Architects engaged to transform a small stone cottage located in a rainforest environment specified Barestone cladding from Cemintel® to ensure long-term weather protection.

Built on land adjoining the Springbrook National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland, architect Dave Andren transformed the dilapidated little cottage into a retreat for its owners through clever design, craftsmanship and hardy materials.

Given the sensitivity of the location, the architects had to tread lightly and work with the environment, not against it. The owners wanted their new home to have a small environmental footprint that made use of the existing stonework, while at the same time creating a modern entertaining retreat for their family and guests.

Dave Andren said the build was one of the most challenging projects he had ever worked on; the geological instability and environmental sensitivity of the site necessitated a sizeable team of consultants that even included a fauna expert who had to relocate native animals away from the construction site.

Being in an extremely wet environment, the building was also at risk of being covered with moss and growth. Since only highly durable, weather-resistant materials were appropriate, Dave specified Cemintel’s Barestone cladding for the new home.

Barestone cladding also met the owners’ requirement for materials that needed very little maintenance. The simple but tough exterior look of bare concrete also went in its favour during material selection.

Cemintel Barestone is a prefinished, lightweight cladding system that combines the look of raw cement with easy installation. The 9mm compressed panels are coated with Cemintel’s unique CeminSeal water blocking technology, which also eliminates the requirement to paint on site, reducing installation time.

Being keen hobby wine-makers, the owners also wanted a cellar and a space where they could relax and enjoy the fruits of their pastime; the downstairs level became the wine tasting ‘cave’ in the existing stonework.

Dave says one of the main design ideas was to contrast the lower and upper floors, creating two distinct environments whereby the lower level was dark and rustic, but the house above was light, airy and open to the magnificent views.

The use of the light-coloured Barestone cladding strengthens the appearance of the new house floating over the top of the old one. Dave also ensured a simple palette for the house, using materials such as the zinc of the steel, roof and flashings, Barestone, glass and timberwork. These four materials plus the existing stonework gave the design visual strength.

Mick Corcoran, Director of Benchmark Building Projects, says Barestone helped preserve and elevate the stone features of the original cottage and blend the new home beautifully into its rainforest setting. Additionally, the durability of the cladding made it perfect for the dense forest environment.

Though the build team was using Barestone for the first time, they found it easy to work with and felt it delivered great results. Since there was no need to paint the prefinished cladding on the upper level, the scaffolding could be removed quickly.

The house has won six Housing Industry Association awards with the judges describing the build as very unique and admiring the craftsmanship. Mick added that the owners were blown away by the finished product.