This home is separated into distinct parts for living, sleeping and working. The partially flat and hilly site worked well for designing with passive solar principles in mind.

The living area runs from east-west with the long axis orientated north for excellent thermal gain onto the carefully placed mass walls and floor. With overhangs and window placement designed to allow winter sun in and keep summer sun out, the house is very warm in winter and cool in summer. An open fire allows for winter ambience during long periods of cloudy weather.

Bedrooms face east for morning sun, vibrancy and views whilst the naturally ventilated hall along the west length prevents the bedrooms from overheating in the late afternoon heat. The working studio above the garage has picture windows on three sides for views.

An important aspect of the design was to make the house as ‘eco-friendly’ and non-toxic as possible. A supply of macrocarpa was sourced from the adjacent district for all the exposed beams, rafters, framing and ceiling sarking throughout the dwelling. Locally grown Eucalyptus saligna was selected for the flooring in the bedroom areas. This was oiled and sealed with organic oil and topped with a gloss organic sealer. The eucalyptus and cedar window joinery was oiled.

All cabinetry has been constructed from macrocarpa and pinus radiata, resulting in a house that is free from all customwood and other ‘glue rich’ composite materials.

The exterior has been clad in a mix of cedar weatherboards, plastered block and horizontal profiled metal cladding. The selected colours and natural weathering of the cedar has resulted in an exterior that is very sensitive to its surrounding landscape, blending with its rural setting.

Designed for the architect and her proposed family, the Pataua House was intended to provide for flexible living circumstances well into the future. It had to be user friendly for the small children stage, flexible for teenage years and offer accommodation for extended family and friends who visit. After 15 years of ‘testing’, the house is still performing well to cater for the family’s changing needs, including meeting the needs of very elderly parents with accessibility requirements.