Runner Up Custom Built Home 2013

Nirvana Bright is a contemporary residence nestled in the hills overlooking the beautiful town of Bright. The property comprises one acre with the rear adjoining state forest and the front offering panoramic views overlooking the valley's surrounding mountains and pine plantations. In the cooler months you can light up the wood fireplace and enjoy the view with the comfort of a real fire. In the warmer months you can open the external glass doors and enjoy the summer breeze.


Our client brief was to produce an affordable contemporary design holiday home by using unique finishes and colours both inside and out. The residence was to equally fit within the bush setting of the land being one (1) acre semi treed with elevated views. Being a holiday house it was important that the house was simple and easy to maintain.


Building a contemporary design that also fits within a bush setting seemed a risky proposition. Many of the houses in the area are country cottage style, however this is not what our clients were after.


The block of land had a reasonable slope / gradient so the excavation and tree removal was not a standard process and proved to have its challenges. Falling of trees in a semi-urban area required careful planning and undertaken in a manner not to damage or interrupt the neighbouring properties.




With the land backing onto State Forest and with mature tress surrounding the block, the fire rating came in at a BAL-29 which gave our clients some restrictions on external materials that also had the potential to affected their budget. Working within these constraints often, we were able to deliver cost effective solutions with the use of Spotted Gum. a hardwood timber and a Scyon product, Axon that rates up to a BAL-40 for the external cladding.


The choice of cladding also provided an innovative stark contrast between the Axon painted in black adjoining the rich natural colour of the Spotted Gum at the south end. The clients then added a steel pergola with an integrated Spotted Gum eave to give the home an added prospective. The sides of the house were squared off to provide the box look but without the need for any box guttering that saved James and Fiona significant cost and provided a more functional water management solution.


The water management system was designed to best utilise water catchment and serviceability to the house as the two (2) water tanks installed are the only means of water supply. The house is not connected to town water, hence it is completely self sufficient. With the house not connect to the town waste water system we installed an eco friendly treatment plant on a dripper system that produces a high quality effluent that is distributed at the rear of the property.


With the house facing directly west, the challenge was to make it as energy efficient as possible from a heating and cooling prospective. The use of double glazed windows throughout the house and the added insulation in both the roof (R4.8) and external walls (R3.7) has combated this issue. LED lights are fitted throughout along with a heat pump hot water unit to lower the power usage from the grid.


The contemporary design in the bush setting has struck an appeal in the local community. It is a direct contrast the main stream of cottage and urban housing. The choice of colours and materials sees the home blending well with the back drop of the State Forest.