The Natural Artisan: Winter 2018

Page 1

ISSUE 16 | WINTER 2018





Winter 2018


Leaf stamp detail in ROCKCOTE Earthen Render Medium ROCKCOTE Design Centre. Artisan: Ben Dears


The Natural Artisan




Natural is universal


In this issue, we explore natural finishes in a range of different settings: from a commercial showroom, to a gorgeous strawbale home and finally, a Japanese-inspired bar.


Whether it’s an undulating, earthy clay or a smooth polished concrete finish, each example offers a textural experience that invites one to touch, explore, experience. These projects remind us that natural finishes have a truly universal appeal.


No longer only the domain of natural building, clay and lime plasters can bring a real point of difference to a home, office or commercial building with stunningly beautiful finishes that are simply not achievable with acrylics.


But there is something else, something that truly has to be experienced to be believed which Simone from Viva Living Homes touches on in Down to Earth. Using natural finishes extensively throughout a space brings a greater sense of comfort and ease, especially in a home environment. It sounds esoteric and it is indeed very difficult to describe but it’s true. It’s no wonder that these natural resources have been used to create wall finishes for cultures around the world for thousands of years.

08 14 18




Rebecca Park, Editor


Cover Image: Vanilla noir ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster finish, ROCKCOTE Design Centre, Gold Coast by artisan Bruce Allen. Cover photography: Ross Eason

The Natural Artisan: bringing together ‘the makers’ 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.

EDITORIAL Editor: Rebecca Park Design: Tiam Whitfield Editorial Consultant: Tony Thorogood Print Consultant: Steve Hall

As Tolkien said in The Fellowship of the Ring: “We put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.”

Winter 2018

Published by ROCKCOTE 18 Machinery Road, YANDINA QLD 4561


Amanda Bertoldi-Ward: architect, Feng Shui consultant, advocate for healthy spaces There is something about being in nature that draws me into the present moment. Spending time here at Cameron Falls on Tamborine Mountain makes me feel grounded, whole if you like. It’s a nice, quiet rainforest, known by the locals. I come here to walk alone and find myself returning regularly to this part of the forest as it helps me slow down. It doesn’t take very long to quieten my mind and just be right here. The gentle breeze, beautiful creek bed and natural surrounds bring a heightened awareness to the senses. I go barefoot a lot and like to earth here, coming away feeling refreshed and energised. My work requires energetic focus and spending time in nature aids my intuitive ability to help create calm and balanced spaces for others. That natural ambiance I like so much about this place is lacking in many modern homes. A lot of people don’t realise you can eat well and exercise but if you live in an unhealthy home that has negative energy, chemicals and allergens in the air, all the good being done in the other parts of your life are compromised. My background is in architecture, which I combine with Feng Shui and low-tox living tools to help people create healthy, naturally beautiful and harmonious homes. Our home environment is such an important component of our health and wellbeing and should be a calm, grounded and secure base, a sanctuary. We can create more relaxed homes by avoiding toxins, building and renovating with natural materials and creating more positive energetic and free-flowing spaces.

My work requires energetic focus and spending time in nature aids my intuitive ability to help create calm and balanced spaces for others. 4

The Natural Artisan

Photography: Tony Thorogood

Winter 2018


Pantone Colour of the Year: ULTRA VIOLET THE BOLD APPROACH Ultra violet is perfect for people who want to go all out and embrace colour with a bold, punchy look. Purple is the colour of mystery, creativity and individuality so have some fun and try mixing unexpected colours and shades together. Mix jewel-like colours in rich textures of velvet, glass, leather and linen all with a little twist to help keep the look fresh and modern. Try painting a couple of rich coloured feature walls like the ROCKCOTE Velvetina finish pictured at right. Natural Materials can be tinted to vivid colours using Giorgio Graesan tints, like this vibrant feature in ROCKCOTE Velvetina

Accessories like this vivid vase can be paired with emerald greens and timbers to bring the look back to earth

Try softening the colour to a lavender or bring in a more pinky tone, and mix with different tones of the same shade for impact


The Natural Artisan

AS AN ACCENT COLOUR Ultra violet accents are ideal for anyone who wants to try out the colour at home without investing in bold features.

