The Four Rules of a Modernist Look

mornington two storey home scon stria and matrix walls

A bold, new approach to designing your home’s façade is key to achieving a modernist look you’ll love. Start with these four design features and you’ll be on your way to creating a unique exterior that stands out from the crowd.


With function at the forefront, modernist design shuns decorative, fussy elements in favour of hard-wearing, angular surfaces. This leaves your home with a streamlined look that is sleek and edgy while still remaining timeless.

The exterior sets the tone for the rest of your home, so start with linear lines. If you’re after something streamlined and simple, explore horizontal lines created by Scyon™ Stria™. In comparison, a product such as Scyon™ Matrix™ is ideal for creating sharp, geometric shapes.

stria-modern-exterior-freshwater-jameshardie-10 This coastal home embraces a sleek, modern look using Stria Wide 405mm around the pool area.

This lightweight, innovative material lends itself perfectly to the trademark boxy shapes found in modernist-style homes. Why not break up sections or storeys with different colours and materials, or mix horizontal and vertical lines? The key is to keep it simple, letting textural materials shine as the focal point.

matrix-boxmodern-exterior-kellyville-jameshardie-1_aybs8m Playing with shapes and angles: Scyon Matrix adds to the sharp angles that define this modernist design.

Remember, the look you choose for the façade will create a distinctive home design from the get-go and provide style cues for the interior.


When it comes to choosing textures, there are a few considerations that will help ensure your home both stands out and complements its surrounding environment. Thinking beyond the traditional use of materials is a must, and like all great design trends, referencing its setting will ensure a structure seamlessly blends with the streetscape while simultaneously making a statement.

Selecting two or three different finishes that contrast – for example, weatherboard cladding like Scyon™ Linea™ atop white, rendered panels – with the addition of a feature wall made from stone or plywood will lend a high-end, custom-made feel

linea-boxmodern-exterior-elsegood-jameshardie-2__1_ A balancing act: The classic look of Scyon Linea is paired with a rendered base, giving this home a quintessential coastal appeal with a modern finish.

The modernist trend is perfect for inner city properties, where homeowners can take endless inspiration from the diverse urban landscape – steel, brick and concrete cladding combined will create a truly individual look.


If you’re limited by land size, a modernist home will benefit from tall, glass walls or windows to encourage a connection between the home’s interior and the outside landscape. Think vertically to create a sense of space by drawing the eye upwards rather than horizontally. The long lines of Scyon™ Axon™ are perfect for your home’s elevation, promoting a sense of height and length.

axon-villasunshine-jameshardie_2 The long elegant lines of Scyon Axon and floor to ceiling windows create a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors.

An open plan living area is a common feature of the modernist look, promoting cross-ventilation, harnessing natural light and maximising a small space.

Take design cues from the façade with clean, simple lines indoors for a consistent look and feel.


A restrained palette is typical of modernist design, and when it comes to mixing and matching materials, keeping with neutral colours will help to ensure a timeless look.

Darker hues used for larger areas, such as charcoal cladding on an exterior, can immediately make a façade appear sleek and modern. Throw into the mix crisp, white rendering and some cool metal or stone accents.

Warmth can be introduced through natural materials – for example, a timber wall or fence. The idea is to bring textural elements together in unexpected ways for a modern, one-of-a-kind property you’ll feel right at home in.

axon-scandibarn-exterior-bentleigh-jameshardie-_21_eahowo__1_ A neutral colour palette and vertical lines update this coastal home with a sleek, modern look.

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