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The Natural Artisan















Cover Image: Artisan John Bint from JB Rendering at Nando's Restaurant, Gold Coast, Queensland. See story Page 08. Cover Photography: Ross Eason www.easoncreative.com.au


Editor: Rebecca Park

Design: Tiam Whitfield

Contact: editor@thenaturalartisan.com

The Natural Artisan: bringing together ‘the creators’ of all kinds to celebrate and share the art of crafting beautiful spaces and objects. We do this with a collective intention to live in tune with nature. As Tolkien said in The Fellowship of the Ring: “We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.” Timeless elegance: the interior of a strawbale home finished with lime render, Blue Mountains NSW by Viva Living Homes Photography: © Viva Living Homes

Winter 2016

Published by ROCKCOTE 18 Machinery Drive, Yandina QLD 4551


"I believe that there is an identity lost when we surround ourselves with standardised products." Winter 2016


Photography: Lucas Muro www.lucasmuro.com.au

GET THIS SEAMLESS RENDER LOOK Artisan Igor Stainwald from So Solid rendering specialists has created this on trend continuous render look with ROCKCOTE Marrakesh in concrete colour. The render extends from a feature wall in the kitchen through to the powder room, providing continuity and interest. More: www.sosolid.com.au

PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE Interested in learning more about permaculture? Join Morag Gamble and Evan Raymond for a permaculture design course at Crystal Waters Eco Village in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from 29 August - 9 September 2016. For more information and a full list of upcoming courses: www.ethosfoundation.org

BE INSPIRED AT THE MELBOURNE HOME SHOW BRISBANE GREEN HEART FAIR The Green Heart Fair is Brisbane’s biggest free bi-annual community and sustainability festival, promoting innovative green living in a fun, family friendly environment. The Fair welcomes sustainability organisations, community groups, artisans, foodies, green thumbs, and eco experts to share information and knowledge on how to live more sustainably. The next Fair will be held on Sunday 11 September 2016 at Carindale Recreational Reserve. More: www.greenheartfair.com.au


Ideas, inspiration, products, trends and expert advice are in store for visitors to the Melbourne HIA Home Show from 18-21 August at South Bank. Drop in and say hello to Gorni from Render It Oz and ROCKCOTE Natural Materials specialist, Tony Thorogood to discuss ideas for your build or renovation. More: www.hiahomeshow.com.au

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The Natural Artisan

Bold geometric patterns, textured fabrics and natural renders combine to deliver an authentic South African inspired space in this new Nando’s restaurant on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Winter 2016


“The opposing patterns and shapes are deliberate – that’s exactly the effect we wanted, but we carefully placed them in ways that would feel harmonious in the space overall." - Cushla McFadden

A natural stone look was achieved for the condiments counter using Marrakesh finished with Black Olive Soap 10

The Natural Artisan


nown in Australia and throughout the world for legendary flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken, each Nando’s restaurant has its own special design, using earthy textures and colours reminiscent of the company’s Afro-Portuguese roots.

Sydney based design firm, TomMarkHenry was approached to partner with Nando’s to deliver something truly unique for this restaurant, located in the Australia Fair complex at Southport on the Gold Coast. Designer Cushla McFadden said the style needed to reflect the chain’s South African roots with a significant amount of research undertaken to develop an understanding of South African aesthetics that could then be applied in a contemporary setting.

“Nando’s didn’t want a literal interpretation of a South African interior. The brief was to take inspiration from that but execute in a way that would be well received in an Australian beachside location,” she said. Nando’s provided general guidelines for the project including the preferred locations for some key elements of the restaurant such as where the counter sits in relation to the entry. High traffic areas needed to be tiled, with timber flooring in the main dining space. TomMarkHenry had creative freedom to develop the rest of the look including joinery, finishes, colour scheme, lighting and furniture. Cushla explained that the intention was to keep the space light, bright and open but use textures and design elements that could be identified as South African inspired. The high ceiling was pulled down on two sides to create an interesting feature, the pitch delivering a more rustic appeal, complemented by a painted timber herringbone cladding. Inspiration for the various shapes was drawn from symbols that represent links to important South African traditions, family values and community. “The opposing patterns and shapes are deliberate – that’s exactly the effect we wanted, but we carefully placed them in ways that would feel harmonious in the space overall,” Cushla said. CONTINUED

