The choice to move into an eco village had its challenges along the way, but once this family found the right design and builder to suit their unusual block, it was a fast build and a smooth process.
Living in an eco village is not just about minimising the environmental footprint of your home, but also about adapting your lifestyle to become more communal. For southern suburbs couple Tim Paul and Naomi Hughes it was the sense of community that drew them to build a family home in the Aldinga Arts Eco Village.
"We love the vibe and the community in this area, and I believe we have one of the best beaches the Fleurieu has to offer," Naomi says. Living with their children Ryder, 11, and Seren, 2, plus Rex the dog, Baxter the cat and Buddy the bearded dragon, the family wanted a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home that worked with their lifestyle and their conscious choice to minimise their environmental impact.
"We really wanted a good sense of space with open areas that could also be closed off for privacy," Naomi says. Their home also needed a private home office for Naomi's therapy work as a transpersonal counsellor. "We also really wanted a separate children's wing where they had their own space with their own bathroom," she says.
When searching for a builder, the couple needed to consider the Eco Village's requirements and the shape of their unusual allotment, which initially proved difficult. "Our block is kind of like a sloped trapezoid with the widest part being at the bottom, it was a little tricky to get (a house) to fit well and as a consequence we have an odd shaped yard - but with all the common land around us we didn't mind at all," Naomi says.
The couple started looking at Gallery Living's designs which are all planned with good orientation and cross ventilation in mind. Originally falling in love with Gallery Living's Picasso design, Naomi says they couldn't quite get the design to work with their allotment despite their best efforts.
"We just loved the Picasso and no matter what we did we just could not get it to fit on to the block," she says. "Years ago I also fell in love with a Longridge home and this is Gallery Living's adaptation of that design, (the Warhol 245), now with our slight adaptations."
The family's customised Warhol 245 has a unique floorplan that looks like an H shape, with two main wings on either side of the entrance which sits in the middle of the design, adjacent a central lounge that looks out to the backyard. The design has four bedrooms along one wing, plus a study and two bathrooms, and a discreet laundry. The other wing houses the double garage and a long, large living zone comprising the dining room, kitchen and another lounge.
After settling on the design, the couple say they found Gallery Living were very flexible with modifications to ensure their build met the requirements of the Eco Village standards. "Our designer had an interest in energy efficiency and as soon as we had our first meeting we knew we were in good hands," Naomi says.
These requirements included the installation of non-PVC pipes, a minimum 20,000 litres of rain water storage and only using sustainable building materials, along with other recommendations such as north-facing living spaces, good crossflow ventilation, solar energy and double glazed windows.
With a fast build time of only four months, the family found Gallery Living to be extremely accommodating to any requests for changes. "Our designer and site supervisor were both very accommodating to our needs and also great at outlining the issues involved if something wasn't possible," Naomi says.
Having lived in the property for more than 12 months, the family has completely settled into their new way of life at the Eco Village and are over the moon with the finished result. 'We all have our space and we can all come together in these spaces, the house has a great balance of functionality, aesthetics and comfort that suits everyone," Naomi says.
"It's very comfortable and always gives that real sense of coming home when we pull into the driveway."
Find out more about the Warhol 245
Want a home with a soaring ceiling, an urban cafe aesthetic and as low maintenance as possible? Take a look at Gallery Living's Terrace 200 design
I t's not often you get to be impressed by a 6m-high ceiling. And impressive it is. That's the beauty of a two-storey home there's space to play with and even if this is upward and not outward, there's a sense of luxury as you arch your neck, look up and see dappled light bouncing off the ceiling high above you.
I'm at Lightsview at the western end of the suburb, visiting Gallery Living's new Terrace 200, a 201sqm three-bedroom terrace home which fits snugly on one of the compact blocks in this popular new-build locale.
While a terrace home can never be compared to a conventional family design, this style of compact home is as much about the attitude, location and lifestyle as it is about the square metreage. The 6m high ceiling is a great counter balance to the scale of this design as the entry void is in fact higher than this home is wide.
At 5.5m wide and 22.5m deep, the Terrace 200 is designed to take up the entire width of a high density block. "Gallery Living has 10 standard Terrace and Duplex homes in our 'Urban Range' which are designed for making the most of your investment on narrow-blocks in higher-density land," Gallery Living's sales manager Russell Slater says."The Terrace 200 is perfect for narrower lots that are becoming more prevalent in new land estates and through our more established suburbs.
