Photos by Jacqueline Bosscher
Strawbale House, Alpine Victoria
We will be renovating this amazing house in Taungurung country, Alpine Victoria, over a few stages. The house has steel wall and skillion roof structures, with straw bale walls that are finished in a natural lime plaster (inside + out), giving it a hand-sculpted form. A terracotta Colorbond roof has been manipulated to meet the undulating plaster walls. Internally, ceiling lines are mainly Ash timber battens, flooring is a mix of bamboo boards and terracotta tiles, double-glazed window/door frames are made of reclaimed timber from the old Port Adelaide wool stores. A generous hardwood deck snakes around the perimeter of the house.
The first stage involves some improvements to make the house more liveable, whilst a second stage will involve replanning the layout of the centre of the house where the kitchen, laundry, walk-in-pantry and main bathroom will be rearranged and fully refitted. A new entry zone will be created, and new master ensuite, new guest bathroom and sauna area designed and fitted.
The first stage includes lining some unfinished ceilings and walls and painting them with no-VOC bio paint. Bathrooms will have new Apaiser basins installed. New super efficient tapware and electrical appliances will be installed that will not drain this off-grid property of power/water. A heating system combining heat pump and radiators will be planned and installed that keeps the house all-electric whilst bringing comfort during the cold months of snow. New feature lighting will give the spaces better light and a quick 'facelift'.
It also includes the wonderful task of sourcing furnishings for the entire house. Vintage Scandinavian designer sofas and dining table have been matched with vintage designer chairs and there are a scattering of second hand coffee tables, some custom-designed bench seats and new beds. Rugs and blankets throughout the house will bring much needed softness and warmth.
The second stage is in the planning and will be implemented in the second half of 2023. A third stage to turn an out-building into holiday accommodation is also in the pipes. Watch this space!
Sustainable elements & materials
• Strawbale construction with natural lime plaster
• LED lighting, paper pendant light fittings from Cult/Formakami/Hay
• Apaiser basins made from 90% crushed, reclaimed marble + local stone + resin
• Low flow water + super efficient electrical appliances, including a 6-star rated Hisense fridge with inverter technology
• Natural, no VOC bio paint
• Fair Trade 100% wool rugs from Armadillo + West Elm, Fair Trade 100% cotton rugs from IKEA
• Vintage + second hand furniture finds include: Borge Mogensen Scandinavian timber lounge, a pair of IKEA leather sofas, a Tulip dining table by Eero Saarinen, Kartell Philippe Starck + Bouroullec brothers chairs, French timber dining chairs, timber coffee tables, stools + outdoor setting
• 100% recycled wool blankets from Koskela/The Tartan Blanket Co. + St Albans 100% mohair blankets