Houzz Tour: A Contemporary, Ecofriendly Home on an Australian Vineyard
Natural wood, polished concrete, white walls and plenty of glazing come together to create a sleek and stylish family home
‘We were still students then, at the end of our first year of architectural studies,’ architect Warwick Mihaly remembers. ‘We designed the house to age well, with generous spaces that connect together in an easy way. White is the only paint colour we used – the rest of our colour palette comes from the red of the ironbark timber flooring and joinery, and the yellow of the rammed earth walls. We let nature do the painting!’
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here Husband and wife, George and Ruth
Location Victoria, Australia
Size 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Architects Mihaly Slocombe
‘We also extended the indoor living spaces out into the landscape via decks, a vegetable patch, lawn areas, a cricket pitch and a 25m lap pool. In this way, living on the vineyard takes place outdoors as much as it does indoors,’ says Mihaly.
‘All the rooms are filled with northern light throughout the year. The northern half of the house enjoys expansive views across the beautiful Mornington Peninsula landscape, while the southern half is more intimate, with views into the lush native Australian garden that surrounds the house,’ describes Mihaly.
Jemima, the golden retriever, sits cosily by a hydronic heating radiator.
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The couple make use of these connections. ‘Breakfast is served out on the east-facing deck on a Saturday morning – eggs and sausages hot off the barbecue – while the morning sun rises across the vines. It’s just an extraordinarily nourishing experience,’ says Mihaly.
A key theme of Hill House is that it encourages incredibly ecofriendly habits and an awareness of the environment around it. With the help of smart heating and plumbing systems, and a 10kW ground-mounted solar array, the house and vineyard are energy positive. No air-conditioner required.
‘We also integrated many passive design principles into the house, including the appropriate northern orientation of living areas, eaves to protect windows, bulk insulation in roofs and walls, exposed thermal mass from the concrete slab and rammed earth walls, and double-glazing throughout, to make the space as comfortable as possible.’
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‘Central to our design intentions for the project was a desire for the house to be a living part of our clients’ daily habits. So instead of automating climate control via expensive electronic systems, we made all the moving parts of the house manually-operated. The windows, which help cool the house down at night, are all operated by hand or, for the high-level louvres, an extendable rod with a hook on the end. Blinds must be raised and lowered to control glare and warmth. Zoning doors must be opened and closed to minimise heating needs during winter.’
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