Ruby Street

North Perth, Western Australia

Low cost, low energy, low space and low maintenance: a unique challenge produces a unique home in vibrant North Perth.

Another subdivided inner-city block, this property belonged to a young family of three. With a small lot and a limited budget, they were looking for an affordable two-storey home which was as sustainable – and as low-maintenance – as possible.
Our design combines an open, contemporary plan with an ‘upside down living’ approach, with the kitchen and living areas situated upstairs. Downstairs, a large open plan space is perfect for entertaining family and guests, and three bedrooms are positioned at the back of the plan, away from the road. White concrete flooring and plywood finishes kept costs low and delivered the low maintenance living spaces the owners wanted, with a raw, industrial aesthetic. From the street, the unique roof terrace is a distinguishing feature, fully enclosed by an adjustable screen of red cedar slats which take on a silver-grey patina with age. A shaded, breezy outdoor area to enjoy during the day, the terrace takes on a unique luminous quality at night, becoming a lantern over the home.
Living sustainably is something the owners are very passionate about, and this home is proof that sustainability and affordability are not mutually exclusive. With an 8-star energy efficiency rating, our design is built around solar passive principles and energy saving materials. Both the open-plan upstairs living space and the covered roof terrace face north to catch the winter sun, with their western faces sheltered from the worst of the summer heat. For the main structure, we reduced costs and energy consumption using concrete block and Thermomass concrete panels – poured in-situ and tilted into position by crane – with insulation ‘sandwiched’ inside the walls. This also gave a clean, industrial feel to the property which the owners loved – so much so that we left areas of raw concrete both inside and outside to add colour and texture.