Three Generation House


Location | Bywong, NSW

Date completed | August 2015

EER | 8 stars (started at 2.5)

Area | No additional area added (82 m² replaced existing studio)

Awards | 2017 ACT Architecture Residential Alterations & Additions - Commendation

Builder | Jigsaw Housing

Images | Rod Vargas


Architectural Cinderella

Wendy and Ben’s Bywong property shows that even a 1980s farmhouse can become a light, bright, energy-efficient family home. Wendy and Ben needed a practical family home for their two young children, Jack and Brynn, and a semi-attached studio for Wendy’s mum, Jenny.

By retrofitting the roof and wall cavities with high quality insulation and installing double-glazed windows, the home's thermal performance has improved out of sight. The most dramatic change on this front however, came about by removing the solid-roofed verandah that wrapped around the home and designing smart sun-shading for the remaining windows depending on their orientation. The windows to the east and west have operable external blinds but on the north we used a combination of clear roofing and fixed louvres optimised to block out the high-angle summer sun and welcome in the low-angle winter sunshine.

The rather oppressive '90s material scheme proved quite inspirational, as recycling original materials not only contributed to the sustainability of the renovation, but gave the home its distinctive style. By changing the lighting, painting some surfaces and introducing crisp, white joinery into the spaces, these materials took on a new life. Bricks were reused as paving for the pergolas and we decided to reuse the funky red light fittings in the kitchen. A floor to raked ceiling bookcase was installed in the living room, providing a dynamic and textured quality to the space.

In August 2016, the Three Generation House was featured in an article on All Homes


Key features 

Renovation: kitchen, living room, ensuite and detached studio

7860m² of property with ample northern orientation and generous setbacks ensuring privacy from the road

High reuse of existing materials

Floor finishes: tiles and timber

Customised joinery throughout renovation




High levels of insulation retrofitted to ceilings, roof and walls

Increased natural light

Smart sun-shading

Thermal mass in internal walls

High re-use of materials

Ceiling fans

PVC double-glazed windows

LED lighting

Rainwater capture from the house, studio and shed roofs

110,000L + 20,000L rainwater tanks

Aerated wastewater treatment system