Category Archives: Folio

Creative Cubby Project – Ballarat Show 2014

You probably know by now that I’m not “just an architect” (nor just a mother), but that I also love sharing my passion with others about sustainable design, often by writing and speaking about it, and being involved with the local community.

I’ve been involved with a fabulous project with a great team that brings a lot of my interests together – it’s a Creative Cubby Project – to teach and inspire (and be inspired by!) our future generations about sustainable living. How much fun?!

Creative Cubby Project Ballarat Show Flyer

Our flyer… it’s all about FREE, fun and family-friendly!

Our first event was at the Ballarat Show, this past weekend. Three full days of creativity, fun, play, innovation, inspiration and learning a bit about sustainability, whilst building a giant cubby house out of recycled materials! We were very fortunate to receive a “Community Impact Grant” from the City of Ballarat to help fund the project. Most of our materials were donated – including some very large boxes, or purchased from the fabulous recycled collection at Reverse Art Truck (formerly known as Reverse Garbage). These included boxes, egg cartons, cardboard tubes, cereal boxes, card, bottle tops, synthetic grass, timber dowells, ribbons, magazines, straws, cork, pipe-cleaners, fabric and more!


Just some of our materials… we had LOADS!

We were a spin-off from an “Eco-Cubby House” event at last year’s show, and were also very inspired by “Caine’s Arcade” – a 9yo boy who built an entire games-arcade from cardboard! Check out the heartwarming video about him, and the “Imagination Foundation” that resulted… We even joined our project in their Global Cardboard Challenge (which is all about engaging kids all over the world in creative play – over 46 countries are currently involved)!


Our little makers (and some big ones too!) were so busy creating!

I loved the imagination and creativity that the kids displayed – and their parents too! We had a rule of “no glue and no paint” so everything could be dismantled and disassembled at the end of the project and then reused or recycled. This meant more innovation and creativity was involved with the building and making! Instead of glue, our fixings included: masking tape, pegs, string, rubber-bands, twist-ties, paper-clips, bulldog-clips,  pipe-cleaners, pins and staples.


Our eco-cubby house and garden!

Our main cubby house was built over the three days and included tunnels, towers, secret rooms, openable windows and doors, skylights, peepholes, curtains, flyscreens, wind turbines, solar panels, ceiling fan, roof garden, green wall (with flowers), letter box, chimney, welcome mat and more! Our main garden area included a large tree (complete with leaves, birds, insects, swing, lantern, nest and more), a sky (including sun, clouds, rainbow and plane), our rooftop garden (full of trees, plants, flowers, scarecrow, caterpillars, rabbits, pig, birds and butterflies),  stepping-stones, a fish pond, and a patchwork shade sail!


Look at some these fabulous creations!

The kids had free reign over what they wanted to contribute to the project.  Some of their ideas were fabulous! Check out the welcome-sign for the door, the barbecue complete with kebabs(!), the upholstered armchair, the stick insect and spider, and the fish pond complete with water-feature! We had a radio, a tv, a clock, all made out of cardboard! There was also a garage – as we had some truly inventive tractors, trolleys, cars and trains… all run on fuel from renewable resources of course!


How much fun is a big box with a hole cut in it?!

I think our favourite thing was seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they explored and discovered the ins and outs of the cubby, and then felt some ownership as they contributed. It was so gorgeous to see! We had such lovely feedback from both the kids and adults – many visited more than once, or stayed for quite a long time, and many said it was their favourite thing at the show! We especially loved hearing that our zone was a calm haven amongst the crazy, busy, noisy, expensive and instant-gratification of the rides/carnival-games/junk- food/showbags outside our pavilion. We had repeat comments about the value of ‘quality family time’, free-family-friendly, space to recalibrate, calm haven for kids, creative craft time, easy to replicate at home, held their kids attention, learning more about sustainability and reduce/re-use/recycle… and the words “slow cubby movement” were heard a number of times….


Our Creative Cubby Project team!