Winter 2016


Clay Plaster Décor in its natural white adds texture and character to the walls

A standout feature of the space is the handcrafted black and white textured wall, painstakingly created with ROCKCOTE Clay Plaster Décor by artisan John Bint. Each long white line of plaster and downward-pointing triangle was applied by hand on site following a lengthy process of template creation and testing. Clay Plaster Décor in natural white applied in a sponge finish was also used for other walls including behind the bar (see above). Cushla said the handmade look suited the theme perfectly. “Nando’s likes their restaurants to have a lot of soul, texture and character so this rough textured finish aligns really well with the vision. Earth render is inviting and warm, it is traditional and has been around for hundreds of years but can work well in a modern environment. Over time the edges might chip and get a bit worn, that adds to the charm of the product.” John Bint said several templates were created in order to bring TomMarkHenry’s patterned design to life. Trials offsite with ROCKCOTE Natural Materials Specialist, Tony Thorogood, helped determine a method of application that would allow a jig to be removed from the walls onsite without damaging the Clay Plaster Décor. The walls took two people two days to complete.

Influenced by images found during research, Cushla and her team sought a natural stone look for the condiments counter, achieved with ROCKCOTE Marrakesh in Blackwater colour, finished with Black Olive Soap for water resistance and durability. “We were searching for a hard, durable finish that could also be used to create curved edges to give a softer, more natural look,” Cushla said. Careful consideration was given to lighting to ensure the space was lit efficiently and highlighted the patterns and textures, with creative shadows adding to the overall mood of the space. Cushla reported that TomMarkHenry and Nando’s loved the ROCKCOTE finishes so much on this project that they will be used for several other Nando’s refurbishments now underway in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. PROJECT DETAILS Nando’s Restaurant, Australia Fair, Gold Coast Design: TomMarkHenry Builder: Arete Artisan (ROCKCOTE Clay Plaster Décor and ROCKCOTE Marrakesh): John Bint, JB Rendering Lighting Consultant: Ambience Furniture: BSeated Photography: Ross Eason


The Natural Artisan

Inspiration for the various shapes was drawn from symbols important to South African tradition.

Winter 2016


“Something psychological shifts when you have direct engagement in the creation of a space – you are transformed from a consumer into a creator, a developer, an innovator.” – Morag Gamble At Yandina Community Gardens (YCG) established in 2002, a regular program of activities, workshops and film screenings provide plenty of opportunities for learning and sharing. Volunteer days on Mondays and Tuesdays attract a swathe of enthusiasts who nurture and maintain the gardens then share a morning tea of scrumptious homemade goodies and garden fresh produce. The hands-on nature of the work needed to produce food and other crops provides opportunities for people to learn by seeing and doing, with more experienced volunteers helping the newbies according to YCG President, Michelle Parry. “By participating, individuals meet and interact with like-minded others and become part of our community, or tribe, as I like to call it, which includes our volunteers and members. For me and many others involved at YCG, it is important to connect with like-minded others who 'get' where you are coming from and share similar interests, beliefs and values,” Michelle said. Moving Feast, the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) community food garden established in 2014, is proving to be an ideal classroom for teaching about sustainability and food security. Project Manager, Angela Cleary who teaches community and public health nutrition at USC said nutrition focus groups found students felt there was poor access to fresh, affordable fruit and vegetables on campus, paving the way for the development of the garden. Morag has taught several workshops at Moving Feast and is buoyed by how students from different faculties can see community gardens as a platform for creating positive change in their work. “An international development student can see how important it is for people to work through issues of poverty by cultivating community resilience and self-reliance. Sustainability students may look at how gardens can assist in addressing climate change; and a microbiology student considers 16

what is happening at the soil level and underneath the ground. It provides a real-world context for their education,” Morag enthused. Morag has seen the ripple effect of educating people about living more sustainably many times over. At the Northey Street Community Gardens, community members began taking an interest in their local ecology beyond the boundaries of the garden. “Empowering people to grow food and connect to the environment are platforms for change. There is a stronger sense of responsibility. In Brisbane, people started to think about the health of the river and participate in programs for its improvement – the ripples go beyond the little space you’re in and influence the whole bioregion.” Morag is optimistic that the trend of increased awareness about the impacts of our consumption habits, the advantages of eating quality food and the benefits of eating locally grown food will continue and sees community gardens as having a vital role in this evolution. “About 15 years ago I was asked to write the urban agriculture report for Brisbane City Council about how food growing could be integrated into its strategic process. Many of those suggestions are gradually being implemented. I recently saw a promotion for an apartment for sale in Brisbane that advertised access to a community garden on the rooftop. If that is a selling point now, the level of acceptance of this idea has been taken to a new level.” WANT TO GET INVOLVED? Find your nearest community garden at: directory.communitygarden.org.au/directory/update For details about Morag and Evan’s Permaculture Design courses: www.ethosfoundation.org Yandina Community Gardens: www.yandinacommunitygardens.com.au The Natural Artisan

