Chef and restaurateur Dan Zeidan runs and owns four successful eateries in Melbourne. He leads a hectic, urban life. But he’s a country boy at heart which is why he escapes as often as he can to his 10 acre property at Kinglake, an hour from Melbourne..…an area that was one of the worst hit by the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.
Dan lost his home in the fire but it was no deterrent from returning to rebuild 5 years later. This time he’ll make sure the house is totally flame proof as well as being fully sustainable.
With the help of eco designer Joost Bakker, he and his partner Vicky Kordatou are building a zero waste home from recycled and recyclable non toxic materials by using strawbale as insulation, fire proof magnesium oxide board as cladding and a crushed brick exterior. They’re even throwing in a shipping container that will sit right in the middle of the house.
From the outside it’s far from a sleek, country getaway but for Dan and Vicky, functionality is more important than ornamentation. For these two, it’s about innovation….from ply wood floorboards joined with glue sourced from soya beans to a radical new heating and cooling system that Dan reckons will keep the house at a constant and comfortable 20 degrees all year round.
Dan and Vicky have put all their trust in Joost their building designer and builder Peter Buruma to deliver them an eco house that works but there’s no getting around the fact that this is one big experiment. They are however, going with it, reusing plasterboard off cuts, plastic crates and broken house bricks – materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.
It’s a huge leap of faith and one that makes no guarantees. With untested systems and new technologies wrapped up inside a crushed brick industrial façade, will their $600k budget get them the truly sustainable rural escape they’re chasing?