The House That James Latham Built

In 2023, James Latham, one of the UK’s leading distributors of timber, panels, and decorative products was involved in one of the UK’s most exciting and original design projects by Sterlingdale, The Daintree.

A 1950s bungalow set in a wooded glade near Wimborne in Dorset, Sterlingdale’s ideas were inspired by the surroundings to create an eco-friendly, multi-storey home that would fit harmoniously with its woodland setting.

With a longstanding passion for timber, Gavin Morey, director of Sterlingdale, knew he wanted to use the material as much as possible whether in solid or engineered form to meet his client’s brief. He also saw it as an opportunity to use it on a grand scale, to achieve something truly unique.

His first port of call was James Latham, his long-time timber distribution partner from his early days as a furniture maker to now.

When James Latham Fareham’s David Green was shown the brief, he was blown away by the project’s scale, ambition, and the sheer amount of timber Gavin wanted to use across all aspects of the development. This is no exaggeration, with 31m3 (roughly 21 tonnes) of product specified, it represents the largest order James Latham has supplied for a private, detached home.

So, let’s take a closer look at this incredible project, and its remarkable use of timber…

Hidden depths

What first strikes the observer when looking at the Daintree is its modernist facades, which made use of a variety of different types of solid and engineered timber.

However, the primary requirement was for a material that could withstand the location’s naturally high humidity levels. This led James Latham to recommend Garnica Duraply as the under-cladding, due to its moisture-resistant and ultra-durable properties. An easy-to-work, poplar plywood, with a 15-year guarantee against delamination and fungal and xylophage insect attack, it perfectly met this requirement for robustness.

Applied to the structural brickwork, it served an essential role in protecting the home’s interiors, whilst providing a rigid fixing for the other external finishes.

Finished with finesse

Once the under-cladding had been chosen, attention turned towards the façade’s decorative elements. To evoke the Daintree’s woodland setting, larch and cedar were chosen and combined to create an attractive split-cladding effect, with subtle tonal differences complementing each other, yet pleasantly contrasting. MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME was then selected for all the window reveals, mainly for its stability and resistance to warping; an essential requirement in areas of high-precipitation.

Gavin was so impressed with the finish of the Duraply, that he wanted it to play a prominent role in the home’s overall look, contrasting against the solid timber. He painted it black, which had the effect of making the larch and cedar visually pop, creating a bold design statement.

That’s not all, enhancing the back-to-nature theme of The Daintree, Gavin also incorporated a living wall, backed onto the Duraply panels.


Internally, a high-spec build and premium features were essential. Likewise, no expense was spared on the base materials, with Oriented Strand Board (OSB) selected for the under-flooring as opposed to the more standard chipboard.

The interior finishes were equally impressive as the external ones. Solid American Oak and Dartmoor Oak Veneered MDF were used for the kitchen cabinetry. Faced with CLEAF FB49 Vulcano Ares melamine, its moodiness achieved an attractively cool and calming feel within the space. CLEAF was also used for the frontals of the bathroom cabinetry and many interior doors, providing visual consistency across the property.

EGGER decorative panels were then used to line much of this cabinetry as well as frontals in the utility room, due to its hard-wearing properties.

Adding a final flourish of luxuriousness and sophistication, dekodur Gold Brushed metallic laminate was used for the bathrooms’ trims, to match the rooms’ lustrous gold fixtures and fittings.

Commenting on James Latham’s involvement, Gavin says, “The Daintree is a true celebration of timber at every level and its use in both interior and exterior applications alike. I’ve worked with James Latham for years and Dave and the team at Fareham possess unrivalled product knowledge combined with amazing customer service. It was a massive order which they were able to deliver, on time and how I needed it. Not only that, they provided invaluable advice for the façade work, ensuring robust cladding which definitively proves its suitability for façade work, even in the most climatically challenging locations.”

To find out more about James Latham, and its full portfolio of products and materials, please visit the website below.

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