First it was Grand Designs Live Show. Now a new luxury range of green home is soon to be launched featuring Passive House design, cross laminated timber, zero energy, stability and safety. Even the lighting system in Home by Hütt is natural, designed to mimic the pattern of the sun so you can sleep better. Here’s our exclusive sneak preview.
Innovative design, materials and technology will combine to produce houses for future lifestyles when Australia’s latest luxurious, fossil-free and carbon-positive architectural homes firm launches in Melbourne next week.
Home by Hütt founder Felicity Bernstein is co-founder of Melbourne Design Studios. She said the concept for Hütt emerged following the firm’s win of the Building Designers Association of Victoria’s 10-Star Challenge in 2013.
“People found us on the net and enquired about that particular design,” she said. “We have had ongoing enquiries. That brought us to the fact that we should look into it and see what we can do – if it’s something that could be a viable product to the market.”
They took their energy-neutral home concept to the Grand Designs Live Show and the response was overwhelming. There were more than 200 interested parties.
“They thought it was an awesome idea and thought the price was good,” Ms Bernstein said. “They would like to see one of these houses built where they can actually see what such a house looks like in reality.”
The team studied the market and discovered that just 4 per cent of the population is happy to spend more on a home with sustainable measures. “There is actually 80 per cent of the population happy to spend more on lifestyle,” she said.
However, a “future” home should not be all about lifestyle. “If we are bringing out a future home it needs to be more eco conscious because we cannot ignore it any longer,” she said. “We feel it’s important to go that way in the future.”
The brand was born – future-oriented homes with an environment focus.
Its luxury, fossil-free carbon-positive home designs will be released in Autumn 2017. They will range in size up to five bedrooms. The range will design and build and also take on custom design projects.
Best of all worlds
The designs aim to optimise space use in an urban setting, reduce environmental impact and the high running costs of modern living, embrace lifestyle technology, and improve health and wellbeing.
Prior to the range’s release, two limited-edition “one-offs” will be released to showcase “the masterpiece of living”. One will focus on wine while the other will highlight fashion.
“The price will be quite high and it will not be affordable for many,” Ms Bernstein said. “It will be something to showcase what you could achieve in an extremely luxury scenario but having all these future-oriented aspects in there as well.”
The company’s range of homes will utilise the sun through photovoltaic solar, integrated battery storage and passive solar design elements such as sun shading so that running costs will be virtually zero. “You could be completely off the grid,” Ms Bernstein said.
The team has moved from a 10 Star to a Passive House focus and will utilise cross ventilation as well as filtering technology to bring in fresh air free from dust, mould and pollens. “All year ’round you will have a constant temperature.”
Fossil-free transport options
Every home will have plug-in stations to accommodate electric cars.
“In Europe new regulations will come into place where all new cars will have to be fossil free, which will obviously have a big impact on the world car industry,” Ms Bernstein said. “So we want to be ready for that and all our houses will come with plug-in stations.”
The designs will utilise cross laminated timber, which is big in Europe and starting to take off in Australia. Ms Bernstein said the engineered timber technologies offer exceptional quality as well as zero energy, stability and safety.
A unique lighting system will mimic the pattern of the sun to positively impact sleeping patterns. “It restores your internal body clock for a restful night’s sleep,” she said.
Intuitive home automation
Another important aspect of the design for the team is the lifestyle technology.
“You can see how much impact smart technology has on people,” Ms Bernstein said. “People are totally excited by it and it will not get less, it will get more.”
The intelligent home management system will learn the household’s habits. Integrated wake-up features include rising to music while fresh coffee brews. Fingerprint or face door-opening technology will enable keyless entry, while Wi-Fi controlled kitchen appliances enable homeowners to start dinner from remote locations.
The team is developing its own app that will enable households to manipulate all features in one appealing interface. “So you really can – in an exciting way – engage with your home and all the technology,” Ms Bernstein said. “The technology to watch your energy consumption but also see what is in your fridge when you are at the shops. It may not be in our very first home but in six to 12 months.”
Smart design maximises space
With urban blocks becoming smaller, Ms Bernstein’s team plans to deliver clever spatial design, under the theme of “big inside and small outside”.
While rooms will be standard sizes, the layouts will be smarter to achieve a more compact footprint. Wasted areas such as hallways will be eliminated where possible.
“The four-bedroom house will be under 300 square metres,” Ms Bernstein said. “People will be very surprised. They will think it’s much bigger. “
Show home for Melbourne
The company is in negotiations with investors to purchase land for a central showcase home, south of the Yarra, ideally in Elwood. It’s envisaged that prospective clients will enjoy wine tastings while “experiencing the showcase house in action” by the end of 2017.
One of Melbourne’s universities is interested holding a long-term study on the show home. Similarly, a local TAFE institute wants to involve students in the home’s construction to learn about new building technologies. The house is being developed in collaboration with industry suppliers.
Interest in concept is growing around Australia with keen buyers in NSW, Queensland and Canberra.
Ms Bernstein says a more affordable range will be launched in the firm’s second year to enable the concept to become more accessible. “The more affordable starting point will be $2500 per square metre with inclusions to go up from there.”
Next stop: international expansion. “We have a New Zealand customer on the list who is very interested as soon as we branch out into New Zealand in three years’ time.”