O'Connor House

The clients were looking for clever ideas that made the most of their block when they asked us to replace an aging monocrete in Canberra’s leafy inner-North with a new, energy-efficient home.

A small block with significant trees needed clever thinking

Our solution was to start from scratch on the 634m2 site, preserving significant trees and positioning a large external courtyard and landscaped swimming pool at the centre of the block. 

This approach provides the main living areas with double frontage: light streams through the street-facing northern windows, while large windows and sliding doors provide constant views and an easy connection to the tranquil garden and pool.

The master suite sits above the living areas on the second storey, overlooking the tops of well-established trees; the kitchen sits seamlessly under the stairs, concealed by customised joinery; a pop-out window brings extra light into the stairwell; and a small attic room brings functionality to otherwise wasted roof space.

Materials are light-weight, hard-working and high-performance: Colorbond panels, oil-stained cedar, rendered polystyrene and a customised fascia form most of the exterior, and a reverse brick-veneer wall, modelled and tested during the design process, provides thermal mass to the bedrooms and study.

Key features

  • 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, 2 bathrooms (House floor area 212m2)
  • 634m2 relatively flat site with orientation of north to the street
  • Double garage
  • Fourth bedroom can be used as a mutli-purpose space or study
  • Customised joinery including walk in robes and extensive kitchen storage
  • Floor finishes include; timber and tiles
  • Generous central courtyard connected to kitchen and living areas
  • Tailored to the site and designed to our client’s brief and budget

Sustainable elements

  • LED lighting
  • Evacuated tube solar hot water
  • PVC double-glazed tilt + turn windows
  • High levels of insulation in walls + ceiling, R1 insulation to slab edge + underside
  • Thermal mass of slab used to regulate internal temperatures
  • Ceiling fans for cooling
  • Bamboo and cork flooring
  • Low VOC finishes