"The home demonstrates how clever design adds value and gives the feeling of a generous family-sized home as you walk through. " And that's exactly what that void does on entry. As you look up the stairs or walk down them, there's a clear view to the outdoors so you feel like there 's a heap of space around you. Downstairs, a long hall to the right leads to the home's living area plus a couple of outdoor terraces, while upstairs you'll find three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a study space, all with large picture windows.
What I love best about terrace homes is how architects and interior designers cram all the features of a bigger home and make them work, somehow compactly, into a functional and creative design to suit those who want a low maintenance lifestyle - or perhaps no garden to tend to. "It all comes down to design ," Russell says. "Terrace buyers shouldn 't have to compromise on storage or spacious light-filled areas and great design integrates wow features that make all the difference to the way a home feels.
"All of our homes have been designed to improve lifestyles and the Terrace 200 embodies this spirit." This sleek home also surprises with a bold focal point. The living/dining and kitchen area is a hub that sits in between an internal courtyard and another courtyard at the rear. But the focus here is on the timber clad wall that frames the built-in booth dining zone. With its lowered ceiling, a long bench seat and dining table, there 's enough seating to fit 8-10 people easily.
The wall features the same material as used on the floor, QuickStep's Variano in Royal Grey Oak, and it's a striking feature with a beautiful tone. The dining area is practical as well, maximising the space to its best advantage. There 's further seating at the kitchen's island bench too. Shown in cool concrete tones, timber veneer and white, the kitchen is a full size galley style and certainly not compact. It has a heap of storage and when I say that I mean it probably has more kitchen storage than the average home with clever combinations of super deep shelves, narrow ones for spices and everyday essentials, tall cupboards, plus bi-fold doors hiding even more storage and open shelving for your favourite items.
Drawers are soft close, so they get a tick, and there's room for the microwave within the island. The storage zone continues along the hallway where behind a bank of bi-fold doors reveal a European-style laundry neatly tucked behind. It's a good size, with room for a washer and dryer, a sink and more cupboards. Next to this, yes, there's even more storage, this time under the stairs so it's ideal for seasonal items such as the Christmas tree or Halloween decorations.
"There is no wasted space in the Terrace 200 and all the 'transitional' spaces of passages and stairwells have been used to also include storage options," Russell says. "This maximises every available square metre and also locates all storage in conveniently accessible locations." Two outdoor courtyards also create impact, both for the light they bring into the home as well as allowing homeowners somewhere to sit outdoors in the sunshine.
"One of the best features of the Terrace 200 is the central courtyard that brings light and a sense of space - a rare find in standard terrace designs, which creates the perfect private outdoor space to relax in," Russell says. Upstairs, you'll find there 's even more storage with linen cupboards, built-in open shelving for books, plus a wardrobe in each of the three bedrooms. The media area is good use of space and flexible in that it could be adapted to suit a home office through to a place for kids to study or play games.
At the front , the master bedroom is generous with a pleasant private balcony to enjoy. The smart, modern ensuite and main bathroom sit either side of the lightwell and look down over the courtyard , and with nice long windows for good light my only tip is you may want to add some blinds for privacy.
On the facade, Gallery Living's use of the latest building materials means your home won't look like every other house on the street , Russell says. "Lightweight construction coupled with design that promotes natural light and open space, means your home will stand out for all the right reasons - and will outperform other options from an energy efficiency perspective," he says.
"You have a large amount of flexibility in terms of fixtures and fittings for the home, and also using different materials and colour options for the facade of the home to add your personal touches." In my mind, the Terrace 200 will suit a host of different people, from first-home buyers through to retirees to investors.
"The design works well for investors who are subdividing allotments or for owner-occupiers who are downsizing by knocking down their existing home and replacing it with two or more new homes," Russell says. While this home isn't open for weekly inspections, it is open any time by appointment.
"One of the best features of the Terrace 200 is the central courtyard that brings light and a sense of space - a rare find in standard terrace designs, which creates the perfect private outdoor space to relax in," Russell says.
The Sunday Mail Home Magazine
Find out more about the Terrace 200.
Room to spread out and enjoy an indoor/outdoor lifestyle
Families come in all shapes and sizes. So its lucky family home designs aren't all the same. Big families may want lots of bedrooms and separate living zones and a good-size garden, others may prefer open-plan living to share with children, and some may like the flexibility of two-storey designs which add valuable living space on smaller blocks.
