Cronulla Beauty Takes the Prize

When retirees Bob and Nancy decided to build their dream home by the beach, they put their trust in John Hatch from JMH Living Design. Their vision was to have a home with a luxurious resort feel, a place where they could enjoy expansive beach and city views, entertain friends and enjoy the serenity for many years to come.

Entrusted with this dream project, John and his team collaborated with the builder, Paul Martin Building and structural engineer, Steve Whelan and Associates, to deliver an exceptional home that left the clients highly impressed with the result. The home also received a Commendation in the Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA) 2021 awards, as well as taking out the Hebel Industry Partner Award.


Hebel PowerPanel the hero of the home

With a resort aesthetic in mind, Hebel was chosen for the perimeter of the middle level and the upper level, giving the Cronulla home a sleek, modern look. Hebel PowerPanels are reinforced with steel and fixed vertically to construct a robust and durable external wall system, able to be rendered in a variety of finishes.

John explains that the main reason they chose Hebel was its durability. He says it brought “more of a masonry feel to the touch of the walling system and a solidness to it that we wanted to have for the home. And because we had suspended concrete floor slabs with basically a steel structure supporting it, then the infill timber and Hebel was a good combination for the project.”



The thermal and acoustic properties of Hebel also proved a unique advantage for this Cronulla property. While John admits that many clients “don’t put a lot of emphasis on thermal properties,” he feels it is up to designers and representatives of products like Hebel to “demonstrate what the pros and cons can be.” In this instance, in conjunction with the orientation of the home and the double glazing to the windows and doors, the Hebel panels provide comfort from the heat of Summer and keep out the cold in Winter. And even though the owners ended up deciding to install air conditioning on the lower entertainment level of the home, John feels the home would probably still have been comfortable without it.



In terms of acoustics, John explains that even though this property is one street off the beach, it’s met with a lot of crowd and car noise during the summer months as people look for prime parking spots close to the water. He describes his vision for how the home would be used in those months taking advantage of Hebel PowerPanels’ acoustic properties to achieve it. He says, “The intent of what we were doing was such that the thought process was that they [the owners] could go down to the beach and enjoy it early in the morning, go for walks and enjoy it before all the crowds arrive. And then after that, they could retire into their home, still get the advantage of the views and the aspect, but basically be shielded from the throngs out in front taking advantage of the beach themselves. It’s got that luxurious isolation they wanted but without having a direct connection to the business that is happening outside the house and surrounding their home.”

In addition, Hebel panels are also lightweight making them easier to install, especially on the upper levels of this home. Combined with durability, strength and other properties like fire-rating, thermal and acoustic performance, it really is a great product able to be utilised to great effect.



A winning combination

John and the JMH Living Design team, along with builder Paul Martin Building, used a number of different products in the design and construction of the home. But it was the Hebel PowerPanels that made this Cronulla haven a winner.

Comparing it to another project he completed nearby with the same builder in 2007, where they used concrete blocks for the basement and brick cavity work for the upper floors, he says, “With the Hebel PowerPanel and the afs rediwall® it probably saved us 6 or 7 months in terms of construction time.” A phenomenal advantage to the clients in terms of money and time saved, with a stunning result.



Advice to young designers

Having been a designer for 40 years, and the Senior Vice President of the BDAA since 2015, as well as holding various other leadership positions in the design industry, John Hatch has a word of advice for young designers. While ultimately the materials chosen for a project will be determined by the client’s preferred style and budget, he encourages designers to think outside what they’re familiar with and look at different materials.

He knows that “a lot of trades become reticent to using new materials because they become so used to using materials that they’ve had for the past 10, 20, 30 or 40 years.” But he continues, “It’s a perpetual learning scenario these days and if you don’t keep up with it, you get left behind.”

He thinks the BDAA and associated individual chapter conversations are a great way for designers to learn about new products. By chatting to designers that have used the products, new possibilities open up.

It may also be the case that more than one material can be used to great advantage like it was in this Cronulla home. “A variety of materials can end up being a better way to look at a particular project.” As an example he says, “You could use feature brick work, weatherboard and Hebel in a certain combination and you could achieve a much more interesting outcome than using one material alone.”


At the end of the day, John says “the whole rationale of using a product is to meet your client’s requirements.” With this Cronulla home, the clients were ecstatic with the finished result, and the Hebel Industry Partner Award was an acknowledgement that the use of Hebel was one of excellence. It achieved an outstanding outcome for the client.



Designer: JMH Living Design
Photography: Michael Anderson

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