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The design brief for this house built in 2015 called for an environmentally friendly house with a small ecological footprint. It had to be a design that would be easy to live in, comfortable, built to last, aesthetically beautiful, and utilise as many natural, non-toxic, and recycled materials as possible. It also called for maximizing the amount of space available for food growing. Our inspiration came from the seventh-generation and cradle-to-cradle principles. Additionally, we believed that the use of the community house would enable us to expand our living area and live closer in harmony with nature, which inspired us to build smaller.
Living in a smaller, well-designed home has proven to be easier to clean and maintain, as well as less expensive to heat and cool. Our lives have naturally become better as a result of simplifying and making more out of less. There is more time to spend with our loved ones, enjoy the outdoors, grow our own food, and engage in what we are passionate about. We have found this to be a wonderful way of living, and now someone else can also enjoy it.
To help keep things less cluttered around the house, there is a mudroom where you may leave all of your shoes, bags, and coats as you enter. In addition, it has an airlock that keeps heat and cold air out of the house.
It opens onto an airy living space that includes the kitchen and living room, with a high ceiling creating an impression of roominess. Plenty of storage space, a deep cast iron double sink, and a kitchen island with plumbing ready for a dishwasher are features of the natural timber-style kitchen. In addition, the kitchen island serves as a dining area. With floor-to-ceiling shelving and a benchtop for handling vegetables from the garden and preparing food for canning and fermentation, the walk-through pantry is located behind the kitchen.
The main rooms were all planned to utilize the available space as effectively as possible. The first two bedrooms are spacious enough to accommodate a desk and/or a place for yoga, meditation, or exercise and there are bifold doors in the guest room that can open up for additional living space, however, it could also be the perfect room for a 1st baby/childs room. The sofa bed in the living room can be split in two to provide extra seating or reconfigured to provide an additional spare bed for guests. The first bathroom is conveniently located between the two bedrooms, and both of the bedrooms feature built-in robes. Adjacent to the European laundry is another bathroom. An effective and passive approach to drying clothes throughout the winter is the interior ceiling clothesline with a pulley. No more clothes racks cluttering up the house.
The combustion heater provides for the home’s heating needs. It uses less wood than a traditional combustion heater and burns wood more efficiently due to its passive design. It also features a wood bin and a flat cooktop surface that is excellent for cooking on. (An oven top is part of the set; however, it is not pictured.) Because the panels on the combustion heater are interchangeable, you can purchase different coloured panels to alter the colour scheme.
Winter warmth and sunlight are abundant thanks to the large bedroom windows, the clerestory windows and the double-glazed glass sliding doors in the living room that face north. The house has good cross-ventilation, and the clerestory windows work with the lower windows to push hot air out and circulate cooler, fresh air throughout the space. There are also reverse ceiling fans installed. Hardwired Ethernet cabling has been installed in the guest/study room and bedrooms for those who are health-conscious, and power outlets have been positioned well away from bedhead spaces. Aluminium is used for all flyscreens. Inside, non-toxic oriented strand board (OSB), cob plaster, and strawboard adorn the walls and ceilings. Throughout the house, recycled marble, copper, and wood have been extensively used for benchtops, floors, basins, and handles. Mega-anchor foundations and Weathertex boards were used outside.
For indoor and outdoor living, the kitchen leads out onto the deck. The deck looks out over the gardens, bushland, and community house. There is potential for someone who wants to enclose the deck and expand their living area. Furthermore, since one of the other villagers recently expanded their home with a carport, there is also the possibility for someone to construct a carport in front of the house. Please note that both would still be subject to council and committee approval.
The garden is wonderfully diverse. There are over 40 different kinds of fruit trees and berries, numerous raised veggie beds, and a wide range of well-established herbs for cosmetic, culinary, and medicinal uses. There’s a small garden/woodshed and a 10,000-litre water tank for gardening purposes.
The village spans 2.2 hectares (5.5 acres) and has 26 homes. An owner’s corporation manages and is responsible for the common property. The owner’s corporation is limited to the common property which means that owners are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their lot. Each of the 26 lot owners owns an equal share of the common property.
Pets are welcome in Dulaiwurrong village, but they are subject to all standard local council regulations. In addition to the two designated visitor parking lots, parking is also available on Railway Parade’s no-thru road. There is potential for this property to be used as an investment because there are currently two houses in the village that are rented out.
Living in a community where people support, care for, share, and assist one another has been an amazing experience. Overall, food bills have decreased because we can grow our food and share in the abundance of community and garden produce. It’s fantastic to have ready access to fresh, organic, and homegrown food.
You walk down a path to access the community house and gardens. The gardens feature raised vegetable beds, composting, a hazelnut grove, a grassy space for the kids to play in, a small natural playground, and twelve different varieties of fruit trees and berries.
The community house hosts a weekly social gathering, a semi-regular bushland working bee, and a regular monthly working bee for the community gardens. Although participation in the committee and working bees is encouraged, people are free to engage as little or as much as they would like. The community house is an ideal spot to host parties and celebrate with loved ones because it has a kitchen, a pizza oven, barbecues, and an indoor and outdoor area.
For evening drinks and fireside conversations, the fire pit is wonderful. Within the village, there is also an art studio. It’s an inviting spot for both children and adults to play or create. Cross the road that encircles the village to arrive at Green Place Reserve, home to wallabies and a plethora of birdlife. Alternatively, continue through the bush and stop by the creek, where platypuses have been spotted.
Dulaiwurrong village has been described as a hidden gem. It is just a short walk to the train station, shops, cafes, and the Diamond Creek Trail. Central Eltham is just a four-minute drive away.
The iconic Eltham library, Edendale Farm, a weekly farmers market, a bustling cafe culture, and exciting music festivals are all nearby. Montsalvat is a seven-minute drive away. Numerous well-known Australian artists, both past and present, have been associated with Montsalvat. We look forward to your visit soon. For more information about this house and its surroundings, or if you would like a private inspection, please call or check out the open inspection times and dates.