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A Relocated Edwardian Home Gets A Sustainable Second Chance

Sustainable Homes

Believe it or not, this charming regional Victorian home was originally a smaller abode situated in the streets of inner Melbourne.

Sustainable property developers Melbourne Vernacular had been ‘tracking land parcels’ in regional centres when they discovered the single-fronted Edwardian was up for grabs in Caulfield South.

They eagerly took on the mammoth task of relocating the period abode from its skinny suburban block to the growing town of Woodend — transforming it into a stylish and sustainable, 7-star masterpiece in the process!

18th July, 2022

Meet Ramble House! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The beautiful home is the result of a mammoth collaboration between Melbourne Vernacular, building designers Altereco, sustainable builder Enerhau and home relocators, Moving Views. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The historic home was salvaged from an old site in Caulfield South. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The project retained about 80 per cent of the original home. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

‘Our purpose with Melbourne Vernacular has always been to celebrate and protect Melbourne’s period architecture, while challenging what is possible in terms of sustainability and home performance,’ developer Scott says. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Inside the reconfigured abode. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Light-filled and liveable. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Most of the kitchen was retained in the renovation, after being installed in 2010. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

‘We chose the final site for this project because it is 300 metres from the VLine station in Woodend and 500 metres from the centre of town. We were creating regional housing that was an affordable alternative to Melbourne but staying true to our commitment to walkability, which is fundamental for the growth of community.’ Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The home is oriented so that windows in living spaces face north or northwest. This ensures that it receives passive solar heating from the low sun in winter time. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Period detailing like fireplaces offer plenty of charm. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The house is also zoned with a double glazed glass sliding door between living areas and bedrooms. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Custom hinged window screens allow for summer ventilation to all rooms. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The new configuration also includes two guest bedrooms, a large main, a versatile gallery space and two separate living areas. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The contemporary bathroom. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The project proves sustainable, recycled homes don’t have to compromise on style! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

A look into the green surrounds. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

The expansive backyard is one of the main benefits of its new block. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Now, a new family can enjoy the home’s regional lifestyle and updated design of a Melbourne home. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Editorial styling – Belle Hemming. Interior styling/staging – Barbara Hansford Interior Design

Christina Karras
Monday 18th July 2022

‘We were able to recycle 80-90 per cent of a home, and give a piece of Melbourne’s architectural history a new lease on life’ – Scott Thompson

Before this elegant period home was relocated and renovated by sustainable property developers Melbourne Vernacular, it could’ve been destined for demolition. The owner had sold it to her neighbours in 2018 who planned to extend their garden and create a studio on the block.

‘Luckily for us, and the home’s new occupants in Woodend, the neighbours were wise enough to put it up for relocation before it was demolished,’ developer Scott Thompson says.

He and his wife Leanne were keen to create more environmental and liveable housing in Victoria’s thriving regional towns, but recognised construction costs were the main barrier to taking advantage of these regional infill sites.

So when they discovered the single-fronted Edwardian in Caulfield South, Scott and Leanne jumped at the chance to give the home a second life through an alternative method of development — relocation. They secured the home for $160,000 via home relocating business, Moving Views.

‘The original home was a good candidate for relocation as it had had a basic but thorough renovation in approximately 2010,’ Scott adds. The works featured new double-glazed windows, insulation, hardwood floors and kitchen cabinetry, which were all able to be retained, lowering the cost of the additional renovation in 2021.

‘Another benefit was the home’s external paving,’ he says. ‘We were able to pull up and clean (thanks to our friends who helped on working bees!) approximately 5000 original Melbourne red bricks that were reused in the renovation at the home’s new site.’

But moving the home was still a massive challenge. There was a small window of time to get the home off its current site, and Scott and Leanne had not found a new block for the project yet. The couple were in negotiations with four different properties in four different councils before they settled on an ideal parcel of land in Woodend, with a train station just 400 metres away.’

The resulting Ramble House was a collaborative effort between Melbourne Vernacular, building designers Altereco, sustainable builder Enerhaus, and Moving Views. They employed passive design principles, creating a reimagined front roofline and an overall extension of the home.

Most notably, the house transitioned to being all-electric, designed to keep power bills to an absolute minimum. Environmental additions such as a 15kw solar panel array (with capacity to produce 300 per cent of the energy the house will consume), hydronic heating driven by an 17kW heat pump and a 10,000 litre rainwater storage tank helped earn the house its impressive 7-star NatHERS rating. There’s also an electric car charger!

Inside, they kept to a traditional mix of period materials including recycled red bricks, emu wire, Australian hardwoods, weatherboards and corrugated iron, while the historic exterior remains ‘classy’ and ‘timeless.’

‘Our renovations and additions were squarely focused on addressing the market for a regional alternative to living in Melbourne,’ Scott explains. ‘We extended it and gave it the larger footprint that many people in Melbourne wish they had but would never be able to afford.’

‘The uptake of all-electric homes and the protection of architectural heritage are foremost priorities for us, and this project ticks those boxes in a major way. We were able to recycle 80 to 90 per cent of a home, and give a piece of Melbourne’s architectural history a new lease on life.’

Learn more about Melbourne Vernacular here.

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net