Dream Big: Think Small

When constructing alterations, additions, or brand new dwellings how does one quantify value for money? -Obviously more square metres for less money right? But what if it were more qualitative than that..

There have been a few great articles recently which we hope reflects a changing approach to architecture and housing in Australia.

See below excerpt from an article on ArchitectureAU:


” A City of Fremantle councillor has put forward an amendment to the Western Australian planning scheme that could see more “tiny houses” built in the city…


…The amendment proposes to allow for the subdivision of larger residential blocks to create smaller independently owned houses. It proposes a maximum size of 120 square metres for each dwelling (by way of comparison, this is well above the minimum of 90 square metres for a three-bedroom apartment under New South Wales’ new Apartment Design Guide). “


We hope it will encourage adaptation and reuse of existing buildings, in contrast with the wasteful knock-down-re-build approach. See here for more information and the original article by Linda Cheng at ArchitectureAU.

CAN we challenge mainstream thought and encourage clients to invest in smaller, but better quality spaces?

Australian Design Review published an interesting article recently on the growing interest in Tiny Houses. Author Emily Taliangis describes the trend forming from a variety of reasons: environmental, financial and ease of construction.

” …In compensation for their limited size, tiny houses place great emphasis on design, often utilising dual purpose features and multi-functional furniture. Vertical space optimisation is a common strategy – think beds over the kitchen, and storage at the roof. Tiny houses have all the amenities of regular sized homes, though clever planning and design is essential…”

However she continues to write that:

” …While the tiny house movement is gaining momentum, it realistically has a ways to go before it will influence living models in the mainstream. A recent article by the ABC reports that newly built Australian houses are “bigger on average than anywhere else in the world at 245 square metres for new freestanding homes, and 215 square metres for new homes overall,” demonstrating an increase in housing sizes of roughly 10 percent in the last decade… “

Read the article here.

The following image is from an article titled “Huge houses an irresponsible drain on the environment” by Dr Robert Crawford on smh.com.au


The following images come from Tiny House Blog.

ESCAPE-Traveler-TinyHouse5-750x500 ESCAPE-Traveler-TinyHouse6-750x500 ESCAPE-Traveler-TinyHouse9-750x494

escape traveller

So here at CANstudio we have decided to explore the idea of tiny houses and small living. Feel free to flashback to a previous article: Zig Zag Cabin and continue to follow our small exploration over the following month.



Zig Zag Cabin by Architect/Builder Drew Heath, photo taken by Brett Boardman

Small things CAN make a big difference 🙂

The Ethics of Almost II

…Further thoughts on previous reblog post, “The Ethics of Almost”


How can these ideas of ethical consumption translate to architecture and the construction industry?


When designing or renovating your own home (or building), consider the implications of importing ‘green’ products when you could be supporting local trades and businesses.

dezeen_Crofthouse-by-James-Stockwell_4 (1)

It’s worthwhile researching where materials and products are sourced.


There is always a balance to be found in the cost/time/quality triangle, so be aware that sustainability starts small and local:

  • Money back into the community
  • Low embodied energy
  • Products direct from the source = no middle man = cheaper (& money to the right people!)


The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects has some great notes on this:

  • Ask suppliers where materials are sourced from
  • Buy plantation timber (preferably from Australia or your country)
  • Research the embodied energy contained in your products
  • Consider how you can reduce waste by recycling bi-products from the construction process such as formwork or sand

See the website for more information: http://www.aila.org.au/canberragarden/materials/


C is for Collaboration!


Images are of Crofthouse by James Stockwell Architect, located on the South Coast of Victoria, Australia.

Sustainable attributes:

  • Local Victorian Ash Timber for the interior cladding
  • Locally sourced Bluestone for the wet areas
  • Local craftsmanship
  • Passive solar design, thermal mass and double glazing minimise running costs
  • Robust exterior cladding increases durability, therefore reducing need for replacing vulnerable surfaces and materials


Floor Plan

Images and floor plan are from Dezeen and feature Crofthouse by James Stockwell Architect.


See James Stockwell website for more details: