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Bring the look you love to life

Knowing what exterior style you want to achieve with a new build or renovation is the first step in creating your dream home. “Moving from this early stage into an actual build feels like a big leap, but breaking down the process into smaller steps and milestones makes it much more achievable,” says interiors expert Wendy Moore of The Interiors Edit.

There are many modern looks to choose from, with Mixed Cladding, in particular, getting a lot of attention right now. Renovators on The Block are favouring this façade, drawing on a rich material mix to create a compelling first impression, often by using statement exterior wall cladding. Pinning down the style of home you want is just a first step, however, and not in itself enough to brief a builder. Articulating your vision in more detail will keep you on track and be a vital resource.

Here, we’ll outline how to move through the early stages of design, pin down your choice of façade and move into the build phase.

Step 1: Build a mood board

Collect visual inspiration from sites such as Instagram and Pinterest (check out the James Hardie Pinterest boards here) to narrow down the style of your home, incorporating colours, materials and features that will make it one of a kind.

The Style Sourcebook platform is an innovative and interactive way to create digital mood boards using real products from a huge range of retailers, including James Hardie. It’s the perfect way to start to pull together ideas and find great example materials you may want to use for your home.

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Reference these pictures and the style story will begin to emerge – you might notice a prevalence of weatherboard-led Hamptons looks, or perhaps you’re leaning towards a Box Modern style with render-look finishes. Whatever your preference, take note of important details. What paint colour is that? Is that cladding or stone? You’ll need this information for the next stage.

Step 2: Order samples and create a flatlay

With your digital mood board complete, it’s time to call in samples. “Seeing a product in situ will narrow down the options, because products always look different in real life,” says Wendy. “This allows you to make more realistic product selections.”

For example, you need to know what colour the tile or steel for your roof is going to be, so you can choose a paint colour for your exterior cladding to make it sing. Call in your James Hardie samples here. Note that fibre cement products such as Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding are often pre-textured, pre-primed and paint friendly, so have sample pots of your favourite paints ready to go.

Dot + Pop | Mid-Century Modern | Flatlay

A flatlay is a flat visual expression of chosen colours, materials and textures. To create one, start by layering larger samples that play a big role in the style story (such as Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding), then layer other elements on top. Add, edit and amend at will, before photographing your flatlay from above in good natural light. Love what you see? Perfect. Use it to brief in a 3D render.

Order a Sample

Ready to specify Hardie™ fibre cement products in your next project? Order a sample to help visualise your design decision. Paint samples in any colour to suit the vision you have for your dream home.  

order a sample

Step 3: Create a 3D render

Building plans and elevations can be converted into a 3D digital prototype that illustrates your future home beautifully, complete with selected finishes and materials. It’s a working document that can be updated from design to working drawings to the complete building.

The render will bring the whole look together, capturing how the materials you’ve selected will actually work with your design and making it easier for you to brief your builder.

Kate Lawrence | Box Modern | Render

But wait – I’m not sure what style I want!

Refer to this handy list for trending exterior styles, keeping in mind that exterior wall cladding offers truly endless design opportunities.

Mixed Cladding: Two or more cladding styles are combined to create unique, contemporary facades. Popular with contestants on The Block: Tree Change.

Box Modern: An architectural style that draws upon the box shape and block cladding, and uses materials in interesting, contrasting and compelling ways.

Scandi Barn: Think vaulted ceilings, open-plan living spaces and steeply pitched gable roofs without eaves, often painted in a dark palette.

Australian Hamptons: A local spin on classic weatherboard-clad East Coast American abodes, this look is one for beach lovers who want to keep it sophisticated.

Modern Coastal: A crisp take on the laid-back beach lifestyle, where a considered mix of materials brings a modern vibe to classic white weatherboard.

Following this process allows you to experiment with ideas and really see your dream home vision come to life. For more modern home inspiration, check out our Modern Look Book and see the Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding Look Book for more detail on creating mood boards and renders.

Modern Look Book

Our Modern Look Book provides design inspiration and highlights hallmarks to help describe and define the clean, contemporary home of your dreams. Discover which modern look you love then use the images and language to brief your designer or builder.


Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding Look Book

Download your go-to-guide to help you navigate the design process and select the perfect exterior materials to suit your dream home vision. See how 5 fabulous designers have applied our 4-step Mood Board to Render process to bring a variety of projects to life using the innovative and versatile Good Design Awards-winning product, Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding.


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