About Us

Fermata team hard at work doing natural construction.

About Us

Fer•ma•ta (fɛrˈmɑ tə): A musical note, chord, or pause, sustained for a long duration, beyond its normal expected value.

As our name suggests, we specialize in long-lasting, sustainable natural construction – built with an artistic touch, and as much as possible in harmony with nature.

Fermata’s crew of skilled artisans travel throughout Southwestern Ontario, using old-world materials and techniques to build long-lasting, healthy, earth-friendly structures. Fermata has its hands in all forms of natural construction, but we specialize in natural plastering, earthen (adobe) floor installation, and architectural (i.e. non-structural) cob building. Our cob work includes thermal mass walls, benches, nooks, mantelpieces and outdoor cob ovens… often in beautiful combinations!

Sculpted by hand, without the use of high-tech tools, earth has been the most widely used human building material since the dawn of civilization. Earthen construction has a warm, friendly feel with generally smooth, flowing contours… none of those sharp, straight lines. Combine it with timber framing, natural-edge wood and/or natural stone and the results are like nothing you’ve ever seen.

We hand sculpt architectural walls, benches, rustic fireplace surrounds and much more – all out of no more than the appropriate mixture of straw, sand and clay-rich earth. Our natural earthen & adobe floors offer surprising durability together with a lustrous, leather-like appearance. Invite all of your favourite people to your backyard for freshly baked bread, a delicious homemade pizza or a mouth-watering slow-cooked brisket from your wood-fired outdoor cob oven!

Our core team includes:

Ben Polley is an award winning business manager and founder of Evolve. With 16+ years estimating experience including 12 in green construction, he is also our cost-benefit guru. He participates in the design and estimating phase of new projects in order to locate savings opportunities and deliver the best quality for money on every project. A popular speaker at colleges, universities and industry events, and regular feature in green building media, Ben will often be your first point of contact when discussing your future plans.

Dan Indoe is our lead hand with construction experience spanning from the ordinary to exquisite timber frames and having once owned his own design business, Dan Indoe decided later in his career to devote himself to finer things and returned to school. Graduating at the top of his class in Interior Design, Dan now manages the straw bale infill on most Harvest Homes projects. His acquired eye for detail is put to perfect use for artistic flourishes including reliefs, niches, curves and benches, all formed of straw. Dan also oversees bale raisings for home-owner builds, performs site consultations for key straw and plaster preparation details and generally lives and breathes straw.

Winter Harbinson is our lead hand who is a natural building enthusiast with interests in straw bale and cob construction, with a side order of treehouse building. She is a graduate of Georgian’s Architectural Technology program and is actively involved with groups dedicated to researching and implementing alternative and natural building practices. With her excellent leadership/motivational skills, Winter is able to keep projects moving forward smoothly and is in demand for all elements related to straw projects.  Additional interests include earthen floors/earthen plasters and is honing her skills as one of our finishers on our tightly integrated plastering team.

Darryl Stevenson (bio coming soon)

Contact us to chat about your exciting natural construction project.

Fermata’s crew of artisans travel throughout Southwestern Ontario bringing old-world building materials and techniques to earth-friendly projects that match our values. Contact us about your natural construction project today!

Awards and Badges

  • Canadian Contractor Magazine Outstanding Renovator and Custom Home Builder
  • Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence
  • Thorneloe University Mitre Award for Fostering Ideals of Excellence, Justice, Authenticity
  • TreeHugger Worldwide Top 10 in Green Architecture Award for K-House Project
  • Duravit Designer Dream Bathroom Award – 1st Prize Awarded to Nicolas Koff for K-House
  • Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) Gordon Couling Heritage Award for Heritage Makeover
  • Home Sweet Home Environmental Building and Design Competition Rudd Residence
  • Canadian Contractor Magazine Outstanding Renovator and Custom Home Builder