Axon Panel used to build a bespoke home

Less time and cost on maintenance

"We budgeted the entire build and knew that if we used smart products and design we could create a bespoke house for a standard cost", says Tim.

Designing and building a forever home on a budget requires a little “outside the box” thinking, together with some significant forward planning. For new homeowners Kirsty and Tim Walters, achieving their bespoke beachside house in Orewa for the price of a standard design took years of planning. Originally from central Auckland, the couple moved north over a decade ago to Hatfields Beach before settling in Orewa four years later.

Tim used his expertise as a design and build consultant for Refresh Renovations to rise to the challenge, selecting the best products that allowed them to deliver the new build on budget, while meeting the family’s needs now and into the future. “We budgeted the entire build and knew that if we used smart products and design we could create a bespoke house for a standard cost,” says Tim.

On the exterior of the upper floor, Axon™ Panel Grooved gives the appearance of a wood-grain cedar finish, and has been painted black for a contemporary feel. Unlike some timbers on the market, the fibre cement board is hardy enough to be painted any colour, dark or light. The natural texture of this material and sharp finish offsets Easylap™ Panels used on the ground floor. These have been rendered to achieve a concrete slab designer-look for a fraction of the price using the StoLite Stucco System.

While smart products and design have helped the Walters’ new home stand out from others in the street, it has also ensured the family’s newbuild would suit their way of life. “We wanted to use products that would be cost-effective and create a great looking home without huge ongoing maintenance,” says Tim.

Low maintenance

Hardie™ fibre cement products will resist shrinking, swelling, and cracking, and hold paint longer than traditional shiplap weatherboards, meaning less time and cost on maintenance and more time spent with the family.

Its position close to the coast called for products that would perform in harsh conditions and the home needed to be tough to withstand the wear and tear of family life. James Hardie products ticked all the boxes.

The Walters selected HomeRAB™ Pre-Cladding instead of building paper for its bracing and weathertight properties, proven in similar conditions up and down the country.

Inside the home, Secura™ Interior Flooring was used as a durable, structural flooring. Secura's™ revolutionary formulation makes it dimensionally stable, so it won’t expand or contract and crack your tiles like wood can.

After seven months of building work, Kirsty and Tim are delighted with their new home. Their advice for other would-be home builders about to embark on a similar journey is: “Design and planning are paramount, down to light fixtures and art on the walls.

Talk to people along the way – you don’t know what you don’t know, so it helps to talk to others about their experiences,” says Tim. To achieve a quality look and feel for your next new home build without the expense, talk to James Hardie today or visit our website for more inspirational home building stories.

Axon™ Panel, Modern Bespoke Orewa
Orewa, Auckland. New Zealand
Project Type
New build
Industry Professionals

Designed by Reed Marshall, RPM Architecture and built by the team at Refresh Renovations

Design Handbook Cover 2024

The Design Handbook


The Hardie™ Cladding Collection has a wide variety of products to select from, creating design versatility, in which It’s Possible™ to Make Modern like never before. It’s a movement that’s reshaping perceptions and changing the way New Zealand builds. This design handbook demonstrates that with great advice, support and inspiration, it’s possible to build a house you’re truly proud to come home to.


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