How to build your own version of Matt’s award-winning high-performance, low-carbon home

Architect, husband and father Matt Delroy-Carr – founder of MDC Architects – set out to build an environmentally-advanced house for his young family, to demonstrate that a low carbon future is within the reach of other young people and families.

His own Farrier Lane House – near Fremantle – is the first #TrueNetZero house in Western Australia, and just the third nationally.

This means that Matt’s house is true net zero carbon in embodied energy (the materials that were used to build the house; this was achieved using a selection of lower carbon materials and carbon offsets) and operational energy (the house will generate more electricity than it uses over its projected lifespan.

All of this has been achieved in a relatively small and compact home – which helped to keep the construction costs down – without compromising on spatial quality, comfort or healthy living.

Why did Matt experiment with the design of his own home?

Matt didn’t want to just demonstrate that it’s possible to build a small, comfortable and healthy home that reduces its impact on the planet; he wants to help other homeowners to achieve the same goal.

Because he understands that a lot of people – especially young people like him – are struggling to get a foothold in the property market, and that it’s especially difficult to find housing that performs well on both energy and spatial and functional measures.

After completing the experiment of building his own home – which enabled him to test various methods and work out the best way to combine spaces, materials and energy requirements – Matt created a series of New House Plans. These are architect-designed house plans that prospective homeowners can purchase from this website – https://mdcarchitects.com.au/new-house-plans/ – so that they can create a well-designed, affordable, energy efficient home for their family too.

The Tall House is a version of Matt’s own award-winning home with a couple of key differences, and with a few tweaks, homeowners can modify the Tall House plans to build a house just like Matt’s.

What’s the best way to build your own version of Matt’s house?

1. Custom architecture

You can commission MDC Architects to custom design a house for your block and family, that benefits from all the lessons Matt learned about spatial quality, functional performance, energy efficiency, material selection, balancing house and garden, and creating delightful and joyful spaces.

This option is the most expensive and takes the longest to complete (typical costs are $30k+ depending on your site conditions and brief, and it usually takes 6-12 months to design a custom home).
The big advantage of this option is that you can completely customise your design – choosing whatever materials you prefer, changing the size of the rooms and layout to suit your needs – and make your home unique. And if you want to achieve #TrueNetZero status like Matt did, you can carefully control every part of the design and build process to get there.

2. Off-the-shelf architecture

This is the least expensive option, and it means that you can purchase one of the three New House Plans – the Tall House is the most similar to Matt’s own home – and build it on your own block without any further input from Matt.

New House Plans are available at two price points, and the Package B price – $6999 – comes with Base Drawing CAD files that your builder can amend for you, if you want to make any changes to the plans, layouts or materials.
This is the cheapest and fastest way to get your hands on one of Matt’s award-winning house designs – you can purchase your plan for $4999 or $6999 – and get started building your environmentally-conscious dream home straight away.

3. Hybrid architecture – customised and off-the-shelf together

You can purchase your favourite New House Plan and commission Matt and the team at MDCA to make changes to suit your needs and preferences.

Want to change the kitchen or bathroom layouts? No problem. Want to change the double-brick construction to use timber cladding like Matt’s own house? Sure thing. Get in touch with Matt to discuss your options and the cost of customising New House Plans to suit your requirements.

This option is the mid-range and mid-time option – depending on your customisation requirements, it will cost about $10k+ and take 1-2 months to get the design just right for you.

Matt is really proud of his own home – and the fact that he’s been able to show that it’s possible for young families just like his to build a small, smart, sustainable house in Perth’s established inner neighbourhoods.

What’s the best thing about living in Matt’s house?

Since moving into their new home in 2022, Matt, his wife and their kids have enjoyed the fact that the spaces feel generous while being easy to maintain and helping to reduce clutter.

Their kids especially love the secret play spaces off their bedrooms (only an architect-dad would create such fantastic hidey-holes, right?).

“The house is calming and improves our mental wellbeing,” Matt says. “And each space has its own unique character and sense of separation, thanks to different qualities, volumes and materials.”

Another great benefit – and this is a feature of all three New House Plans – is the fact that the garden accounts for half of site, and this design and orientation makes the most of the laneway location, creating places for kids to play within and outside the block.

“It also meant we have a beautiful and ever-changing view from each room,” Matt adds.

And a fantastic financial bonus has been the fact that small and sustainable living has resulted in a significant reduction in the family’s energy bills!

If you’re ready to create a house like Matt’s, and you have questions about the best way for you to do that, please get in touch via the contacts page https://mdcarchitects.com.au/contact/