Every builder’s dream is to find a ‘clean slate’ to transform into their dream home. For Wade Builders’ Steven Wade and wife Margaret, it took many weekends of driving around regional Victoria and constantly searching the Internet to find their perfect block. But when they found an empty block in Winchelsea in 2018, it was all worth it.
‘As soon as we saw the land, we fell in love,’ Margaret says. ‘With the Barwon River running through our property, the beautiful grasslands, and views of the Otways, it was the perfect place to build our new home and to start our tree change.’
It was surrounded by farmland, yet still close to the local town, the beautiful beaches of the Surf Coast and not too far away from their family in Melbourne. The couple knew it was also a rare opportunity to ‘really think about how we could be more sustainable’.
Plus, ‘being off grid was also a way to be more cost effective’, Steve notes, with the newly built house running off a 10kW solar and battery system hidden inside a four-bay shed.
With Steve as the owner-builder, the couple enlisted Holman Designs for the building’s design, who integrated passive design elements that would limit its environmental footprint. They opted for polished concrete floors for the contemporary aesthetic and the thermal benefits, in addition to north facing double-glazed windows that take advantage of the winter sun and river views.
‘Our only water supply comes from the 150,000L rainwater tanks which capture the rain from the house and shed roofs,’ Steve says. ‘The elements also played a big part [in the home’s design], as it can get extremely windy down here, so we needed to create outdoor spaces where we could entertain no matter which way the wind was blowing.’
Margaret says ensuring the house had a ‘farmhouse kitchen with a butler’s pantry’ overlooking the living areas was another ‘must-have’. Inside, Mel Wilson Interiors curated a modern white palette, which complements the property’s classic large French doors, sliding barn doors and a Chiminees Philippe fireplace.
‘It has a relaxed feel as soon as your walk through the front door,’ Margaret adds. ‘We love the openness and the views from every room.’