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Colour // Terracotta


Last week we walked the dogs in a different part of town, and as usual, this meant that I spent most of the time snooping at all of the houses that up until this point I’d not been past slowly enough to look at in any great detail. This particular street is one of the best in Newcastle in terms of its physical location and the wondrous vistas it carries both northward across the city of Newcastle and its beautiful beaches, and southward towards the national parks that inhabit this stretch of coast just south of Merewether.

Upon this walk I came across a house I’d never noticed before – I don’t know how, except to say that perhaps it sits much more quietly on the street than many of the others, who tend to demand attention. Anyway, it was a lovely old Spanish revival place, just in the midst of being very delicately renovated, and had the most beautiful, traditional, semi-circular terracotta roof tiles (alongside other lovely considerations). There are so many poor (ugly) examples of terracotta roof tiles here in Australia that these ones seemed to so clearly describe why indeed we started using them in the first place. It’s like a lot of things I suppose, being that the original is often so much more simple, elegant, and admirable than its later, watered-down imitators.

So this month I thought I would shift things slightly, and talk not only about colour, but about the texture, and feeling that comes with certain . Terracotta embodies all of these things, and has such great strength of character because it also carries with it history and memory.

Yet it’s true, like all things, that Terracotta had its day (year, century, millennium!) and for some time now has probably been considered a bit out of fashion here in Australia. However, why we would shun such a beautiful, natural material is beyond me! Not only is terracotta a fantastic building material, but is also wonderful in object design, gardens, and interiors. It’s also perfectly suited to hot (especially arid) climates and is thus quite perfect for use across a lot of Australia.

I’ve gathered here a selection of beautiful terracotta applications that effectively hark back to its inherently warm nature.

All images linked to their original source

Spanish from exquisite

Antique Spanish terracotta roof tiles from Exquisite Surfaces


Hexagonal terracotta floor tiles from Exquisite Surfaces


Alicante yellow rectangular floor tiles from Exquisite Surfaces




Terracotta has a history in hot places, and Australia

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The Author:

Our principle designer Poppy is a Masters of Architecture graduate from the University of Newcastle, Australia. She graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours, received the Dean's Medal and was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter Masters of Architecture Graduate of the Year prize. In 2010, Poppy received the Eric Parker Travelling Scholarship encouraging the research and drawing of architecture.

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