Let there be light. How Hardie™ Fine Texture helped transform a 1940s cottage.

Building Designer
Spanline

Plenty of people scroll through Pinterest looking for inspiration. When Jane spotted a thumb stopping build - a house with a cathedral roof that captured the light, painted a deep black, on her app, she thought “I could build that”. And with her husband Matt, she did.

Her idea seemed worlds away from their 1940s cottage sitting on the side of a Wollongong hill. But she knew that she had to do something drastic, as the cold house was unprotected from the elements. It was on the south side of the hill facing south, and had a large tree on the northern side of the house, which restricted the northern light. The house was uninsulated, with small windows and it would routinely get hit by the cold southerly winds - the perfect storm.

The pair didn’t think that all of those problems could be solved. Then help came in the form of design inspiration, a design and construct builder and new Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding, by James Hardie. The material brought style and durability to the home, as well as enabling the lightweight construction of a soaring roof that allows light to flood in. 

How a Pinterest photo sparked the dream

Jane and Matt had gotten to the point where they just wanted to knock their house down and start again. But after taking a look at the options for new home designs, they felt that demolishing and rebuilding their home would be a waste. It would also go against their desire to make decisions with sustainability in mind.

So they engaged their builder, Nick from Spanline Illawarra, who showed them how a renovation could instead make their Pinterest dreams a reality. “Our builder recommended putting in a steeply pitched roof that could let in as much light as possible, and that was when we introduced us to Hardie Fine Texture Cladding,” remembers Jane. “We fell in love straight away, because it had the style and clean lines that we wanted.”

A transformation through texture

Hardie Fine Texture Cladding is perfect for modern home designs with that more minimalist feel. Compared with the hard lines of some cladding profiles, the pre-textured fibre cement panel adds visual warmth and diffuses light, while bringing subtle focus to the form of the building. According to Jane, it stood out, when compared to other materials, as “the look is so much better than brick, at a lesser price.” 

As with all fibre cement products by James Hardie, the Fine Texture cladding is resilient, and designed to last so you can love where you live longer. And that was a key reason behind Jane and Matt’s choice. “It’s durable and resists cracking, which gives us a lot of peace of mind,” says Jane. Hardie Fine Texture cladding is also fire resistant, and can be installed simply by attaching the panels to timber or light gauge steel frames. 

The rapid speed of installation makes it a favourite of builders, which is why it was the first choice for Spanline when recommending products. Jane and Matt chose Domino by Dulux for the exterior, which was quick and easy to paint, with fibre cement holding paint for longer than brick or wood. The cladding is also resistant to warping or rotting, making it ideal for Australian conditions.

Lighting it up

When figuring out the design for the exterior, Jane and Matt wanted to make a statement. “We didn’t want anything average or boring,” Jane says. “We definitely wanted something bold and modern.” Plus, they wanted to capture all seasons to make the most of the light, especially through the northern sun in winter. 

The fine rendered texture of the Hardie Fine Texture Cladding meant that they could achieve, a solid-looking modern home design without the weight or hassle of brickwork. The cladding is likely to be lower maintenance than other cladding that needs to be hand-rendered meaning the render style will stay looking good for many years to come. 

Jane and Matt worked with Spanline to design the dramatic vertical aluminium screen, which wraps around the upper windows, contrasting and breaking up the expanse of cladding. The pared-back look is subtly softened with the use of uplights, while still remaining a focal point of design, helping the eye-catching house to build its street appeal. 

Another key element of the Hardie Fine Texture Cladding that was crucial to Jane and Matt’s renovation was its ability to diffuse light and give a modern matte appearance to the Domino paint colour. 

From inside, the roof soars, with Jane and Matt taking an open-plan approach to living, all centred around a sun-drenched kitchen island bench. "We just wanted open, airy and light, because you can't have too much light and you can never have enough windows,” says Jane. “Now, light pours in every day, and wherever you look, there’s something to see.” 

For a family who were considering demolishing their home, to now living in their Pinterest-perfect home, it took finding the perfect materials to completely change their perspective. “We wanted to turn our 1940s cottage into our dream home, with a minimalist look and clean lines,” says Jane. “Hardie Fine Texture cladding helped us achieve our dream.”

Considering transforming your home into a light, modern space? Take a look at Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding. 

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