Monthly Archives: June 2013

Meet The Team………..Amber………

This month’s Meet The Team is Amber Stokes. She’s the newest  member of the SCDD family and has fitted in perfectly. Always laughing and eating our  hommous.!!


Amber Brings her “Blankey” to work on cold mornings.

Where were you born:  Wooloongong NSW

Married to: Nigel for 10 years.

Children: Cooper 10,  and Sienna 7

How long have you been working in the construction industry: 8 years as a CAD Technician

Favourite Food: Hommous and Crackers

Favourite Drink: Beer

If you could spend a day with a famous person who would it be: Jimoen

Phobias: Scared of domestic chickens that don’t back off when commanded.

How long have you been on the Sunshine Coast: 6 years

Hobbies / Interests: Reading, Basketball, and Soccer.

Favourite saying: “I’m just talking to myself”.


“Form Follows Function”

The other day we missed out on a commission  because the  projects  shown on our website and some past projects in our portfolio were not the  “style” the client was looking for and they weren’t confident that we could deliver the type of design they were looking for.

I believe Custom Design is a very individual process. Each and every  project has it’s own set of  design criteria. At SCDD we don’t focus on a particular  “Look” or “Style”. Some designers  trade on the back of a particular style and  consumers may look to purchase that particular look. Much like a brand name. Someone may pay  twice the price for an item based in the brand name. But we prefer to work with our individual clients and find out what they really like and require.

The first stage in our custom design stage is to find out what our clients want. What is it they want to achieve and what is the most important factors in the  end product? What factors  may affect the design outcomes. Each client have they’re on likes and dislikes. These often do not  necessarily appeal to me or often the partner of the client!! 

Falling Water Designed 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright

From the very beginnings of my career as a Designer I have  been inspired by the famous American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and have been fortunate enough to visit his studio Taliesin in Spring Green Wisconsin and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  Both incredible buildings in their own right. But for me the stand out  was he Kaufman House or “Falling Water” designed in 1935.  Mr Wright coined the phrase  “Form Follows Function”  Which I would say has been my own design philosophy.

So many factors can influence the design of a new home / building. Each has its own set of constraints of which there are two types. Negotiable and Non-Negotiable. 

  • Negotiable constraints being colour preferences, Roof types, styles, and materials. Sometimes the budget can be one of those  as well.
  • Non Negotiable constraints are  things like Regulations,Budget in this case may be non – negotiable. Topography, and natural features. Generally things that must be designed around.

When the function of the building is defined we can then work on what it should look like. The form. This can involve aspects such as colour, texture, shape and form. Does the  building look balanced? etc. Does it fit in with its environment well. 

Should the design process be followed  correctly then a successful outcome can be achieved in all aspects. Which is the key to  “sustainable design”.

  • Cost effective
  • Socially acceptable
  • Ecological Sustainability
So when considering a designer for you new home or  commercial building  try not to focus on a particular  “look” or whether you feel the designer will reproduce something you have seen and liked. The  form of the building is only a small percentage of the whole package. Your designer  will consider  many other aspects that make a house a  “home”.  The pretty looks and colours will be added  at the end. Then you will have a home that suits your lifestyle and  looks great!!!        Remember that a style one person likes may be the wost  example of bad taste to another.  🙂

Someone Loves It !!


Passive Solar Design – What is It?

“Designing a building to work with the sun.”  

Solar Orientation


The Queensland Government has just announced that electricity prices will be increasing by 22.6 % for domestic users and 17% for business. With aging infrastructure of our national power grid the cost of electricity supply will only increase dramatically in the near future.

In a recent radio interview, Rockcote founder, Bob Cameron stated that “it was time we stopped building a box and cladding possible. We must start designing our homes correctly to alleviate the drain on our energy resources.”

We recently completed a home in Darwin where the client removed all the  cross ventilation by deleting windows to “save money”  Then asked to add 6 split system air conditioning units. If we  multiply this by 300 lots in the estate thats around 1800 airconditioners running flat out!!

We’re not against airconditioning  as such. It’s great to come inside after mowing the lawn  and relaxing in a cool living room or sleeping  comfortablyon those hot and steamy nights. However a well designed home can cut the  need  to have the airconditioning running for up to 80% thus reducing  the home’s energy load.

So where do we start?

By heating and cooling homes naturally we can cut down the energy costs significantly with the use of good design principles. In summer the house should maximise cooling air movement and in winter trap and store heat from the sun as well as minimise the heat loss.

 Passive Cooling

  •  Select adequate sized windows and orientate them so that the cooling breezes are captured.
  • Reduce internal air path barriers to increase natural ventilation.
  • Install ceiling fans to assist air circulation.   

    Natural Air Flow

  • Avoid excessive glazing on the east and western facades, and use effective shading depending on your climate zone.
  • Adequate levels of insulation. At least the minimum required for your climate zone.
  • Appropriate use of thermal mass determined by daily temperature changes in your climate zone.
  • Use light coloured roofing material to reflect solar radiation.

 Passive Heating

Design for passive solar heating  is about taking advantage of natural heat sources to heat the home. This can be achieved by

  • orienting of daytime living areas and selecting suitable windows  facing north.
  • Locating thermal mass where it is exposed to direct  solar radiation to store heat during the day
  • Insulating walls, ceilings and floors as well as protecting around doors and windows to reduce drafts.
  • Living areas and kitchen facing the north
  • Bedrooms located along the east and south  facedes.Garages and service areas (laundry, bathroom) should not be on the northern sides or where they can block prevailing breezes.

Warm in Winter Cool in Summer

  Hot Water Systems – and reducing your energy costs.

As well as selecting the correct system for your current and future needs your energy costs can be reduced by: 

  • Good Design!!  Grouping together of wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms and laundry and placing the storage tank close to these areas. This way the lengths of pipe can be reduced resulting in less heat loss.
  • Insulating the walls of the storage tank to reduce heat loss.
  • Switch off hot water system when going on holidays or away for extended periods.

Our aim as a Greensmart Accredited Design company is to ensure we provide environmentally responsible house design and: 

  • Improve the energy, resource and water efficiency of the home
  • Enable home owners to waste less and recycle more
  • Reduce waste in the building process
  • Create healthier homes for its occupants

 The benefits are numerous from having a home professionally designed by  a skilled and trained design professional.Lower energy bills, water bills, a warmer house in winter and a cooler house in summer, and less waste going into landfill.

“If you believe that good design is expensive wait until you see the cost for bad design!”