Small house with some big design ideas

Living in Sweden as a teenager opened Zoe Damman’s eyes to the fact that when it comes to house design, bigger doesn’t mean better.

“The way they think about space and use space is so different,” she said.

Ms Damman’s home is testament this love of clever design in small spaces. It has everything she needs – all contained in an eight-metre by nine-metre building.

The open-plan house, with a separate bedroom and bathroom, was built from revolutionary Green Energy Bricks. 

“I think my house was only about the 30th in Victoria built using them,” Ms Damman said. “They are a very new product.”

Offering the strength of bricks without the weight, Green Energy Bricks have a high insulation rating, with a polyisocyanurate foam core and magnesium oxide board exterior. Ms Damman said the product cut down on construction time and costs. It took just one carpenter to bring her design to life.

Internally, the kitchen was sourced from a Port Fairy house undergoing renovations, there are also low-flow taps and LED lighting.

The home is completely off the grid, with a solar panel system powering the cottage, another house on the site and a shed.

Ms Damman has been living in the home for more than a year now, watching the seasons come and go in comfort thanks to the passive heating and cooling design. Large north-facing double glazed windows make the most of the sunlight. Clerestory windows help with ventilation and there is no need for airconditioning. In winter, a small but efficient Eurofire heater keeps the home cosy.

While it currently caters for one person, Ms Damman said her cottage could easily be modified, in true Swedish style, to cater for more residents. 

The home, at 66 Atkinsons Lane, Illowa, is open to the public for Sustainable House Day on Sunday, 10am-4pm.

Other homes open on Sunday are:

  • The Woollen Mill House, 6 Milloo Place, Warrnambool.
  • Mill House 2, 13 Jedburgh Way, Warrnambool.
  • Hydronic Cottage, 8 Henna Street, Warrnambool.
  • Cudgee Earthship, Lot 6 Hallowells Road, Cudgee.

Entry is by gold coin donation.


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