Jill wanted to convert her cold, poorly lit and damp terrace house into a home she could live and retire in into the future. But she needed a team who could relate to her desire for longevity. 

Green Sheep Collective was the perfect match.

A strong believer in creating respectful architecture, the Victorian-based practice understood Jill’s vision and sought to transform her existing house into a functional and beautiful space—one that elevated her comfort now and had long-term benefits. 

More with less

JillsHouse External

Photography by Emma Cross, via Green Sheep Collective.

“This home achieves a great deal in a very small footprint,” the architects at Green Sheep Collective noted. “The design efficiently utilises the existing footprint whilst adding just 22sqm of additional area.”

This approach significantly minimised resource consumption and construction costs, which in turn, helped meet the client’s budget. Importantly, it also reduced the ongoing energy and resources needed to maintain, heat, cool and even clean the home. 

However, the thoughtful and low-maintenance renovation did not compromise the liveability of Jill’s House. The restored bedrooms maintain their historic charm and generous proportions, while the wet areas are compact and functional. 

At the same time, the new open plan living areas flow seamlessly into the garden—bringing new meaning to Jill’s favourite hobby: gardening. 

Follow the sun

JillsHouse Living Room Interior

Although a north wall along the site’s boundary remains standing, the architects bring natural light deep into the house via a raked ceiling paired with electric-operated clerestory windows. This allows sunshine and warmth to flood the kitchen and dining areas, while encouraging a “stack effect” for improved ventilation. 

The setback of the living room from the north boundary also allows for north-facing casement windows to naturally heat the living space in winter, and efficiently ventilate it in summer. 

“Ceiling fans in the living spaces and bedrooms further reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling,” the architects added. 

Meanwhile, eaves and external blinds moderate the sun. A courtyard brings light, ventilation and garden views to all rooms, and removes the need for a dryer. Today, Jill dries her laundry with a clothesline in the courtyard, or a hanging rack fitted to the laundry room ceiling. 

Building & planting green 

JillsHouse Kitchen Interior

“To achieve the client's aspiration for a very healthy home, it was important that the appointed builder share our passion for sustainability and support the specification of healthy materials and construction process,” Green Sheep Collective explained. 

“[EngDev with Excelsior Master Builders] assisted our approach throughout construction, including working with products they previously had no experience with.

“The concept of consideration for the environment and the health of inhabitants was broadened to gain an awareness of each specified material's manufacturing process, its lifecycle, and ethical approaches to manufacture and construction methods that respect the workers involved.”

Research into accredited eco-friendly solutions and products that support ethical manufacturing processes led to the specification of:

  • Forbo Marmoleum Flooring
  • E-crete, Geopolymer Concrete including recycled slag + fly ash 
  • Plantation Timber Flooring 
  • E0 MDF Cabinetry 
  • Low VOC Paints
  • Recycled Red Bricks 
  • Restored Furniture including dining table, dining chairs, lounge suite

Sustainability initiatives were not limited to the built environment either. The team planted areas close to the house that enabled the harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables, which encourages a sustainable lifestyle. 

Bloom & Grow

The creation of a positive, adaptable and light-filled home with connections to the outdoors has not only achieved Jill’s brief, but also enhanced her overall sense of wellbeing. As Green Sheep Collective rightly points out, this brand of sustainability contributes to the longevity of the design, and in turn, the community at large. 

Jill's House is a very personal and individual renovation that loses no personality in its quest to be sustainable. How wonderful to see a renovation that has been well thought out and has considered the environment and the longevity of the home.” — The 2015 Green Interior Awards jury, who awarded the project the International Green Interior Award for Residential-Renovation.