A Solar Passive ‘Shed-House’ in the Country

Rolling country views, a pony, dogs, a beautiful solar passive new build, a lovely family and two pet sheep who are convinced they are people – this wonderful home visit was one of my favourites and I’m so pleased to share it here today with these gorgeous photos by Heather.

Nestled in the Perth hills in picturesque Stoneville, this family home is special – it is proof that building on a budget does not need to mean you have to automatically go the project home route, but that you can have a beautiful custom-designed, completely individual and eco-friendly solar passive home.

I first published this story on the original part of my blog here, but as one of my most-read (and most-Pinned!) Home Envy stories, this one deserves a reboot.

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solar-passive-home-house-Perth-Australian-design-eco-friendly-shed-house-country-House-Nerd-Perth-design

LIVING ALFRESCO: This outdoorsy family designed their home to suit them and their love of being outside. “We live an outdoor lifestyle and the house reflects and facilitates this,” says Niall. “The living space opens out onto the elevated deck which looks across the property and the reserve to the north. This is the heart of the house. The interior spaces are functional, practical and comfortable.” Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

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LIFE IN THE COUNTRY: Irene and Niall count several different things as their favourites to do at home. “We love working in the garden together, checking the progress of our baby trees and discussing plans for the house and property; taking long walks and rides down the Heritage Trail; and sharing a bottle of wine with friends on the deck at the end of the week.” Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

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THE HEART OF THE HOME: Niall, Irene, Oisín, and Aoife (and dogs Cruise and Dinah) love to spend time as a family here in the open-plan living area. “We spend most of our time in the open-plan family area whether it’s in the kitchen cooking, sitting at the dining table for meals, working in the office or curled up on the sofas watching movies,” says Irene. High ceilings increase the feeling of spaciousness while glazed walls to the north and south fill the room with natural light and provide carefully considered views over the property. Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

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solar-passive-home-house-Perth-Australian-design-eco-friendly-shed-house-country-House-Nerd-Perth-design

Home owners Irene Coveney and Niall Browne are the brains behind boutique design studio Coveney Browne Design, which specialises in passive solar, energy efficient and sustainable design.

11-year-old Aoife with her pony Brego. Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

Home owners and designers Irene Coveney and Niall Browne, who hail from Ireland and run boutique design studio Coveney Browne Design, met while studying architecture in Dublin.

“I had grown up with horses in rural Ireland and when we migrated to Australia we did so with the dream of eventually designing and building our own home in a rural location where we could keep horses and raise a couple of ‘free range’ kids,” says Irene. But finding the perfect block of land was a challenge.

“We wanted a north-facing slope situated within easy commuting distance of the city with enough cleared land to provide protection from bushfires and grazing for horses, and ideally close to local shops and trails for riding and cycling,” says Niall.

Their dream finally started to come true in 2012, when they purchased a five acre property with lovely views of forest and rolling fields in the Perth Hills suburb of Stoneville. Irene says they immediately loved the location and its cultural significance. “The site is located directly opposite the Heritage Trail which runs along the path of the original Mundaring Loop rail line from Perth and now offers a wonderful public amenity for walking, riding or cycling,” Irene tells me. “Once we had found the right property everything else came together quickly as we both knew what we wanted and how to achieve it.”

Their aim was to create an energy efficient house that would be beautiful, functional, affordable and, above all else, a family home.

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