The Apple Crate Shack On The Apple Isle!

$60,000 (sadly) doesn’t go very far when building a home. For Tasmanian architect Andrew Kerr, this was the entire ambitious budget for completing his own (modest) home at Flowerpot, in the Huon Valley outside of Hobart. 

While the final excel spread-sheet budget line came in at $103,000, this apple crate inspired property shows the potential of living large, with less. In a state suffering from a housing crisis, new models for housing are increasingly important for exploring affordable alternatives.

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

The Apple Crate Shack in Flowerpot Tasmania, designed by Andrew Kerr of AKA architects and built by R.B Edwards and Son. Photo – Jordan Davis.

Designed to an ambitious 60k budget, the final build costs came in at $103 000.  Photo – Jordan Davis.

This home is located in Flowerpot, in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. Photo – Jordan Davis.

The planter pots continue the ‘apple crate’ aesthetic. Photo – Jordan Davis.

Andrew used recycled materials where possible, including windows. Photo – Jordan Davis.

A small budget doesn’t need to mean any loss of comfort! Photo – Jordan Davis.

A reading nook. Photo – Jordan Davis.

A bath with a view! Photo – Jordan Davis.

Recycled bricks create an internal partition in the kitchen and living area. Photo – Jordan Davis.

Apple crate inspired cladding creeps out the side of the home. Photo – Jordan Davis.

Miriam McGarry
20th of August 2019

The Apple Crate Shack in Flowerpot (yes, it’s a real place) in Tasmania was designed by architect Andrew Kerr to a strict budget. The director of AKA Architects was creating his own home, and his primary design motivation was to ‘build a home I could afford.’ He charted his developments on his blog, 60K house, where he explore the idea of ‘adequacy – the design is guided by needs, not wants’, without compromising on comfort. 

While the final budget exceeded the 60k ambition, Andrew explains ‘this is a comfortable and stylish home that performs thermally very well, and uses very little power, built for only $103 000. There aren’t too many homes of this quality being produced around the country for that price.’

The home takes inspiration from the local Huon Valley fruit growing history, as the form of the building references ‘a series of stacked apple crates.’ The timber cladding was milled on site from felled trees, making the whole enterprise incredibly site specific. Andrew explains ‘short lengths of useful timber were the result’ which enables the ‘apple’ crate aesthetics. ‘The building is literally “of” the place.’ 

The tight budget necessitated resourcefulness and adaptive re-use of materials, including four large windows that were given to Andrew, second hand fixtures, and recycled bricks for the internal wall. The architect highlights ‘this experiment saved some money while providing the necessities and a chance to experiment.’ 

As both architect and client, Andrew was constantly challenged to consider what was a necessity and what was a luxury. Working closely with the builder also allowed for moments of creativity and inventiveness. As the owner, the joys of living in this dreamy bush block are the rewards of a considered approach to the design, where ‘it is immensely satisfying to return home during the colder months to a warm and welcoming solar-powered house, and to walk barefoot across the warm insulated polished concrete slab.’ 

Andrew reflects, ‘no building is perfect, but the Apple Crate Shack is nearly perfect for my needs.’ The hot indoor/outdoor shower under the stars sounds pretty perfect. 

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