This passive-solar-designed sustainable house in the countryside is at one with nature.
Located in a regional Northern New South Wales, this modern eco-friendly luxury home is far from your typical house. Built by Dan Wilks of David Reid Homes, creating this house was as much about building his dream home as it was about creating a structure that clearly defines what he is capable of as a David Reid luxury home builder.
The dwelling displays the best of passive-solar design and ‘green’ building. Dan is passionate about eco-friendly construction and has completed his Housing Industry Association (HIA) Greensmart Course. This beautiful home became his way of proving the theory.
Dan points out that the two most important aspects of building are orientation and insulation. Coupled with these are essential cross-flow ventilation, shading, and passive solar design for eco-friendly living.
“The orientation aspect is a classic example in our case. We have positioned our house a little northeast,” says Dan’s wife. Kylie. “This is perfect for our passive design, but our view of the town is more to the east. Most people think that’s the direction your house should face but although our house is facing the town, it doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy a view of it,” she explains.
The interiors are fresh and simple with a neutral theme of white, light and dark grey, complemented by browns from the timber elements. Occasional splashes of colour from furnishings and artwork.
A simple colour palette allows the texture of different materials to become the feature,” says Kylie, adding that the block walls give the house a structural grounding. The north-facing 4 m x 12 m glass doors are another stunning feature and let the tranquil bush view flow into the open style design.
The house has been custom designed to suit the family and, according to Kylie, “The design was about meeting different aspects of our life and future life. We can shut the door of the office and walk away,” says Kylie. The guest room, one of five bedrooms in the house, has its own separate access to the outside.
This sustainable house is open plan and spacious but with quiet areas, such as the library. For a family, the ease of access between the garage and indoors via a mudroom is important for making life more convenient. The positioning of the main bedroom means it has a stunning outlook of the peaceful countryside, it’s close to the living room of the house but retains privacy.
“It’s well-planned spaces like these that make large houses feel like a home.” With free reign over the kitchen design, Kylie decided to create a space with small galley areas. “It certainly doesn’t look like a conventional set-out, but it works for how we live,” she says of the kitchen layout. The kitchen has two distinct areas – one for coffee, tea and breakfast; one for preparation and cooking. The island bench brings the room together and acts as a central space for catching up, serving meals and homework.
Dan’s favourite element of this dream sustainable home is the staircase. It’s a demonstration of excellent planning and workmanship. The result is simple and stunning. The passive design of this rural luxury home includes louvre windows to assist with excellent cross-flow ventilation, hydronic in-slab heating, reverse masonry walls, solar panels, extended eaves on the north side for protection from the summer heat, and extra insulation.
The lawn is watered using a Biolytix waste management system and the western side of the house has an ornamental grapevine growing to assist in shielding the house from the sun in summer while allowing warm sunlight to penetrate during the winter when the vine’s leaves drop.
Dan designed and handmade the home’s concrete panels, which act as a heat pack. “They conduct heat when the sun is long gone and work like magic!” Says Kylie.
With its practical and stylish design, this beautiful sustainable house is energy-efficient and proof that passive eco-design is achievable. It’s no surprise then, that this stylish, contemporary family home was a finalist in the 2013 HIA northern New South Wales housing awards.
Home Design Magazine volume 16, number 6 “The Summer Living Issue”