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Watsons' House

Year-round comfort, energy efficiency, and a cost-effective build were central to the brief for this young family’s home in Wright.

Small house, smart home

The clients’ brief guided several key design elements: an efficient floor plan to reduce the home’s overall size on the block; easy access to a large back yard for the family to enjoy; and a lined storage space adjacent to the single carport for bikes and camping gear.

The only source of heating in the home is a European wood pellet stove, located in the living room. Supported by comprehensive wall, floor and ceiling insulation, as well as PVC-framed double-glazed windows and a well-sealed building envelope, this system is low-cost and highly efficient: in winter, a fan circulates the warm air, pulling it through a series of ducts throughout the home and into the bedrooms.

A bespoke item of joinery, rather than a solid wall, cleverly divides the kitchen from the living room. Housing the oven and fridge on one side and shelving on the other, the unit is built below ceiling height, allowing light to flow from the high windows of the raked kitchen through to the living room.

Materials are practical with a glamorous edge: external grey brick shines with a subtle metallic lustre; the concrete slab is polished to reveal the highly patterned aggregate; and sleek plywood shelving wraps around windows, creating a quiet place for reading or play.

Key features

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 living areas, 2 bathrooms (House floor area 154m2)
  • 570m2 relatively flat site with orientation of north to the back
  • Single carport
  • Living areas with raked ceiling to the north
  • Bespoke kitchen joinery serves as a mid-height divider with the living room
  • European wood pellet store, fan ducted to bedrooms as heating
  • Customised joinery including study nook and window seat
  • Floor finishes include; concrete, tiles and carpet
  • Open pergola to the north connecs the dining area to the backyard
  • Tailored to the site and designed to our client’s brief and budget using our JigsawModular approach


Sustainable elements

  • High performance PVC double-glazing
  • R1 insulated concrete slab
  • R2.5 insulation to exterior walls
  • R5 insulation to the roof space
  • Minimal air leakage, well-sealed building envelope
  • Ceiling fans and cross ventilation only forms of cooling needed
  • Solar hot water
  • Rainwater tanks