Another week, another Perth home that’s kept us awake at night for years – tossing and turning and wondering just how to cope knowing this home is so close and yet… isn’t ours.
Located on a small infill block, neatly tucked amongst the laneways of Perth – the residential pocket nestled between Highgate and East Perth – the Nature-Inspired Eco House is a nifty exercise in how to balance design sensibility with sustainability. The home was designed by eco-minded Building Designer Carla Karsakis of Etica Studio in collaboration with her sister and the homeowner, Tanya McKenna, a sustainability consultant; and her partner Peter, who has a background in trades management. The couple are experienced renovators and deeply committed to sustainability. Fittingly, sustainability has been considered at every level in the home.
This approach begins with the site itself: a tidy, 200 square metre urban infill block that challenges Perth’s tendency towards sprawl and space, utilising clever spatial planning to maximise the limited area while maintaining outdoor space.
The home’s construction makes use of recycled, scavenged and thriftily sourced materials. Innovative recycled rammed concrete walls provide the home’s structure, and is left bare on the interior and exterior to reveal its natural texture. ’60s bricks were saved from the demolition of a house in Palmyra, and the mezzanine level’s floors are Baltic pine, scavenged from the original Melbourne Town Hall fit out and painstakingly restored by hand.
Charming, one-off pieces have been sourced from second hand: like vintage light fixtures, an upcycled forest green retro bath (that serendipitously matches the forest green, low-VOC paint used downstairs), or the patchwork of windows – in fact, almost nothing seen in the home is brand-new. For many, this approach could lead to a cluttered, incohesive home – but here, a defined aesthetic sensibility wins out, inspired by both tropical South American brutalism and the now-popular, cosy Danish tradition of hygge.
The home’s outdoor spaces show perhaps even more of that resolute sustainability – furnished with more vintage finds paired with permeable paving, and topped with the truly impressive green roof and solar panels.
Still on our minds over five years since we first saw it, the Nature-Inspired Eco House is a shining example that sustainability and liveability go hand-in-hand.