Ballarat at Home: Functional and comfortable

BILL Brady doesn't necessarily think his home looks special or is particularly grand or unique.

"This house is an ordinary looking one, but it's what you can't see that makes it special," he said.

Mr Brady built his Alfredton home 13 years ago with his wife Lesley.

They had been living in Melbourne, but moved to Ballarat for retirement, building themselves a functional and comfortable home. 

"We had been living in a terrace home in East Melbourne and it was so dark," Mr Brady said. 

"Lesley's request was that she wanted this house to be so light that she would have to wear sunglasses inside."

When the pair built the house, they made sure there was extra insulation in the ceiling and walls.

"We're not flat out greenies, but we realise we've got to do the right thing by the world and for our families in the future."

All windows installed are double glazed and Mr Brady is adding a third glazing.

"The house runs east to west, so we have the long side of the house north-facing with lots of windows," he said.

The concrete slab floors absorb the sun's heat during the day and release the heat slowly when the sun goes away. 

"We have used evaporative cooling, which we use very sparingly and we have high-efficiency ducted gas zones, so when we heat the house we only heat half of it."

The north-facing windows are shaded during the summer, with a grapevine outside.

Mr Brady said in winter, the grape vine loses its leaves and then optimises the amount of sun that reaches indoors. 

"When you build a house, you have to think of the future," he said. 

"Ballarat has a cold climate. Houses here should be different to Brisbane, Sydney or Albury. 

"You can go back and change the colour of the walls or bench top, but it's not as simple to add insulation." 

The house is flat with wide door openings, allowing the couple to live in the house as long as possible. 

Mr Brady said he'd always been a man who worked with his hands, having skills in plumbing and electrical work. He is known as a fix-it man. 

The terrace home in Melbourne had a cellar, so Mr Brady ensured that with this Alfredon house they wouldn't lose a space, with a small storage room is now used as his cellar. 

Mr Brady worked for a drive-in cinema for some time and started making the speakers for cars to use, which is now a quirky feature in the backyard.

Mr and Mrs Brady started receiving requests from all over the world and thousands were shipped off. 

Mrs Brady said she had memories of creating the speakers with a baby on her hip. 

"It was our business: we designed, manufactured and made them, then sold them around the world," she said. 

Mr Brady volunteers at Lydiard Street's Smart Living Centre, where he shares his passion and interest for how houses should be built with others. 

� If you want to see your house featured in The Courier, email 

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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