Watson's House


Location | Wright, ACT

Completed | September 2013

EER | 8 stars

Area | 154m²

Builder | Jigsaw Housing

Images | Rod Vargas


Small house, smart home

The clients’ brief guided several key design elements: an efficient floor plan to reduce the home’s overall size on the block; easy access to a large back yard for the family to enjoy; and a lined storage space adjacent to the single carport for bikes and camping gear.

The only source of heating in the home is a European wood pellet stove, located in the living room. Supported by comprehensive wall, floor and ceiling insulation, as well as PVC-framed double-glazed windows and a well-sealed building envelope, this system is low-cost and highly efficient: in winter, a fan circulates the warm air, pulling it through a series of ducts throughout the home and into the bedrooms.

A bespoke item of joinery, rather than a solid wall, cleverly divides the kitchen from the living room. Housing the oven and fridge on one side and shelving on the other, the unit is built below ceiling height, allowing light to flow from the high windows of the raked kitchen through to the living room.

Materials are practical with a glamorous edge: external grey brick shines with a subtle metallic lustre; the concrete slab is polished to reveal the highly patterned aggregate; and sleek plywood shelving wraps around windows, creating a quiet place for reading or play.


Key features

3 bed, 2 living & 2 bathrooms

570m² relatively flat site with north to the back

Single carport

Living areas with raked ceiling to the north

Bespoke kitchen joinery serves as a mid-height divider with the living room

European wood pellet store, fan ducted to bedrooms as heating

Customised joinery including study nook and window seat

Floor finishes: concrete, tiles and carpet

Open pergola to the north connects the dining area to the backyard

Tailored to the site and designed to our client's brief and budget using our Light House Modular approach



EER 8 stars

High performance PVC double glazing

R1 insulated concrete slab

R2.5 insulation to exterior walls

R5 insulation to the roof space

Minimal air leakage , well-sealed building envelope

Ceiling fans and cross ventilation only form of cooling needed

Evacuated tube solar hot water

Rainwater tank plumbed to garden taps, laundry and toilet