Listening to clients’ wish list for a new pool and turning that list into a reality is all in a day’s work for Steve Nener of The Water’s Edge.
While most people know what they want to achieve, whether from their own research, through talking with friends and fellow pool owners or from flicking through magazines, Steve and his team bring all the ideas and thoughts together into a realistic design that caters to the requirements of the clients and complements the home.
Creating a low-maintenance pool, with technology such as automatic water levellers and chlorine doses, sensored heating and automated filtration systems, ensures clients spend more time in the pool than operating it.
Such was the case with this beautiful family pool, designed and built by The Water’s Edge.
Creating a focal point for the backyard and alfresco area, this elegant pool has a little of everything, keeping everyone happy.
With enough room for children to frolic and parents to enjoy a little relaxation, the rich-blue eight-metre by five-metre pool is perfect for entertaining or simply for the family to enjoy an afternoon in the sun.
Going green – what is a passive or energy-efficient design and how can we renovate our homes to achieve these outcomes? Here, we explore some of the passive and energy-efficient design aspects to create a ‘green’ home
BY: Sustainability consultant and designer, Ian Cleland
WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE DESIGN?
Environmentally sustainable (ESD) design is the philosophy of designing products, the built environment, systems and services to fulfil the economic, environmental and social mores.
Designing environmentally sustainable buildings requires the elimination of non-renewable resources in the materials specified along with sensitive, skilful design. The aim is to minimise the building’s impact on, and relate humans to, the natural environment.
Since the energy crisis of the 1970s we have learned much about ESD, although it seems not enough to make this a mainstream view.
The reasons for renovating a home are many and varied but one is to create spaces that are thermally comfortable for both summer and winter.
The majority of Australian homes have never been very accommodating to the foibles of the varying Australian climate. More often than not it is inappropriate or poor building design that creates the problems. Passive or energy-efficient design aspects are the exception rather than the rule in either new or renovated buildings.
So how do you create an environmentally sustainable or, more appropriately, passive solar and energy-efficient home?
When renovating your home you may be constrained by the existing floorplan, site orientation, the landscape of the existing building site and the surrounding urban landscape in your suburb. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a site with excellent solar access, it can be a challenge to create a design to suit both the floorplan and budget.
The key elements in your design are to take advantage of the local climate, window placement and size, type of glazing, thermal mass, insulation, shading and ventilation. Passive solar design techniques can be applied most easily to new buildings, but existing buildings can also be adapted or retrofitted.
In passive solar buildings, the walls, floors and windows are designed to collect, store and distribute solar energy in the form of stored heat in winter and the exclusion of heat in summer. This is called “passive” solar design, as there are no mechanical or electrical devices used to heat and cool the building.
We have known for thousands of years the path of the sun is from east to west but have you noticed that the height of the sun varies from the northern horizon in winter and summer? In winter the sun is lower in the sky than in summer and, in fact, if you head further north the sun may penetrate the southern side of your home during the summer months. So why is it that we continue to design and build homes in Australia totally disregarding this fact?
By using the path of the sun and by passively controlling its impact we can exploit its warmth when required and reject it when it’s not. How? Consider this: you wake up in the morning and the sun is in the east; your rooms take advantage of this beautiful morning light and, if required, warmth. During the day the sun’s path moves across the sky from east to west. In summer the sun is high in the sky, so if we don’t want the heat we shade the building and glazing from the heat of the sun with eaves, shutters, landscaping or other shading devices.
How do you store heat or cool your home? Simple. With the right combination of insulation, thermal mass and control of air filtration you can control the temperature inside your home passively. Given that we are talking about a renovation that includes the existing building and was constructed in the last decade to 50-plus years ago, your approach will be determined by all the components mentioned above and would require design input for each situation. So, as a general rule in a renovation, it is about maximising the control over what nature presents to you in both summer and winter.
Choosing insulationInsulation products come in two main categories: bulk and reflective. These are sometimes combined to make a composite material. There are many different products available. To compare the insulating ability of the products available, look at their R-value. R-value is the measurement of resistance to heat flow, so the higher the R-value the higher the level of insulation. Products with the same R-value will provide the same insulating performance if installed as specified.
Two issues you have to be mindful of when insulating a home are controlling unwanted drafts and moisture. The insulation system used should be designed to stop water condensation in the wall, which can cause damage to building frames due to fungus attacks in the case of timber and rusting with steel frames. Also, rising damp can be an issue with excessive moisture in the wall cavity.
