It’s in our nature to be inquisitive, because a well-resolved piece of architecture that is attractive and functional doesn’t happen by accident; it may seem simple but only results from a great deal of consideration.

The holistic approach we take means that our architectural and interior designs evolve in close collaboration with consultants such as landscape designers, engineers, environmental specialists and building professionals who are key to a successful project outcome; for us there’s no line in the sand and the final design must speak as one.

The starting point in our thinking is to embrace the particular constraints of a project, and then set out to develop unique and bold responses to the site and contextual conditions, the whole time being mindful of our client’s lifestyle requirements.

While the initial impact of our work is the building’s form and structure, we have a keen interest in the fine crafting of the details, making the most of natural and robust materials that not only have their own special appeal but age well, and grow in character.

A common response to our work is an appreciation of the light and space we create, but our designs are also conceived for a world where the sun shines, rains fall, winds blow, and temperatures vary – it’s this thinking that makes our buildings livable, and lasting.


Registered Architects.

Member of the Australian
Institute of Architects.


Brett Nixon Director

Brett was attracted to architecture as a profession because it is grounded in
reality yet would allow him to express his creativity. The first step was studies at
Melbourne University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in planning
and design and another in architecture (with honours).

Over the following two decades, before co-founding NTF, Brett worked with
various practices, gaining experience on a wide range of assignments including
terminal buildings for Qantas and other airlines, and major projects in the
educational, local government, commercial and residential development

For Brett, architecture is not only about design skills but having deep knowledge
of function, form, materials and processes, and the ability to plan, negotiate and
manage. That’s all requisite for what he believes is the key part of the
architect’s role: communicating with the client and being up front about the
realities of the process. Then it’s a matter of trusting his instincts in developing
the solution.


George Fortey Director

George studied architecture and construction at Deakin University, Geelong, graduating with a bachelor of arts (architecture), and also undertook courses at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He then worked with two leading architectural firms in Melbourne, before co-founding NTF.

It was during his university days that George developed his enduring interest in the problem-solving aspects of architecture. This, together with his studies in classical and renaissance art, formed his approach to design, evidenced in work that’s characterised by a visually definable structural order and the use of heavier materials.

George thrives on the challenge of working with a client to solve the requirements of the brief, visually, spatially and economically. His preferred way of expressing his response is through the floor plan. For him, an aesthetically balanced and efficient plan is the basis for a series of spaces that flow with order, logic and hierarchy and, above all, are designed for living.

Parisse Constantine Graduate of Architecture

Not only does her family hail from the tiny island of Kasterllorizo in Greece, which is very sunny, but Parisse grew up in Perth, where the sun also happens to shine more often than not.

An inevitable attraction to the elements, and a desire to be surrounded by beautiful things and thoughtful spaces, led to studies at the University of Western Australia, where she gained a bachelor’s degree in environmental design and a master’s in architecture.

Moving to Melbourne may have meant there’s less of the sunshine that Parisse loves, but working with us allows her to pursue her dream of designing ‘special spaces for great people’.

The key to doing that, she says, is listening to clients and getting to understand their aspirations; the reward coming when they’re happy with the result and express their appreciation.

Claire Craigie Architect

After completing a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of Manchester, Claire worked in London with an international firm that led to a stint at their Melbourne practice, sparking a love for our city. 

Returning to the UK to complete her studies, she gained a master’s in architecture at the University of Edinburgh then immediately headed back here and before long joined us to focus on her primary interest, residential projects.

Designing homes appeals to Claire because it allows her to be creative, playful and spontaneous while also drawing on her interest in structure, order and process, with each project providing new challenges and opportunities. 

Claire’s approach is to get to understand the way her clients like to live and the spaces they want, and then guide them on the journey from concept to completion. She says being with them as they watch their wishes come true is incredibly rewarding.

Ben Ellul Graduate of Architecture

Ben believes that good architecture can improve the way we live, through well-
considered and thoughtful design. It comes from a boyhood curiosity in ‘how
things go together’, which evolved into studies at Monash University where he
graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and then a master’s.

That early interest is now reflected in his approach to projects, which include
private homes, townhouses and multi-unit residential developments. It’s about
taking care of the detail. Every aspect is worked through in a methodical
manner, from the conceptual stages to connecting with clients, coordinating
consultants, checking regulations and dealing with authorities.

In the design process, Ben likes exploring the integration of form and texture
and the interplay between different materials, combining the conventional with
the unexpected to create distinctive outcomes.

Tess McKinlay Interior Designer

After graduating from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, with both
a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture and a master’s, Tess felt that
Melbourne offered more opportunities to push the creative boundaries.

While initial employment with a large practice provided great experience, joining
NTF has allowed Tess to engage directly with clients and see projects through
from concept to completion as part of a close-knit team.