This beautiful indigo floral-patterned quilt with a Chinoiserie print against a white background is a lovely, soft contrast to a concrete rendered wall. From

Try textural cushions and throws, beautiful modern prints or decorative vases. Ultra violet teamed with white keeps the look fresh and bright. Incorporate softer pastels and light timbers for a more feminine look and feel. Teaming Ultra violet with black, smoky grey, purples and a touch of silver for a sophisticated luxurious yet romantic look, perfect for the cooler months.

A simple pottery bowl with amethyst crystals carries the colour theme perfectly for a bathroom or bedroom and will bring calming and peaceful energy to a space

For a more boho look, try this Chindi recycled cotton and jute rug from Recycled Interiors chindi-recycled-floor-rug-round-1-8-m/

These handcrafted grey teapots by NSW potter, Hillary Jones, are the perfect complement to ultra violet or indigo hues in a lounge room or kitchen. Available at hilary-jones-nsw Winter 2018





The Natural Artisan


his stunning space is dedicated to helping customers select the right products for their project, with large scale samples, creative room sets and complimentary, personalised service.

The centre is designed to help home owners, builders, interior designers, architects and tradespeople connect ROCKCOTE’s range of finishes with highly visual design elements suitable for homes, apartments and commercial premises.

Winter 2018

The centre was designed for comfort and beauty and is recognised nationally and internationally for excellence in sustainable architecture and design. A recently completed major refurbishment comprises a brand new fit-out featuring the latest interior finishes and an external renovation with new render looks and contemporary colours. CONTINUED


Concrete look Marrakesh bathroom by artisan, Bruce Allen


"The idea of a design centre is for a place of inspiration, where people can see new finishes, get new ideas and experience products first-hand."

The Natural Artisan

Visitors are greeted with a striking water feature which is part of the building's natural air conditioning system

An eco-friendly thread is woven throughout, and visitors are greeted on entry with a striking water feature which is part of the building's natural air conditioning system.

“The idea of a design centre is for a place of inspiration, where people can see new finishes, get new ideas and experience products first-hand,” Zoe said.

“When people first walk through the door, they are immediately greeted with a very calm, serene atmosphere,” says ROCKCOTE senior interior designer, Zoe Milburn.

“Our products are all about texture and here, people can touch the finishes and identify whether they are right for their projects. Most people want to have a beautiful home with all the latest looks, whether it’s a brand-new build or a renovation. The centre helps give people a better idea of what these products can look like in their own space, making it easer to visualise and understand the different product finishes.”

“The entire building has been designed for comfort, with expansive open spaces, a high ceiling, natural air conditioning to help regulate the indoor air temperature, green walls, and the extensive use of natural clay and lime finishes.” Display areas showcase the portfolio of ROCKCOTE products. Texture samples and touch screens bring an interactive element to the experience. A custom-made studio table with a bold Marrakesh top in concrete grey offers a functional planning and specification space and provides inspiration for the use of this finish for benchtops in homes, bars and restaurants. The centre is a truly textural experience where visitors can explore the different finishes and find creative new looks: from rustic and natural to smooth and polished, and a variety of options for the concrete look.

Winter 2018

The Design Centre is also intended as an educational resource and space, available to TAFE and university design or sustainability classes, schools and professional associations (such as architects, designers and trades) for study tours, CPD presentations and social functions. If your business, group or organisation is interested in arranging a tour, please contact the centre on 07 5502 0523. Find out more at CONTINUED


TRULY BEAUTIFUL AND FULLY SUSTAINABLE THE ROCKCOTE DESIGN CENTRE WAS BUILT IN 2004 AS AUSTRALIA’S FIRST FULLY SUSTAINABLE COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT. Based on core values of biomimicry, radical waste reduction, integration and non-compromise, the build was planned to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum external inputs. Emphasis was placed on creating high levels of comfort and beauty to engender wellbeing and improved productivity. The buildings are orientated to allow winter sun into the main work areas, while being shaded and open to cool breezes in summer. The addition of a Big Ass brand fan in the recent upgrade helps to encourage air flow. External walls and roof areas are well insulated, the walls incorporating large volumes of thermal mass to moderate temperatures.


