The Shed

Country · Gamaragal

Environmental · New House

Project Completion · 2018

Builder · More Than OK Building

Engineer · Partridge structural & hydraulic

Interiors · Louise Sullivan Design

Photography · Nick Bowers

Client brief

Wishing to downsize, Louise engaged Anderson Architecture to create a secondary dwelling on the property of her family home. Louise’s initial plan was to transform a large existing shed into a studio-garage, but later learned a secondary dwelling was possible on the substantial inner-suburban block.


The project evolved into a long, slim building on the southern boundary with north-facing glazing letting the sun reach much of the way inside the narrow plan to heat the concrete-slab floor. This northerly aspect is the key sustainability principle in the 8.8- star energy-rated climate-resilient house.

The insulated concrete-slab floor receives plenty of winter sun from this northerly aspect, storing the heat during the day and radiating it at night. The builder, Ole from More Than OK Building, meticulously measured and tested the depth of the 1.1-metre awning to block summer sun yet allow winter sun inside.

Several factors influenced the roof profile. The council envelope control stipulated the 5.7-metre height limit, which the house mostly sits under and 45-degree slope on the southern side so as not to overshadow the neighbour. Mirrored on the northern side, the slope provides the ideal orientation for retrofitting solar panels in the future.

The old shed was not to be forgotten; its exposed hardwood beams and brick wall inspiring the material palette, LVL portal frame and barn-like form. The insulated southern brick wall provides thermal mass. The bricks are also a nod to the former shed and the remaining outhouse buildings in the garden. A few things that were here before are recycled because the building had an interesting history. This includes the timber powder-room door from the original shed.

Key Features

  • Thin floor plan oriented to the north, to maximise winter sun penetration
  • Highly insulated walls with structure inside walls to reduce thermal bridging
  • Increased cross ventilation with occupant controlled devices such as fans and operable windows
  • Operable skylights to vent the house in summer
  • Concrete thermal mass ground floor slab with under slab insulation
  • Locally sourced recycled bricks for thermal mass feature wall
  • Hardwood timber framed double glazed windows
  • Green roof outlook from bedroom

I engaged Anderson Architecture to to design a sustainable granny flat in the rear of my family property. The result is stunning, despite the planning restrictions of 60 sqm footprint many visitors comment on the sense of space and light. Having lived here now for all seasons I am thrilled to report it is a wonderfully easy comfortable environment to call home. It has been a pleasure to work with the professional Anderson team.