Ross MacKinnon

Principal designer and director Ross MacKinnon has over 30 years experience in custom house design and construction in modern and heritage homes throughout regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

Ross is a qualified and registered building design consultant, experienced in working in collaboration with a team of consultants, builders and trades for innovative and sustainable design solutions for residential, commercial, public, government and industrial projects. 


The team behind MacKinnon Design is renowned for innovative, timeless building design that combines livability with beauty - in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Principal designer Ross MacKinnon is passionate about building and design that will endure – both in terms of aesthetics, and of environmental impact.

Ross has over thirty years experience in custom building, interior design, and construction, in both heritage and contemporary homes. His early career flourished internationally when he was chosen as one of twenty freelance architects engaged to work on major alterations to ‘The Windsor’ in London (now known as the Landmark Hotel). Here, Ross was immersed in the traditional methods that he still uses today. “There were no laser measurement tools back then, we had plumb bobs and profile combs,” Ross reflects, “so the skill and craft of architectural documentation was at it’s finest.”

Those old-school skills and crafts still play a major role in MacKinnon Design’s philosophy. Traditional hand-drawn designs using ink on tracing paper, pencil on butter paper - a palette of coloured pencils always on hand – ensure Ross and his exceptionally talented team take a hands-on approach to building design. This unique approach to design weaves Ross’s creativity seamlessly with practical innovation and consideration for environmental and budgetary concerns.

One client describes Ross as “brave, innovative [and] inspired. He combines empathy with experience, practical skills and profound design aesthetics to bring life, joy and logic to the complex project…”  Reviews of his work repeatedly note Ross’s eye for detail, a strong, considerate work ethic, and passionate commitment to projects from beginning to end.

One of Ross’s iconic designs on the outskirts of Yea is a perfect example of the MacKinnon Design philosophy in action. Orana, from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘welcome’, was collaboration between Ross and the original owner-builder, Jo Knorr. Setting an intention for a build is an integral part of the process; for the Orana project, this was to create a place of healing and calm. The stunning design immediately was at one with the surrounding landscape.

Years after the completion of Orana, Jo invited Ross to work with her on the gardens of the house. The combined vision of Orana’s ‘Rainbow Angel Garden’ is testament to Ross’s sensitivity and intuition around his clients’ needs. There is something deeply spiritual in his approach, and in his reverence for the land upon which we build.

John Baker, Chairman of the Monash Business Incubator, said of Ross, “His perspective on the environment, combined with recognition of his client requirements has resulted in remarkable designs.” Though quietly spoken and modest about his achievements, Ross MacKinnon is a man who exudes confidence in his own unique approach and style. His designs are built to suit the individual needs of each client, and to endure,  at one with the Australian landscape.