About Tony Lawson

I have been running a small building design studio in Cairns since 1992, specialising in unique homes for tropical living. When designing a new home or renovation, my focus has always been to deliver a personal service and to work one-on-one with clients to integrate their needs and lifestyle with the characteristics of their site and the surrounding environment. 

Living in the tropics offers the potential to design a home or renovation that enables a unique lifestyle. I focus on an organic and holistic approach to residential design and offer the following points to be considered:

Sustainability – A key issue in the world today. I am experienced in guiding clients through the process of designing a healthy and environmentally friendly home to the level they require.

Passive solar design – Utilising these design principles can help make a home naturally liveable by intentionally orienting the house and utilising natural light and ventilation. Minimising the need for artificial heating and cooling in turn reduces energy costs.

Healthy Homes – Minimising toxic materials and finishes is important to good health.
Create a living environment that offers a sanctuary.

Innovative Concepts – A home is not just a series of cubicles. Explore different ways of using spaces, shapes, colours and materials.

Future Proofing – Your house can be ‘future proofed’ by designing with flexibility in mind – a staged master plan with options to easily alter walls and spaces can accommodate future growth or change in lifestyle. Allow for home automation or future services.

Maintenance – Highset homes still need to be cared for. Designing for maintenance now can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Unusual Projects – They are my passion and I would love to help you step outside the square.

Steep and Difficult Sites – These can be hard and expensive to deal with, but they often just need more thought – the end result could be a house with amazing views, privacy and fantastic breezes.

A number of my house designs have been recognised for their innovative and sustainability measures by the Building Designers Association of Queensland and by the Tropical Sustainable Design group at James Cook University.
I am also a registered builder and have been a member of the Queensland Master Builders Association for 20 years. My experience with and understanding of the construction process allows me to confidently approach those unusual and difficult projects.
A selection of my favourite homes is included in the following pages. If you’re interested in my work, please give me a call and we can discuss your new home or renovation.


The Building Designers Association of Queensland runs an annual design award program. They are staged and start with Regional Awards, the winners progressing to the State Awards and then onto the National Association Building Designers Awards.

I have received the following:

National Awards

2 for New Homes  
1 Commendation for New Homes
1 Commendation for Residential Renovations

State Awards

5 for New Homes
1 Commendation for New Homes
2 for Residential Renovations
1 Commendation for Residential Renovations
1 for Residential Sustainability

Regional Awards

14 for New Homes
8 for Residential Renovations
5 for Best Use of Specific Materials and interiors
2 for Residential Sustainability

Many house designs have also gone on to win Qld Master Builders Association and Housing Industry Association awards for the builders.