An important part of that process for Tess is listening carefully to a client’s
briefing and then opening their minds to options that are more applicable and
exciting than they anticipated.

A firm believer in the benefits that can flow from having a strong relationship
between the interiors and the architecture, Tess enjoys contributing to the vision
and then working through the push and pull of the process to achieve that
overall sense of cohesiveness.

Ivan Embrechts Senior Project Leader

Ivan, whose father is Belgian and mother Swazi, grew up in Swaziland before moving with his family to Belgium where he studied at the Henry van de Velde Higher Institute for Architectural Sciences in Antwerp, graduating with a master’s in architecture.

After graduation, a brief sojourn to the UK turned into a stay of eight years, working with various firms on a range of architectural projects, including 1 Hyde Park in London, the world’s most expensive apartment building.

Ivan’s move to Melbourne and NTF has allowed him to apply that broad experience to his real interest, designing homes, which he approaches in a thoughtful way from concept to completion, so they ‘do what they’re supposed to do and are pleasant to live in and look at’.

Cherise Northfield Architect

Captivated by the cultural scene in Melbourne, Cherise transferred to the University of Melbourne from interstate, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Environments (Architecture) and a Master’s in Architecture, which allowed her to study abroad in China and Brazil.

Whilst working full time at small- and large-scale architectural firms during her studies, she gained experience in the various role’s architecture demands and developed a strong understanding of the industry prior to graduating. Cherise believes clear communication is vital to practising architecture, as this forms the basis of a successful project. 

Cherise sees architecture as a process for designing spaces that are bespoke for the people, yet one that equally considers the contextual elements. For her, it starts with being sensitive to what each client wants, and then developing a concept through form, functionality and materiality that can produce a built result that is better than they hoped, primarily enhancing people’s lives.

Matt Burgess Graduate of Architecture

Matt’s architectural expertise is combined with his training and practice in fine
art. He graduated from the University of South Australia with a bachelor’s
degree in visual arts, majoring in glass, and a second degree with honours. His
glass sculptures have since been exhibited around Australia.

As his design interests expanded in both form and scale, Matt completed a
bachelor’s degree in architectural studies followed by a master’s. He likes
thinking of architecture as a bigger form of sculpture, in which people actually
live. It’s also allowed him to explore and apply the qualities of other materials,
such as the warmth of timber, which he loves.

A key difference between the disciplines is that whereas art is a solo activity,
designing homes is a collaborative process in which Matt is working directly with
clients. He gets great satisfaction from helping them build and enjoy a place of
their own that he has played a part in creating.

Kate Larkin Administration Coordinator

When you ring our office and hear an Irish accent you’ll know it’s Kate who has
answered your call. Originally from Galway, she moved to London for several
years, studying and working in admin roles before coming to Australia.

Kate looks after our office systems and all those essential behind-the-scenes
tasks, such as coordinating project programming and work-in-progress reports,
managing the accounts, arranging meetings and presentations, and maintaining
the library and samples files.

While we benefit from her organising skills, Kate says she enjoys working in a
vibrant creative environment and being part of a team who are passionate
about architecture and its purpose.


Awards Project Category Year
Interior Design Excellence Awards Blanche Cremorne Single Residential (Shortlisted) 2017
Houses Awards Hedderwick Balwyn North New House over 200m2 (Shortlisted) 2017
Houses Awards Blanche Cremorne Alterations & Additions under 200m2 (Shortlisted) 2017
Interior Design Excellence Awards Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Multi-residential (High Commendation) 2016
Australian Interior Design Awards Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2016
Australian Interior Design Awards Marble House Toorak Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2016
Australian Interior Design Awards JMD Offices South Yarra Workplace Design (Shortlist) 2016
Houses Awards Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Apartment, Unit or Townhouse Finalist (Shortlisted) 2016
Australian Interior Design Excellence Awards Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Residential Multi (Shortlisted) 2016
Houses Awards Trinian South Yarra Alterations and Additions over 200m2 (Shortlisted) 2016
Houses Awards Screen House East Melbourne New House under 200m2 (Shortlist) 2016
Houses Awards Elizabeth Malvern Alterations and Additions over 200m2 (Shortlisted) 2015
Australian Interior Design Awards Station Carlton North Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2013
Australian Interior Design Excellence Awards Station Carlton North Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2013
Houses Awards Station Carlton North Alterations and Additions over 200m2 (High Commendation) 2013
Australian Interior Design Awards Station Carlton North Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2013
Australian Interior Design Awards Open House Mobile Colour in Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2012
Dulux Colour Awards Open House Mobile Residential Exterior (Winner) 2012
Dulux Colour Open House Mobile Awards Residential Interior (Commendation) 2012
Australian Interior Design Awards Arthouse South Yarra Colour in Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2012
Houses Awards Cressy Townhouses Malvern Apartment, Unit or Townhouse (Finalist) 2012
Houses Awards Open House Mobile Outdoor (Finalist) 2012
Australian Interior Design Awards Arthouse South Yarra Residential Design (Shortlisted) 2012
Houses Awards Arthouse South Yarra Alterations and Additions over 200m2 (Finalist) 2012
Australian Institute of Architects Awards Cubitt Offices Cremorne Commercial Architecture (Shortlisted) 2010


