Testimonials v1 - True North Design

Tony Marshall designed and built our house for us in 1998. At the time,we knew very little about energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable design but Tony convinced us that we should consider these issues and we agreed. We now have a house that maintains a marvellously comfortable temperature through all of the seasons. We love our True North orientation and the impact of the sun with light flooding through our home throughout the year.
It offers great warmth in the winter and because Tony included elements like extra large eaves there is minimal solar heat impact in summer. The temperature remains easily controllable because of the high grade insulation in the ceiling and walls and the smaller laminated glass windows on the exposed western side of our house. Our house has a 5 star NatHers energy rating and is an absolute pleasure to live in.

Paul & Bronwyn Pearce.
Princes Hwy, Milton

The first thing I’d like to talk about is the temperature. When the house was being built in the middle of a very hot dry summer, I would come home from work and unlock the door and the first thing I noticed was how cool it was inside. We used Comfortone glass and louvres were positioned to catch the prevailing north east breeze and provide excellent cross ventilation.

We used larger than normal eaves and I have been keeping an eye on the amount of shadowing in summer and the great solar access in winter. In fact the whole house is filled with natural light so there is never any need for lights on during the day. All the rooms are well placed and the carport keeps the hot western sun off the house.

It is now winter and due to the fan blades being rotated in reverse in the family room, there is no sense of a cooling breeze, instead the warm air drawn up to the ceiling from there it falls down the walls and keeps the house at a constant 20 degrees in winter. We only have a very small gas heater that helps keep the whole house warm in prolonged cold and overcast weather. In the atrium we have the ceiling fans on low and it also pushes all the warm air back down to the living areas downstairs.

Scott
Mollymook

True North Design Co entered my house in the 2001 HIA PRIME / ACT Southern NSW Housing Awards: Coastal Home Category and was successfully chosen as finalist in the Awards on the 20th October, 2001…

Tony Marshall’s imaginative and innovative design was achieved on a small budget and fully deserved this acknowledgement. The house suits my daily needs yet provides well for visiting family and friends.

It is a comfortable home functional, efficient and economical. It is attractive inside and out and is well suited to its surrounds and it’s owner.
Robyn / Bawley Point

Beach house – great idea. Beach house conjures up images of fibro cottages, little porches, little windows, small living areas and little natural light. We wanted a beach house, but we wanted something a little different. The design had to reflect the environment and the lifestyle we were seeking down at the beach. At the same time it had to maintain a level of comfort, style and convenience we were accustomed to in our home in Canberra…

We were pretty clear about what we wanted and how the beach house should look. We discussed our ideas with True North Design who interpreted out needs whilst emphasising certain features that have ultimately improved the liveability of the house. So what do we like about our house and the way True North Design designed and built it.

Liveability – to us this means open plan areas which effectively incorporate kitchen, dining and living areas. A place to live and to be together

Air and Space – open areas that give that feeling of space, reflecting the beach environment outside. The effective use of windows and doors take advantage of the natural air movement of the sea breezes outside. This keeps the house cool in summer.

Light – a key feature of the house is the use of natural light. The effective use of windows and glass doors, means we have natural light throughout the house – it also means we have a natural source of heating in winter.

I guess behind the covers, other design features add to what we love so much about our beach house such as the use of natrual materials, insulation throughout, use of water saving features.

Our beach house is more than a beach house – it is our beach home, a place to get away from the city and to recharge. It’s design and the way it fits with the beach environment is key to the way we feel about it. More than simply environmentally friendly, we feel it is environmentally embracing in that it allows the outside in and in some respects means we don’t need to leave home to enjoy our time at the beach.

Rai & Louise
Malibu Drive – Bawley Point

We are absolutely delighted with our house! It has a fabulous location on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. The design of the house fits the block and takes full advantage of the views and available sunlight – as our surfing carpenter noted “it fits in perfectly with the bush and site, painted gum and dark green, it sits lightly on the block”…

Negotiating the design and the detail was a pleasure. Tony was very patient with the multiple and at times confilicting demands and whims. He always advised us as to the best quality for the best price. When cheaper materials or solutions would work and whether it was worthwhile, environmentally and aesthetically to pay more. He worked creatively on meshing the material and financial constraints with our hopes and plans. Not only did we get what we wanted but we’ve ended up good friends, which seems unusual from other stories we’ve heard.

The house is well sited to take advantage of the view and to capture northern sun whilst intruding as little as possible on the neighbour’s views and privacy. The balconies wrap around 3 sides of the house, so whatever the direction the wind is coming from you can always sit outside somewhere. There’s a lot of glass to the north, east and west, making the house full of light and warm even on wintry days. Given the northern aspect and good verandah partial roofing, it is also shady and cool in summer – this is also helped by the sea breezes and good cross ventilation. The bedrooms are positioned on the south side so the living areas are both sunnier and warmer in the day. The higher than usual raked ceiling also enhances the feeling of light and space and the small combustion stove is enough to warm the whole area in the worst of weather.

