For builder Luke Orton, owner of Orton Building, creating two homes with one seamless duplex exterior has always been a project goal. When Luke’s office, within a warehouse in a semi-residential area in Wickham, New South Wales, was no longer fit for purpose and ripe for redevelopment, he jumped at the opportunity to convert the site into a Modern Coastal duplex.
“The particular look we were after was a modern coastal feel that was warm and inviting,” said Luke. “This was a warehouse conversion in what is becoming a more residential streetscape, so we wanted to make it a bit more urban and pursued an ‘urban coastal’ look.”
To achieve this the clean and uncluttered façade, Luke used James Hardie’s latest fibre cement cladding. New Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding has a unique texture, which is embedded into the panel and is reminiscent of softly brushed concrete making it distinctively tactile.
Initially, foam render was the specification for the exterior, but Luke chose to use Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding as an alternative to render for the ground floor façade for its look and long-lasting durability. Hardie™️ Brushed Concrete Cladding is ideal for creating modern façades and being made from Hardie™ fibre cement products, it is more hardwearing than rendered greenboard foam panels.
“Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding could pass as a decorative render or a bagged brick look on a broad wall - it’s nice,” said Luke. Luke used Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding on the ground floor’s exterior façade from the walls and entry ways, to the planter boxes above the entry way, and to the outdoor rear courtyard to help create a seamless transition.
Complementing the Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding on the ground floor, Linea™ Weatherboard was used across the majority of the first-floor façade. “We love Linea™ Weatherboard and are very familiar with the look it can achieve,” said Luke. When used in combination with Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding, Linea™ Weatherboard allowed Luke to achieve the modern coastal design. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in modern design and mixed cladding styles on the home façade to create an architectural feel and design diversity. It’s a very versatile trend and helps create a unique look adds Luke.
From an installation perspective, the size of the panels allowed Luke to remove any visible horizontal joints. “Full height 3.6m Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding panels allowed us not to have horizontal lines to the front façade which was important to us,” said Luke. “When factoring in the vertical joints, we focused on panel layout to ensure the joints added to the overall design - it worked well at the front entry because it subtly broke up the façade.” Hardie™ 9mm Aluminium Horizontal Express Jointer and Hardie™ 9mm Aluminium External Slimline Corner were used to deliver the seamless look.
As the existing warehouse was located on the boundary, Luke had to comply with fire ratings when extending the first floor. “Using Hardie™ fibre-cement cladding products as the external cladding in conjunction with a compliant fire rated wall system is great because it’s cost and time effective, is easy and quick to install, and is low maintenance”.
Using Hardie™ fibre-cement cladding instead of the alternative foam render or other exterior material also meant less waste and mess onsite. “Overall, there’s less trades onsite and, as a finished product with an embedded texture, there was no need for additional render,” said Luke. Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding and Linea™ Weatherboard come pre-primed and ready to paint, saving time and money on the project.
Hardie™ products were purchased from NHS, which Luke has a long-time relationship with. “They’re trusted and reliable, while a trade specialist also helped deliver the best results using James Hardie products,” said Luke.
The end result is two stunning modern homes with a striking silhouette, complete with luxury features. Hardie™ Brushed Concrete Cladding and Linea™ Weatherboard are perfectly suited to the homeowner’s lifestyle and will serve the homes well for many years to come.