WHO WE ARE
At BRAVE NEW ECO we pride ourselves on being resourceful. 'Minimum change for maximum benefit’ is our mantra. And we do this by taking a careful, analytical approach to design, without forgetting how it all looks at the end of the process. Our approach is also holistic and generous – we’re interested in how humans will be able to live in the future and we’re keen to share our ideas so that future can be the best possible one.
Read more about our philosophy here.
Founding Director and Principal Designer Megan Norgate is an Interior Designer, Permaculture Designer and a Sustainable Design Consultant. Megan has a Bachelor degree in Creative Arts (Sculpture and Filmmaking) from Melbourne University/ Victorian College of the Arts and an Associate Degree in Interior Design and Decorating from RMIT. Megan trained as a Permaculture Designer and Teacher with Milkwood Permaculture; and as a Home Sustainability Assessor with EcoMaster. With a previous professional background in Set Decorating/ Art direction for film and TV, Megan is interested in reinterpreting existing environments and objects in innovative ways. She has a holistic design approach that integrates the built, interior and ecological environments and has developed a design framework for her own practice based in the Permaculture design ethics and principles. Megan speaks and writes regularly on sustainable design topics for various publications, has developed and taught sustainable and ethical design electives at the School of Architecture and Design RMIT, and is endlessly curious about using design as a tool for ecological resilience and social change.
Interior designer Jacinta Birchmore studied in Berlin and Melbourne and has an Honours degree in Interior Design from RMIT and Advanced Diploma of Architecture and Building Design. She has a strong interest in sustainable residential architecture and interiors.
Studio coordinator Kelsey Dabinett has a Bachelor Degree in Interior Architecture from the University of South Australia. Kelsey is interested in exploring the human stories behind the design.
Emma Byrnes heads up our in-house creative branding - telling the world about what we do with her beautiful photographs and marketing/communications skills.
BNE is affiliated with the Design Insitute of Australia and The Alternative Technology Association and works with a like minded collaborative team of building designers, landscapers, photographers, builders, trades and craftspeople.
Our design studio is located at the Big Bang Studio overlooking Merri Creek in Northcote.
To contact us please send us an email.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
"The window in the kitchen brings in such amazing light. We can often see the moon and stars at night and planes during the day. As the season changes the different light coming through is amazing. Also the green views from a number of the windows. It was even better then we expected. We have a great deal of pride in our home now and entertain more often. It's a great living space to be in."
Greer: renovation, extension and sustainable retrofit - Pascoe Vale, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"We really enjoyed Megan’s creativity and determination. Especially in the concept phase of the design development where we were continually impressed with her great ideas. The outcome of the project well-and-truly met our brief. The outcome exceeded our expectations as the quality and feel of the connecting and highly functional spaces make living in the house more enjoyable than we had expected. Megan worked well with the builder, of whom she recommended, and provided on-going care and attention to detail throughout the build."
Bec and Phil Hendy: renovation, extension and sustainable retrofit - Brunswick West, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"We chose to work with Brave New Eco because Megan is brilliant from a design and sustainability perspective, and wonderful to work with.
Megan manages to turn the process of making decisions about design and fittings into a pleasure. In the past I have always felt I was facing an insurmountable hill of research and options, and had no time or desire to take on the task. The process with Megan has been really fast and easy for us thanks to all her hard work. Megan has done a wonderful job and put in endless effort and care to ensure that everything in the project - from design to building - works well and happens extremely fast. She is a brilliant communicator and provides just the right amount of advice and discussion on options and solutions. I've never been overwhelmed with information or choices, but have been fully engaged in the project throughout and all our questions have been accommodated in the solutions Megan has delivered."
Rebecca Burdon: interior renovation and sustainable retrofit - Westgarth, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"Megan is a pleasure to work with. She comes with a unique set of skills that are not common, sadly, in the market place of designers, architects, builders etc. I think having the Permaculture Design Course training is so important for people working in this area, and Megan seems to be deeply imbued in the permaculture way of thinking. As a result of her input, I have been able to reframe the project and incorporate each separate aspect into a more holistic vision, so that hopefully less energy input can create a more refined, useful and beautiful result. We have upgraded the insulation, reduced south facing windows, increased north facing windows and changed the internal heating arrangements. Specifically, Megan drew my attention to our capacity to draw in more north and east light to bring more winter warmth into the house. I would happily recommend Megan to other prospective projects."