ENERGY: The building is energy positive, with an array of solar panels ensuring the building produces more energy than it consumes. WATER: Rainwater is collected from the roofs and stored in tanks with around 100,000 litre capacity. Initial run-off is diverted to gardens by a first flush system and drinking water is processed through a micro filtration system. Reclaimed water is used for flushing toilets and irrigating the living walls and gardens. THE GARDENS: Newly replanted produce gardens and mature fruit trees will ultimately provide fresh organic food for staff and visitors. No herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilisers are used. The Natural Artisan

THE LATEST FINISHES Dressing room, bathroom and lounge room sets in the Design Centre make it easier to envisage the latest finishes in your own space. Each set features a stunning Natural Materials finish and is fully themed, with furniture, décor and accessories.

VANILLA NOIR: the glamour of polished plaster Contrasting Venetian Plaster in black and white brings a contemporary and dramatic feel to a room space. Influenced by designer Kelly Hoppen, this space has a lovely east meets west design philosophy which carries well into Australian homes. The black vertical Venetian Plaster panel draws the eye up the wall to take in the beautiful finish. Bold brass and black accessories complete the look. Artisan: Bruce Allen

URBAN SPA: luxury tile-free bathroom Concrete look Marrakesh, complemented by a freestanding bath and floor mounted tap, sets the scene of a lovely, minimalist bathroom. A practical and impressive alternative to tiles, Marrakesh offers an elegant, seamless finish, bringing a simplicity and ease not achievable with standard bathrooms. Artisan: Bruce Allen

TIME WORN: the versatility of Velvetina Here, we’ve created a distressed, time-worn finish with Velvetina plaster, providing a rich textural look, perfect for a lounge room or café setting. Blank photo frames have been added to the wall to enhance the artistic detail. Simple, clean-lined furniture balances the space. Artisan: Ben Dears

Winter 2018


The home features timber frames and is finished with Clay Plaster DĂŠcor throughout.


The Natural Artisan

Story: Rebecca Park | Photography: Simone Pieta



ith a charm only attainable by using natural building and finishing materials, the home, built by Viva Living Homes, has lofty views to the Pacific Ocean.

Designed as a dream home for Helen Watkins, so she could finally enjoy the home she had been planning for many years, the brief sought to use natural materials where possible, maximise water views and create an open, light interior space. Handmade, traditional timber frames that lock together without any nails were premade and assembled on site, a time-honoured building technique used in Europe and becoming more common in Australian natural building. Large, glazed windows offer spectacular views to the ocean and, along with the strawbale walls, interior cob walls and insulation, help to moderate indoor temperatures. Increased wall height and raked ceilings create a sense of spaciousness and encourage airflow for a more comfortable indoor environment.

Winter 2018

Natural decorative finishes by ROCKCOTE feature extensively on the interiors, with Clay Plaster Décor the finish of choice for a lightly textured, softlooking appearance. On the exterior, Lime Plaster Basecote was used over the strawbale substrate and finished in a clay wash that was made on site, the natural colour blending effortlessly with the surrounding bush. The Clay Plaster Décor is tinted in several areas, helping to bring out the effect of visible undulations, with multiple oxides used in some locations to give the effect of a cloud-like patina. Bespoke, handcrafted features such as a stone sculpture embedded into the vestibule wall, connect the owner to the home in a deeply personal way. “We love to involve our clients in the building of custom designed homes and people enjoy adding their own features to make it really theirs,” says Viva Living Homes co-owner, Simone Pieta. CONTINUED


Personal touches such as this handcrafted feature embedded into the Clay Plaster Decor are a hallmark of Viva Living Homes builds


The Natural Artisan

“The Clay Plaster Décor in a natural white on the interior walls brings an elegant softness. The ability to create moulded curves instead of the sharp corners of standard gyprock and paint fit-outs brings a sense of ease and flow.”

“When people see these houses for the first time, their eyes smile, there is just something different. The science says that humans are most comfortable living in spaces with 40 to 60 percent humidity. A lot of homes constructed of standard materials and cooled or heated with air conditioning run at 12 percent. Our homes sit closer to the comfort zone of humidity, manage the extremes of outdoor temperatures really well and generally don’t require air conditioning.”

A seamless, tile-free bathroom has been achieved with ROCKCOTE Marrakesh on shower walls, complemented by highly polished ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster in the same colour throughout the bathroom for an elegant touch. Two stunning oversized bedrooms (the cosy window seat in the master looks like an ideal place to curl up with a book), an enormous old-fashioned piano room/library and an expansive deck make this a true lifestyle home. Simone admits it is difficult to describe what it’s like to live in one of their homes but the experience of a relaxed, more natural state of being is a good place to start.

