose a typical local material palette – limestone blocks, recycled bricks and recycled timber – and spent a lot of time getting the design just right.
It’s a testament to Greg and Alice’s vision that this house looks as if it’s always been in the street, but it manages to incorporate highly advanced sustainable design principles and technologies in an unobtrusive way. “The whole house embodies a typical Freo attitude,” architect Mike Richardson says. “That is, it’s worth going the extra mile to be eco-friendly, because it’s about the journey, not the destination.”