Grand Designs Australia

Turners Beach Expert Tips

Discover tips from the experts behind the Eucalyptus House, Turners Beach from episode 8, season 6 of Grand Designs Australia.

Draftsman Nigel Eberhardt is a conservationist at heart – a passion he shares with partner Nina, a school teacher. They love the natural environment and have managed to secure one of the last remaining native bush blocks in Turners Beach, a beachside suburb brimming with neat houses and manicured lawns, on Tasmania’s north coast.

Nigel is so determined to keep it in its natural state, he plans to keep as many trees as possible and build around them. But he’s taking it one step further. He’s making a feature of the tallest tree on the site – a 30 metre eucalyptus, a tree he plans to incorporate into the build.

With a budget as small as the house, Nigel and Nina plan to spend just $260,000…a big ask for a highly detailed construction but Nigel is determined to produce a polished, crisp home with top end finishes. 

Using rustic local shearing sheds for inspiration, two co-joined pavilions prized apart in the shape of a V, will be wrapped in zincalume cladding.  Add lots of locally sourced timber inside and out, and glass, featuring a spectacular skylight and a 3 metre sliding door framed in spotted gum, it will be a home designed to bring the outside in – just the way Nigel and Nina like it.

Towering overhead at the apex will be the massive gum tree that will require some serious evaluation by the local arborist. Falling limbs are a regular occurrence on this gum laden block but Nigel and Nina aren’t  fazed in the least.

As excavation works begin, the very delicate process of hand digging holes for the 26 piers becomes a protracted, drawn out affair but preserving the root system is paramount even if it impacts their meager 4 month timeline.

This is Nigel’s first attempt at designing and building a house so he’s reticent about pulling it together without the expertise of an architect. As the build unfolds and pressured by his own quest for perfection, Nigel begins doubting his own decisions. Plus, he’s forced to take out some of Nina’s inclusions  in order to accommodate his expensive sliding door.

Nigel’s real challenge comes in managing his champagne tastes with absolutely no contingency. It becomes a battle of creativity versus cash as he negotiates his way through the world of finding solutions and satisfying his own high expectations.

What he discovers is that deficiency often produces the most amazing results.

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