“Helen says this home is like nothing she has had before. It’s super comfortable and she finds herself unconsciously immersed in the textural walls, touching the walls all the time.” An added advantage is that the natural building materials are outstanding carbon stores, performing far better than most new homes constructed with glass, bricks, concrete and steel which emit carbon during manufacture and don’t have the ability to store carbon like their natural alternatives.

Project Details:

Owner: Helen Watkins 4 bedroom (including library); 1 bathroom

Builder: Viva Living Homes (Sam Vivers and team)

Supervisor: Jose Barra

ROCKCOTE Artisans: Lee Freeman, Patrick Joice, supported by Ally Knights

Winter 2018


with Helen Edwards from Recycled Interiors

Do you find yourself agonizing over your choice of cleaning products? Do you beat yourself up every time you stray from your no plastic bag commitment, or worry about the future of the planet for your children so much you find it hard to sleep sometimes? If so, you could be suffering from eco-anxiety.


efined as “anxiety or worry about the ecological threats facing the earth”. Eco-anxiety is not a recognised mental illness, but is becoming a common reaction to the understanding about the issues we face from things like global warming, the health of our oceans, extinction of animals and other threats to the future of our planet.

It is quite rational to experience worry, sadness, fear and anxiety about our future and the health of our planet. We have hard evidence that tells us we are in trouble. However there are lots of things you can do to reduce your own anxiety and make a difference and there are plenty of people and organisations doing amazing things – every step DOES help.


The Natural Artisan

Here are some tips to help you reduce eco-anxiety Take the small steps

Connect with community

Rather than focusing on ALL of the things that need doing, work out what you can do and then stick with that as much as possible. For example, you might choose non-toxic cleaning products, recycled toilet paper, stop using single use plastics, give up the plastic bags and takeaway coffee cups, add solar panels to your home and harvest rain water. Taking these small steps may seem insignificant, but they are not. And it can reduce your eco-anxiety to know you ARE making a difference.

Connecting with like-minded people raises your spirits. It brings inspiration and guides you in your life. There are lots of community groups and networks you can get involved with. Find workshops and events, or simply connect with others via social media and blogs like Recycled Interiors.

Get involved There are literally hundreds of organisations that are fighting against damage to our planet. Look for some that resonate with you, such as animal protection groups, ocean crusaders, or conservation organisations. Find the things that excite and interest you and then roll up your sleeves and get involved. There are also particular challenges, special days and months such as the Garage Sale Trail, Earth Hour, Tree Planting Days and Clean Up Australia.

Trust yourself Sometimes it can feel like other people are tired of you banging on about the environment. In some circles you can talk no end about it, but in others, you may see people turn away when you mention the latest thing you are worried about. Don’t let these people get you down or stop you. Trust yourself and keep moving forward with your beliefs and passions.

Look at the beauty of the planet

Practice Mindfulness Practicing mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more at the same time. You’re more productive when you’re mindful and it can help in reducing eco-anxiety too. It takes practice, but it really changes your life. Focus on the light fall, the sounds you hear, the smells, the feel of the floor under your feet, the knife in your hand as you cut the vegetables. It is easy to be caught up in your thoughts about the past and future and worry about it all. You definitely need time to reflect and dream but worrying too much deprives you of the present moment, and the beauty of life. An extract from the original post, Simple Ways to Reduce Your Eco-anxiety, shared with permission from the Recycled Interiors blog

Helen is a blogger and interior and product stylist at Recycled Interiors, encouraging people to live more sustainable lives. Helen is growing Australia’s biggest green home and living Hub at Recycled Interiors, with her blog, sustainable styling services and the Sustainable Home Hub – search and add your business at join-the-sustainable-hub

It is not all doom and gloom. There are often good news stories about the planet and the things we are all doing. One of the best antidotes to any anxiety is to get out into nature, experience it all. Walk amongst the trees, climb a mountain, swim in the sea. Listen to the birds, feel the wind on your skin, pick some flowers and experience their scent in your home. See it through the eyes of a child – they really have an all senses, open hearted approach to the world.

