A Relocated Edwardian Home Gets A Sustainable Second Chance

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Before this elegant period home was relocated and renovated by sustainable property developers Melbourne Vernacular, it could’ve been destined for demolition. The owner had sold it to her neighbours in 2018 who planned to extend their garden and create a studio on the block.

‘Luckily for us and the home’s new occupants in Woodend, the neighbours were wise enough to put it up for relocation before it was demolished,’ developer Scott Thompson says.

He and his wife Leanne were keen to create more environmental and liveable housing in Victoria’s thriving regional towns, but recognised construction costs were the main barrier to taking advantage of these regional infill sites.

So when they discovered the single-fronted Edwardian in Caulfield South, Scott and Leanne jumped at the chance to give the home a second life through an alternative method of development — relocation. They secured the home for $160,000 via home relocators, Moving Views.

‘The original home was a good candidate for relocation as it had had a basic but thorough renovation in approximately 2010,’ Scott adds. The works featured new double-glazed windows, insulation, hardwood floors and kitchen cabinetry, which were all able to be retained, lowering the cost of the additional renovation in 2021.

‘Another benefit was the home’s external paving,’ he says. ‘We were able to pull up and clean (thanks to our friends who helped on working bees!) approximately 5000 original Melbourne red bricks that were re-used in the renovation at the home’s new site.’

But moving the home was still a massive challenge. There was a small window of three months to get the home off its current site before it would be demolished. This meant Scott was in negotiations with four different properties in four different councils before they settled on an ideal block in Woodend, with a train station just 400m away.

The resulting Ramble House was a collaborative effort between Melbourne Vernacular, building designers Altereco, sustainable builder Enerhaus and Moving Views. They employed passive design principles, creating a reimagined front roofline and an overall extension of the home.

Most notably, the house transitioned to being all-electric, designed to keep power bills to an absolute minimum. Environmental additions such as a 15kw solar panel array (with capacity to produce 300 per cent of the energy the house will consume), hydronic heating driven by an 17kw heat pump and a 10,000 litre rainwater storage tank helped earn the house it’s impressive 7-star NatHERS rating. There’s also an electric car charger!

Inside, they kept to a traditional mix of period materials including recycled red bricks, emu wire, Australian Hardwoods, weatherboards and corrugated iron, while the historic exterior remains ‘classy’ and ‘timeless’.

‘Our renovations and additions were squarely focused on addressing the market for a regional alternative to living in Melbourne,’ Scott explains. ‘We extended it and gave it the larger footprint that many people in Melbourne wish they had but would never be able to afford.’

‘The uptake of all-electric homes and the protection of architectural heritage are foremost priorities for us, and this project ticks those boxes in a major way. We were able to recycle 80-90 per cent of a home, and give a piece of Melbourne’s architectural history a new lease on life.’

Learn more about Melbourne Vernacular here.

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