I feel very fortunate to have been invited to be part of this fabulous community art engagement initiative!
A big thanks to the fabulous project co-ordinator, Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling, (POD Design) who is a local Visual Artist, who creates intricate, whimsical drawings often with bright, bold colours. She regularly runs art-workshops with school children, encouraging creativity and artistic expression of imimaginative thinking.  And a big thanks to the lovely Liz Cummins, Ballarat Landscape Architect of ‘Bricolage Design‘ who specialises in play spaces and children’s landscapes. Liz also has a background in early childhood education – how lucky were we to have her wisdom and experience! Liz also wrote a great wrap-up of the weekend here. And for those who don’t know me, I’m Talina Edwards, of Ballarat-based sustainable design studio ‘Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design‘, and also a mum to two creative young lads. I think together we made a great team, and please stay tuned for further news about where our Creative Cubby Project might pop up next!

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And as always, if I can assist in any way with your very own “eco – cubby”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! ;o)





Do you value creativity in kids? What’s your creative outlet? What do you do to “slow” down? (Please reply in the comments box below).


Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!



Happy 1st Birthday to our blog!

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. 


Hey, Guess What?! It’s our birthday! Yes, its been one year whole since this blog began! So to celebrate, I thought I’d share a few stats, and a recap of the posts…you never know, you might’ve missed out on something you’d like to go back and check-out. Grab yourself a slice of birthday cake and a glass of bubbly (or a cuppa tea!), and settle in for some reading!

So this post is our 28th. Which means on average, a new post goes up about once a fortnight. There are 15 main categories for the posts: Architecture, Ballarat, Creativity, Design, Environment, Folio, Food, Gift Ideas, Green Building, Inspiration, Musings, Newsletters, Recycling, Sustainability, and uncategorised. According to the site statistics, there’s been over 4000 views of the blog, and 130 comments, which sounds pretty good to me, for a “new kid on the blog” ;o)

Here they all are (in chronological order):

The first day of the rest of my (amazing) life! (The reason behind why this blog began in this first place, or what kicked my butt into action!)

“You are what you eat” (In answer to a question I often get asked)

When I grow up, I want to be… (the answer is obvious, isn’t it?)

The self-doubting creative soul… sound familiar? (You too? Or perhaps not)

“So, what is your blog about?” (An old fave)

Transform: Altering the Future of Architecture (Review of Women in Architecture seminar in Melbourne)

Five ways to acknowledge World Environment Day (Relevant for every day!)

The secret recipe for great buildings! (Do you know what it is?)

What is democracy? Visit M.A.D.E. to find out (Review of one of Ballarat’s newly renovated public buildings)

The future is ‘green’ for big roofs (Review of Ballarat Green Drinks event + more)

Talina Edwards Architecture FOLIO project: “Miller and Co Studio” (A little project we did last year)

Spring has sprung! (Seasonal musings)

5 Ways To Celebrate World Architecture Day! (Or if you’re at all interested in Architecture and Building Design, take a peek!)

Design is not a dirty word! (Truly, it’s not. But it has does have a bit of a bad reputation!)

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle) (Love some recycling tips!)

5 Architecture Gift Ideas for Kids (For christmas or birthdays, these are for all kids to encourage creativity!)

5 things to buy an Architect for Christmas…(*hint hint*) (Hmmm, this was a very popular post, yet I didn’t receive ANY of these gifts last year…?!)

My big-hearted tribe (A shout-out to Big Hearted Businesses)

Our *first* Newsletter! (Well, we wanted to share it here too)

A Creative Conversation (Review of a fabulous workshop I attended here in Ballarat)

Season’s Greetings! (The obligatory Xmas Card)

Talina Edwards Architecture February Newsletter (Another update from the studio)

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions (Felt like I needed to!)

World’s Biggest Green Drinks Ballarat (Review of local event and insightful speaker)

Folio Flashback: Sustainable House, Malvern (Still love this house!)

Starting out on your green home journey? Ballarat’s ‘Smart Living and Building Expo’ (& we) can help! (Review and some pretty pics)

WHY do sustainable design? (Why do you think?)

