How’s the serenity?
Careful planning and creative design have created an oasis of sustainable living in the bush, with form and function merging seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.
STORY: NICOLA CECCATO. PHOTOGRAPHY: MEGAN FISHER
Deep in Strathbogie Shire, out past Euroa, sits a home completely camouflaged by the surrounding dry Australian bushland.
Bare and plain on the outside, the home still exudes a quiet beauty — with its cement walls, timber garage doors and ornamental grapevine draping down the pergola.
Catherine and Guy Cameron bought the 162-hectare property in 2010, with the intention to keep the area as untouched as possible, protect the native species and highlight the natural beauty of the area.
“Part of the design was to hide the house in the landscape. When people arrive, we want their eyes to go to the hill above, not the house,” Catherine said.
“We are all a part of the earth’s ecosystem, we wanted to make sure the animals felt comfortable here,” Guy said.
“We’re passionate about the environment, both globally and locally, and would like to do our little bit towards making the world a better place for future generations.”
These ideas were put into practice with varieties of native Australian flora subtly planted around the home, allowing it to blend into the surrounding landscape.
Architect Edwina Thomson, from About Architecture, knew the site needed careful planning and took great care to design a home that complemented its natural beauty.
“When you’ve got such a natural and raw site, the challenge is to not overdo the architecture,” Edwina said.
“When Catherine and Guy first came to me, part of their brief were pictures of bunkers and as an architect that is so exciting for a client to not show a typical home.
“It gives you scope to do something out of the ordinary ... The passion they had for the site allowed us to test these ideas.”
This passion for sustainability flows throughout the home, with the incorporation of solar and building principles that make use of, and care for, the environment.
The double-glazed windows and precise position of the eaves take advantage of the sun’s seasonal movements to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home all year round.
The concrete walls, padded with insulation and brick, also help maintain the home’s temperature, making it as energy efficient as possible.
These materials were chosen not only for their insulating properties, but also because they are fire-resistant — fire is always a threat when living in the Australian bush.
As a passive solar home, the Camerons make use of the sun’s energy with a solar-powered heat pump that provides them with hot water and heating to the floors.
Another aspect of Catherine and Guy’s environmentally planned home is their careful use of water sourcing and waste disposal.
A spring-fed creek provides them with their water supply, which is gravity fed into tanks and distributed across the home.
Black and grey water waste is processed through a worm septic farm underground and once the liquid is extracted, it’s pumped away from the creek area to realm drains on the property.
Not only functional and self-sustaining, the home is also aesthetically stunning.
Outside sits a pool that makes use of natural water and overlooks the property, with the nearby creek and a waterfall only a stone’s throw away.
A verdant hill stands behind the house highlighting the natural beauty of the area and providing a breathtaking view from the couple’s balcony.
The home’s interior is filled with beige, brown and cream tones sporting collections of dried flowers, books and artefacts.
This — alongside the eclectic style of Papua New Guinea and Indigenous Australian artwork, collected by the Camerons on their travels — gives the home a natural, colourful aesthetic.