Sanctuary 46: renovate on any budget

Anna Hoover studio. Grapeview, Washington.
Image license: Olson Kundig Architects.
© Copyright 2013 Benjamin Benschneider All Rights Reserved. Usage may be arranged by contacting Benjamin Benschneider Photography. Email: bbenschneider@comcast.net or phone: 206-789-5973.
Sanctuary 46 is here, full of retrofits and renovations that show that even small, low-budget interventions can transform the health and comfort of a dwelling.

In some ways, the process of making Sanctuary mirrors the way sustainable houses are built. We start with sketchy ideas and then, with the support and encouragement of our friends and colleagues, construct something coherent from expert advice and carefully chosen materials. For this magazine, there’s another dimension to what we’ve set out to do.

Late last year, we asked readers what they’d like us to feature more of, and the message we heard was: “Realistic examples of what can be done to make ‘regular’ houses sustainable (especially retrofits), please.” We’re not in the habit of including homes where just one room or a discrete section of a house has been renovated and the rest left alone. It’s not because we don’t value these homes – we do, and let’s face it, most budgets only stretch so far. But the limited documentation and photography available for such projects makes it near impossible to bring the stories to you.

In this issue, thanks to contributors who responded to our call for lower-budget projects they’re proud of, we’ve been able to include six homes which we believe can provide a roadmap for how existing brick veneer, period weatherboards and fibro shacks can be eco-upgraded with small interventions and sensational results. We’ve also snuck a few new-builds into the mix, including a cottage that’s been rebuilt to incorporate a cathedral-inspired arch and the truly unique Scavenger Studio on our cover, which has made much of salvaged and free-cycled materials.

Have a look inside Sanctuary 46

Also in this issue:

It’s autumn in many parts of the country and our friends at Milkwood explain the rules of engagement for those wishing to take up foraging this year – turns out there is food everywhere if you know where to look. Plus we investigate what flexible house design can do for us and wonder why more homes aren’t designed to adapt to their occupants. And, in keeping with our focus on more modest retrofits, Simone Schenkel helps set realistic expectations about what’s achievable on budgets as low as $10,000.

Sanctuary has been around for over a decade now, and we’re starting to get curious about how some of the first homes we visited are working out for their owners. In the first of our new ‘lessons learnt’ series we revisit a co-housing experiment on the Gold Coast that was first featured five years ago. Feel free to get in touch with us if there are specific houses you’d like to see again and we’ll see what we can do.

Sanctuary 46 is on its way to letterboxes and newsagencies near you, full of advice and inspiration for sustainable living and building.

And as always we feature a wide range of innovative sustainable products and design tips for your home.

We welcome your feedback. Perhaps there’s something else you would you like to see in Sanctuary? Let us know on FacebookTwitter or by email.

Latest articles
Energy upgrade: From 1 to 7 Star

Energy upgrade: From 1 to 7 Star

Danielle King and her partner were keen to find a way to measure the impact of their renovation, and she explains what they did to improve their 1 Star home into one with a 7 Star energy rating.

Read more
Lessons learnt

Lessons learnt

Five years ago we featured a house in the Currumbin Ecovillage on the Gold Coast that was designed using three pavilions to accommodate two households in a co-housing arrangement. How is their experiment evolving? We revisit to find out.

Read more
Back to basics

Back to basics

Good design need not be expensive – as architect Andrew Kerr demonstrates with his Tassie ‘apple crate shack’ built to 7.1 Stars on a $100k budget.

Read more
More news
See the Electric Vehicle Expo photos

See the Electric Vehicle Expo photos

Thousands of people enjoyed a fun day exploring the present and future of green transport at the Electric Vehicle Expo in Melbourne.

Read more
Energy efficiency move a good start

Energy efficiency move a good start

The Federal Government’s $67 million commitment for energy efficiency is welcome, but much more needs to be done.

Read more
Guaranteeing energy supply

Guaranteeing energy supply

Watch Dr Kerry Schott AO speaking on Energy Supply in a Changing Market at a recent public meeting of Renew's Melbourne Branch.

Read more