Types of glazingNot all glazing is all the same and its use can make a big difference to the energy performance of your renovation; it is not just for capturing a view or allowing light into an otherwise dark room.
Apart from construction materials and window or door framing, the choice of glazing is probably the next most critical factor in the energy efficiency of a building. In most existing homes, windows are the areas where there is maximum heat loss because glass is a poor insulator.
Annealed or float glassAnnealed glass is the basic flat glass product that is the first result of the float process. It is the common glass that tends to break into large, jagged shards. It is used in some end products — often in double-glazed windows, for example. It is also the starting material that is turned into more advanced products through further processing such as laminating, toughening and coating.
Toughened glassToughened glass is treated to be far more resistant to breakage than simple annealed glass and when it does break it does so more predictably, thus providing a major safety advantage in almost all of its applications.
The float glass process is renowned for flatness and optical clarity. It is available in clear, toned, high-performance toned, ultra-clear low-iron glass and low-e pyrolytic coated.
The types of glazing designed for insulating windows are gas filled, insulated (double-glazed, triple-glazed), low-emissivity (low-e) coatings and reflective coatings.
Gas filledTo improve the thermal performance of windows with insulated glazing, some manufacturers fill the space between the glass panes with gas.
For these gas fills, window manufacturers use inert gases — ones that do not react readily with other substances. Because these gases have a higher resistance to heat flow than air, they (rather than air) are sealed between the window panes to decrease a window’s U-factor.
The most common types of gas used by window manufacturers include argon and krypton. Argon is inexpensive, non-toxic, non-reactive, clear and odourless. Krypton is more expensive but has a better thermal performance.
Insulated window glazing or glass
Insulated window glazing refers to windows with two or more panes of glass. They are also called double-glazed or triple-glazed.
To insulate the window, the glass panes are spaced apart and hermetically sealed to form a single-glazed unit with an air space between each pane of glass. The glass layers and the air spaces resist heat flow. As a result, insulated window glazing primarily lowers the U-factor, but it also lowers the solar heat gain coefficient.
Low-emissivity (low-e) coatingsLow-emissivity (low-e) coatings on glazing or glass control heat transfer through windows with insulated glazing. Windows manufactured with low-e coatings typically cost about 10–15 per cent more than regular windows but they reduce energy loss by as much as 30–50 per cent.
Reflective window glazing or glass
Reflective coatings on window glazing or glass reduce the transmission of solar radiation, blocking more light than heat. Therefore, they greatly reduce a window’s visible transmittance (VT) and glare, but they also reduce a window’s solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).
A good reference for further information about the glazing you should use is the Australian Glass & Glazing Association: www.agga.org.au
Shading How often have you been in somebody’s home and found it either too cold or too hot because there is not enough or too much sun entering the living space? As part of passive solar design it is important to locate windows and then control the access of the sun to maintain levels of comfort inside your home. If you have windows with a view that allow excessive amounts of heat into the room, you can use an external awning.
To keep heat in, use internal coverings on windows; to keep heat out, use external shading devices. During the summer, even with the appropriate glazing, it is best to shade to reduce heat conducting through the glass. During your renovation, it’s good design practice to allow for appropriate shading so it is included in the construction of your project. If you are not sure what most suits the situation, obtain the appropriate technical advice from a professional.
Another part of passive design is the controlling the movement of air through your home. This way you can maintain comfort by utilising the prevailing seasonal winds in summer and winter, day and night. Design spaces to allow for good cross-ventilation. The use of chimney effects allows hot air to rise, creating positive ventilation. The addition of thermal mass in conjunction with ventilation can provide both heating and cooling.
Another aspect of ventilation is controlling those unwanted drafts entering your living spaces through all the cracks around windows, doors, fireplaces and walls. Finding and sealing these can make a big difference to overall comfort.
In summary, what has been included in this article is just an overview of some of the components that create an excellent passive and energy-efficient home. This does not include the use of active or mechanical systems. If you are able to design and build your renovation with mainly passive systems this will be the most cost-effective design possible. But like all renovations there will be compromises that will affect the workability of the home as a passive and energy-efficient building.
The new addition to the rear of the house connects with the garden space. The roof was shaped to capture the sun over the roof of the front part of the house, while expanding with a pergola and struts to provide a definite entry and shade to the west. Photography by Dean Wilmot.
