Grand Designs Australia

Episode Guide

Forest Lodge Eco House

Series 4 · Episode 6

For Builder Chris Knierim the chance to build a sustainable house for his young family has been a lifelong dream. After working on sustainable building projects in Europe he’s had a lifelong passion to bring this style of building to Australia in what he says will be a landmark house.

Chris and wife Belinda bought the small ‘car park’ of land next door to their existing house, just 3.9 metres wide: literally a tiny gap in a long row of heritage listed cottages in Sydney’s inner west Forest Lodge. Their plan is to squeeze every centimeter of land into a uniquely sustainable house.

Chris’ practical approach to his sustainable ethos is reducing energy costs. He’s going the extra mile, insulating the ground underneath the slab to store heat from solar panels on the roof to provide heating and hot water for the house. Vertical garden walls, double glazed windows, underground water tanks and a super insulative roof top garden, create a house that will heat and cool itself.

A fastidious builder Chris is not afraid to think outside the square and innovate using a commercial flooring system to support the weight of his rooftop garden. Meanwhile Belinda is happy for Chris to bring all he has learnt overseas to their very small footprint to showcase what can be achieved in sustainable building.

There are challenges building on a tiny block of land, in a very narrow street where every delivery vehicle needs to be measured, but this is nothing to the health bombshell delivered to Belinda shortly after construction gets underway.

It’s an added pressure that tests the family both emotionally and physically – as Chris battles to get the house finished.


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Posted by Ann306Report
A beautiful family and a beautiful home. My favourite of all I have seen so far in Grand
Designs Australia.
Posted by Jo229Report
Beautiful house.