Eco-Essence Homes

Luxury and liveability

With its soaring cathedral ceilings, glamorous private pool and picturesque views, Pacific Pinnacle is an extraordinary residence that lives up to its name in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy Eco-Essence Homes


Gabrielle Chariton

This high-performance home, designed to keep its cool even on the hottest of Queensland days, epitomises the pinnacle of luxurious resort-style living in which liveability and comfort are enhanced by smart, eco-conscious design.

The house was designed and built by Eco-Essence Homes, which was established by builders Wayne Kelly and Jeremy Magee seven years ago, just as the industry was emerging from the grip of the global financial crisis. Their point of difference – delivering fully customised, sustainable, and energy-efficient homes at an affordable price point – has proven a game-changer in the south Queensland housing market.

The Pacific Pinnacle – a delicious blend of tropical luxe and Hamptons charm – evolved from the company’s highly successful ‘Pacific’ range of homes. The design was meticulously customised to accommodate the client’s particular lifestyle brief, as well as the block of land it was built on – a north-easterly facing site in the lush Gold Coast hinterlands.

‘The client really wanted to have a resort lifestyle,’ Jeremy explains. ‘She also wanted the home to be low-maintenance, open and airy.’

It’s all been achieved – thanks to masses of glazing, open and shaded entertaining decks, high raked ceilings, and a heated pool, cleverly positioned for absolute privacy, that laps at the walls of the house.

Eco-Essence Homes
The white cladding reflects sunlight
Photo courtesy Eco-Essence Homes
Eco-Essence Homes
Floor ‘windows’ reveal glimpses of the dry creek bed
Photo courtesy Eco-Essence Homes

The 620-square metre, four-bedroom home flows seamlessly – indoors and out – along a single level in a series of interlinked pavilions. This approach was employed specifically to add flexibility to the floorplan and reduce energy consumption. ‘We designed it in separate wings, each with their own bathroom, so the client can close off each wing when she’s there by herself. This eliminates the need to heat and cool areas that aren’t being used, which is a big part of the sustainable design,’ Jeremy says.

For a touch of whimsy – and to visually link the home with the surrounding landscape – glass panels were set into the floor of the internal walkways between the pavilions. These floor ‘windows’ reveal glimpses of the dry creek bed, engineered by Eco-Essence, which wends its way beneath the decks and pavilions towards the back of the house.

The Gold Coast climate is described as ‘moderate’. Winters are mild and summers are hot, so homes are primarily designed to beat the heat. ‘While in the southern states the focus is on keeping homes warm, we’ve got to be just as aware – if not more so – of how we’re going to keep the home as cool as possible,’ Jeremy says. ‘And we’re obviously considering orientation to be a major part of an eco-home, to make sure you’re not getting summer sun in windows that you don’t want it in.’

Another technique Eco-Essence leverages is single-depth rooms, which can be opened front and back to admit the cooling cross-breezes. This works well in the Pacific Pinnacle Jeremy explains: ‘The main living area pavilion has no internal walls; it’s 100 per cent completely open which means the breeze can flow from front to back and side to side’.

‘While cooling breezes flow in through the windows, all the hot air rises out through the roof itself’

The north and south-facing ends of the pavilion open onto deeply-shaded timber decks, and this represented one of the most challenging aspects of the construction process.
‘The whole ends of this structure are glass, and we wanted it to be as minimalistic as possible when it comes to posts and beams. So there was a fair bit of complexity in the engineering and technical building of it.’

The vaulted ceiling that soars over the living areas contributes as much to the home’s operation as it does to the interior aesthetic, by allowing hot air to rise up and away from the living space, where it then escapes via a series of strategically placed Velux skylights.

The physics behind the system ensures a constant flow of cool, fresh air at ground level: ‘While cooling breezes flow in through the windows, all the hot air rises out through the roof itself. It’s actually a really big working platform of making the home breathe in the Queensland climate.’

Throughout this spectacular home, every design feature and inclusion has been sensitively considered to enhance visual appeal as well as performance. The lightweight construction technique, for example, comprising timber framework, climate-appropriate insulation, and Linea board cladding, was utilised because it doesn’t retain heat in the way that heavier materials such as bricks can. Painted white to reflect rather than absorb sunlight, the cladding delivers the cool, crisp charm that underpins the home’s architectural appeal.

Eco-Essence Homes
A delicious blend of tropical luxe and Hamptons charm
Photo courtesy Eco-Essence Homes
Eco-Essence Homes
Luxurious resort-style living
Photo courtesy Eco-Essence Homes

One complication of this particular build was the need to comply with BAL 29 bushfire zone requirements. ‘We handled all that in our design stage and incorporated it into certain design elements so it didn’t visually impact the home,’ Jeremy says. ‘You wouldn’t know if you looked at it that it was a BAL 29 construction.’

In fact, in some cases, the design team has worked the regulations to aesthetic advantage – the curved lines of the decking, for example, added a certain organic appeal while bringing the structure away from the flame zone.

After a seven-month construction process, the finished home was awarded an energy rating of six stars (without any bonus stars, which is an achievement for a home of this size, Jeremy adds). The owner has been living in the home now for over a year, and Jeremy says it has ‘well and truly exceeded her expectations’ through the changing seasons.

‘She rang me about two months ago to tell me her power bill was less than $200 for the quarter during winter, which is fantastic for a home with an electrically heated pool.’

It’s this sort of outcome that proves just how beneficial sustainable housing can be, and how its importance will only increase into the future, Jeremy says. ‘A sustainable home is a huge part of how we can overcome the ever-rising cost of living. People want to know how they can cut the expense of running their homes, they want to live cleaner and smarter and have a little bit less maintenance and more time to live and enjoy life, so I think sustainable living is the only way to go in the future.’

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