The 5×4 Hayes Lane project is an architectural and design statement to say the least. Located on a cobblestone laneway in East Melbourne, this four-story home is contemporary and sustainable living with a difference… It utilises an incredibly small footprint; the tiny block is only five metres deep by four metres wide!

Ralph Alphonso from Barley Store Productions Pty Ltd, is the designer behind this incredible home. Ralph says he wanted to ensure that functionality and space were not sacrificed, despite the unique architecture of the building. He wanted to make something that reduces the ecological footprint but doesn’t compromise on quality, something that we could all learn from, for better living in the future.

We can agree that this goal has been achieved, and then some. The entire building is designed, built and powered with passive and active eco-driven processes, materials and performance considerations. From the materials used in construction, to the electrics and appliances, everything about the 5×4 Hayes Lane Project demonstrates and encourages discussion around sustainable living.

‘Home’ is the only way to describe this creation, because despite the challenging size this place does not want for anything. Every tiny detail was considered during the build process to make sure that every nook and cranny was accounted for and utilised in the best possible way. From multi-purpose furniture like the lounge couch that converts to a dining table, to a dual purpose room on the lower level that has a study nook under the stairwell and can even garage a smart car. But let’s also not forget to mention the hot tub located on the roof top!

In terms of major electrical appliances it offers everything a normal household might have – a washing machine, condenser dryer, combination oven and microwave, dishwasher, plus Liebherr integrated underbench fridge and freezer.


All of these appliances are either hidden behind cupboard doors (washing machine & dryer) or installed under the kitchen benchtop to maximise on space. Ralph decided that Liebherr would be the only choice when it came to refrigeration in this project as both the Liebherr underbench fridge UIK 1620 & underbench freezer UIG 1313 are 3.5 star ratings so offer great efficiency when it comes to energy consumption.

Having the two functions separately (fridge vs freezer) also offers additional ways to save on consumption, which is an added bonus. When you have nothing in the freezer you can switch it off to save energy (or vice versa with the fridge). A very practical solution when it comes to going on holidays as you can empty your fridge of fresh produce and switch it off – leaving just your freezer with any long term items that can be stored safely in your absence.

As a space saving initiative, as seen in the 5×4 Project, the underbench fridge and freezer is a great way to go!

Check out the website for a full 360 of the building. After many years of research and review what was achieved in the 5×4 Hayes Lane Project is nothing short of extraordinary in the Australian way of living.

The 5×4 Hayes Lane Project is currently being featured on FOXTEL’s Grand Designs Australia, season 6.

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