June 25, 2023


Sanctuary as home.

‘At Sanctuary Design Studio we care about the impact of our projects on our planet, which is why we partner with Fifteen Trees to reduce the carbon footprint of each of our projects’. Fiona Gibson.



For Sanctuary Design founder Fiona Gibson, sustainability is at the heart of her practice. She loves working with renovations to resolve spatial and functional issues, making houses into homes within an existing footprint. When it’s a new build on the table, passive house principles come to the fore. The team’s goal is to tread lightly on the earth to which they feel so connected.



The underlying ethos of Sanctuary Design is to work with nature, not against it. This is hardly surprising given the talented women that make up the Sanctuary Design team were all drawn to the Northern Rivers region by its beautiful green landscape and perfect climate. Since forming in 2018, Sanctuary Design has developed a renovation, extension and new build portfolio based on simple, elegant, functional and environmentally responsible design.


At Sanctuary Design Studio we care about the impact of our projects on our planet, which is why we partner with Fifteen Trees to reduce the carbon footprint of each of our projects.

Along with passive design and selection of environmentally friendly materials, this is one more way we’re making a positive impact on our beautiful planet.

Fiona Gibson | Founder | Sanctuary Design


As an extension of this ethos Sanctuary Design has partnered with Fifteen Trees to plant 30 trees for every renovation.


2023 | Grampians/Gariwerd, VIC | 120 trees


The 120 trees were a mix of purposefully selected plants to compliment the birdlife, insects, and other creatures who call The Grampians/Gariwerd their home. The trees were also selected to survive the cold winters and dry summers the mountainous terrain experiences. They will grow to varying heights (tall and understory) to ensure a variety of habitats for the local wildlife.


The trees were sourced from native nurseries in the district.


The trees will add to the amazingly diverse landscape consisting of gorge environs, steep rocky walls famous for rock-climbing, deep valleys, and undulating hills. They will provide homes and fodder for many species including the extensive bird life found there.


These birds need different trees to survive and we are thankful for the expertise of the Buloke and Northern Grampians Landcare Network (BNGLN) in their support in helping to plant these trees. We recently interviewed Andrew Borg, coordinator of this Network. You can read the interview here.


Andrew and Deb Borg


This season, Sanctuary purchased 120 trees for the tree planting crew at Gariwerd for four of its discerning clients.

  • Greg and Angela Ryan,
  • Kevin Faulkner and Jenny Elion,
  • Graham and Laura O’Connor,
  • Marty McGrath and Shona Thatcher.


2022 | Campbells Creek, VIC | 120 trees


This swampy area in Castlemaine, has delightful small billabongs as well as the main watercourse. Over the years, Friends of Campbell’s Creek have greatly reduced the weed burden and established lots of new native plants. This year, they planted 120 trees thanks to the generous support of Fiona.


Friends of Campbell’s Creek (FOCC).


With your support we were able to extend our revegetation to cover much more of our wetland area. As the plants grow, they’ll help exclude weeds, provide habitat for indigenous fauna, sequester CO2 and look beautiful!

Thank you for funding the purchase of plants for the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare Group.

Thea King | Secretary | FoCC


This year, we planted 30 trees each for:

  • Damien and Jodi Frawley
  • Brendan and Laurie Collins
  • Magdalena Roze and Darren Robertson
  • Greg and Elodie Crowe.


2021 | Kel Shields Flora Reserve, VIC | 120 trees


tree plantings
Hundreds of trees for the Kel Shields Flora Reserve. With no plastic tree guards!


This season, Sanctuary purchased 120 trees for the tree planting crew at Kel Shields Flora Reserve, Bacchus Marsh for four of its discerning clients.

  • Spencer and Adriana O’Driscoll,
  • Rebecca Hagenbusch,
  • Seana Ryan and Adam Norton,
  • Oriel Paterson and Drew Minton.


Nankeen Kestrel which makes its home at Kel Shields Flora Reserve



These trees have been planted to help regenerate ecologically fragile landscapes. As Sanctuary’s clients settle into their new spaces, the seedlings will be settling into theirs. The idea of home means so much more than bricks and mortar. It’s about creating a space that is fit for purpose, that allows growth, promotes joy, and works harmoniously with its surrounding environment. This is what we want for the planet, and it’s the same thing good building design – like Sanctuary Design – wants for people.


If you are also interested in how your business and Fifteen Trees could work together, contact Colleen at <[email protected]> and ask for a proposal.


Writer – Sarah Hart.

Sarah is an artist whose passions include the stories and experiences of women and narrative driven work. Her aim is to delight, to reveal glimpses of everyday beauty and to celebrate flights of the ordinary. Sarah works across a range of media, with an abiding interest in pen and ink, mixed media and the human form. You can find Sarah here.




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