Exterior Image of House in Hovea Residences

Hovea Residence

The design brief called for a passive solar home to suit a hills location with a ‘barn like’ open plan to the living areas and low maintenance materials and finishes. Consideration had to be given to a laundry/ mudroom, an activity/ study area and plenty of under-cover deck area. An unusual request was for 2 guest bedrooms, both with an ensuite and a dormitory bedroom for the children.

The overall concept is of informal hills living with plenty of practical space.The house is located in the hills area of Perth Western Australia at the bottom of a low sloping valley. There is a winter creek running through the property with an outlook to the south down to the creek. The building is basically rectangular in shape along an east / west axis. The living areas are located on the south side of the building to take advantage of the outlook sloping down to the creek.

To provide northern sun into these spaces, the building was split open on the eastern end to create a semi-enclosed courtyard. This allows for winter sun into the Kitchen / Dining areas and natural light into the Main Bedroom and Entry passage. The Decked courtyard is also a semi-sheltered space to sit and catch early morning sun and provides access from the carport to the kitchen. Summer sun is controlled by a removable sail shade over this deck.

Northern sun to the main living area is provided via a large roof light, with aluminium louvres over allowing low angle winter sun into this space, but blocking the high angle summer sun. Diffused light in summer and raking ceilings give this space a light and airy feeling. A large roof light with aluminium louvres over the passage to the bedrooms wing provides both natural light and allows warm winter sun to penetrate into this space.


Good cross-ventilation is achieved in the living areas with the splitting open of the building plan and the remainder of the house being no more than two rooms deep. Timber decking to the south side and north/east side of the building provide outdoor living areas. The south side decking has a series of gabled roofs over providing year round protection.

The construction is concrete slab on ground with cavity brick walls and some timber framed walls insulated and clad with custom orb zincalume, with a custom orb zincalume roof. Face brick and custom orb have been used for low maintenance.A heat pump water heater provides energy efficient hot water and a rainwater tank is coupled with the water mains to provide all the water needs.

The majority of the timber from the original demolished house was re-milled and used in the new house, such as Jarrah beams re-milled for bedroom robe framing, skirting, architraves, and handrails. Floorboards were salvaged and re-used in the bedrooms of the new house.

The kitchen and laundry cabinets are manufactured from re-cycled Oregon with re-cycled Jarrah benchtops to the kitchen. All the internal timber doors and the entry door are salvaged and stripped back and sealed with a clear finish.