The other major roadblock in establishing the program was funding. While labour costs could be covered through the student education program, the construction budget for each home was around $US100,000. Emily was aware that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided home loans to low income families in rural communities with no deposit required and repayments adjustable based on income.

Emily Niehaus polishes Tadelakt with project team members

Following months of communication with the USDA, advocates within the department voiced their support for the Community Rebuilds model as a solution to the housing crisis, citing the ability for farmers to offload straw at the end of the growing season as an added advantage. A workshop was held on site with department officials to demonstrate the viability of the project, with the first loan approved on the same day. “The loan legitimises what we are building and it’s a viable product for the federal government as a lender. The home owner takes out a loan for the entire cost of construction except the student labour,” Emily explained.

A completed Community Rebuilds home in Moab, Utah

“Our homes push the envelope for affordable housing. The inside is custom and can be quite artistic. People walk through and can’t believe it’s low income housing.” – Emily Niehaus

Community Rebuilds builds exclusively for low income families and now has a long list of families waiting for a home to be built. The homes are modest, with a rectangular footprint and simple roof design. From the outside, they look like a conventional home, with a stucco finish. Homeowners are required to be involved in the project and encouraged to help design the internal space that is personalised according to family preferences. “Our homes push the envelope for affordable housing. The inside is custom using natural finishes and can be quite artistic. People walk through and can’t believe it’s low income housing. People with moderate incomes are now soliciting builders to build them a strawbale home,” Emily said. The program is so successful that other communities are keen to replicate the model. Community Rebuilds has developed a partnership with a group on the nearby Hopi Reservation, Hopi Tustkwa Permaculture, and together the two groups are building housing and community facilities on the reservation. Community Rebuilds has also initiated a similar project this year in Crested Butte, Colorado, building its first three-story duplex for two low income families. “There is this quiet need for all of us to be part of a community, have a sense of belonging, not be so alienated. We are solving some of these big problems with a simple goal of helping others. I think that’s the quiet beauty of the program,” Emily said.

Winter 2016


Caro and Kingi embark on a new renovation, pictured here with daughter Halia and dog Ali.


The Natural Artisan

Dubbed “The Larrikins”, Australia fell in love with Caro and Kingi in the 2015 season of The Block, their playfulness, can-do attitude and unique ‘Scandustrial’ style grabbing the attention of designers and renovators throughout the country. Now back in their hometown of Townsville, the couple is embarking on a more personal renovation – of their family home. They spoke with Rebecca Park about their plans.

What was your perspective on renovating before The Block? Caro: It is fun and looks easy. Before The Block our renovating experience was fairly minimal – a bit of paint and render, and some carpet. We never did anything structural or ventured into wet areas. Kingi: We quickly learnt that renovations were quite in depth and hard work. It only took about two weeks to get our heads around it and then we did well … now we enjoy it.

What has The Block experience taught you that will carry through to your own renovation? Caro: It has taught us patience, and the importance of good preparation, planning and project management. On The Block, the more organised we were, if something happened, we had time to think about how we could fix it. Kingi: Budgeting – because I blew that out of the water!

What is important to you when creating a family home space? Kingi: Practicality and functionality are big for a family and important for us. Caro: Something our family can grow up in. We want a home where our kids can become teenagers and adults, a space that Kingi and I can continue to enjoy when the kids grow up and leave home.

How would you describe your street? Caro: I always wanted to find the worst house in the best street. We live in this beautiful little court. Everyone around us is a homeowner there are no rental properties. Many people have been here for 20 years in the same house. The kids ride their bikes in the street.