Three bedrooms, plus study/fourth bedroom, two bathrooms, two living zones, courtyard, double garage design.
Why we like it:
When you have a design with a choice of outdoor areas directly off two main living zones, it's an immediate plus for parents who need to keep an eye on children, but want them to have the freedom to roam outside in a safe, secure environment. Well, the 263sqm size Monet 265 does just that.
It looks out to the internal courtyard from both the front lounge and the open -plan living, which also has the bonus of a rear-facing alfresco. This flexible three-bedroom home (ensuite to the master) also has the option of a fourth bedroom, which in the Mt Barker display is shown as a study, so there 's the choice to have more bedrooms if required or three living spaces if not.
Good storage is a family essential and is well integrated throughout, and the galley-style kitchen offers a huge island bench for casual meals, prep and entertaining will be a pleasure.
A kids' wing, large living zones, an energy efficient design and polished contemporary bathrooms are among the Monet 265's other bonus points.
The Sunday Mail Home Magazine
Find out more about the Monet 265.
Stand out from the flock in a Gallery Living Home
Gallery Living's Terrace 265 is a lesson in clean modern lines and generous use of glass gives a spacious feel to its urban footprint.
If you like an uncluttered and low-maintenance lifestyle, the modern design of Gallery Living's Terrace 265 will give you this in spades. The slim three-bedroom, two-storey terrace home is courtyard living at its finest - perfect for young families on the go or investors who want maximum impact with little effort
Despite its slim 7.5m width by 23.5m deep footprint , an abundance of natural light will be drawn into the home via large, wide windows and a well-placed internal courtyard.
On the lower level, a modern galley kitchen sits at the heart of the design and overlooks the long courtyard, bringing the outside in and adding to the feeling of light and space.
Large sliding doors leading from the kitchen and adjacent dining and lounge spaces (three sets of doors in total) to the alfresco area will make entertaining a breeze all year round and accommodate larger gatherings, whether it be sipping wine on a balmy summer night or sitting around a fire pit in the cooler months.
Upstairs there are three double bedrooms, all with built-ins, and a spacious main bathroom with bath. The master bedroom includes an ensuite and plenty of storage, and is cleverly positioned at the back of the home away from the other bedrooms creating a kind of adult retreat, with views out to the courtyard below.
A separate study is a must for professionals and offers flexibility with the floorplan for growing families. There is also an additional media space on the landing upstairs - a light-filled homework zone for kids to get busy on projects.
A double garage is positioned at the back of the property, so this design requires rear-lane access, but it means it doesn't interfere with the property's kerb appeal. A space efficient laundry, a wall of storage and a powder room are other inclusions off the garage.
The Sunday Mail Home Magazine
Find out more about the Terrace 265.
Energy efficiency and everyday practicality combine in the contemporary Picasso 250 design by Gallery Living
FEATURES YOU'LL LOVE
Niche work: In the family living. a niche streamlines the TV and entertainment unit creating direction for your furniture placement.
Light and appealing:
You'll enjoy how light the home feels and how naturally warm it is as well.
Height and style:
Who can go past the raked ceiling and the highlight windows.
When choosing a new home, it pays to think about the long-term. How expensive will the home be to heat in winter or to cool in summer? Will it have good light throughout the day, and will it make the most of the view or aspect you have? All things considered, finding an energy efficient design that will help reduce your longterm bills and create a nice living environment is an ideal combination.
So look no further than Gallery Living's Picasso 250 design. Contemporary in looks, with a high-pitched skillion roof, a wall of windows and doors and a longish design, the Picasso 250 is all about bringing eco living to suburbia. This is the largest Picasso in a range of size variations, and the 250 display home at Seaford Heights showcases the design with one side facing north and the garage - which is a separate building - angled slightly in line with the block's shape.
Inside there are three bedrooms, a study, two living areas and two bathrooms plus a pergola and walkway link to the double garage. On the outside the home has been dressed in whiteish -grey tones and just as many of us will wear light or white colours on hot days, it gives a cool, fresh impression.
The front door isn't immediately obvious from the street, and instead it sits back a little way, past the garage and front living room, with a side facing entry point. It's a feature I rather like as it gives that extra element of privacy - and it means you'll be able to leave the door open (security screen door still locked, of course!) to let sunlight or a breeze in without worrying that everyone going past can see inside your home.
