MyStyle Homes

Smart, sustainable & stylish

Designed to suit life in the tropics, this award-winning display home achieved a 9.3 star rating for energy efficiency.

Photo courtesy Space Constructions


Philip O’Brien

Imagine blinds that open at your preferred time, louvres that automatically close when it rains and doors that lock when you leave home.

Smart technology like this is a feature of MyTenacity, a two-storey, four-bedroom display home in Smithfield Village, Cairns. Designed and constructed by local firm MyStyle Homes, it showcases spacious design, understated grandeur and a 9.3 star rating for energy efficiency. It’s a home to suit life in the tropics and earlier this year, won the 2018 HIA Australian Display Home of the Year award.

MyStyle Homes is a family-owned and operated company. Directors Heather Ghidella and Grant Hartwig specialise in smart, sustainable homes that are designed to client requirements and perfectly suit the tropical environment.

‘This was our first attempt at a double-storey display home,’ Grant says.

‘In the past clients would travel around to look at sustainable aspects of different display homes in different locations. So we decided that we were going to achieve all this in the one home.’

MyTenacity has been designed and built for the Cairns climate, he explains. This means being able to cope with extremes: from hot and humid summers to mild and dry winters to thunderstorms and tropical cyclones during the wet season.

To achieve this, the house has cutting-edge automation systems as well as triple-insulated roofing, extensive use of louvres, strategically created breezeways and bi-fold doors and windows.

MyStyle Homes
Dekton surfaces were chosen for benchtops in the kitchen, ensuite bathrooms and laundry
Photo courtesy Space Constructions
MyStyle Homes
The home showcases spacious design, understated grandeur and a 9.3 star rating
Photo courtesy Space Constructions

‘The main causes of damage to houses up here are cyclones and torrential rain,’ he says. This makes wider eaves critical to keep water off exterior walls and windows. Ensuring adequate cross-flow ventilation is another key design issue so louvres are an energy-efficient way to control fresh air.

The home has been fitted with Breezeway Powerlouvre windows, installed in the high areas of the house out of easy reach. These link to the home automation system and will automatically close when it rains.

Grant and Heather chose Control4 home automation as the smart technology for the home.

‘All rooms have programmable keypads with touch screens in the kitchen and master bedroom,’ Grant says.

‘These can be adjusted to your personal needs. As soon as you leave the house, the lights turn off and, a few seconds later, the front door self-locks. You can set the system to learn how you live when at home. You can even go on holiday and the home will seem as if you’re still there.’

The Control4 home automation system connects the front door, through a camera and audio intercom, to all touch screens inside the house.

This smart technology also monitors the home’s energy consumption. Grant and Heather chose Saturn South smart meters to provide information on energy consumption and to promote more efficient use of power. A Panasonic VRF air conditioning system has also been integrated into the Control4 home automation while every light bulb in the home is an energy-efficient light-emitting diode or LED.

The home showcases spacious design, understated grandeur and a 9.3 star rating

Grant says that energy-saving devices are a feature of all MyStyle’s display homes.

‘Many people [in the tropics] think of an energy-efficient home as a little cottage with light framing cladded with cement sheet. We wanted to change that perception by creating a luxury home and making it as green as we could. This is the first double-storey home of its size in Australia to reach a 9.3 star rating.’

In selecting the interior design, Grant and Heather chose features which would create a comfortable home that was sustainable, stylish and affordable. For instance, as a high quality surface for benchtops in the kitchen, ensuite bathrooms and laundry they chose Dekton, a one-piece porcelain tile with no joins and which does not absorb liquid stains.

In fact, the final kitchen design was changed from the original more compact layout, Grant says.

‘Heather decided to make the kitchen a more open one. She always designs from a woman’s perspective as we have found that 70 per cent of women make the decision when buying a home.’

The main interior wall colour for the home is Dulux Whisper White while British Paints Cable Grey was chosen for the media room. There are three TV screens in the home – in the media room, outdoors and in the master bedroom – as well as four audio zones – in the alfresco, kitchen/dining, master bedroom and ensuite. The media room also features 5.1 surround sound technology.

MyStyle Homes
‘Our aim is to combine looks, smart technology, comfort, price and sustainability’
Photo courtesy Space Constructions
MyStyle Homes
Strategically created breezeways and bi-fold doors and windows
Photo courtesy Space Constructions

‘In building a home, our aim is to combine looks, smart technology, comfort, price and sustainability,’ Grant says. The construction of My Tenacity took 18 months at a cost of about $900,000.

This latest award is the 31st HIA award the firm has secured, at both national and state levels. It is the first time they won the national display home award – never before won by a builder in the Far North Queensland region.

Grant and Heather were overwhelmed by the praise they received from their peers at the HIA National Conference and awards in Singapore earlier this year.

‘It took a few days for it all to sink in,’ Grant says.

‘We’re not very public people normally and we don’t enter awards for the sake of it. But we were very proud – not just for ourselves but for our customers, trades personnel and Cairns as a whole.

‘A display home like this has never been done before. It’s proof of MyStyle’s belief in making possible the impossible. A lot of people might think that Australia ends at Brisbane but this award puts house design in Far North Queensland on the map.’

At a glance

Award: 2018 HIA Australian Display Home
Partnered by: ActronAir
Builder: MyStyle Homes
Location: Smithfield, Queensland
Energy Rating: 9.3 stars
Cost: $900,000
Completed: 18 months

Inclusions: Wattyl interior paint, security intercom and camera, white plantation shutters, stepped architrave, automated systems touch screens, energy monitoring, theatre surround sound, pool with waterfall and lights, soft close drawers, hot water system, stone feature wall, feature lighting, ceiling fans

Materials: Rosewood pivot front door, maple woodgrain garage door, Dekton Halo gloss benchtops, Polytec cupboards, LED strip lighting, smart-tile insert strip drain, Summertones carpet, whitestone floor and wall tiles, PV panels, Tesla Powerwall battery system.

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