Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Rustic Touch, a sustainable building company based on the Central Coast in NSW, is leading the charge in sustainable, custom home design and construction. The company prides itself on creating ‘healthy homes’ which combine passive solar design with an emphasis on sustainable building practices.

Formed in 1986 by Antony and Debra Turner at a time when the general public were weary anything with an “environmental” slant, they focused on explaining the benefits of incorporating both indoor and outdoor living space and using natural materials such as stone and timbers.

“We have always aimed for good passive solar design which is something that came naturally I guess, as we always leaned toward integrated internal/external living, natural materials such as stone (mud brick) and timbers, though we didn’t advertise this as the general public wasn’t educated on solar passive design and there was a bit of a stigma toward a green attitude,” says Debra.

As the social climate has changed, Rustic Touch has been able to advertise its green design buildings, healthy housing, and sustainable construction principles. Whilst the philosophy of the organisation has remained the same since inception, the changing attitudes of homebuyers and renovators had led to a much broader awareness about sustainable design and its importance.

Over the last 26 years, Rustic Touch has designed over 195 new and renovated homes in and around the Central Coast in NSW, ranging in price from $100,000 to $1.5 million. Together the Turners have built approximately 112 new homes and renovations during the same time.

“Building a home is the single most expensive purchase a person is likely to make during the course of their lifetime. It’s important to design and build the home correctly, to save the home owner a substantial amount of money over the life of the home,” says Debra.

The first step to reducing the ongoing heating and cooling costs, as well as creating a more comfortable living space, is to incorporate passive solar design. This is the art and science of using sunlight and wind to heat and cool a home. The home is designed to capture winter sunlight for heating, then be shielded from summer sunlight and incorporate cross ventilation from breezes to cool the home. These principles of design are so successful that homes built in mild climates don’t need air conditioning, and the cost of air conditioning in more extreme climates is greatly reduced.

Homes are also designed with an eye toward Feng Shui, which balances the space and energy of a home. The principles of Feng Shui go hand in hand with good design, creating comfortable living environments and enhancing the home aesthetically.
The company has recently completed a property in bushy Mount Royal. Rustic Touch was approached about designing a home located on the border of the wilderness land of Barrington Tops. It needed to be designed for a bush (brush) fire and wind category of N4, and to have totally self-sustained power, water, and septic. Rustic Touch designed an impressive home using a man-made block called Timbercrete that met all the design constraints and fit naturally into its environment.

With such dedication in high level design and construction it is no wonder Rustic Touch’s designs and buildings have twice been named the HIA Residential Building Designer of the year, in 2005 and 2009, and as a finalist in 2006. In 2008, they won the HIA Hunter Housing award for Custom Built Home of the Year and Home of the Year. In 2009, they also took home the prestigious HIA Australian Housing Award for the Custom Built Home of the Year. In 2012, they won the National Building Designers Association design award for the best new residential building over 450 square meters.

With a multitue of HIA Housing and Building Design awards under their belt, the company has grown from strength to strength and has been recognised as a leading housing designer and builder. Rustic Touch is proof that the combination of brilliant design with strong consideration for environmental impact, energy use and sustainable materials is our best hope for building the communities of tomorrow and our future generations.


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Brianna Power

P: +612 8034 2550


Rustic Touch, Sustainability, Solar Panel Design



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