So I’ve covered some local Ballarat (and Melbourne) events, talked about design and creativity, given advice in the form of “top five tips”, showcased some folio projects for Talina Edwards Architecture, written about seasonal events, talked a bit about who I am, and of course the posts are always somewhat related to architecture and my practice, sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.

The future of the blog is going to take a slightly more focused path for a bit as I concentrate on the “Sustainable Design” series of informative articles where I aim to help answer your questions, starting with our recent post on WHY do sustainable design?  I’ll of course also be covering what, where, when, who, and how…plus much more detail into the “what” and how sustainable / eco / green / energy-efficient design can benefit you and your home. (I’ll still continue to post some other topical news too).

Looking forward to sharing some of this with you all – as this is what I’m passionate about, as an Architect who specialises in this field.


PS I LOVE reading your comments, and responding to your queries…so please, say something in the comments box below. Do you have a favourite post of ours? Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? Maybe you’d just like to say hi, and happy birthday! Just you stopping to by to read is THE best birthday gift of all – so a big thank you – I really appreciate it! x

Starting out on your green home journey? Ballarat’s ‘Smart Living and Building Expo’ (& we) can help!

Are you just starting out on your green home journey? Do you want a sustainably designed home but are not sure where to go, who to ask, or even how to find them in the first place? If so, you are not alone. The building process can be very daunting, especially at the very beginning.

I met many people last weekend who were at this initial stage. They all had dreams of what they wanted, but none were sure where to start. They had all come along on Sunday 23rd February 2014, to the “Ballarat Smart Living and Building Expo” (just one of the Victoria-wide “Sustainable Living Festival” events), where I had a stall/display. Friends of Royal Park in Buninyong ran this inaugural event, and there were over 40 stalls dedicated to sustainable lifestyles, including four local architectural practices that specialise in sustainable design. The organisers estimated over 1000 people attended the event, and I certainly found that there was a constant stream of lovely people to chat with over the day.

Ballarat Smart Building  Living Expo


“Do I need an Architect?” & Mailing List Sign-Up at the ‘Ballarat Smart Living and Building Expo’


Our display at the expo


Hi! My name’s “Talina” – not Tania or Talia or Helena or Selina  :o)


So many lovely folk to chat with! And the kids-colouring table (& wooden building blocks) getting a work-out!

I loved hearing about the unique sites people had (inner-city Ballarat, Ballarat-outskirts, Skipton, Beaufort, Buninyong, Lal Lal, Daylesford, Otways, Yea, Melbourne, South Australia, and more!), and loved listening to people tell me about their dreams for their future sustainable homes…

I chatted with many, many folk throughout the day, and the comments I kept hearing were: “We’re just starting out…”, “We’re not sure where to start…”, “We have a site [here] and we think we want to do [x] but we need help…”

This is why the very first question should be “Do I need an Architect?” I’ve answered this for you in my FREE guide and checklist. Just sign up to my mailing list to get your copy. It makes sense to talk to an expert who has been through this very same process countess times, and can help answer your questions, and guide you through the designing/planning/building journey so that you enjoy it without undue stress. Sometimes it can be hard to see the proverbial forest for the trees! You can have so many ideas, but it can be hard to visualize how they will all come together. The right architect will listen to you and get to know you (and your site) thoroughly, and will help you piece together the bits of the puzzle so your dream-home design will unfold before your eyes…

The expo was a great opportunity for people to come and ‘shop-around’ by meeting with different designers to get a feel for the individual philosophies and unique services provided by each practice, and to get a sense if they were on the same wavelength.

I also loved the immediate feedback I received about my ‘stand/display’…with a number of people saying it was a green ‘oasis’ with the bamboo blinds and pot-plants! It was important to me, as a designer, to create a comfortable, welcoming, living space with roof, walls, and a floor. (Not just a laptop, or a folio to flip through on a table). I had quite a few comments on my attention to detail, and that is great compliment – as that is the same way I approach each Architectural project I do.


I loved that the kids created their own gallery and pegged up their artwork!