Publications Project Article Title Issue
Houses Green Screen Cremorne Green Screen No. 118 / Sept 2017
Sunday Herald Sun Stellar Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Seeing Double October 2016
Inside Out Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Designer Duo October 2016
Australian House & Garden Marble House Toorak 2016 Top 50 Rooms September 2016
The Age Chestnut Townhouses Cremorne Townhouse Takes Precedence in Cremorne July 2016
Houses Elizabeth Malvern Malvern Residence No. 105 / August 2015
Australian Financial Review Cause for Reflection – Designing with Mirrors 13 June 2015
Australian Financial Review Station Carlton North Island Bench Offers a Kitchen Focal Point 10 June 2015
The Age Domain Elizabeth Malvern Ingenious Design Brings Space and Light to that Seventies Feel 26 April 2015
Urbis Station Carlton North Before & After August 2014
Houses Station Carlton North The White House No. 96 / January 2014
Australian Financial Review Arthouse South Yarra The Bigger Picture 16 January 2014
Est Magazine Arthouse South Yarra Artistic License 12 January 2014
Australian House & Garden Station Carlton North 2013 Top 50 Rooms November 2013
The Age Arthouse South Yarra Work of Art November 2013
Houses Sumner Northcote House by the Park No. 92 / June 2013
Dwell Asia Open House Mobile Playing House May 2013
The Age Station Carlton North Space Saviour 25 May 2013
The Age Open House Mobile Absolutely Prefabulous 1 May 2013
Gourmet Traveller Arthouse South Yarra Kitchen Special – By Design April 2013
The Contemporist Arthouse South Yarra South Yarra Residence 22 March 2013
Green Open House Mobile No Parents Allowed No. 18
Designing With Black, Architecture & Interiors Arthouse South Yarra Introduction 2013
Australian House & Garden Acland St Kilda 2012 Top 50 Rooms November 2012
Belle Arthouse South Yarra Creative Hub November 2012
The Weekly Review NTF Architecture Developing our City/Great Minds 8/14 August 2012
The Age Melbourne Magazine Open House Mobile Back to Front – Timber Land No. 94 / August 2012
Belle Open House Mobile Belle Inbox June - July 2012
Houses Violet Hawthorn Hawthorn Residence No. 86 / June 2012
The Weekly Review Montrose Toorak Sanctuary of Style 23/29 May 2012
North Shore Times, News Local Open House Mobile Cubbyhouse Comes of Age – New Designs Delight Kids 25 April 2012
The Age Business Day Open House Mobile Gloat of Many Colours: Melbourne Sweeps Awards 2 April 2012
The Australian Financial Review NTF Architecture High Density Gathers Pace in Melbourne 14 March 2012
Cottage Turns Over a New Leaf Violet Hawthorn Domain, The Saturday Age 4 February 2012
The Australian Financial Review Green Screen Cremorne Walking on Air 6/8 January 2012
The Fun House, Playlands for Kids Open House Mobile The Cubby House 2012
Indesign Green Screen Cremorne Not What it Seems No 46 / 2011
Houses Open House Mobile Open House – Kids Under Cover No 82 / October 2011
Architect Victoria Columba & Open House Mobile Slice Project 5 & 6 Winter 2011
Australian House & Garden NTF Architecture Safe as Houses April 2011
The Weekly Review Cubby Box Mobile Childs Play 16/22 November 2010
The Australian Financial Review Montrose Toorak Hideaway Houses Conceal Cool Interiors 12 November 2010
Inside Out Normanby Kew Homecoming July - August 2010
The Age Business Day Cubitt Offices Cremorne The Right Side of the Tracks 12 May 2010
Living by Design, The Sunday Age Violet Hawthorn Small Inspirations March 2010
Abode Acland St Kilda Garden Passion No. 17
Abode Montrose Toorak The House that Jack Built No. 13 (Cover Article)
Australian House & Garden Montrose Toorak 2008 Top 50 Rooms December 2008
Living by Design, The Sunday Age Montrose Toorak The Merger November 2008
Australian House & Garden Montrose Toorak Lawn and Order February 2008
Courtyards for Modern Living Montrose Toorak Lawn and Order 2008
Vogue Living Montrose Toorak Higher Ground Autumn / Winter 2007


We’re always on the lookout for bright minds and enthusiastic talent to join our growing team of architects and interior designers delivering a range of projects that vary widely in type and scale.

If you think you have what it takes, we’d love to hear from you. Send your CV and a PDF of your portfolio to