Ballarat at Home: Building a home at Black Hill

DEBRA and Geoff Dickson only moved into their Esmond Street house in February, but it's already one of the most important of their lives.

They started plans for the house soon after buying the Black Hill property with a cottage on it seven or eight years ago.

Their daughter, who was studying architecture at the time, designed the original layout before they worked with a local architect to perfect the details.

While the house was built, Debra and Geoff moved into the cottage. It was only meant to take two years, but ended up taking longer.

The home is the Dickson family's first build, although they have renovated several houses before. 

"My husband has always been interested in building – this was a dream for him," said Ms Dickson.

"It's nice to live in a brand new home that's fresh and clean."

The Dicksons last year enjoyed watching their son get married in the house with an intimate group of 24. 

From the beginning, they wanted to have a north-facing house that was energy efficient.

The sun warms the house in winter, with the heat captured in the walls and polished concrete floors during the day and slowly released in the evening.

"All exits are air locked, so we can keep out the heat."

They didn't want it to be too big, as it was only the two living there.

"We've had a big house before and we don't need one now." 

At the entrance to the house is a display of bowls collected from the couple's travels around the world.

Ms Dickson said they purchased new furniture for their home, keeping it very simple.

"We wanted cabinets and couches raised off the floor to keep a feeling of space." 

Now that the home is finished there'll be no more renovating or building for the Dicksons. 

"This is it - this is the house," said Ms Dickson.

The next project is to landscape the garden.

"My husband's doing a permaculture course, so he'll want to embrace some of those lovely skills in the garden. I'll leave that to him."

Want us to feature your home?