Cemintel® Barestone was the cladding material of choice for the owners of a colonial style home perched on a ridge overlooking the Kanimbla and Megalong Valleys in the Blue Mountains.

When owner-builder Helen Swinton and her husband decided to remodel their 30-year-old home, Lithgow House, they sought to create a more modern and spacious environment that would also provide comfort from the region’s extreme temperatures. The clever selection of high-performance building materials has helped the couple transform the old building into a modern home that seamlessly connects with the rugged outdoors.

“It was time to refresh, extend and improve the home with more space and light,” recalls Helen. “Most importantly, we wanted to capitalise on the stunning vistas and blend the modern and traditional aspects of the home without significantly altering the original structure.”

Helen’s passion for architecture and design combined with a desire for greater control over the building process made her decide to manage the remodelling project herself. Working with a freelance architect, Helen developed a contemporary architectural foundation that was adapted to suit site and construction needs.

Looking for a modern look that was also a little edgy, she chose Cemintel Barestone fibre cement cladding to seamlessly connect the home with the rugged Australian bushland, while also complementing the sculptured form of the exterior. Cemintel Barestone panels come in a raw finish that weathers naturally, blending into the natural environment around it.

“Barestone offered a smooth, earthy balance to the natural timber window frames, and the timeless stone-look connected well with the rocky sandstone landscape,” explains Helen.

Functionally, Barestone features a low-maintenance ventilated cavity structure that helps reduce heat transfer and facilitates air flow, improving the thermal performance of the home. Each panel is coated in Ceminseal water block technology, which repels water while maintaining the natural appearance of fibre cement.

With a long-term vision, Helen chose materials that would allow the house to age gracefully and provide thermal comfort against the extreme weather conditions of the Blue Mountains region. CSR Bradford Proctorwrap, for instance, was selected to help shield the home from weather damage. Proctorwrap protects the building frame from the elements by reducing the entry of wind-driven rain and dust, creating a breathing rain-screen layer on the building.

“I’d fallen in love with fibre cement cladding many years ago and I knew it would last a long time, resist extreme weather, and most importantly, give the building a 'wow' factor and an edginess in its raw application,” says Helen.

She also sought to use flexible materials that could be changed during the remodelling process; Barestone’s easy application and installation brought her evolving vision to life, she noted.

The prefinished cladding panels allow fast and simple installation, even by someone with little experience in the process. Helen also broke up the rigidity of the design by creating gaps between the panels.

“Our home now looks and performs exactly the way we want it to. We love the way we’ve been able to open our home and connect it to the natural world around us. It allows us to truly appreciate our stunning environment,” concludes Helen.