High level windows let hot air escape in summer. Window/door openings are protected to keep summer sun out while allowing winter sun in. A ceiling fan is used to help with ventilation in summer. Photography by Tim Wheeler.
An operable roof assists with appropriate solar access throughout the changing seasons. Photography by Tim Wheeler.
Suburban home, Elanora Heights, NSW.
This home has undergone reorientation for complete passive solar implementation with stack ventilation chimney/atrium/stairwell, reverse brick veneer in living areas, energy- and water-efficiency upgrade including BMS and pool, PV system and full rainwater harvesting.
Beach cottage, Avalon, NSW.
This cottage’s renovation included an additional living area and main bedroom suite in a separate pavilion as well as improved passive solar yet lightweight (slip zone) double glazing/shading. Indoor-outdoor water use is sustainable and is all solar powered.
Waterfront fishing shack, Koolewong, NSW.
This property has had an extra bedroom pavilion added and the main cottage was opened to become a big living area. Shading, glazing, insulation, solar HSW, site response and extra safeguards against actual sea-level rise were undertaken during the renovation.
Designing for the Australian Home Are you embarking on a new build, renovation or interior project and would like to discover the newest trends and directions in home design in Australia? Kate St James will take you on a journey of discovery through the eyes of an interior designer and home design magazines editor. Participants will look at living and dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor living, space planning and furniture layout. Discussing the ways in which colour impacts your home’s design both inside and out and Kate will show you examples of a variety of homes designed by some of Australia’s leading architects and designers. Kate St James is the managing editor of Grand Designs Australia, Luxury Home Design, Design & Decoration and Renovate magazines. Kate is also an interior designer with more than 25 years experience in the residential market. Kate looks forward to sharing her knowledge and ideas with you!
Strikingly modern and starkly minimalist, this is a house that makes a bold statement so an equally confident, contemporary design was needed for the outdoor spaces — a task the owners placed in the hands of Steve Taylor from Creative Outdoor Solutions.
Carved into a series of functional courtyards that match the modern styling of the home and forge seamless connections with its internal spaces, the outdoor spaces now offer the ultimate indoor-outdoor living experience.
The design adventure begins as you approach the house. With its clean-lined, Asian-influenced design, the front garden complements and balances the architecture of the home while simultaneously softening the impact of the imposing façade.
To disguise the large concrete double-return driveway, Steve has used screens, walls, flora and a dissecting granite pedestrian pathway, striking just the right balance between hard forms and plants.
Although not a garden designed with the lover of traditional design in mind, few could fail to be impressed by the innovative use of water, the clever space management, the unique plant selection and inventive steel lattice screening applications.
The walled outdoor living spaces are equally stunning, especially the rear entertaining courtyard. One of the most delightful features of this space is the built-in day bed. Its undulating outline clad in slim timber slats, the day bed merges into the lower level of the rendered retaining wall behind and slots neatly into the deck in front.
To one side of the day bed sits a feature red senkaki maple; to the other, a raised wall which is part art work, part water feature. In front, there is a timber alfresco dining setting, designed and custom-made by the highly skilled team from Creative Outdoor Solutions.
To the eastern side of the house there is another courtyard-style space with a second, smaller eating area to catch the morning sun. It has space-maximising timber bench seating with built-in storage and a small fixed table to complement the larger aforementioned dining setting.
Throughout, the simple yet sophisticated design demonstrates how, by adopting an innovative approach to layout, planting and material selection, you can create distinctive yet timeless outdoor living and entertaining areas.
Steve Taylor and the team at Creative Outdoor Solutions have been designing and building landscapes in and around Melbourne and interstate since 2000. The company’s goal is to create landscapes that integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, complement the existing architecture and décor of the house, and enhance the lifestyle of the owners, which they do by developing a close working, interactive partnership with the client.
They also only work with top-quality suppliers such as Gills Nurseries, Port Melbourne and Red Cloud Bamboo, who supplied the plants for this project. For Creative Outdoor Solutions, this approach has been an award-winning one with the company having received several major industry design and construction awards.
One of the most important aspects of today’s kitchen design is ensuring that the space works well within the confines of the adjoining rooms.
With our kitchens on display more and more, it’s imperative that the decisions made regarding colours, fittings and fixtures are in harmony with the area in which the room resides.
