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Bywong House

Thirty minutes’ drive from Canberra’s CBD, this comfortable family home is situated on a rural block that faces a high threat of bushfire: our design and construction had to meet strict BAL-40 (bushfire attack level) requirements.

Connecting home to landscape

The clients also wanted a relaxed three-bedroom home that celebrated simple living and made the most of the bush setting.

The large site provided an opportunity to reconsider some of roles and spaces required of a home. While the main house, at 125m2, contains the living areas, bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen, external structures house the laundry, an extra bathroom and utility areas, drawing the occupants outside and into the landscape.

A large paved courtyard opens out from the living spaces, enhancing the flow between indoors and out, and a window seat, one of many customised joinery elements, is positioned for maximum enjoyment of the home’s sweeping views.

The colourful interior and clever detailing offset the simplicity of form and materials, primarily Colorbond, brick, Cemintel sheeting, concrete flooring and aluminium frames for glazing.

Ideal orientation and thermal mass mean the home needs only a log fire for heating in winter, using wood harvested on site, and ceiling fans provide ample cooling in summer. Modelled during the design process, the home’s thermal performance has exceeded expectations, achieving an air leakage test result of 6.5 and an EER of 7.3.

Key Features

  • 3 bedrooms, 1 living area, 1 bathroom (House floor area 120m2)
  • Large rural site approximately 83,000m2
  • Single carport with encorporated laundry and additional toilet
  • Complies with the highest bush fire attack level (BAL 40)
  • Combined dining and Family room with raked ceilings and window seat
  • Customised joinery including robes, Kitchen storage and laundry
  • Floor finishes include; concrete, tiles and carpet
  • Generous concrete outdoor entertaining area to the north with extensive views
  • Lizard pit combined with deck for the owners’ wildlife reptile rescue activities
  • Tailored to the site and designed to our client’s brief and budget


Sustainable Features

  • Thermal mass slab (bare polished concrete to living area) to regulate internal temperatures
  • High levels of insulation in walls + ceilings
  • Double glazing
  • Efficient wood heater using on site timber
  • Ceiling fans
  • Solar hot water
  • Low VOC finishes
  • 125,000 litre tank
  • Efficient effluent treatment system for irrigation