Lismore’s Natalie Wilkin has made her ‘hometown mark’ since returning from a brief overseas holiday and completing a degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast.
Lismore’s Natalie Wilkin has made her ‘hometown mark’ since returning from a brief overseas holiday and completing a degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast.

Award win for interior designer

LOCAL award-winning interior designer Natalie Wilkin didn't intend returning to Lismore, but a brief overseas holiday convinced the 27-year-old she wanted to make a mark on her hometown.

And within seven years of completing her degree at Griffith University, she has done just that.

Ms Wilkin was recently awarded Regional Sub-Contractor of the Year at the 2009 Northern Region Master Builders' Association Building Awards for her interior design and building design of Lismore's Tommy's Tavern in Molesworth Street.

“It came as a huge surprise,” she said. “There were a lot of experienced sub-contractors in that category so I was really proud to win it.”

For a young designer, Ms Wilkin has a surprisingly large number of projects under her belt, ranging from a cafe fit-out in Maclean and residential renovations to the Lismore Greyhound Track and the Lismore hotel.

Ms Wilkin, who helped transform the old pub building, as well as designing the interior, said she was inspired by the locality.

“I like vernacular design - design that's really specific to the place. Unfortunately there wasn't a lot of the original hotel left so I did a lot of research into its history. Coming from Lismore I was really aware of what we needed. In terms of design, people tend to go with what is safe.”

Ms Wilkin commissioned giant paintings of horses heads from internationally-renowned Northern Rivers artist Angus McDonald.

The illuminated works on glass, which stand three metres tall, bring a contemporary edge to the hotel's TAB.

Although unnoticed by many, great attention has been paid to detail, with the drip trays mirroring other design aspects of the hotel.

“It was a great project to work on,” she said. “I had a lot of creative control which doesn't happen a lot.”

Ms Wilkin has recently established her own company, NW Design.

“It's going really well. There is quite a lot of work around,” she said, urging other young people to consider staying in the area.



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