The First Wave

written by:
photos by:
November 1, 2007

In Sydney’s cramped beachside suburbia, architect Steve Kennedy defied a small footprint and a terrible drought with a generous double-height extension and a cutting-edge custom-made water-filtration system.

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  Mary Henning and Ann Wansbrough's renovation of a semidetached cottage enables them to use 75 percent less town water than the average two-person home.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    Mary Henning and Ann Wansbrough's renovation of a semidetached cottage enables them to use 75 percent less town water than the average two-person home.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  Household water is heated by a rooftop solar system.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    Household water is heated by a rooftop solar system.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  In the garden, Mary Henning gives her potted plants a much-needed drink of graywater diverted from the kitchen and bathrooms and filtered by a massive green wall.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    In the garden, Mary Henning gives her potted plants a much-needed drink of graywater diverted from the kitchen and bathrooms and filtered by a massive green wall.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  The façade of the original semi-detached bungalow is untouched, suggesting a run-of-the-mill suburban abode.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    The façade of the original semi-detached bungalow is untouched, suggesting a run-of-the-mill suburban abode.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  A wall of books travels the height of the stairs leading to Ann Wansbrough’s office, which rests comfortably on the top floor despite her limited mobility.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    A wall of books travels the height of the stairs leading to Ann Wansbrough’s office, which rests comfortably on the top floor despite her limited mobility.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  Wansbrough relaxes in the living room, a serene area with a bank of windows and an arrangement of Lezlie Tilley’s paintings inspired by the Australian bush.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    Wansbrough relaxes in the living room, a serene area with a bank of windows and an arrangement of Lezlie Tilley’s paintings inspired by the Australian bush.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  A small balcony off the master bedroom is both a sheltered area for reading and a crucial device for creating cross breezes.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    A small balcony off the master bedroom is both a sheltered area for reading and a crucial device for creating cross breezes.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  The bathroom’s width and reinforced handrails accommodate Wansbrough’s needs.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    The bathroom’s width and reinforced handrails accommodate Wansbrough’s needs.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  The lush backyard garden, with therapy pool in the foreground, hosts the green wall, which reduces the house’s drain on city water by 75 percent. Hidden behind the stone feature wall are three 800-gallon rainwater tanks that store whatever water falls from the skies.  Photo by: Richard Powers
    The lush backyard garden, with therapy pool in the foreground, hosts the green wall, which reduces the house’s drain on city water by 75 percent. Hidden behind the stone feature wall are three 800-gallon rainwater tanks that store whatever water falls from the skies.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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