Gerard Big Hit on Grand Designs TV

A spectacular roofline on a Balinese-inspired pole home generated huge interest after it featured on Australia's top-rating Grand Designs TV show. Seen by an estimated 1.8 million viewers, the hour-long episode followed the construction of a pavilion style "treehouse" with a Gerard Corona roof at Trinity Beach near Cairns in North Queensland.

Located on a hillside bordering World Heritage rainforest and with panoramic ocean views over the Coral Sea, the home features extensive indoor-outdoor flow with separate pavilions connected by covered walkways.

One of nine projects selected for Australia’s Grand Designs series from over 1000 submissions, the AU$1.7 million home was designed by award winning architect Chris Van Dyke for clients Daniel Leipnik and Andrew Preston.

"There was a lot of really positive feedback after the programme went on air and a lot of people singled out the roof as a feature. They really loved the roof and the shingle look," says Daniel. "It's amazing, the Gerard Corona product isn't that well known here, but it has definitely caught peoples attention now."

Looks like shingles

Daniel and Andrew spent considerable time in the research and design phase when planning their home and were meticulous about the products they chose.

"As far as the roof was concerned, it had to be cyclone proof, that’s the code, and it had to be zero maintenance. But most of all, it had to complement the aesthetic aspects of what we were trying to achieve."

Initially unaware of the Gerard Corona design, Daniel and Andrew had already decided to use another roofing product, but changed their minds when their architects showed them pictures of the Gerard product.

"We had a look at some other houses that had the same Gerard roof profile, and that pretty much changed our minds straightaway. The houses really stood out and looked dramatically superior to other houses in the area. The wood shingle look was exactly the look that matched what we had imagined for our house."

All-weather proof

Building regulations in Queensland’s far north require that all building structures and roofs are fully cyclone proof. The Gerard Corona roof meets these strict criteria but also have some other unexpected advantages according to Daniel.

"We’re in the middle of a rainforest and there’s lots of leaf litter everywhere and we’ve found that the roof is surprisingly good at shedding leaves."

And while Daniel and Andrew have yet to experience the full force of a cyclone, there’s been no shortage of rain.

"One week, it was unbelievably wet. We had 500mm in just seven days and when you consider that Melbourne gets 600mm a year, 500mm over a week is a huge amount. But the roof stood up beautifully. There wasn't a single issue or problem."

Daniel believes speed of installation is another key advantage for Gerard roofs in northern Queensland.

"They put the roof up really fast – in about three days - and I think that's valuable in an area like this when you can have big downpours that can last for days."

"In South East Asia, for this style of house, they would use wooden shingles, but of course that wasn't practical for us in this situation. We wanted a roof that was zero maintenance."

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