Can you describe the house now, before the renovation? Caro: The best thing about the house is how big it is. We looked at a lot of Queenslanders that were small and already had extensions. It is horrible but it has potential. Kingi: It is a renderer's dream with all this brick. Caro: It even has fake feature brick walls inside! I love the beautiful, wide double hung windows. We are keeping them. The main bathroom is huge because the home was owned by a lady in a wheelchair. It has two kitchens, four bedrooms and two bathrooms with a separate granny flat that is attached to the house. We came from a house that was so tiny that we were forever putting things in suction bags. Now we are on a 755 square metre block and there is no yard – the majority is house. The kitchen is lime green. We couldn’t even get our fridge in the kitchen and we have no hot water there so we have to fill up hot water in the bathroom. All the fans have the light in the fan so they’re going. We are all sleeping in this one room that will eventually be the office – our three year old, our Rottweiler and us, on a fold out mattress because we threw out most of our furniture. CONTINUED

Winter 2016


How much of the project will you be doing yourselves?

So you have a large space with plenty of potential. What are your plans for the renovation? Kingi: The granny flat will become the master suite with a massive walk-in wardrobe. The current kitchen will become the living room and push out to the boundary on one side leading into a new kitchen with a butlers pantry. We are raising the roof of the living, kitchen and dining area to a huge 3m to 5.6m raked ceiling with louvres for breezes and light. A new deck will overlook a park/easement at the end of the cul-de-sac. The existing four bedrooms will become two bedrooms, an office and a media room. The bathroom, shower and toilet will become one large wet area.

What are you most looking forward to changing? Caro: Everything. Where do we start? Kingi: Mostly the living room, dining and kitchen because that’s where we live and hang out.

How would you describe your approach to renovating? Caro: I am a bit of a bull at a gate and think that once something is ripped down you have to deal with it so you may as well just get started but I know now that patience is the key. Now I know the value of research and am not scared to negotiate. Kingi designs it and I fill it. I follow Kingi with the design side because he works in this industry and he has seen thousands of homes. I tell him the colours and where they will go. Kingi: I approach it very slowly, that’s the difference between us and that’s why we work well as a team. We meet somewhere in the middle. I try to think of the worst-case scenarios and then when it doesn’t reach that we are all happy.

How do you balance your different approaches? Kingi: We just fight! No, we just push our case. Caroline tells me what she thinks and I tell her what I think and we might argue over it for a little while. At the end of the day we sleep on it and see where each other comes from and work together until we come up with something we both like. 22

Kingi: We are project managing which is what we did on The Block. With both of us working full time we can’t do everything ourselves. I think things run a lot smoother when you have professionals working in each area. Of course, I will be rendering.

Kingi, as a solid plasterer I expect that render might feature heavily? Kingi: The toilet roll holder will be rendered (laughs). Obviously we are not going overboard but the whole outside will be rendered in a ROCKCOTE system. There will be rendered feature walls and the living/dining into the master bedroom will have Venetian Plaster face sliding doors. I will be using ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster and Marrakesh internally, which is what I used on The Block because obviously my style is very industrial. Caro’s style is more funky and traditional so it’s an interesting hybrid. They called it "Scandustrial" on The Block so we’re going with that. Caro: People think render is so cold and hard but it can be soft. We proved a lot of people wrong by softening a rendered look with different textures. Kingi: I think flooring is a big key to softening the look of the render. Using nice timber, spotted gum or something similar helps to soften the space.

What is the timeframe for completion? Kingi: We are starting in August and the structural stuff should be finished by November. We will take our time with the rest.

Looking forward to completion and moving in, how do you imagine that you will describe the space? Kingi: Incorporating the natural materials into the design and showcasing them is a point of difference. I don’t think there will be a house in Townsville with Venetian Plaster doors or a rendered benchtop. That’s what we are looking forward to the most, something different. Caro: I’ll be excited to have a beautiful home where we can sit on the couch. You just can’t relax in this house at the moment. In summer, it is like a sauna. It will be so great to finally have a beautiful house to grow our family.

Editor's note: We look forward to seeing the finished product and sharing the transformation with our readers - watch this space!

The Natural Artisan

Profile for The Natural Artisan

The Natural Artisan: Winter 2016  

Bringing together creators of all kinds to celebrate the art of crafting beautiful spaces and objects.

The Natural Artisan: Winter 2016  

Bringing together creators of all kinds to celebrate the art of crafting beautiful spaces and objects.