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A Different Kind Of 'Tree House'

Architecture

According to the Victorian era language of flowers, magnolias symbolise dignity and nobility. In China, magnolias are connected with feminine energy and ‘gentleness’. Today’s home, designed by Green Sheep Collective, finds a new architectural language for the magnolia – one of sustainability and beauty.

We chat to director Shae Parker McCashen about how the backyard magnolia tree inspired the design of this spectacular house in Fairfield, Victoria, and informed the passive solar design principles of the home.

9th November, 2018

Welcome to indoor/outdoor living in the Magnolia Soul house. Photo – Emma Cross.

The home has a small footprint, but a big impact. Photo – Emma Cross.

An elevated extension brings light and space to the property. Photo – Emma Cross.

Designed for all seasons. Photo – Emma Cross.

Dappled light floods the living room. Photo – Emma Cross.

The new design encourages plenty of outdoor relax time. Photo – Emma Cross.

Peek through the Magnolia Soul home. Photo – Emma Cross.

A sleek and cool bathroom in an environmentally conscious home. Photo – Emma Cross.

Lucy Feagins
Friday 9th November 2018

The design for the Magnolia Soul house came from ‘the stunning magnolia x soulangeana tree located in the client’s backyard’ explains Shae Parker McCasher, director of Green Sheep Collective. Shae describes how the house was designed to showcase the tree’s changing foliage throughout the seasons, while also embodying passive solar design principles. As the tree cyclically blooms and rejuvenates, the house echoes these changes through clever window positioning, double glazing, thermal mass and insulation.  The beauty of being green!

The angled ceiling and high window in the apex of the roofline offer a framed view of the tree through the seasons, as well as allowing soft dappled light into the centre of the home. The residents can nestle into the window seat to relax, read, ‘admire the flowering magnolia or sit at the edge of the garden’ Shae enthuses. The living room space is sunken, increasing the thermal mass of the home, in addition to creating what Shae describes as a ‘playful step, that doubles as informal seating between the deck and dining area.’

The brief for this home was to generate a ‘warm, robust and pet-friendly extension, which celebrates the mature magnolia tree and maximises the garden area’ Shae describes. This informed the strategy for designing efficient and highly functional internal spaces, with a small building footprint and emphasis on the garden.

The Magnolia Soul property places the environment at the forefront of the design, both through the sustainable design ethos, and the focus on the tree as the heart of the home. Shae explains that the design is intended to be ‘unique, robust and exciting, a space that people want to live in, maintain and cherish for years to come.’ The perfect space for this family and their much-loved magnolia tree to grow together, over time.

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