This kitchen is a stunning example of how to achieve this with flair. The designers at DJ’s Kitchens have ensured that the space will always feel light and airy, with plenty of room to move. Its clean, modern look means it fits well into this new home while its deceptively simple exterior ensures it sits perfectly within the space.
A large island bench sits proudly at centre stage and provides the owners with additional bench space for preparation and serving and is particularly useful when entertaining. Minimal boundaries make sure that the cook is never left out when family and friends drop by.
The owners were particular about the amount of storage required so the kitchen boasts a huge array of drawers, to ensure there is a place for every item. Every nook and cranny has been used to best advantage with the layout carefully considered for best traffic flow and work areas.
The stunning Ivory CaesarStone used for the bench top has also been used for the splashback, providing a continuity of design, both horizontally and vertically, for smooth, visual appeal. Ably complemented by slightly off-white cabinetry, this light and bright kitchen is a much-loved space within this new home.
Fact File DOORS, PANELS & KICKBOARDS Dulux Antique White USA HANDLES Kethy Biella stainless steel BENCHTOP/SPLASHBACK CaesarStone Ivory FLOORING Tiles APPLIANCES include a Smeg oven, cooktop and canopy, Miele dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel refrigerator, Franke sink and taps
Working with a blank slate in a new home, the design team at DJ’s Kitchens was able to work closely with the homeowner to create a space that fits this home perfectly.
The design is clean and crisp, with a combination of surfaces in contrasting colours to add depth and interest.
One of the main design considerations was how to incorporate the airconditioning vents. The owners were particularly keen for these to be concealed in some way without restricting how efficiently the airconditioning would work. Look carefully and you’ll see that the vents have been cleverly installed at the base of the island and have become a feature of that space.
It was also important to the owners that the cabinetry be extended all the way to the ceiling to maximise the use of space. In addition to taking care of this requirement, the team at DJ’s Kitchens has also included a variety of drawers and cupboards below bench height while the upper cupboards include functional additions such as a lift-up appliance door.
In combining the fresh, white polyurethane cabinets with bright, warm cherrywood, DJ’s Kitchens has ensured that the hub of the home is a welcoming space while the layout ensures that the room flows well and that workspace is well-placed.
Polyurethane legs with shadowline detail to the island bench are an added design element that sets the tone for this stunning modern kitchen.
Fact File DOORS Satin polyurethane Dulux in China White Panels Satin polyurethane Dulux in China White; cherrywood veneer HANDLES Kethy long bar stainless-steel BENCHTOP CaesarStone in Snow KICKBOARDS Anodised aluminium vent to island FLOOR Timber APPLIANCES include a Miele 900mm oven, Miele 900mm cooktop, Miele 900mm canopy rangehood, Miele semi-integrated dishwasher, double Blanco undermount sinks and Grohe taps
DJ’s Kitchens utilised a neutral colour palette when creating this extremely functional, yet super-stylish space.
The Mink Ceasarstone benchtops, Hog Bristle coloured cabinetry and matching floor tiles have combined to create a natural, earthy look.
Working with a narrow room, the DJ’s Kitchens team implemented a number of design “tricks” to maximise the amount of available space. The kitchen enjoys some natural light streaming through the nearby sliding doors, adding to the space’s warm, welcoming atmosphere, while integrated lighting has been artfully placed to give the illusion of spaciousness.
Storage space was a top priority for the owners who requested that their benches be kept free to prepare meals for their large family. DJ’s Kitchens has delivered loads of storage options with cabinets to the bulkhead and multiple drawers dotted throughout the room. Small appliances have also been stowed away out of sight with the microwave concealed in the roller door cabinet and specific spots for both the toaster and kettle.
The resulting kitchen not only satisfies the client’s brief but has that special DJ’s flavour that customers have come to know and love.
Fact File DOORS & PANELS Satin polyurethane in Dulux Hog Bristle BENCHTOP 40mm pencil edge CaesarStone Mink HANDLES Solv SPLASHBACK Painted black glass Starfire KICKBOARDS Brushed aluminium FLOORS Tiles
LIGHTS Recessed and undercabinet
include an Electrolux double wall oven, Highland six-burner gas cooktop, Qasair foldaway rangehood, Bosch dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and Oliveri sink
With an attractive outlay, this contemporary kitchen has been cleverly constructed to maximise the amount of available space.
The long, wide, Cashmere CaesarStone benchtops act as a durable and attractive work surface for preparing food, while the raised breakfast bar provides a casual dining area.
