Award Winning Resort Style House Design – No.5

Here’s our 5th article of our series of ARCO’s Award Winning house designs.

A classic resort style house was desired for this 3 generation family. The site commanding 270 degree views from the hinterland to Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and down to Cook Island in NSW.

The owners needed to include an extra house within their main house for their family that visit from overseas frequently plus a new child yet to be born.

They also wanted an environmentally responsible house and with the use of non toxic materials a huge on site water supply, Bulk Photo voltaics, Low E glass throughout, heavily insulated we ended up achieving 7.5 stars which is quite an achievement for such a large home.

We incorporated a mixture of pitched pyramid roofs and flat roofs with parapets in between to create visual interest, held up by massive recycled hardwood posts.  We used local rockwork cladding to add a sense of permanence and low maintenance.

This new home design in Currumbin Valley picked up 2 awards for the us and one for the cabinet maker :

2015 BDAQ State Awards Commendation 

2015 BDAQ Gold Coast Best House over $2m

2014 QMBA Gold Coast Best House over $2m, Best Bathroom & Best Cabinetry

(Dave Rotstein of Innode)  he does amazing cabinetry !

Award Winning Renovation Project in Northern NSW, No.4


Downstairs;  No decent entry at ground level, bathroom pokey and dark, laundry too dark.

Upstairs;  Views very restricted, lack of good flow to living areas, lack of cross flow ventilation, no decent outdoor entertaining.  The whole building design outdated, tired and poorly designed for today’s modern lifestyle.


Downstairs;  We demolished 2 stairs and replaced with one stair located on the side of building adjacent to the new entry at the front of the building. We designed extra storage and provided an extra bedroom by extended to under the existing balcony. We designed a new bathroom and laundry to the rear of the house so that it would be more practically located with access to the back yard and clothes line.

Upstairs; We demolished one room and designed the master suite over to the south side to make way for a new large living room on the north side that connects with the new kitchen. We designed larger windows to the outside eastern walls opening up for the ocean views and ventilation with room for the new dining position and day lounge.

We redesigned the exterior walls, covering the dated brickwork where practical and added new walls clad in recycled hardwood vertical cladding and also hardwood battens designed vertically as a feature to the front of the house.

This renovation design in Northern Rivers picked up 2 awards for the builder:

2017 Winner HIA Northern NSW Renovation Addition Project $201kto $600k

2017 Winner HIA Northern NSW Renovation Addition “Project of the Year”

2017 HIA Finalist for overall “Home of the Year”

And also one for us:

2017 Winner BDAQ Best Renovation and Addition up to $350k.

Award Winning Home Northern NSW No.2

Another renovation by ARCO Designs, this one a rural homestead in Cudgen, Northern NSW.

The Problem: The original dwelling was too small, dark and cold, not enough bedrooms and the existing roofed patio was blocking the winter sun from entering the living area.

Solution:  Design a wing containing 2 extra bedrooms to the side, put the roofed patio to the west side to protect the new Sunroom area which has full exposure to the northern winter sun.  The summer sun is blocked out with overhangs.  This is the perfect solution to control the sun in the owner’s favour.  This works in most situations if the space is available.

We created a natural stone floor for the Sunroom that soaks up that western sun and reflects it into the back living areas.  Upstairs we added another living area and wine bar with a balcony facing north plus a study/office with a balcony facing west.

A dramatic two storey height void for the stairwell with huge black framed  “Loft Style” glazing creates an entry statement as you approach on the winding gravel country style driveway.

The owners are super happy with this renovation design and it won a Gold Coast Regional Award 2018 and also a QLD State Award for Best Residential Renovations / Additions Gold Coast BDAQ.

To see more about this project, click on

Industrial House Renovation in Palm Beach, Gold Coast Award Winner No.1

This used to be a mechanics workshop built in the sixties in central Palm Beach: exposed blockwork and trusses, oil stained concrete slab floor and a leaking roof at a very low pitch.
We converted the space into a 4 bedroom house including master suite (with ensuite and walk-in-robe), a gym, a study/office and kitchen-dining-living combined. It was all built for under $150k.  We won’t see those prices again but it was a very affordable solution at the time.

We pursued an industrial design as that was what the building screamed out for and it suited the clients young family and the central Palm Beach district.

The main anchor point for the design was the polished concrete slab and from there we introduced shiny Zincalume corrugated iron featured in some of the entry corridor walls – not too much – less experienced building designers or architects would overdo it.  Care and thought needs to be taken with bold materials, not just with the wall itself but how light bounces around it, and the texture involved, what it’s going to feel like.
We then chose to paint some of the existing concrete block walls white,  it being a more economical solution than cladding it and it also retained some of the existing character. Where we had designed new walls, they were cladded in plywood natural stain finish. We kept the exposed trusses black with a new coat of paint and added industrial style lighting to enhance the industrial effect.
The main challenge was the existing concrete slab, which was covered in oil stains, but it came up fine with some interesting effects.  I always encourage polishing existing slabs, they don’t need to be perfect and sometimes blemishes and small holes filled with resin add visual interest and there is always the historical element that I love to keep on a renovation, the stories behind the building.

The external brickwork on the street facing wall was cracked but not falling down, so this was braced and just clad over in hardwood planks and stained, another economical solution to a potential problem area.

The end result was a clean, economical inner city living solution that the owners loved which also picked up an Award for 2015 for Best Residential Renovations / Additions Gold Coast BDAQ.

This Gold Coast builder was a driving force behind this project – DJG Projects PTY LTD

To see more about this project, click on