It is an incredibly easy house to live in. There is hardly a single item that I would change. I have no intention of ever moving.

Jindy Pettman

Tony I just want to tell you how much I love my new house. It’s turned out to be more than I dreamed of and I can’t believe how much I love living in it.

Helen / Bannister Head

Spend a night, or a week in a True North designed home.

The Long Weekend Retreat Near Mollymook…

“In collaboration with True North Design I was able to reach and exceed all my goals for the design of The Long Weekend Retreat; a dwelling that settles into the landscape, is energy efficient; warm in winter, cool in summer, and with spaces and light that creates a flowing living space. Tony and Lucy were totally committed to helping to manifest the vision just as I imagined. Guests often comment on the beauty and efficiency of the buildings – and many go so far as to ask who designed The Retreat! A great compliment to all involved.”

Sal Gray,
The Long Weekend Retreat,
Lake Conjola
Website: www.thelongweekend.com.au

Everyone told us ‘never’ build a house. But after we met Tony and Lucy Marshall we knew that they were genuine, caring, professional and great fun. We got on like a house on fire!

From the very beginning nothing was too hard…

Tony took great care to incorporate our family’s needs into the house design. He then project managed the build like a dream. Lucy was wonderful whipping up our kitchen. We felt like we could sit back and relax.

The biggest thing we learnt was that communication is crucial. If you can’t communicate clearly with your builder then the wheels could easily fall off. We had NO hassles because we were very clear on what was expected and the costs. Tony and Lucy have a great understanding of the process of building a house.

We have now been living in our house for over two years and we have no regrets. We live in a well designed, energy efficient green smart house that was built with common sense.

Julie and Mike Ramsden, Mollymook

Having decided to renovate a 1960s cottage, I was seeking a designer/builder who would retain the basic solid framework and lines of the original house, and design an ecologically sound structure, to ensure that the house could accommodate the inevitable aging of the owner.

True North Design Company was able to fulfil all of these requirements. Tony’s design was perfect and the help given by Lucy resulted in an attractive, low maintenance house which has retained its holiday atmosphere.

Would you please pass on to Tony yet another thank you for all he has done. I was speaking with some friends who are trying to find something affordable to build and it made me realise just what a fantastic job True North did with this house and at such a reasonable price ( All of which I have passed on!)

After two and a half years and a serious hurricane nothing in this house has shifted. It is still as beautiful as the day I moved in and I really appreciate the efforts of Tony, Lucy and the team.

Yours sincerely,
Pauline McAdam

We approached Tony Marshall of True North Design to build a beach house for us at 81 Donlan Road, Mollymook. While we had some initial concepts Tony was fantastic to deal with in terms of expanding on our ideas and concepts and ultimately designed an incredible house with an eco-friendly approach. The fact that Tony both designed and built the house made the whole of the project far more cost effective and removed the creative tensions you often see between architects and builders.

We found Tony and the True North Design team to be incredibly professional in everything they do with the utmost attention to detail. All costs were meticulously identified in an open and transparent fashion with the professionalism shown in the planning of the project the most thorough I have seen in the 8 building projects I have been involved in.

We found Tony to be upfront and honest and a man of the utmost integrity and a pleasure to deal with as he demonstrated such a passion for the design and building that at times it seemed as if he was building his own dream house.

The end outcome for us has been a beach house beyond our dreams which we as a family have enjoyed immensely since it was finalised. It is practical, comfortable, elegant and spacious and ultimately won the 2006 HIA South Coast award for energy efficient housing.

I un-reservedly recommend Tony and True North Design as designers and builders and would without hesitation engage Tony for future projects should they arise.

I would be more than happy to expand on this recommendation in person should you desire and for that purpose may be contacted on 0413 948 441.

Yours faithfully
Campbell Fisher
Managing Partner & Solicitor Director

We chose True North Design because after our initial contact we felt our ideas and their design practice fitted well together. They led us through the design process , the daunting council requirements and approvals then onto the build.

The time spent discussing details and making selections with Tony and Lucy in the early stages proved to be very beneficial and the actual building was managed without the dramas many people seem to encounter. We had a good relationship with Tony and the tradespeople on the job. Any problems that arose were dealt with without fuss. All the workmanship is first class and the finishes are of a high standard and certainly add to the appeal of the house.

Now we are enjoying the product of all that effort. The house is proving to be very easy to live in – it works well and is on the way to becoming a very comfortable home. During the last hot summer the design and materials used kept the inside temperature very pleasant – in fact on the hottest days we were surprised to find how cool it was inside. Now in June we are finding the opposite is the case, the spaces warm up well and remain cosy. The choice of high quality insulation certainly has helped.

We are settling very happily and thank you and your team for building us such an attractive and liveable home.

John and Marg, Callalla Beach

We had bought an old house with great ocean views in Malua Bay which desperately needed renovating. This was to be our retirement home so we wanted a comfortable place to live, not just to holiday in.

