Anna Morcombe of Dwelling Design is located in the stunning coastal town of Esperance, Western Australia. Dwelling Design is a creative practice for interior and architectural design, with a sustainable design approach to creating houses and buildings. Anna works primarily with homeowners and business owners to develop dream projects, major renovations and building improvements, that add value and quality of life. One of our wonderful businesses on the Sustainable Home Hub, Anna follows sustainable and eco principles in her design work, including:
- Solar passive design
- Permaculture principles
- Energy efficient homes
- Human-centered design
I am Anna – business owner and design consultant. I love working with inspired clients. The best part is being present for their pure enjoyment of reaching for their goals while being in the kind of creative freedom they get to experience by embarking on that journey. I help shape and actualize ideas, while sharing my knowledge of the built environment and good design.
How did you start the business and what inspired you?
As a rookie designer I’d had the wisdom that my involvement in the building industry would involve me influencing the mainstream to move towards sustainability. I had no idea how I was going to do this, aside from designing homes that were to be attractive, affordable and energy efficient. Those 3 factors were key in all of my earlier design work since 2012, and are still a very important part of my mission.
What made you fall in love with the idea?
In a nutshell – my culture. I’m passionate about living off the land, the pure enjoyment of being connected to a place and belonging to a community. When we live simply and joyfully, a space is created for us to access our potential, and that’s where the magic happens. I reckon we’re all able to access this, in the milieu. We can create these types of environments for our families. The other reason is the impact our homes have on our environment. Its two-fold – our homes influence us, as our environment; and our homes and lifestyles impact on the natural environment, often not in a positive way if they’re operating inefficiently or creating waste and emissions.
Was there anything you didn’t love about it?
Actually, everything on the path has been a blessing. And if not obvious, it came in disguise. Architecture as a philosophy and profession is shrouded in complexity and can be very multi-faceted. It does take time to find your niche in this industry, and where the population in general doesn’t know what you actually ‘do’. Let’s just say it’s not only designing and drawing building plans…
Sustainability really is the only way forward. The awesome thing is there are different levels of sustainability; I’m really interested in ‘flourishing’, which is next level sustainability. If it’s not sustainable for me – it doesn’t fly! I come from a modest rural upbringing and learnt not only to do my best with what I have; to leverage those gifts and assets to create abundance – crafty skills when applied to home sustainability and business.
Do you have any tips for other people wanting to create a sustainable home?
Take care of people and planet, obtain a yield, make it work for you, do what you love, carpe diem…
Simplify. I remember to take it one step at a time and to continually improve, learn from others and myself. Read a lot of books and implement the actions that excite your soul.
Biggest Challenge in setting up and running your business?
Qualifying the more intuitive aspects of my role, and educating the public on the inherent value of bespoke architecture, particularly design for climate and site contexts, health and amenity, and wow-factor. I’d say professionally, for me, it was finding a balance for all these informal players in the projects, while developing my people skills and mastering business has been a challenge for sure. Learning to love it – the biggest reward of all!
Do you recommend any particular materials, processes or ideas for people wanting to create a more sustainable and mindful home?
Go to yourhome.gov.au and learn what to do. I cannot recommend the research provided in this website highly enough…. amazing resource for anyone, anywhere in Australia. Read it twice. Read it again. Feel empowered. Take time out to engage yourself in the things you love to do. Opportunities start to appear with a focused, intent and appreciative mind. Doing things becomes a lot easier, and more fun!
What do you do to relax and unwind at home?
My go-to’s are gardening and cooking. My family and I live in a small house where the garden and the kitchen are the two most functional, spacious zones of the home. I love feeling connected to the outdoors, the weather and can easily breathe out with a view beyond the four walls… My partner and I grow vegetables. It’s a joy to cultivate and harvest our own food. With limited time on busy days cooking is my creative outlet, and the food serves us a two-fold purpose with it’s physical nourishment!
The best is yet to come! …But, aside from being excited about my current projects, I’d like to share this home featured in this blog post. I designed it as a versatile family home on a small lot, with an epic sunny interior in mid-winter. The house is now lovingly decorated with colourful ecclectica in a town-n-country fashion and moreso it’s a showcase for how we live now with great connection ‘to outside’ from our main living areas, an open floor plan – lots of dynamic space, and room to grow food. I call it the Suburban Oasis, (the garden is flourishing) from the moment of entering the front door you feel real warmth from the natural light and that is very welcoming. The photos were taken on the 2017 Winter Solstice at noon, so you can get a feel how the sun enters the windows warming the interior for the ultimate in nature’s free climate comfort.
This October I’m releasing a range of eight unique Australian house designs for the south coast regions of Australia, with passive solar and good design principles, compact floor plans that are customizable to suit any site and are formattable to your living needs.
Head to the Sustainable Home Hub to find out all of Anna’s details and how to get in touch to work with her on your next project