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Environmental Home Designer Sharon Ponsford has quite a varied and interesting career background. 

Sharon worked for 13 years as a successful I.T. Professional, working in various demanding roles locally and Internationally including Senior Software Engineer, Software Developer, Business Analyst, Object-Oriented System Designer, User Interface Designer, Technical Writer, Graphic Designer and Website Developer.  In a bid to change the pace of her lifestyle, Sharon gave up her I.T. role to pursue a teaching career. 

Over a period of 5 years working as a TAFE Lecturer, Sharon taught various subjects including Computer Studies (Migrant Education), Occupational Health & Safety and Multimedia and Website Development.  This transition to teaching allowed Sharon more spare time to go back to part-time study … and to follow her passion for Architecture.  

During 2002-2003 while teaching at both Balga and Midland TAFE colleges, Sharon completed a Building Design qualification at Leederville TAFE college, and so began her next career transition.  In 2003 Sharon also commenced part-time classical piano studies, and within 3 years was playing the grand piano every Friday night in the piano bar/restaurant at the nearby El Caballo Resort Hotel.

Sharon’s building industry career commenced with several years employment with one of Perth’s award-winning project home builders, working in a number of roles including Draftsperson, Senior Draftsperson and most significantly, Assistant to the Head of Design.  During that time Sharon gained a wealth of experience while working on a large volume of residential homes and unit developments with leading designers and architects.  During this time Sharon continued to work as a TAFE lecturer one night a week, this time teaching Building Technology as part of the Builders Registration Diploma.

With a passion for country homes and the various challenges they can bring, Sharon knew that the only feasible way for her to gain more expertise in country homes and increase her knowledge of traditional and alternative building materials was to establish her very own design studio.  So, in 2006 Sharon moved from the city out to her beloved 5 acre hills property, where she dived right in and established her design studio, Studio West Design.

This strategic move gave Sharon the opportunity to broaden her expertise immensely in the area of country home design where she has a focus on sustainable construction methods and solar passive design.

It wasn't long before Sharon discovered the timeless beauty and versatility of rammed earth construction, and its suitability to the Perth climate.  So Sharon established another branch of her design studio, Rammed Earth Living where she specialises in rammed earth home design.  Sharon also established what she believes to be the first and only formal training workshops for rammed earth building in Australia, in conjunction with one of Perth's established rammed earth builders.

Sharon continued the rammed earth workshops for some two years, and during that time she also developed a range of training workshops for Owner-Builders including drawing your own house plans and building design basics. 

Sharon has also written several articles for Australia's popluar magazine - The Owner Builder.  With her passion for natural building design Sharon has helped many owner-builders achieve their dream.

Qualifications

  • Diploma of Building Design & Technology
  • Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training
  • Diploma in Information Technology (Software Development)
  • HIA Certified Greensmart Professional
  • Reiki Master

Memberships

  • ABSA (Association of Building Sustainability Assessors)
  • AIBD (Australian Institute of Building Designers)
  • Ausbale (Australasian Straw Bale Building Association)
  • EBAA (Earth Building Association of Australia)
  • Earth Solutions Group & Avon Valley Environmental Society (Northam)

Voluntary Positions Held

  • 2007-2009 Wildlife Carer, Chidlow Marsupial Hospital
  • 2013 - Present: Ausbale Webmaster & WA State Representative
    (Australasian Straw Bale Building Association)

Sharon is happiest when she is helping others, something she continues to do no matter what career choices she makes … Sharon's outlook on life is simple ... "I believe that life is too short to have any regrets ... always follow your dreams, if your life isn't what you want it to be, then make a plan to change your life for the better!"

 

Newsflash

Eco-Design for the Owner Builder Exciting workshops in Wooroloo WA.  Learn how to design an eco-home.  Learn how to draw design concept plans.  As seen in The Owner Builder magazine.  See Training Course page for details.

Sustainable Living Bookstore

Sustainable Insight is an Australian online bookstore specialising in sustainability and environmental books, DVDs and educational resources. Their range covers topics including permaculture gardening, agriculture, owner-building and sustainable building methods, mud-brick, straw bale and more, environmental management, organics and sustainability. Just click on the logo to find out more.