I loved that people felt comfortable entering and using the space I’d created…just as I’d intended. (A place to chat, a place to rest, a place to create some art…) And we even tried to keep this gorgeous dog as our mascot – he felt right at home!


Our little free gift  – a bookmark made from hand-made paper with native Swan-River-Daisy seeds inside, with the quote “From little things, big things grow” (Thanks Paul Kelly!)

I’ll definitely do more of these expos in the future, as it is a great opportunity to meet more people in the community who are also passionate about green buildings and sustainable design, and that is just so inspiring to see! This is one of the reasons I wanted to create a little take home gift for everyone who stopped by to say hello to me at the Expo…a bookmark with native wildflower seeds. Just a way of me being able to say ‘thank you, it is lovely to meet you’.

Talina x

Are you just starting out on your dream home journey too? Have a quick look here to see how we can help.

Still got questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page, or please get in touch with me and ask away! I’d be happy to help.

Folio Flashback: Sustainable House, Malvern

This house is one of my most memorable projects! I was Project Architect for this place, as a Graduate Architect, whilst working at ‘Habitus’ Architecture & Environment in Melbourne after graduating from university back in 2003. I worked closely with the director, Laurence Robinson, on this house, and he was an inspiring mentor throughout my time working at ‘Habitus’.


Custom designed ‘security’ door

These are the words we used to describe the house in our entry to the ArchiTeam awards the year the house was completed:

“The clients asked us to produce a sustainable home of outstanding architectural and environmental quality in a neighbourhood of conservative character. The form of the house was carefully composed and articulated to respond directly to the scale and forms in its immediate context – it is located behind the shopfront buildings along Glenferrie Rd, Malvern. Whilst distinctly different from its residential neighbours, it sits well within the overall streetscape.


Street frontage and neighbouring homes

While the passive solar potential is limited by its size and orientation on the site, at the time it was designed (2003) it scored around 30 points in FirstRate, which put it well above the maximum of 6 stars (at the time, 6 stars was the maximum that FirstRate would calculate).

Materials were chosen for their natural texture and colour to avoid the need for applied finishes, thus reducing maintenance and use of chemicals. All timbers were either recycled, or sourced from sustainably harvested forests. External timbers were radially sawn to increase resource efficiency.


Composition of radially sawn timber, galvanised steel, and split-face concrete block.

Inside the house, the ground and first floors are white polished concrete, and most walls are face concrete block increasing the thermal mass and stabilising the internal temperature and providing maximum acoustic isolation between rooms.



The internal detailing meets the guidelines of the Asthma Foundation for minimising allergens. The ground floor of the house including all toilet and bathroom areas, were also designed for disabled access.


Powder Room, designed to be wheel-chair-accessible for future

Apart from some specialist task lighting, all fittings in the house are low energy fluorescent fittings. The house is fitted with a solar hot water system, grey water outlet to garden areas and underground rainwater collection tank connected to the toilets, washing machine and garden-taps. Outside, the native garden is designed to minimise water use. It was hoped that the house will use less than 40% of the average water use of a similar sized household.”

The project was a big success, thanks to the combination of great clients who were sustainably minded but also willing to think outside the square and were willing to plan ahead for future use, excellent builders who are master craftsmen and also damn nice blokes (thanks Jules and Enio from Gande Constructions!), and a top team in our Architectural office. As one of my first big projects after graduating, it was certainly an outstanding experience for me to begin with…the bar was set high for future sustainable homes!

I’m looking forward to sharing some more of the buildings I’ve worked on in the past…so stay tuned!

Talina x

Talina Edwards Architecture FOLIO project: “Miller and Co Studio”

When I was presented with the opportunity to design a hair salon, I was excited by the prospect! But at the same time I realised I knew very little about hair and beauty salons, as I have not been inside one in over a decade! (other than to get hair and make-up done when I was a bridesmaid)! I’m fortunate to have a hair-dresser in the family who has given me haircuts over the years, but other than than, I actually enjoy cutting my own hair! To take care of my appearance/wellbeing, I see a Naturopath or get a massage instead. However I can understand many people enjoy this ‘pampering time’ at the salon, and the chance to have a chat with their favourite stylist.

