The First Wave

written by:
photos by:
November 1, 2007
Originally published in A New Shade of Green

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.
    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.
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  Household water is heated by a rooftop solar system.
    Household water is heated by a rooftop solar system.
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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.
    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.
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  The façade of the original semi-detached bungalow is untouched, suggesting a run-of-the-mill suburban abode.
    The façade of the original semi-detached bungalow is untouched, suggesting a run-of-the-mill suburban abode.
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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.
    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.
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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.
    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.
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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.
    A small balcony off the master bedroom is both a sheltered area for reading and a crucial device for creating cross breezes.
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  The bathroom’s width and reinforced handrails accommodate Wansbrough’s needs.
    The bathroom’s width and reinforced handrails accommodate Wansbrough’s needs.
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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.
    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.
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