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project features

  • Accessible design. For future mobility.
  • Celebrating life. Our clients' lives at the project's heart.
  • Context matters. Form and materials influenced by environment.
  • Zoned use. Home expands for guest accommodation.
  • Climate ready. Eco Friendly passive design principles for all-season comfort.




  • Contextually respectful design solution in the Castlemaine hinterland
    Contextually respectful design solution in the Castlemaine hinterland
  • 'Librarian in her sewing room making a dress' - the core of the home
    'Librarian in her sewing room making a dress' - the core of the home

In this project, ‘Librarian in her sewing room making a dress’, we challenge the notion of downsizing. We see downsizing as re-focus rather than reduction. We challenge the notion that later stages of life should be about shedding – moving from smaller to smaller box. Instead of culling space and parting from belongings, we strongly believe that a new environment can celebrate life.

We started with an investigation into the current and anticipated life of our clients and encouraged them to adjust the brief and re-focused on the things that matter. What are not only the needs but also the opportunities of a couple heading into retirement? Their home needs to be retreat, but offer opportunities for communing with visiting family and friends. Hobbies like gardening, sewing, reading and valued items that may have been collected over a lifetime are to be accommodated. Universal design principles for future needs and assisted living requirements were important considerations.

Our design solution was to ensure the house can be used comfortably by two people. It is zoned into three areas on the main level: communal, retreat and a downstairs guest wing. The communal space allows for meals and gatherings. The retreat wing, with sewing room, bedroom, study and lookout, is separated from the communal space through a breezeway. The guest living area and bedroom are downstairs – easily closed off when not in use.

As new residents to the Castlemaine region, we offered the couple a home that is contextually respectful: that not only enhances the local site and landscape context, but also responds to the local architectural vernacular. The spirit and character of the new home should also be informed by the challenging climatic conditions.