Garrett House

Wan Country / Haberfield, NSW

Clients feel lucky to live in ‘clever’ sustainable house.

Garrett House

2010 Wan Country / Haberfield, NSW

A key aim of this project was to respect the heritage of both the original house and the surrounding heritage subdivision of Haberfield. Our clients very much appreciated the early 20th century heritage of their house and surrounds, including later changes, and wanted the new work to contribute to that in an early 21st century way – to express how they live both in the past, present and their aspirations for the future. As a result, the design process was an exploration and ongoing conversation about the notion of heritage, its conservation, creation, and the idea that heritage, like culture, is a living thing. It has a past, present and future.

Many parts of the existing house, and the lives of its occupants, are incorporated into the new work: recycled timbers, newspaper clippings, and family stories are all woven into the furnishing and fabric of the building. As with all of our projects we collaborated closely with our clients, a professional couple with two children, on all aspects of the design, particularly in working towards a sustainable outcome, another key objective of their design brief.

Important sustainable features include an 18,000L water tank; in-slab heating and domestic hot water sourced via heat from evacuated solar tubes on the roof (with instantaneous gas back-up); photovoltaic panels to offset electricity use; polished concrete floors and reverse brick veneer walls to provide thermal mass; double-glazed timber-framed windows and doors to minimise winter heat loss and summer heat gain; low-emissivity glazing to all eastern and western windows to minimise summer heat gain; ample cross ventilation; low energy lighting – and recycled timber throughout.

The new living rooms are pulled back from the existing building, separated by a central courtyard which is pivotal to the design – it provides light, winter sunlight, natural ventilation and a connection to outdoors for all of the new living areas. The gable roofs, a requirement of Council’s Heritage regulations, provided an opportunity to further provide natural daylight into the living spaces via large high level gable-end windows at three room ends.

“Max temp outside: 41c. Max temp inside: 29.5c. We feel lucky to live in such a clever house – thank you!”
Stephen – client 


2011 Houses Awards – High Commendation

Project Team

Sam Crawford, Karen Erdos, Jolyon Sykes


Tricon Constructions

Consultant Team

Structural – Simpson Design Associates, Andrew Simpson
Landscape – Melissa Wilson Landscape Architecture, Glenn Murray
Sculpture – Morgan Shimeld, sculptor
Hydraulic – Northrop
Land Surveyor – Daw & Walton
Quantity Surveyor – Donald Bayley




Brett Boardman