Melissa Abrahams: permaculture design consulting for a new family house/retreat centre
"The kitchen is the heart of our permaculture system. We grow most of our fresh produce and make meals from scratch and so the kitchen needed to be able to handle heavy use and lots of dishes! It has a tiny footprint of only a few square metres so we needed bench space and storage solutions. Using local, recycled and sustainable materials was paramount for ethical reasons, but we also wanted a bit of a modern twist. Looking back there are certainly conflicts in our brief - recycled and rustic yet modern, tiny floor plan but with lots of space, heavy duty but with a light footprint - but Megan has somehow delivered on each one of them. We always spent a lot of time in the kitchen but now we relish that time. Jobs like cooking, cleaning, washing up and preserving produce have become so much easier and more enjoyable. So the irony is that we now need to spend less time in the kitchen but we're wanting to spend more time in there! A massive thank you to Megan and her team for helping us to create such a beautiful space."
Kat Lavers: interior renovation and sustainable retrofit - Northcote, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"With Megan's assistance we have drastically improved the (existing) design to include: improved layout, solar orientation, water harvesting
and solar energy requirements. Megan is a good communicator and was very attuned to what we were trying to achieve."
Mary and David Apps: sustainable design consulting for new build - Surrey Hills, Melbourne
" I like Megan's style of communication, she has a genuine interest in how we want to live, she listens and is persistent about finding solutions or products that suit the client. We wanted to keep the bones of our kitchen & use what we had but refresh and update the space. Megan was committed to using most things that still had life in them and did not pressure us to buy all new things."
Ali Limb: interior renovation and sustainable retrofit - Rucker's Hill, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"It was great to work with Megan, who has such expertise in her field. Megan has impeccable design taste...and her staff were also extremely thorough and detailed in their work. Megan's suggestions have really enhanced the ambiance of the rooms. The beautiful details of recycled timber shelving in the kitchen, especially integrating it into the angled roof line and making a feature of it. Megan sourced a lovely piece of furniture for the bathroom vanity that adds such warmth to the space. The lighting is a real feature of the renovated spaces. We are very happy with the final outcome. We love the freshness, incorporation of natural materials and the colour. The space is very functional and working really smoothly, especially the compact kitchen. I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone I know looking to renovate."
Veronica O'Brien: kitchen and bathroom design plus interior design - Preston, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"Megan's approach was incredibly sensible, thoughtful, creative and tuned into the everyday bustle of a family home. (The strengths of Brave New Eco are having) excellent taste; bold and unusual use of colour; and integration with existing design."
Sarah Tutton: house refurbishment - East Brunswick, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"The house is wonderful - it is a space that we all love to come home to and feel instantly at ease. My 4 year old son is taken with the desk especially designed for him. It is the design features like this that were suggested by Megan and not part of our wish-list that have added so much to the place. Eight months on and we still exclaim about little features or some item that we are really enjoying (we love our kitchen tap!). It is amazing that the place where you live can give you so much enjoyment and make family time special. Without Megan, we would have still renovated, but it would have been a home without the warm feeling that it has now. Thank you!"
Zoe Brady: kitchen and bathroom design plus interior design - Collingwood, Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"The project brief was to make my apartment more functional and provide plantscaping. Thanks to Megan's amazing vision and commitment my home is now a total sanctuary...easy to live and work in, a total delight. The greenery in my space is gorgeous and has totally improved the feeling of my place."
Angela Dadds: interior design and plantscaping - Port Melbourne (read a blog post about this project)
"We wanted to focus on sustainable design principles and materials. Brave New Eco were friendly, helpful and knowledgable - full of creative ideas and thinking ahead to potential issues with attention to detail and good trades contacts. The result is a cosy, practical and very usable space. It feels good to be in it."
Sue Dwyer: interior renovation and sustainable retrofit - Alphington, Melbourne