natalieLismore’s Natalie Wilkin of NW Design has been awarded Regional Subcontractor of the Year at the 2009 Master Builders Association Building Awards for her interior design and building design of Tommy’s Tavern. John Larkin construction also won best hospitality venue for Tommy’s Tavern at the awards.

Held at the Ballina RSL last Saturday night, the Awards recognised ‘diversity of design and excellence in crafstmanship’ on the North Coast.

Twenty-seven year old Natalie was solely responsible for both the interior design and fitout and building design of the iconic tavern.

Other refurbishments she has completed recently include the Lismore greyhound track, Café Wa in Maclean and Bangalow Hairdressing, as well as numerous residential extensions, renovations and new house designs.

After completing her Bachelor of Design Studies at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, in 2002, Natalie planned to move to Sydney to immerse herself in the world of design.

“But after coming back to the Northern Rivers for a break I realised I wanted to stay and contribute,” she said.

“There is incredible talent here – all my suppliers are local. And there is so much scope to improve our streetscapes and living spaces.”

Natalie commissioned giant paintings of horse heads from internationally celebrated Northern Rivers artist Angus McDonald for the Tavern. The illuminated works on glass, which stand three metres tall, bring a contemporary edge to Tavern’s platinum TAB.

“Tommy’s is a really incredible project that would not be out of place in any city in any country,” said Angus.

“Natalie is a hugely talented and creative designer with a big future.”

In 2006 the home at 137 Dawson Street in Lismore that Natalie shared with her partner, builder Nathan Brown, was destroyed in a house fire.

“We were devastated,” said Natalie. “But after some time we felt we wanted to make something positive out of the tragedy, so we set about designing our new home and studio space.”

Located next to Perfix Dry Cleaners, the site now houses two shops, the couple’s home and Natalie’s studio for her business, NW Design.

“We live in the middle of town next to a dry cleaners so the environment was very urban,” Natalie said.

“The building design reflects that. My design is always vernacular, it has to be relevant to the place and the people it is for. The Northern Rivers has so much potential for interesting development and we wanted to set a new standard.”

Natalie often creates clients’ corporate images, as well as looking after their physical premises.

“As a designer it is important to create a unique identity for any business,” said Natalie.

“This means integrated design where the corporate identity is visually linked with the internal and external space.”

To view Natalie’s work visit