Situated pretty much bang on in the middle of the block is the house site. This is the preformed one that came with the block of land. Legend has it the previous owners were also planning their own owner-builder dream when the relationship went bust. Their loss has been our gain as it has meant a vaguely level site to build saving on excavation costs. Now for the down side… they had already started their foundations (but not finished, more on that later). When we bought the place we were provided with a folder of their approved plans – a 4-5 bedroom house that neither suited our needs, aesthetic or budget for building a large house that predominantly 2 people would occupy. So we scrapped their plans and set about designing about our own home. Or rather providing design constraints – driven by function and materials.
Constraint Number One: Seeing as the two (3 including Lyra) of us would be the main occupants we didn’t want a large home, the point of being in Tasmania was to spend time outside! Considering where you spend the most time in your home we also weren’t too keen on a massive master bedroom, rather things like a utility/mud room, walk in pantry and open kitchen/dining/living were high priorities.
Constraint Number Two: Work with what you’ve got. Inside the exisitng shed is an ambundance of hardwood framing timber. Originally destined for the previous owners house it has been stored racked, straight and, importantly, dry in the shed. This is a big bonus. It is a whole lot of timber we won’t have to buy, it’s very strong durable wood and it was essentially free. Also in here are beautiful hardwood floorboards – obviously ‘seconds’ they are characterful and will add a lovely feel and texture to the interior. We always wanted wood floors as they are softer, quieter and more forgiving to your body and anything you may drop, so it was great to be able to design with these in mind and again not have to worry about the cost and consider skimping or… shock horror, even think about floating, laminate flooring!
Constraint Number Three: We also got a few bricks… like, 5,000 of them. So with all these materials we will follow in the previous owners footsteps in term of construction method – concrete footings (the bits in the ground), brick piers and perimeter wall and timber framed house. They aren’t the nicest bricks but being the bones they will be largely hidden from view.
Constraint Number Four: That View! Enough said really. We didn’t buy a sloping block to have tiny windows when we’ve got that view. Making the most of the elevation and aspect to be north with maximum glazing along this face. We want to see the sunrise in the morning and let it flood in during winter. Double glazing will help keep the heat in and again remember where we are, where even in summer the nights can be cold so having a well insulated house that has some solar gain is a very very good thing!