Inside Selling Houses Australia

Reject Row: Charlie’s Transformations

Take a walk down memory lane and relive some of the gardening horrors from series 1!

Check out some of these memorable outdoor transformations from resident gardening expert Charlie Albone!

Series 1, Episode 1 - Austinmer

This was our very first house to go to air; A scruffy unloved little beach cottage. The owner preferred to go fishing and it showed.

Here Charlie had 2 major tasks; improve the street appeal and the back yard, which was dominated by a large carport. Andrew forbid him from pulling the carport down (Charlie’s first choice) so instead he screened the carport with 3 sets of slats, spaced apart to allow access and dressed the area with pots.

Now for the front, and the biggest problem here was the awful paint job. The colour was dated, the surface was peeling and the house stood out for all the wrong reasons. Charlie needed to create impact so he went bold. He used a dark steel grey for the weatherboards and teamed it with smart white trims. The result was a contemporary cottage that caught buyers eyes. He then relocated a large fern from one side of the garden to the other, to balance the look of the planting.

  • Tip: If using bold colours for exteriors, paint your trims a crisp white. It helps the colour stand out by providing a strong contrast and it will never clash.

Series 1, Episode 10: Dingley Village

This 4 bedroom family home was an unlikely residence for 2 bachelor friends, who’d gone 50:50 to get into the property market. It was scruffy, had a garden littered with beer cans and dead plants and had zero street appeal… To add to the problems the front garden was also huge!

Charlie focused most of his efforts onto street appeal. He ripped out all the dead plants and replaced them. As the house had a tiny back yard, the front would be the play area for the kids, so he ripped out the strange feature garden bed in the middle of the lawn and turfed the area to make one clear stretch of lawn.
The other major problem was the house was plain ugly! Just grey bricks and a huge dominant white staircase. Here Charlie did something unusual; he actually painted the staircase in grey to match the bricks. This helped it blend into the façade, and brought forwards the house’s best feature, the gables which were highlighted in white.

  • Tip: Paint out ugly dominant features to blend in with the background and draw the eye to attractive features by highlighting them in a contrasting colour.

Series 1, Episode 8 - Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay was a runaway mess; An ugly house with a vast assortment of unfinished jobs and street appeal that sent the buyers running.

There was not a lot of design to this project, it was more about fixing up and making good. First on Charlie’s hit list were the rotting steps and deck. Charlie replaced them with hardwood in an effort to give the house a feeling of class. He then made a bold statement by painting the garage royal blue, to help the house stand out from the crowd.

  • Tip: Splash out on hard wood to add a feeling of quality to your home. If you cant afford hardwood, use treated pine and stain with merbau for a similar look.

Series 1, Episode 7 - Botany

The house at Botany actually had a large back yard, which was a real selling point for an inner city terrace. Unfortunately buyers couldn’t see it because Tom the owner had boxed it in with awful lattice.
Charlie’s biggest task was to open up the yard and help buyers see the true scale. Tom had tried to create a “garden room” by sectioning the concrete BBQ area from the main garden but it just made the area feel dark and pokey. Charlie removed the lattice and clutter, but the space still felt hemmed in because of an overhanging tree. Charlie trimmed the lower branches (a process called crow lifting) to let in more light.
Now that the garden had been opened up, buyers could see the dreadful state of the flowerbeds. Charlie only had $500 to spend on plants, most of that went on mature shrubs for the front yard, so out the back he used colourful blooms. He then divided the huge lily that was growing next to the pond and replanted it around the garden. It was simple and effective and best of all free.

  • Tip: You don’t need to box in a terrace to create a garden room. Raised beds (as were left in the Botany garden) can give a feeling of separation without closing an area in. Just use one slatted screen for privacy if needed.

After Charlie worked his magic!



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