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A Pioneering Sustainable Home Is For Sale In Fitzroy North

On The Market

To say 20 Woodhead Street, Fitzroy North was ahead of its time is an understatement. Designed by Zen Architects, the sustainably-focused property was built 20 years ago to inspire a new generation of inner-city Australian housing, with a Japanese-inspired garden and solar panels that were incredibly rare at the time. 

Two decades on, the original owners are now onto their next chapter, meaning this innovative four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with its own Japanese bath house is for sale!

28th March, 2022

20 Woodhead Street, Fitzroy North, designed by Zen Architects, is for sale. Photo – Joel Noon

The sustainably-focused property was built 20 years ago to inspire a new generation of Australian housing. Photo – Joel Noon

Natural light streams in from north and west facing windows. Photo – Joel Noon

Living spaces are free-flowing with high ceilings, timber accents, and polished concrete. Photo – Joel Noon

The two-storey floor plan separated living and sleeping areas. Photos – Joel Noon

Sliding doors seamlessly link to a sunny outdoor deck in the Japanese-inspired garden. Photo – Joel Noon

The Japanese-inspired garden contains lush foliage, ponds, outdoor seating, and a vegetable patch all designed by Damon Fuhrer Landscapes. Photo – Joel Noon

The Japanese bath house looking out to the garden! Photo – Joel Noon

The north-facing outdoor deck. Photo – Joel Noon

All this is just a five minutes stroll from Edinburgh Gardens, trams on St Georges Road, and Rushall Station. Photo – Joel Noon

City views from the upper-storey deck! Photo – Joel Noon

Amelia Barnes
Monday 28th March 2022

‘Many of these principles have gone on to be the standard in energy-efficient houses today’ 

Back in 2002, ‘sustainable housing’ was barely a concept. With only 118 solar energy systems in the country just one year prior, those interested had to be incredibly proactive and dedicated to include these new technologies in their homes.

Fortunately this interest paid off for home owners Glen and Michelle who are now selling their sustainably-focused family house in Fitzroy North after 20 years. 

Designing this house was a seminal project for Zen Architects. The practice had been researching and creating sustainable homes for 10 years prior, but none that achieved the lofty sustainability targets of this particular project.

‘It changed everything we did from there on and still inspires,’ says Ric Zen, design director of Zen Architects. ‘The clients collaborated and enabled us to put together a comprehensive approach to sustainable design in a heritage area…which had not been done prior.’ 

Director of Truewood Constructions Paul Jenkins similarly recalls the significance of this home as a local leader in sustainable design. ‘Sustainable building practice up until the early 2000s was minimal,’ he says. ‘In partnership with the owners and Zen Architects, we were able to create a truly high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing, and energy-efficient sustainable home. Many of these principles have gone on to be the standard in energy-efficient houses today.’ 

The four-bedroom, three bathroom home incorporates passive design principles, solar panels, two 5000-litre water tanks for rainwater harvesting, and a grey water system.

The house takes up less than half of the 368 square metre block, with the remainder dedicated to a Japanese-inspired garden containing ponds, outdoor seating, and a vegetable patch all designed by Damon Fuhrer LandscapesThe best seat in the house to admire the lush outdoor space is from the Japanese bath house surrounded by curving glass panes – another feature you won’t find in many Melbourne homes! 

Living spaces are free-flowing with high ceilings, timber accents, and polished concrete floors. Three bedrooms plus a study area are situated on the upper storey; two with access to their own small deck; and the main with a large deck, city views, en suite, and walk-in wardrobe. 

All this is just a five minutes stroll from Edinburgh Gardens, trams on St Georges Road, and Rushall Station. Add to this two sheds and lock-up parking accessed via a rear laneway,  and you have one remarkable inner-city home!

20 Woodhead Street, Fitzroy North VIC 3068 is listed with Arch Staver and David Sanguinedo at Nelson Alexander Fitzroy and will go to auction on Saturday April 9 at 1pm. Take a look at the full listing.

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