Winter 2018


Story: Rebecca Park | Photography: Ross Eason


The Natural Artisan

JAPANESE DINING IS GAINING MOMENTUM ON THE GOLD COAST, WITH MITCHELL AND NERISSA MCCLUSKEY’S LATEST VENTURE, IKU YAKITORI BAR, TAKING CENTRE STAGE. This remarkable venue has all the hallmarks of a typical Japanese yakitori bar: the vibe of a street side location, complete with cobblestone floor; shared dining areas; and a massive concrete-look bar where diners can watch chefs at work. Moody yet minimal, Iku Yakitori Bar is more than a restaurant. It is a destination. The appeal lies in the fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously, offering a fun way to explore shared communal experiences, a hallmark of this type of dining in Japan. The fare is a contemporary twist on the traditional yakitori (“yakitori” means a Japanese type of skewered chicken, grilled over a charcoal fire) with a focus on chicken skewers, alongside raw and cooked seafood, deep-fried chicken and plenty of vegetarian options. With a string of café and restaurant success stories under their belts (including the Commune café in Burleigh which has a cult-like following, the Aloha bar and Etsu Izakaya at Mermaid Beach), the couple turned to their family ski holidays in Japan as inspiration for their latest venture. “A lot of people are travelling to Japan these days because flights are cheap and accessible from the Gold Coast. Many, like us, go for the snow and become enthralled by the Japanese dining experience but there was nothing similar here. We like to try to do something different and this is one of our favourite ways of dining,” said Mitchell. After using ROCKCOTE Marrakesh to create impact with a 13-metre-long bar at Etsu Izakaya (see The Natural Artisan, Spring 2014), Marrakesh was again a cornerstone of this design, drawing on the skill of two local artisans to create several unique finishes. “Etsu is loud and crazy and bustly. We wanted something more traditional, clean and minimal this time. The kitchen is front and centre, offering an authentic experience where diners can watch and smell the aroma of this cooking method over our prized Japanese Bichotan charcoal” said Mitchell. CONTINUED Iku Yakitori Bar is more than a restaurant, it's a destination inspired by traditional Japanese dining

Winter 2018


“We only use a few textures in this space which is designed around the large, concrete-look Marrakesh walls and bar, contributing a modern, sleek look. The recycled railway sleepers used for the pod seating areas offer a more bucolic aesthetic. In the middle are the cobblestones, bringing the two together.”

Iku Yakitori Bar co-owner Mitchell McCluskey

Marrakesh versatility The large, smooth polished Marrakesh wall makes for a dramatic kitchen, the concrete-grey finish carried through to an unyielding bar, flanked by high stools where diners can enjoy a beer or sake and view the chefs working their magic.

A distressed concrete look Marrakesh wall is flanked by a blue velvet lounge in the main dining area

The pièce de résistance by artisans Chris Porep and Matt Jamieson is the long Marrakesh distressed concrete-look wall in the main dining area. The brief: to replicate a thousand-year-old suburban Japanese wall. Mitchell had supplied photos showing examples of old concrete walls which featured rough lines, akin to having recycled palings affixed and then moved. Artisan, Chris Porep said the look was created with a combination of application techniques, using coloured oxides to bring in several different tones. The wall took the artisans two days with intentional runs and stains used to create an aged and distressed look. The finish was left largely unpolished in keeping with a rustic and aged appearance. An indigo velvet lounge works effortlessly with the wall, creating a space rich in textures and character. Centrally placed lights highlight the finish which has proven to be a hit with diners. “Our customers are blown away by the fit-out with its distinctive textures and natural rendered finishes, and also the different style of food and experience,” said Mitchell. “People who have been to Japan are connecting with the space too, saying it evokes memories of their dining experiences while travelling.”

The large, smooth polished Marrakesh wall and bar makes for a dramatic kitchen


Iku Yakitori is located at 1730 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads. The Natural Artisan

Winter 2018


WINTER 2018 FEATURED ARTISANS: Bruce Allen, B & H Solid Plastering Services Ben Dears, Natural Finished Designs Amanda Bertoldi-Ward, Healthy Spaces by Design

Sam Vivers, Simone Pieta, Lee Freeman, Patrick Joice and Ally Knights, Viva Living Homes Helen Edwards, Recycled Interiors Matt Jamieson, Render X Chris Porep, Gold Coast Render Technologies

LOOK FOR THE ARTISAN LOGO ROCKCOTE Certified Artisans are licensed tradespeople who have completed our two day Natural Materials Workshop and on site requirements for working with Natural Materials by ROCKCOTE. ROCKCOTE highly recommends using Certified Artisans for projects featuring Decorative Finishes from our Natural Materials range.


The Natural Artisan