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
Ask our experts: Architects Declare Australia

Ask our experts: Architects Declare Australia

The Architects Declare Australia movement, launched last year in response to the growing climate emergency (see Sanctuary 49), now has nearly 900 signatories. One of the commitments is the inclusion of life cycle analysis to measure and reduce the carbon impact of design and construction projects; we asked Clinton Cole of Sydney’s CplusC Architectural Workshop to explain what his practice is doing to contribute to positive change in this area in alignment with their pledge.

Read more
Design workshop: Down by the river

Design workshop: Down by the river

Having lived in their beloved riverside suburb of Melbourne for ten years, Rowan Doyle and Fiona Cock are planning an updated, more flood-resilient home to accommodate changing family needs. They are interested in prefabrication and Passive House; Sven Maxa of Maxa Design is knowledgeable about both, and gives them some pointers.

Read more
Where there’s smoke: Protecting yourself from air pollution at home

Where there’s smoke: Protecting yourself from air pollution at home

Traditional approaches to good indoor air quality centre around materials that don’t off-gas, indoor plants and an abundant supply of fresh external air – but what if it’s not so fresh? Building scientist Jenny Edwards looks at what you can do when the outside air is hazardous, as was the case in many parts of the country this past summer.

Read more
More news
Sustainable House Day shifts to a virtual event for 2020

Sustainable House Day shifts to a virtual event for 2020

Sustainable House Day is going online for September 2020.

Read more
Get 10% off subscriptions for Mother’s Day!

Get 10% off subscriptions for Mother’s Day!

Treat your mother to the one gift you know she won't recycle - a subscription to Renew or Sanctuary magazine!

Read more
Supporting a national home ratings and disclosure plan

Supporting a national home ratings and disclosure plan

Renew's comments on government home rating tools and the path to mandatory disclosure of home energy performance.

Read more