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On a secluded plot just above the foothills of the tucked-away suburb of Kelmscott, Western Australia, Gary and Sue Kemp had a vision of their dream home – a vision that for a brief moment seemed impossible. But together with the design skills of Darklight Design, the couple was able to build their ideal property in picturesque WA, with their HardieDeck™ outdoor room the shining star of a modern and functional space.

The challenge: Bushfire compliance, initial design flaws and more

After their initial builder had promised the world but left Gary and Sue with little more than an empty block and a lost deposit, the couple needed something of a miracle to see the home of their dreams built in spectacular Kelmscott, in the Canning Vale. After 23 years spent in their previous home, the downsizers reached out to Adam Butcher from Darklight Design and realised it was a match made in heaven.

Adam’s vision, dedication and understanding of what Gary and Sue wanted made it clear Darklight was the design team to trust. But the build process was never going to be easy. Not only was the plot on a severely steep incline, but restrictive Australia standrads demanded all materials comply with Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) regulations.

“The whole house had to meet BAL-40 compliance,” Gary says, adding that such restrictions meant his much-sought-after deck would also need to align with strict standards.


Armed with Adam's team Gary and Sue were able to fully realise their vision for their dream home despite the plot situatated on a severely steep incline.

To find out more about the benefits of HardieDeck contact us for more information.

After both parties – owner and designer – conducted their due diligence, they realised that James Hardie’s specialised decking solution, HardieDeck, would not only meet BAL-40 compliance but would also be the ideal choice for their lifestyle needs and the modern design of the home. The choice to use HardieDeck to achieve the modern look was a natural evolution based on Gary and Sue’s original vision for their build, and meant that they could not only get the modern look they dreamed of, but also get a modern look that was bushfire compliant.

The solution: Unique decking that aligns perfectly with the rest of the home

As a durable, premium fibre-cement decking solution, HardieDeck ticked all the right boxes.

“With the HardieDeck product, owners can give it a couple of different finishes, they can coat it in different colours to suit, they can put a seal on it,” Adam from Darklight Design says. “The fact is that Gary and Sue love their James Hardie deck so much that they even moved their dining table out there.”

It’s true. Lifestyle played a big role in the overall design of the Kemp family’s new home, and Gary says having the HardieDeck connected to their kitchen – “We’re a kitchen family, always in the kitchen and we just love to sit outdoors no matter the weather,” he remarks – means they can spend most of their time in the outdoors, whether it’s entertaining, cooking or simply relaxing in the temperate climes of Western Australia.

It doesn’t hurt that the home was built deliberately to take advantage of the north-facing sun. But even if the weather isn’t always picture-perfect sunshine, their outdoor room features both bar heaters and fans in the ceiling, meaning neither a harsh summer nor an icy chill can drive the Kemp clan away from their much-loved deck. The result: An outdoor sanctuary considered “the most popular room in the home”


Gary and Sue's dream home included an outdoor entertaining area and HardieDeck ticked all the right boxes for the couple to realise their vision. 

Estimate the size of your new HardieDeck with our price and size estimator

After an initial struggle with finding the right builder and ensuring all materials – particularly the decking – were BAL-compliant, Gary says the decision to choose a HardieDeck over standard timber slats was easy.

“With HardieDeck you’re buying quality – it’s as simple as that,” he says. “I could have paid less for another product but it wouldn’t have had the aesthetics, the look, or even the practicality of what we have.”

And because Gary and Sue spend so much time in the kitchen/deck space, an area of the house that’s only separated by sliding doors, it was important they would be able to keep it in top-notch condition without worrying about grit and grime seeping into gaps between decking slats.


HardieDeck comes with sealers that can be tinted in the colour of your choice. For Gary and Sue this meant they could create a seamless indoor-oudoor transition.

“With the standard timber deck set-up, you'll have two boards with a gap that normally collects dirt and swells making maintenance and cleaning an issue. With the HardieDeck there are no gaps, because all the boards have an 11-millimetre gap where clip-on slats fit between them. That encloses everything in so it’s just so easy to sweep off or even mop it clean,” Adam notes.

For Gary and Sue, the most popular room in the home isn’t actually in the home, its outdoors. With its modern design, stunning views and free-flow between kitchen and outdoors, the HardieDeck is the cherry atop the perfectly designed home 

Love the HardieDeck look? Find your local HardieDeck installer. You can also click here to find your local stockist. 

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