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How one creative clan is inspiring sustainability in the suburbs.
photographed by ian macpherson
styled by louise owens; text by julie james
In the shady, tree-lined streets of Queens Park, a remarkable residence sits amongst its Victorian and Federation neighbours. Originally a 1920s brick bungalow, the home of ‘Dinosaur Designs’ co-founder Liane Rossler and family, has been transformed into a two-storey, modernist marvel. But what makes the house unique for its postcode is not so much its striking exterior, but the thoughtful, sustainable design throughout by Liane’s husband, award-winning architect, Sam Marshall.
The creative duo bought the three-bedroom home in late 2000 and has been tinkering with it for the past decade. “We did the major renovation in the first year, added a studio out the back four years ago, and the second storey addition two years ago,” explains Liane. The result is an inviting, uplifting and functional home set to grow with the busy family-of-four, who is committed to ‘living green’.
One of the first eco-strategies of note upon entering the home is the clever use of passive solar design. Windows and doors have been positioned to protect the house from the hot sun and deflect any warm air over thick, internal, masonry walls. The layout also ensures natural ventilation, removing the need for air conditioning. Skylights in the recycled plywood ceiling give even light throughout the day via an insulated, translucent, fibreglass roof. The skylights are also used to highlight the unique shelving and joinery units throughout, which house the family’s collectables.
Other ‘green’ additions include five rainwater tanks which collect water for the yard; while five worm farms and a composter dispose of kitchen scraps to feed the vegetable garden. Power is 100% green and sustainable timbers are the materials of choice. Water is solar heated, as is the pool. But whilst the eco-friendly features are impressive, they are in no way imposing; the house is a family-friendly sanctuary.
“The house was designed for all of us to use equally, and to be able to change as we change. When the girls were younger, we quite liked it if they drew on the walls – we could just give it another coat of paint if we needed to.”
True to their word, Liane and Sam have indulged their daughters’ creativity and love of colour. Magnetic walls in the bedroom of 9-year-old Lana and Scarlett, 6, are used to arrange trinkets from the family’s travels. The room itself is an explosion of colour in paint and print. It is obvious the girls have inherited the couple’s creativity. “Absolutely,” says Liane. “They love nothing better than ripping the lid off a Texta and drawing away.”