Sustainable design specialists EME Design have transformed a dark, single-fronted worker’s cottage on a small block in Brunswick, Victoria into a functional, light-filled home.
The Cathedralette House answers the client’s request for an environmentally sensitive and energy efficient addition to her ageing cottage with a humble yet considered design and a material procurement strategy devoted to reducing emissions.
EME chose a 100 per cent timber construction strategy to avoid steel use throughout the home’s structure and also built from the building’s existing footprint. The majority of the façade is clad in radial shiplap cladding with a ‘natural edge’ which gives the cottage a unique appearance and an ecofriendly feel that translates throughout the house. Renewable timber cladding from Ecoply Australian plywood is employed on the building’s eaves and also throughout the interior in lieu of plasterboard linings to improve its sustainability.
While steel and concrete was avoided and there is a lot of timber, there is some mass in the home to provide temperature stability. The building’s existing lime render brick wall was retained as an interior feature and for thermal mass and a low combustion fireplace was placed alongside it to heat the space. EME Design’s Luke Middleton says these were key features in Cathedralette achieving a seven star rating.
But like so many houses, Cathedralette’s key feature is suggested by its name. EME placed the major living area at the front of the home under a cathedral ceiling flooded with natural light from a high trapezoidal window. The ceiling defies space constraints to give the front room extra volume and also made room for a mezzanine bedroom to be tucked into the roof. Its shape also resulted in acoustic properties that made it a favoured space for the client’s choir group to practice in below.
Compared to the traditional orientation of a worker’s cottage, EME’s decision to place the living area at the front of house could be considered an unconventional response. But it solved a lot of problems, says Middleton, and the resulting home – ecologically fit and aesthetically charming – has been delivered within site and financial constraints.
“What we have achieved in this residence are bigger spaces in a similar envelop that is ‘poetic’ in its ambience and appearance,” says Middleton.
“Maximum functionality has been wrung from every millimetre.”
RADIAL TIMBER SALES, RADIAL WEATHERBOARD
KNAUF INSULATION, EARTHWOOL BATTS & BLANKET
CARTER HOLT HARVEY, SHADOWCLAD
QUANTUM TIMBER FINISHES, AQUAOIL
BLUESCOPE LYSAGHT, WATERPOINT CLASSIC 3100
SAXON WINDOWS, TIMBER DOUBLE GLAZED ARGON FILLED
BLUESCOPE LYSAGHT, ZINCALUME CUSTOM ORB ROOF
ECOCLASSIC, FRAMELESS GLAZING
CAST IRON WORKS, WOOD HEATER MORSO
CARTER HOLT HARVEY, BC PLYWOOD
INTERIOR PLY STAIN
DAVOLUCE LIGHTING STUDIO, SLIMLINE T5 FLUORO AND LED SURFACE MOUNTED ADJUSTABLE
DORF CAPELLA SET (WELS 5)
CAROMA SHARK 1525
SAGI 45L SINGLE INSET LAUNDRY TUB
CAROMA MILAN SEMI-RECESSED
STYLUS BANKSIA WF CC 4S RH SUITE K1000W (WELS 3.5)
DORF CAPELLA (WELS 3)