TIMBER! Why we love it…


Take a look through our project portfolio and you will notice a common theme, TIMBER! Not only is it aesthetically pleasing with its variety of applications, it also has many positive reasons for why we use it.


Being in a coastal environment it’s important for materials to handle the elements. Timber can weather naturally in the elements and can be affected by light, dust and sand, and the moisture changes within its surroundings.











Weather horizontal spotted gum timber + vertical battens on our Coastal Exposure project.


Timber is easy to work with and can be used in a variety of applications. Being light and easy to install, it is also very versatile.







Currently under construction our Curved project shows off the versatility of timber with an red iron bark timber clad curved wall along the exterior of the project.


Timber is one of a very natural building products, the character of the wood is determined by the species of tree and also the growth of the wood over time. It isn’t toxic and not made up of damaging materials. It takes very little energy to convert trees to timber and acts as a carbon store, some manufacturers have a zero or better than zero carbon footprint. Lastly, so long as the rate of use remains less than the rate of renewal timber will continue to be a renewable product for future generations.













It’s a good insulator:
Timber is a good insulator meaning homes are more energy efficient. Windows and doors made of timber reduce heat loss and keep the cold air out.




Our Old Dairy Town project is clad in a vertical spotted gum timber and has an incredible 8 star energy rating


It can save you money:
Considering the above points, in the long run using timber will give financial savings.










Here’s one of our projects that is currently under construction with horizontal sugar gum timber cladding with vertical Corten steel.



You may have seen some of our latest projects are rusting… don’t worry, that’s suppose to happen! Here’s some info on the product & how it works.

What is it..

Corten steel is a weathering steel that was first developed in the 1930’s by the United States Steel Corporation for engineering purposes. Due to it’s resistance to corrosion and the natural reddish brown colouring it has become increasingly popular in the architectural world.

Corten 6





Lake View by Designers by Nature


Cladding Profiles..









Express Panel:











Flat Lock:
Corten 8












Standing Seam:







images from pinterest

Features of Corten..

Maintenance cost:
The is no maintenance required for Corten.
Because it rusts naturally and therefore uses the principles the “rust cures rust”, there is no up keep required.

Weather resistance:
Although this can depend on the product grade and the climate of the area, Corten can be 4-8 times more weather resistant than ordinary steel.
Due to its high weather resistance Corten can be used without being painted. This provides aesthetics benefits of the natural reds and browns of the rusted Corten, along with economic benefits of no painting costs.

Paint durability:
Like any steel Corten can be painted, however because Corten subdues the progress of rust this means that the service life of the paint is prolonged.
This reduces the costs of repainting.

The carbon content in Corten is lowered to allow for welding. Therefore Corten can be welded using either manual, gas-shield or submerged arc welding.
Only in thin-gauge Corten can spot welding be used.

Corten 4







Riverview, currently under construction, by Designers by Nature


The technical stuff..

Wetting-drying cycle:
The wetting-drying cycle is when the protective oxide layer, known as patina, is formed. The wetting cycle is where the rust is generated and the drying cycle allows it to recrystallise. If there is not sufficient drying time allowed in the wetting-drying cycle it will result in continual rusting. This will cause the partially crystallised outer layer of rust to fall away and this will prevent the required barrier film from forming.

Rate of Corrosion:
The rate of corrosion in Corten is initially the same as ordinary steel, but quickly begins to level out. The rate of corrosion is dependent on on the type of environment into which the steel is place. Another factor which will determine the rate of corrosion is the positioning of the Corten. The surfaces that are more frequently exposed to the wet and have less time to dry will often result in areas that are darker and uneven in colour. This is a feature of the material and adds to its natural appearance. Anything that retains moisture or creates pockets of water should be discouraged as this will not allow the drying process to occur.

Other materials used near the Corten can be staining from the bleeding of the steel. Connections to dissimilar materials like zine or cadmium plated bolts should always be avoided.


Our next Corten project could be yours!


Cheers from the team @ Designers by Nature



We are live!


How exciting, we have been so busy designing we had been a tad slack on getting our website updated and launched.

Thanks to Karen and the team @ O2 Media, they have steered us through this process and been an amazing support.

We are really pleased with the designs O2 Media have come up with, a tough gig to get our design team to all agree! Can’t beat robust debate and open dialogue, all part of fleshing out a good brief and developing a great design response.

The really important thing for us is the capacity to be able to showcase our work (both recent and early works).

We are dedicated to providing the very best we can for all our clients.

Our passion is solving problems, working through tough constraints to come up extraordinary outcomes…..tight budgets, restrictive sites, tough briefs, complex circumstances are what makes us thrive.

You will see us running towards territory previously uncharted and find a logical, lateral or left of field pathway forward for your project.

I hope you enjoy the opportunity to explore our work.

Maybe your project could be our next.

A massive thank you to our fantastic clients who have generously allowed us to photograph their homes or business and allowed the sharing of the beautiful images.

Now I have bought the subject up of resource sharing, we should thank (I think) Grand Designs, Grand Designs Australia and Houzz (a great app available on all mediums, check it out for small details such as a fire pit through to facades for contemporary coastal facades)

Cheers from the team @ Designers by Nature


New name and new website set to launch a new era


Designers by Nature (formerly Dean Picken Designs) launched OUR new name on January 1, 2014.






The new name reflects what inspires us as a design studio.

We are passionate and are driven to achieve high performance buildings encompassing efficiency, functionality, indigenous materials and longevity of build.

Having designed and built many 8 star homes, our understanding that comes from such undertakings allows us to be at the forefront of thermally efficient building design regardless of residential or commercial persuasion.

We look forward to keeping you up to date with the latest innovations that Designers by Nature are applying to our built work as well as those “RADAR” projects currently on the drawing board.

April 2015 should see the unveiling of our new website, full of new projects, loads of images and a BLOG area to keep you informed of what’s happening in the design world.

Cheers from the team @ Designers by Nature