A web search of South Coast builders/designers brought up True North. After the initial consultation with Tony Marshall we decided that True North was the best company we had consulted with and asked Tony to come up with some ideas.

The original design of the house was right for the block and the views so we didn’t need a whole new design from True North. However after a few site visits, Tony came up with some good solutions to bring the house up to standard.

Tony insisted on using his regular trade people and we have to say they did a great job. Their attention to detail was especially pleasing to us. As with many old houses, ours had some challenges but Tony always liaised with us to overcome the problems.

We now have a very modern, comfortable house to live in. We have no hesitation in recommending True North to anyone considering a renovation.

Bill Chilvers

We were looking to renovate an early sixties holiday house. The original house was two story’s with no internal access between floors; it was difficult to heat in winter and hot in summer. On seeing several completed houses that Tony had designed, we asked him to work through a modern efficient design for our place.

The resultant design has transformed the house. The cross ventilation cools the house in summer and the clever use of Low E glass and new room orientation means minimal heating in winter. The open plan suits our requirements exactly.

We are extremely pleased with the result.

Mark & Peggy Byron

We Love Our True North Design Home

Wanting to build our house at Lake Tabourie, we decided to select a local designer and builder. After several interviews we met Tony and Lucy Marshall from True North Design.

During the planning stage Tony discussed the aspect of using the sun to warm the house in winter and the importance of windows to bring the cooling breeze into the house in summer and provide cooling paths for cross ventilation. This along with the cupola and room positioning has made our house very comfortable in all seasons.

Wanting to build our house at Lake Tabourie, we decided to select a local designer and builder. After several interviews we met Tony and Lucy Marshall from True North Design.

During the planning stage Tony discussed the aspect of using the sun to warm the house in winter and the importance of windows to bring the cooling breeze into the house in summer and provide cooling paths for cross ventilation. This along with the cupola and room positioning has made our house very comfortable in all seasons.

Tony’s suggestion of a screened deck room and sun deck were very important and they are the most used rooms in the summer and also comfortable on warm winter days. The positioning of the master bedroom and ensuite gives us quietness and privacy when relatives and friends stay.

We are very impressed with the way Tony used the environment in our home design and construction methods.

Whist in the designing stage we had some interesting discussions and ideas from both Tony and Lucy. Using specialised design software and the house design wizard, we were able to see what our house would look like and how it would function. We were able to modify rooms and make changes instantly, which was very helpful. It enabled us to fit all our existing furniture in comfortably.

Once the planning was completed, we agreed to a price and construction commenced on the agreed date. During construction we were kept updated and had many inspections. All tradespeople were of a high standard, with the leading hand builder and his crew of special mention.

Completion finished on time and we are very happy with the end result. My brother and wife came to stay recently and at the end of their visit they said “there is nothing about this house that we would change”.

True North Design Co are highly recommended.

Regards,
Ian & Cheryl Potter

Dear Tony,

With the project completed I would like to applaud you and your team for converting a very average house into a lovely, functional modern home. The results of the many hours we spent designing together are evident and my home is now the comfortable and pleasant haven we envisaged all those months ago.

I would also like to thank you and Lucy not only for your professionalism, but for making this project as painless as projects like this could possibly be. I would almost say enjoyable!

Best regards
Evelyn
Milton NSW

Dear Tony & Lucy

Thank you for helping me build such a beautiful house.

The design and quality are top class, as is the attention to detail and the high standard of all the work has really impressed me.

It has been amazing to see the house take shape from some sketchy ideas which you helped form into a real house.

You have been a great team to work with and I found the whole project very exciting. I have learnt a lot.

I hope you will drop in regularly for a cuppa or champagne.

Thanks again.
Deb Andrew

Sitting here on the sofa, watching the fire and feeling very special.

The proof of the pudding with any designer is, does it actually work when you have finished the job and stay in the house?  We spent 5 weeks over summer and are now here for 2 weeks in July.  The house is fantastic for entertaining, both adults and kids.

The deck flows nicely off the dining room and BBQ gas point positions really work. In a stiff nor-easter you can still enjoy the view from the dining room alcove, this was a great idea of Tony’s to enclose the dining room.  The kitchen is practical and very functional which fits in with our lifestyle.

The fireplace has been going non stop for the last 60 hours and it adds a warmth which you wouldn’t get from gas.  Have left it to go to the beach and came back to see the red embers glowing,  which is nice.

Love our bedroom and the 2 new kids rooms.  Everyone loves the bathrooms.  True North Design was clever on utilising space and giving you what you wanted on a tight budget.

The process involved a lot of upfront planning so you knew where you stood and took any guess work out of the process.  We added things at the end, like entrance and outdoor shower, both of which are very practical.

True North Design is very much a family business and it is nice to deal with people who are very proud of what they have created.

We would happily showcase our house to prospective clients and discuss the process to any interested parties.

How can we help you?