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Sustainable Home Renovation: Part 2 - The 1970s changes

Published in Case Studies


Part 1 - The Original Built House - late 1960's
Part 2 - The 1970's changes
Part 3 - The current owners - 2007 purchase
Part 4 - Renovate or Detonate

The 1970's was a decade of change for the home.

In 1971, an extension was added to the back of the house by the original owners. The plans were signed off in August of 1971 by the Building surveyor at the council and it's assumed the extension would have been finished in the same year or early 1972. The new extension added a 4th Bedroom and a rumpus room to the southern end of the home. After only a couple of years, the home was either impractical, or needed to be larger to accommodate a growing family.

The original home was built by a building company, but according to current neighbours, the owner did the renovation at the back of the house themselves. During the major renovations in 2008, it was clear that the renovation was built by an unqualified carpenter. The amount of nails joining each piece of timber far exceeded what was required. The floor was also only 300mm at the most from the ground, less to the floor joists and bearers unlike the original house which had 600mm in the tightest spot.


Somewhere between 1972 and 1978, the home was sold to the homes second owners. in 1978 they added the pergola at the front of the house facing west (see photo above). This sat on top of the double garage below. Made out of treated pine, the roof was made of 50x50mm square battens running east west with a gap of 50mm. This structure would have helped reduce the impact of the westerly sun hitting the large glass area of the westerly living room wall. The vegetation on the neighbouring property was only young so provided no shade. The photo above taken in 2007 of the house would look no different to 1978 (other than the front garden).

An extension was also added on to the existing kitchen at some stage after 1978 but it is unknown when. This extension was a dining room and was constructed over the concrete landing and steps which one would have stepped out on when exiting from the laundry or the kitchen. The laundry became a fully internal room. It is known that a path led from the steps from the kitchen and laundry landing in 2 directions - one to the side of the house leading to the front of the house and one leading to a hills hoist (presumably) clothes line and then to the main backyard itself. This dining room extension had a large aluminium sliding door and aluminium window facing east - the only aluminium framed windows/doors in teh house. Perhaps this was an 80's extension.

After these renovations the house still only rated as 0.9 stars.

How was the house cooled and heated in the 1970's. We are unsure as to what cooling appliances may or may not have been in place, but heating appears to be predominantly by the fireplace in the lounge room.

At some stage (presumably) in the 1980s, the home had ducted gas heating installed, and 2 box air-conditioners (very inefficient) were located, one in the north wall next to the chimney (see photo above), and one in the south wall of the rumpus room.

What was located in the backyard during the 1970s/1980s?

We have no idea but could assume based on other similar homes of the late 60s, that there was a grassed area most likely fringed by bordered garden using concrete edges. There was a tin single garage on the south west side of the home when the current owners moved in, in 2007. This was partioned into 2 rooms, one a laundry and storage room, and the toher the pool filter and equipment. Yes, this place has a pool, and it appears according to the pool drawings to have been built in the 1980s. There are a number of pools which are almost identical in shape but identical in build in the surrounding areas, and one "pool guy" who has worked in the area for 20 years said it was a Grollo built pool. Grollos started small and look at them today - they build skyscrapers.

This pool has taken up the majority of the back yard - no more grass or any area for kids to play football - its all water sports or nothing. The pool is a large concrete pool with painted blue surface, and a pebblemix finish to the coping surrounding the pool (no tiles anywhere). Around 9 metres x 4.5metres with a 1.5m x 1.5m section at one end with steps leading into the pool. Depth average around 2'6" to appox 5'8". It appears that the earth removed from excavating for the pool was placed in the front yard as well as in the East area of the home where the dining room looked out. Removing earth from this area for the 2008 renovations found the original foot path and locatoin of the clothes line. At least the owners saved on Earth removal.

Oh, and one more thing was added to the backyard - a palm tree - only small. (Look at the photo - you can see it in the backyard south west corner and in 2012 stands around 12-15metres in height.)

Part 3 - The current owners - 2007 purchase

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Published in Installs

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Sustainable Home Renovation - Templestowe Lower (Melbourne) - Part 1

Published in Case Studies


This case study is about a Sustainable renovation of a Melbourne eastern suburbs 1960s Brick Veneer 3 Bedroom home.

To provide more of an insight into the home, this case study has been split into a number of parts, starting from when the home was built and what changes have occurred over the years.

Part 1 - The Original Built House - late 1960's
Part 2 - The 1970's changes
Part 3 - The current owners - 2007 purchase
Part 4 - Renovate or Detonate


The photo shown is the front yard which is facing almost due north and was one of the main requirements when the owner was looking for a new home. With this home, the main living rooms are all facing north, with the bedrooms located along the western wall. It is not known when the front yard was changed from it's original design to the one shown here when the house was purchased in 2007.

The bonus with the location of this home is that it is on top of the hill so the backyard on fine days is sunny without much shading all year round. Additionally there is no over shadowing by neighbouring properties to the East, West and South.


Below are the original plans of the home. Like most houses of that era, there was little or no insulation other than some foil under the corrugated iron roof. We entered the plan into the energy rating software to determine what the homes energy rating would be newly built in the 1960s. Luckily, the original plans, and future renovation plans all came with the house.

THERMAL RATING (Energy Rating): 0.9 Stars




Roof: No
Walls: No
Floor: No
Reflective Roof Space: Yes
(ie Foil under roof iron facing roof space)
Wall Foil: No
Single Glazed 3mm Glass
Draught Sealing
Wall Vents: Yes
Chimney: Unsealed
Doors weathersealed: No
Windows weatherseals: No
Exhaust Fans 
Bathroom: Unsealed
Floor Coverings
Bathroom / Shower / Toilet / Laundry: Tiles
Kitchen: Vinyl 
External Walls: Brick (brick veneer)

Original plan section drawings

OriginalLotImage North-Wall

The original home had a west facing front door onto a patio which was the roof of a single garage underneath. A metal garage was placed in the backyard 1 metre off the West Boundary and it appears there was a side driveway to this garage or a side walkway entrance. At some stage, the single garage under the patio was extended to the West boundary to become a double garage with a large patio deck. Steps from the patio were on the North East side of the patio.

It is assumed the backyard was a grassed area with some vegetation. The East side of the backyard from the Kitchen to the south yard had a concrete pathway to a clothes line - presumably a hills hoist. The front yard was brick terraced with a concrete pathway running off the East side boundary along the side of the house to the backyard but also meeting up with the steps to the patio at the front of the house. Grassed areas with vegetation around appears to be the front yard landscaping.

Like most brick veneers, the house consisted of a single brick wall, cavity, then timber hard wood frames with no wall foil. Floors were Tassie Oak hardwood, glass was timber framed single glazed 3mm glass (not safety), and roof was effectively a flat tin roof with silver foil underneath. Eaves were typical size - around 450mm - and made from asbestos sheeting. The chimney was most likely the main heating source. For whatever reason, electricity from the street was attached to the front of the north east section of the house with cable heading to the meter on the east side then all the way across to the fuse box on the West side of the house close to where the hot water system (current) is located. Not a convenient place to change fuses.

The orientation and design of the home wasn't too bad given that the lounge and dining room were located on the north side and the bedrooms and bathrooms mostly located to the south. However, the lounge also faced west with the majority of lounge/dining room windows facing this direction which would lead to overheating.

Part 2 - The 1970's changes

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