Barestone seamlessly connects Blue Mountains home to iconic bushland vistas

Cemintel Barestone is pivotal in a colonial-style home’s modernisation. Perched on a ridge overlooking the Kanimbla and Megalong Valleys, Lithgow House has been sympathetically transformed through edgy design and the clever selection of high-performance building materials.

Owner/builder Helen Swinton and her husband decided to remodel their 30 year old colonial style home, driven by the desire to create a more modern and spacious environment that would also provide comfort from the region’s extreme temperatures.

“It was time to refresh, extend and improve the home with more space and light,” says 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.”

Instead of outsourcing services to remodel her home, Helen chose to manage the project herself. The decision stemmed from her passion for architecture and design, budgeting and a desire for greater control over the building process. In cooperation with a freelance architect, Helen developed a contemporary architectural foundation that was adapted to suit site and construction needs.

“My vision was for a modern and commercial look that was a little bit edgy, contrasting the original cedar cottage styling,” says Helen.

Cemintel Barestone was used to seamlessly connect the home with the rugged Australian bushland, while also complementing the sculptured form of the exterior. Its raw finish is designed to weather 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,” continues Helen.

Helen’s vision also considered the future, selecting materials that would allow the house to age gracefully and provide thermal comfort against extreme weather conditions of the Blue Mountains region. Helen chose to use CSR Bradford Proctorwrap to help shield her home from weather damage. Proctorwrap protects the building frame from the elements by reducing the entry of wind-driven rain and dust, creating a rain-screen layer on the building that also breathes.

For the exterior of the home, Barestone’s low-maintenance ventilated cavity structure helps reduce heat transfer and facilitates air flow, providing improved thermal performance for the property. Barestone is designed to meet nature head on. Each panel is coated in Ceminseal water block technology, which repels water while maintaining the natural appearance of the fibre cement.

“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. “I wanted to use flexible materials so I could change and alter the design throughout the process. Barestone’s easy application and installation brought my evolving vision to life.”

Because the panels are all prefinished, installation is fast and simple, even for someone with little experience in the process. The panel design allowed Helen to break 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.

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