DJ’s Kitchens had a blank canvas to work with. Opting for a neutral palette, the clients were extremely hands-on throughout the process, requesting a dynamic working space that not only looked the part, but was also incredibly functional.
A bright-red glass splashback adds colour to the room and contrasts beautifully with the dark wood beam and matching unit that has been fitted to the front of the breakfast bar for stylish storage.
Shadowline handlegrips on the cabinetry enhance the design’s sleek, streamlined appearance, while integrated stainless-steel appliances add to the room’s contemporary edge.
This highly accessible and incredibly efficient kitchen has combined quality materials with clever design to create the ultimate space for cooking and entertaining.
Two-pack polyurethane glass doors HANDLES Shadowline handle grip BENCHTOP CaesarStone Cashmere with 60mm mitred edge KICKBOARDS Matching doors FLOOR 600mm x 600mm porcelain floor tiles LIGHTS Downlights APPLIANCES include an Ilve oven, Qasair rangehood, Bosch dishwasher, Oliveri sink and Franke taps
The old kitchen was cramped and badly laid out, with limited work space and a dated beech veneer and black granite décor. Having spent too many years putting up with this dysfunctional space, the owners decided to renovate and approached DJ’s Kitchens for a revamp.
One of the first jobs was to open up the space and make sure the new kitchen would integrate well into the adjoining rooms. Particular attention was paid to the ergonomics of the kitchen to ensure that specific zones were created for different functions to enable the room to operate at the height of efficiency.
For added visual appeal, it was decided to create an island bench with a textured veneer as the dominant feature of the kitchen. Perfect for entertaining, the island adds preparation space where needed while displaying an inviting allure to tempt family and friends to sit and keep the cooks company.
Gorgeous Corian benchtops highlight the polyurethane doors and panels with the same material used for the splashbacks to act as a cohesive element within the kitchen. The warm tones of the colour scheme bring the kitchen to life and help sit comfortably within the larger, open-plan space.
Two sinks ensure that cleaning up is a breeze, with one sink deliberately placed next to the dishwasher so dirty plates do not pile up on the island bench. This space works particularly well, with more than enough space for the owners to work together without getting in each other’s way.
Fact File DOORS Main kitchen: Dulux Natural Embrace satin polyurethane; island: Laminex sandblasted veneer PANELS Dulux Natural Embrace satin polyurethane HANDLES Shadowline BENCHTOP Corian in Bisque SPLASHBACK Corian in Bisque KICKBOARDS As doors FLOOR Timber APPLIANCES include an Electrolux double wall oven, Omega induction cooktop, De’Longhi 600mm slide-out rangehood, Smeg stainless-steel dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel French-door refrigerator and Franke SQX120D sinks
With everyone trying to save a few dollars, it makes sense to spend less time dining out and more nights eating in and with a kitchen like this one it’s an argument easily won.
DJ’s Kitchens has brought the good life home to the owners of this room who no longer need to leave their house to experience five-star dining.
With their personal gourmet kitchen at the ready as part of their new home, the owners are now able to cook up a storm and cater to their every whim. To provide first-class service, the space was designed with practicality in mind and a large floorplan was permitted to ensure the room was spacious and inviting. An abundance of drawers and a sizeable pantry make certain there is ample storage for supplies, utensils and appliances, which allow the owners to be on standby to entertain friends and family. When guests arrive, they gather around the generous island bench that doubles as a serving area when not being used as a preparation work zone.
An extensive all-white palette is employed throughout the kitchen — CaesarStone benchtops in Snow complement the polished porcelain floor tiles while the polyurethane gloss cabinet doors and kickboards have been painted in Dulux Antique White USA. This serene façade creates a soothing and inviting atmosphere but it is the red Starphire glass splashback that gives the room a sense of excitement and fun.
It’s fair to say the owners no longer feel the need to venture out in search of a winning culinary experience — they now have everything they need to be impressed in the comfort of their home.
Fact File BENCHTOP 40mm and 80mm CaesarStone in Snow DOORS Polyurethane gloss painted Dulux Antique White USA HANDLES Kethy Parma range SPLASHBACK Red Starphire glass KICKBOARDS Dulux Antique White USA FLOORING Polished porcelain tiles
include a Kleenmaind upright oven, canopy rangehood and semi-integrated dishwasher and GE stainless steel refrigerator