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Blue Mountains, NSW
List Price: Offers over $429,000
Sale price: $420,000
Makeover budget: $15,000
Bob Mitchell is the ultimate woodwork enthusiast. He built his own fairytale bush retreat from scratch in the NSW Blue Mountains, but Bob’s unique style is for some, downright eccentric. A Gingerbread House is the term that springs to mind.... a home straight from a Grimm’s fairytale! With quirky cupboards, an odd floor plan and detail upon detail, this property oozes charm – perfect for the local artsy crowd.
But with this market also trying to appeal to families relocating from Sydney’s Western suburbs, anything too unconventional is going to have a hard time selling. The team’s challenge is to broaden the home’s appeal while retaining the key elements that give it such unique character. As Bob says, “It would be bloody great to pick the old girl up, tart her up and dress her up nicely. She deserves it!”
Bob let his imagination run riot when designing this place, and with its strange layout and incredible detail, potential buyers couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Shaynna needed to turn a whimsical retreat into a functional family home, and started by defining the ground floor as the living area, and keeping upstairs for the bedrooms.
Walls that divided the downstairs ‘railway station waiting room’ were taken out to create one large combined living area. By knocking out the small walls, gaps were inevitably left in the terracotta flooring, but instead of re-tiling the whole space, Shaynna found an economical alternative from Beaumont Tiles and made a ‘strip’ feature using mosaic tiles. Shaynna used Taubmans Endure Interior ‘Hopsack’ a light, neutral colour on the walls to make the new living space seem even larger and more unified. The light coloured paint also made other features in the room really pop, like the gorgeous stained glass windows.
One thing Bob’s place really lacked was a fully fitted out kitchen. Shaynna needed to combine two ‘kitchenettes’ into one to make it suitable for family living. Adding some wooden cabinet faces was a good start, but it needed a new under-bench oven from Appliances Online to sit under the existing stove top to make it fully functional. The fridge was borrowed from upstairs to save money and free up the space for the new bedroom.
Upstairs, the team needed to rip out the old kitchen benches and put up a wall to create the privacy needed for a third bedroom. Shaynna was spoiled for recyclable materials, and was able to convert the old pantry into a wardrobe, and use the partition walls from downstairs to close off the new bedroom. Apart from the structural work, the main job in the bedroom was to paint the walls in Taubmans Endure Interior “Hedge Green.” Shaynna’s goal was to make it cosy and in keeping with the home’s old-world feel. Light coloured soft furnishings sourced from Valiant Hire helped to emphasise these features, and of course highlight the amazing bush views.
An ultra modern theme just wouldn’t work in a place like this, so Shaynna had to be careful with the new décor. Mica lighting supplied gorgeous table lamps to compliment the stained glass windows, and Valiant Hire had the perfect furniture to match the old world charm of the place. Again, neutral tones work best in a house with lots of wood and dark paint trims like this one.
Bob had clearly put a lot of work into the exterior of the house, but instead of creating a seamless landscape leading onto the national park, he put up walls to divide himself from it. Privacy may have been his intention, but the result in the backyard robbed potential buyers of one major drawcard, the view. For Charlie, the ‘pergola prison’ was the first go, and the effect of opening up the area was immediate.
Opening up the back of the property created a spacious outdoor entertaining area, and while it highlighted the bush views, it also highlighted the two huge water tanks. Charlie had to build something to hide the tanks but not detract from the trees, and came up with an economical option of using a weather proofed external grade ply and dressing it up with hardwood tomato stakes. The slatted wood look is increasingly popular, and ties in well with the new day bed, creating a perfect position to take in the beautiful view.
The front of the property also posed some challenges. After nearly 10 years under fallen leaves and debris, Bob’s prized sandstone paving was going unnoticed. To get the wow factor the stone work deserved, Charlie called in high pressure wash experts Powerwash Australia to uncover the hidden jewel beneath.
Street appeal is everything when selling a house, and with some carefully placed natives from Glenbrook Garden Centre, Charlie could spruce up the tired looking entrance. Gymea Lily and other natives like Banksia ‘Winter Gold’ give a burst of colour and will hopefully attract potential buyers, as well as native birds. But one thing that really needed Charlie’s attention was the Great Terracotta Wall at the top of the garden. It looked unfinished and the colour was too bold for the natural bushland surroundings. Charlie toned it down with Taubmans Endure exterior low sheen “Billy Goat” to blend in with the bush. By adding sandstone capping to cover up the intended planter boxes, the wall blends perfectly with the rest of the sandstone, enticing prospective buyers into the house.
7x Doryanthes excelsa 300mm
4x Eriostemon 250mm
3x Banksia “Winter Gold” 200mm
7x Leucadendran assorted 200mm
5x Scaevola (ground cover) 150mm
1 x Achmena Smithii Minor (Lilli pilli) 200mm
Taubmans Endure Colour Chart:
Interior Walls: Hopsack low sheen
Interior Trims: Hopsack gloss
Interior Walls to be colour matched to existing green: Hedge Green low sheen
Interior ceilings: Ceiling flat white
Exterior drive way wall: Billy Goat low sheen
Exterior back garden: Brickwork Birchstone low sheen