Grand Designs Australia

Grand Designs Australia, Rivett, ACT: Hear from the homeowner Peter, Episode 7 Season 8

We've seen the big reveal on Grand Designs Australia, but what does the new homeowner really think about his new dream build?

Every week, Lifestyle will bring you the inside scoop on each Grand Designs Australia’s homeowner thoughts. From their favourite aspect of their home to what they’d do differently, this week we chat to Peter about his dream build in Rivett, Australian Capital Territory.

Favourite parts

For Peter, this underground home was everything that he'd ever wanted in a place. 

"I really stuck my neck out and I was very nervous about undertaking this as there's no going back when you spend that much money and put that much time and effort into it," Peter says. "Because it's fairly unconventional, there's a real risk of it all falling over, well, not literally! Every time I drive up to it I'm still so pleased with how it's turned out."

Peter's home combines two of his greatest passions: making things and gardening. 

"I've always been a very keen gardener and one of the things about having a workshop in a suburban area is that you don't want to disturb the neighbours," he says. "So, being underground they don't know what I'm doing in there. I can have machines going and no one hears me and then I have that whole area on top of the roof, which will be a garden - I get the best of both worlds."

Eco-warrior factor

Since Canberra has such extreme temperatures, from hot to cold, Peter wanted to try design a home that deals with these conditions in a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way.

"It's ridiculous paying a lot of money for energy when you can design it out," he says. "Something like a brick veneer house is the absolute antithesis of good design. You've got a large thermal mass on the outside and not on the inside."

Peter used his engineering background to make these issues disappear with clever design. 

"Because Canberra inland you get natural cooling in the summer evenings. So, if you have a large thermal mass you can use that cool air to cool the whole house down," Peter explains. "As a result, I don't have any heating or cooling in my place and it remains at a fairly stable temperature."

READ MORE: Behind the scenes of Grand Designs Australia with Peter Maddison: Rivett, ACT

Any changes?

Peter is very happy with how his underground home functions and only has minor details he'd change up. 

"Maybe I'd change the positioning of a light sensor and maybe a shorter run on the hot water pipe. So, only tiny little things, nothing of huge consequence," he tells.

What's next?

Peter has been living in his home for over six months and says that as the plants grow, they will provide even more shade - especially in the court yard. 

"It will take about 25 years until it's fully grown," he jokes. "Canberra is so harsh in winter that you get very little growth, so it's quite restrictive in terms of what plants you can grow."

Although some people may think it strange to have an underground home, Peter couldn't think of anything better. 

"I don't feel lisolated at all and I'm very glad to crawl in there," he adds. "I get on very well with my neighbours and they're pleased with the house too because it doesn't obstruct their views."

Watch Grand Designs Australia Wednesdays 8.30pm on Lifestyle or On Demand.

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