Mellow Yellow House

Mellow Yellow House emerged from a comprehensive brief presented to Philip Leeson Architects, covering complex family living requirements, energy efficiency measures and durability concerns. 

The family have three young boys, one of whom has autism, so much effort and deliberation was applied to the design and functionality of the home. A palette of durable yet timeless materials, including block work, metal cladding, plywood, laminate joinery and tiles, were chosen to create a sufficiently robust home that can withstand the rigours of family life whilst creating a peaceful retreat from otherwise busy lives. Great consideration was given to all facets of the project, down to the suitability of door handles, tap ware and joinery detailing in order to facilitate ease of operation for all members of the family.

The site has superb northern orientation on its long axis and the new home was designed accordingly to maximise the comfort of the occupants. An ample garage buffers the home on the southern side, and openings are restricted generally on the southern, eastern and western elevations to minimise heat gain during the warmer months. In slab gas hydronic heating heats the home during winter, and during summer the house is cooled passively through closing curtains in the heat of the day and with ceiling fans. A large photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof provides sufficient energy for a future storage battery to be installed to supply the entire house electricity needs. The Sanden heat pump hot water service is also connected to the PV array. East facing openings and the southern clerestory windows are opened in the evening when easterly sea breezes sweep through to flush hot air. Double-glazed thermally broken windows and doors provide an additional buffer to unwanted heat and cool gain.

To the front of the new home, the original red brick cottage has been retained as a respectful gesture to the civic realm of the street. The existing scale and proportion of the neighbourhood is maintained, and the new low lying home behind tucks neatly below the roofline of the existing cottage. The cottage was also retained for a functional purpose, to allow grandparents to move in, and provide future flexible living arrangements for the extended family and possible carer as needs emerge.

The passive solar design of Mellow Yellow House was featured in the 2019 ACT Solar House Day tour.

Completed 2018
Builder: Sutton and Horsley
Photography: Anthony Basheer