Claire Bennett

The Claire Bennett Agency



A rustic jewel on the banks of the Tamar

Set alongside Tasmania’s Tamar river in a lush valley known for its ample wineries, rests My Build’s latest completed design–build project, The Boathouse. While wine production may contribute to the area’s current economy, it hasn’t always been vines and corks. With its convenient location at the top end of the state, close to the Bass Straight, the area was formerly used for boat building. Now, The Boathouse sits atop an old boat yard used in the late 1800’s, with remnants of the lands former use still apparent when the tide is low. Used now as an escape from the city, this Tasmanian timber clad shack combines the best of both worlds, where old meets new in a quiet corner of Northern Tasmania.

Wanting the design of the project to reflect the site’s history, rough sawn Tasmanian Oak was chosen by Tasmanian based design–build firm My Build, to externally clad the shack. Left untreated, My Build’s Director Murray Griffiths explains the decision to leave the timber in its natural state:

“By leaving the external timber exposed, there’s no oil or coating that’s stronger than the protection that naturally occurs as the Tasmanian Oak starts to silver off with age. We wanted a timber that would hold up to the elements of the region that needed zero maintenance. Rough sawn Tas Oak ages beautifully and gracefully and is perfect for a coastal shack environment.”

Organic, rusted and charred

Staying consistent with the rustic theme, My Build used handmade Tasmanian Oak trusses that were specially treated with an organic black coating to create a charred look to the timber. Leaving the bolts for the trusses outside to weather and rust, helped create the aged look they were going for. And while The Boathouse showcases materials in their aged, natural and exposed forms, My Build carefully brought in plenty of modern elements to balance out the look to create a contemporary getaway.

Offering a more polished look, classic grade Tasmanian Oak flooring was specified throughout the home’s floors. Using a natural finish to coat the floors, the feature of the timber’s natural grain is visible, which Murray explains was just what he wanted.

“I love the knot and gum vein that comes in classic grade Tasmanian Oak flooring, I don’t like using materials that look too perfect. Classic grade helps create interest and character on the flooring– the more feature the better,” says Griffiths.

Tasmanian Oak: wonderfully workable

Coming from a background in joinery before starting My Build over ten years ago, Griffiths explains that it’s not only aesthetics that makes Tasmanian Oak a great timber to use.

“Tasmanian Oak is good timber to work with. It’s a hardwood without being the hardest wood, which isn’t always the best when it comes to workability. It’s really easy on cutting tools and allows blades to last much longer compared to other types of hardwoods. You get the benefits of it being a hardwood too– the timber doesn’t shrink or buckle which is much more stable for flooring.”

My Build have taken on many projects in rural or remote settings, carefully creating homey destinations for holiday makers while still taking in the beauty of Tasmania’s natural surroundings. And using a local timber helps create this feel.

“We finished a fishing lodge last year in the Central Highlands where some of the Tasmanian hardwood we used was recycled from an old wharf on Bruny Island that would have been over 100 years old. It really helps tell a nice story and shows how strong and durable the timber is.”