The Picasso 250 does feel very private inside, with a series of long but narrow windows providing good light, and the focus is most definitely on the side-facing yard. The 15m-wide design is displayed on an angled block, but even on rectangular blocks, it will provide a decent-sized backyard behind the garage.
Its connection to the indoors via wide sliding doors and full-length windows is emulated throughout the design, with an easy flow of living zones along one side of the design and sleeping quarters running the length behind these main rooms. Gallery Living's sales manager, Russell Slater, says the Picasso 250 is one of the brand's most popular family homes.
"The Picasso design is a signature home for us and was designed to be a clever hybrid of highly energy -efficient 'eco' homes with the practicality of the modern family home," he says. "Energy -efficient home designs are rapidly emerging from niche interest to increasingly becoming a vital component of everyday family homes."
Built with lots of glass, high ceilings (2.7m rising to 3.Sm) and good insulation, and with louvre windows being used to their full advantage and for cross ventilation, the choice of materials for Gallery Living homes is one of the key differences of the brand, Russell says. "One of the principle benefits of avoiding using materials that retain heat for a long time - for example, concrete roof tiles and clay bricks - is that we can dramatically increase the glazing ratios of our living areas," he says.
"In winter this allows a large amount of light to stream in and warm the slab - the key thermal mass of the home. It's very rare for us to heat this home during winter days. "Also by using an external pergola with timber slats, we block the higher summer sun from coming through the northern windows, resulting in minimal use of air-conditioning. Plus, it's just lovely to live in an open, light home."
The Picasso 250's two living areas are a contrast: the front lounge is large but cosy, with lush carpet and black walls enveloping the space. It feels snuggly and nurturing, and is a space you would retreat to at night or in the middle of winter. The main open -plan zone is long, light and bright and extends from the entry hall, combining the dining, kitchen in the middle and family lounge at the rear. The pitched ceiling rises toward the external wall and it has amazing height, while the white walls and porthole windows add a coastal vibe to this long, leisurely space.
This large zone will be appreciated by families who want to keep an eye on children, whether they are doing homework, playing or watching TV, as well as those who like to entertain. "It's perfect for families - or families to be - who like modern, energy-efficient designs and who place a high value on comfortable living with direct flow from inside to outside," Russell says.
In the Seaford display, a decked area separate to the house has an outdoor barbecue kitchen. It's a nice change to find an alfresco away from the main building, and this represents one of the many upgrades you can opt for. It's still within line of sight of the kitchen, but that's not a hard task as the kitchen is enormous, with its long island bench dominating the open plan and being the heart of the space.
A double sided breakfast bar at one end gives you a casual eating area, and there's plenty of bench space and a bank of storage on the back wall. "Everything is open and designed to centre around the kitchen," Russell says. "The style is clean and angular, which perfectly captures the light as it streams in." Like the front lounge, a carpeted zone frames the family living and this is a clever way to keep feet warm when you 're relaxing on the couch.
The Sunday Mail Home Magazine
Find out more about the Picasso 250
The Terrace 305 by Gallery Living is a surprise package
which fits on a smaller block.
Gallery Livings' Terrace 305 design proves you can comfortably fit a three bedroom home on a terrace or small townhouse block.
And the two-storey design even has room for a hidden extra in the form of a large internal courtyard - a living and entertaining space contained within the home's walls which allows light to filter into every room.
Upon entry to the Terrace 305 a wide hall leads to a living area which opens on to the courtyard.
The kitchen and dining areas also open on to it making for a huge indoor, outdoor space in which to relax or host get-togethers with family and friends.
The kitchen which includes a generous-sized island bench also has a walk-in corner pantry, a convenient feature much like the powder room on the lower level.
There is also the added convenience of a door from the garage into the living area making unloading shopping or sporting equipment easier - and a door from the laundry to the outdoors so that hanging out the washing is a simpler task.
Upstairs the master bedroom is at the front with a built-in robe, double vanity ensuite with a bath and shower and balcony for mum and dad to sit back and enjoy the view.
The landing and hallway have large windows overlooking the courtyard.
A study or home office runs off that hallway which leads to the living area - again with a large window, with a view to the courtyard and leading to another passage.
That passage leads to bedrooms two and three at the rear and a split-galley bathroom, in which the toilet and vanity are separate from one another and a room with a shower and vanity - designed to make the morning rush less stressful for the whole family.
The Sunday Mail Home Magazine
Find out more about the Terrace 305.