A Melbourne house built over a creek

Earnshaw & Associates
Jeffery Street Eco-Friendly House

The completed rebuild of a unique, eco-friendly and highly energy efficient house in Melbourne has resulted in an extraordinary sustainable home in an exceptional setting. The design had to overcome many challenges – including a running creek prone to flooding. This house is located on Jeffery Street which is a National Heritage street in Blackburn known as one of the most unique native environments in residential Melbourne. The new, unique family home includes a four-bedrooms, three bathrooms, three living areas and an alfresco entertain space.

The original house was a 1950s flat roof home with big plate glass windows which was very modern for its time. Sadly the home had been neglected and needed to be demolished. The design of the new structure was done by Peter Earnshaw of Earnshaw & Associates. Within the design brief, there were two key elements. The first was to highlight the beautiful, natural surroundings and the second was to achieve good green credentials – both of which have been successfully realised by this project. A smart energy system uses moisture evaporating from the creek for cooling and distributes heat from the fireplace to warm the home. Landscaping with native plants, using recycled timber and stone elements from the original home also contributed to the good green credentials of this renovation.The home was built by award-winning builder, Anton Engelmayer from Calm Living Homes, an expert in building green and sustainable houses. The house has strong environmental sustainability merit, achieving the equivalent of a 10 Star Energy rating by being energy efficient, minimising ground surface disturbance, careful materials choices and low water use. The design incorporates natural materials such as stone. Combined with the neutral colours, the house blends into the environment and ensures the longevity of the design.


Taking advantage of the bushland setting and views, the master bedroom suite and living areas all feature large picture windows, creating an uninterrupted connection to the surroundings. Two corner windows are placed together in the lounge that looks onto the tree-lined creek, while sliding doors open up to the entertainment area and glide right back into the cavity for full access. The large, corner windows take full advantage of the north-east aspect and the view to the creek. The fact that the house is built over a constantly flooding creek created a unique challenge. According to Anton, everything that was a hindrance became an asset. “When the creek floods, the water comes right up underneath the house, so it appears to be floating on its own little island,” he says. This unique house won the Single House – New Dwelling category in the CIty of Whitehouse Built Environment Awards. It is a stunning, green and sustainable house in a very special location that has been enhanced by the design.

Builder: Calm Living Homes
Completion: 2017
Architects: Earnshaw & Associates
Lead Architect: Peter Earnshaw
Location: Blackburn, Melbourne
Awards: Single House – New Dwelling category in the City of Whitehorse 2017 Built Environment Awards
Images: Earl Carter
Practice Profile: With over 30 years of experience designing award winning homes and renovations from small lot developments, passive solar homes, through to period mansions Earnshaw & Associates have a vast variety of ideas, expertise and experience. Their practice focuses on private residences and aims to help their clients design their dream home.

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