From the architect:

The renovation and extension of this terrace house has transformed it from a dark, cold home, into a well-lit, warm, naturally ventilated and energy efficient house, with an excellent connection to the garden and views to the city and rooftops of North Carlton.

The brief was to create a flexible, sustainable home for a couple, creating comfortable, robust, light-filled spaces that could also accommodate their adult children as visitors or for longer term stays.


The main challenge was providing a passive solar design with natural heating on an east-west running site with an existing house built to the northern boundary.

The other challenge was providing flexibility in the way the home could be inhabited. Our client wanted to move in, allow children to move back home, and also to travel themselves for long periods, meaning that the home needed to be able to function for different combinations of adults and their differing lifestyles.


To address the need for passive design, we provided high-level windows set back from the boundary so that the windows could be openable and feature appropriate eaves. We also installed a fan to draw heat from the upper floor down to the ground floor living areas, to minimise the need for mechanical heating.

Cross-ventilation and natural light were provided for by including a central courtyard, openable windows and skylights. The central stair features a glass balustrade to allow light from upstairs down into the living space.

The flexibility of inhabitant lifestyles was catered for by providing three bedrooms, the upper ‘master bedroom’ being sized and positioned to allow it to operate as a second living space, study or ‘parents’ retreat’. 


  • North clerestory windows to the first floor master bedroom, with an appropriately sized eave
  • Exhaust fan draws heat from the first floor to redistribute natural heating to the ground floor and reduce artificial heating loads
  • Ceiling fans
  • Cross ventilation
  • Natural light
  • Concrete slab for thermal mass
  • Recycled reb bricks
  • Radially sawn timber
  • Solar panels
  • Solar hot water
  • Low VOC paints