Shades of green

The water, energy, materials and landscaping concepts used in this extensive restoration and addition to a heritage dwelling in St Kilda demonstrate a new approach to sustainable inner city living. It’s part of our Greener Kitchens & Bathrooms special.

Many common architectural elements are intentionally missing, including secondary finishes (such as paint) which have been minimised or eliminated completely by leaving durable construction materials in their natural ‘as built’ state. You won’t find white porcelain, plasterboard or chrome either; instead, toilets, basins and tapware are stainless steel.

Home to sustainable architect David Saunders and his family, the house is thermally efficient and all materials are either salvaged from the original house, recycled, plantation-grown, zero-VOC or naturally occurring. Their home is largely self-reliant with 43,400 litres of rainwater stored in 4 tanks, and energy use is minimal due to the incorporation of solar PV, energy efficient appliances and lighting and sensible lifestyle practices. They also grow fruit and vegetables in the courtyards and ‘roof farm’. Very little waste leaves the site due to careful recycling and extensive composting; grey water is diverted for reuse on gardens.

Sustainable features

  • KWC Eve kitchen tap; Zip Sparkling Hydrotap
  • Miele and Qasair kitchen appliances
  • Liebherr refrigerator and freezer
  • Stainless steel toilets from Britex, cisterns from GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens
  • Linkware ‘Elle’ stainless steel bathroom fittings and fixtures
  • Fantech bathroom / air-transfer fans.
  • Internal walls, ceilings and joinery are plantation plywood with Intergrain clear satin finish or recycled lining boards
  • Benchtops stainless steel, granite and repurposed marble
  • Shower walls, splashbacks and some external wall cladding made from locally produced Replas recycled plastic
  • Elmich Versiwall ‘green wall’ planters
  • Vintage, fully restored cast iron bath.
  • LED and compact fluorescent lamps
  • Velux skylights plus windows, glass walls and glass floors allow natural light to flood the entire house. Additional daylighting via internal garden and courtyards.
Other features
  • No air-conditioning required, natural cooling systems include cool humidified air naturally drawn up through the house via two internal ‘rainforests’ and air transfer system which draws cool air to the top level from the basement
  • Solar PV and Apricus solar hot water system.
More interior ideas
Light saviours: ways to upswitch your lighting

Light saviours: ways to upswitch your lighting

With so many lighting products to choose from, why are most homes – even sustainable ones – still so poorly lit? We ask three lighting luminaries for their advice on how to avoid the 'she'll be right' status quo.

Read more
Stairs with flair

Stairs with flair

The humble staircase can do far more than provide access to your second floor. Stairs can fulfil multiple purposes from storage and thermal regulation to design feature or just sheer fun.

Read more
Focus on furnishings

Focus on furnishings

We take a look at the choices you can make to ensure you furnish your home sustainably.

Read more