How to achieve an architectural home design on a modest budget

Cedar cladding, a large double-height living space and a strong uncomplicated lines are features of this new home in a bush setting

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Kelk Photography
Fresh angle  this home by house designer cottage, farmhouse, home, house, log cabin, plant, real estate, shed, siding, tree, green, black
Fresh angle this home by house designer Cameron Grindlay of Dwelling Architectural Design has a strong, simple roofline, a reflection of the design philosophy behind the architectural yet affordable design

The complex balancing act between meeting a budget and your quality of home and lifestyle starts right from the outset. When architectural designer Cameron Grindlay drew up the plans for this home he engaged a quantity surveyor to ensure the design was affordable, and so viable.

"The budget influenced the evolution of this house in several ways," says Grindlay. "The bush-covered site is a generous 3000m² but the ground slopes away steeply, with only about 400m² of buildable land in the area where the owners wanted the home."

With feasibility assured, Grindlay designed the home's garage area to sit on a concrete slab on the buildable area, but set much of the rest of the home on poles. This was not just an affordable construction method, it also allowed for sheltered storage space under the house.

"Designing an architectural house on a close budget requires strategic choices along the way. Part of the principal here was to spend more on prominent features and slightly less where things were of a lower emphasis," says Grindlay. "The warm-look cedar cladding was not cheap, but it sets up the character of the whole home, not to mention being in keeping with the setting. Balancing this natural surface, we used affordable black metal roofing material on the street-facing facade and in a different treatment on the double-garage door."

The house is set well back from the street and while the garage end is the first glimpse you have of the home, when you're actually there and out on the generous deck it's the cedar-clad, articulated side of the home that's on show.


From this homes side entry, the interior steps architecture, ceiling, countertop, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, window, wood, white
From this homes side entry, the interior steps up slightly to the bedrooms loosely following the lay of the land.

Another leading aspect of this house is the window design and the glazing itself.

"The windows were an important part of the design, look and function of the home. With such large expanses of glass, we had to be savvy about heat control. As a result, the window systems feature above-spec thermally broken frames, and Low-E double glazing."

Grindlay says the close attention to design detail further animates the facade. Elements like having windows stepped in from the cedar or a full-height run of vertical cladding separating glazing panels all adds interest.

The driving concept of spending most of the budget where it will have the biggest impact is continued inside. The airy double-height living, dining and kitchen space is the hub of the home and so is naturally where the most time is spent.

"It required additional reinforcing to achieve this grand double-volume space, including the use of steel portals. This is all hidden away in the walls except for one point where it surfaces outside, under the roof line. In that instance, we clad the structural beam in cedar, so it disappears completely keeping the cladding simple in cedar and black metal."

This home by Dwelling Architectural Design takes its architecture, backyard, cottage, facade, farmhouse, home, house, property, real estate, siding, yard, white
This home by Dwelling Architectural Design takes its material cues from the surrounding landscape.

And the cedar cladding is celebrated on the inside too, with boards rising right up to the ceiling in the double-height living space.

The kitchen is a feature within the living space and is finished in warm plywood and white laminate to connect with the surroundings.

"White and wood are predominant colours in this space with so much colour beyond the windows it was better to leave the interiors understated, to bring the outdoors in."

The architectural designer's heating solution for the home was another economical measure.

"We considered a heat pump but in the end decided upon an over-size woodburner for the living area with a wetback next to it," Grindlay says. "The system is linked to radiators in the modest bedrooms."

Oct 25, 2017

Credit list

C & J Building
Cedar weatherboards and Dimond LT7
Window joinery
Thermally broken, aluminium, from Design Windows
Metro Xtreme Rad with wetback to control system and radiators
Tristone solid surface acrylic, from McGrath Benchtop Solutions
Franke, from Oakleys Plumbing Supplies
Oven, induction cooktop, rangehood, dishwasher
Fisher & Paykel
Kitchen manufacturer
Lifestyle Kitchens
Dimond LT7
Gib board, plywood, vertical-dressed cedar
Kitchen cabinets
Laminate and plywood
Dorf, from Oakleys Plumbing Supplies
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA)





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