Lisa (on left) and Ollie (second from right) with friends at the opening

Lisa (on left) and Ollie (second from right) with friends at the opening of Miller & Co

So I saw this as a challenge, and a chance to see if by working collaboratively with the co-owners, Lisa Miller and Ollie Callander, we could have a successful outcome. And if the feedback from the first customers and the guests at the Opening Night party recently is anything to go by, I think we achieved that… and I’m proud of the results.

BEFORE PHOTO: Existing space….hmmm a fresh coat of white paint will help! And replace those fluorescent tube lights! (Photo credit: Lisa Miller)

It was such a joy to help design this space as Lisa and Ollie had a strong vision of the elements they wanted to include in the salon. The vacant shop in Hampton St, Hampton that they inspected to lease, had previously been a nail-salon with awful yellow and green walls… it was uninspiring to say the least (see above)! But the layout was perfect for a salon, with a large shop-front, bathroom, kitchenette, and office/storeroom. All Lisa and Ollie really needed, was an experienced eye to show them how all their inspiring ideas could come together within the space. These are a few of the 3D model views of the design I presented to them.

3D plan view presented to clients

3D plan view

3D model view from entry door

3D model view from entry door

3D view from behind screen

3D view from behind screen

3D view from rear of salon

3D view from rear of salon

And now for some photos of the real deal! (All photos by Talina Edwards Architecture unless credited otherwise).

View toward front of salon (opening party)

View toward front of salon (opening party) with central table

Blackwood benches and endless mirrors

Blackwood benches and endless mirrors

Open for Business!
Photo credit: Ant Phillips


Photo credit: Ant Phillips


Lisa working her magic!
Photo credit: Ant Phillips

Opening night party in full swing

Opening night party in full swing
Photo credit: Ant Phillips

The interior fitout and joinery was built by a fabulous builder, James Davis, who really takes great pride in his craft. The timber for the benches and tabletops are beautifully finished, and the hand-crafted bespoke shoji screens are steel with a translucent polycarbonate backing, designed to limit views to the back-of-house amenities.

The identity design was done the very talented Ant Phillips, and I just love how well the logo and interiors complement each other, and the overall branding of “Miller & Co Studio”.

Business cards & flyers

Business cards & flyers


Photo credit: Ant Phillips

Logo on front window

Logo on front window (how cute are the scissors?!) Photo credit: Ant Phillips

The gorgeous pieces of furniture were chosen and styled by Miller & Co Studio, with thoughtful little touches like the terrariums with antique hair-brushes and hair products that belonged to Lisa’s grandmother. They’re still planning on a few more finishing touches in the future…(what will we be decided about the back feature wall?!)…. so watch this space for updates!

Sitting area

Sitting area
Photo credit: Ant Phillips


Shoji screen and gorgeous flower arrangement

Makeup Cabinet

Makeup Cabinet

Terrariums with antique brushes and scissors

Terrariums with antique brushes and scissors


Photo of Lisa's Great-Grandfather's shop, Alex Miller & Sons Photo of Lisa’s Great-Grandfather’s shop, Alex Miller & Sons

I think that this place feels very welcoming and social, more like a cafe than a salon. I think that probably one of the reasons I’ve avoided salons for so long, is that more often than not, they are not a pleasant space to be – too noisy, too stark, strong chemical smells, bad mirrors where you are forced to look at yourself in the reflection (but cant see much beyond that) and a jar of blue disinfectant with hair-brushes in it! Miller & Co Studio is fresh, contemporary, comfortable… and I think you might just like it.

So if you’re ever down Bayside way, give the awesome women at Miller & Co Studio a call and book yourself in for some pampering… I’m even planning on booking myself in sometime soon!

Talina x

Do you like to enjoy some pampering at a hair salon? I’d love to hear what you love (or don’t love) about the salons you’ve been to! What’s important to you about choosing a hair-dresser? (Don’t be shy, please comment below). x