In this episode of Love It Or List It Australia, two doctors are faced with the problem of too many small, pokey rooms. Is it time to move on?
Scientist Anita and psychologist Cameron both have PhDs and are experts in their respective fields. However, it seems all the brains in the world aren't quite enough to solve their real estate woes.
The couple has three children and, like many young families, they are outgrowing their first home. Set in leafy suburbia, 19km east of the Melbourne CBD in Donvale, the house is in need of a little reconfiguration.
The 70s-era split level home is a maze of rooms and, for the first time, Neale is at a bit of a loss. With narrow corridors and low ceilings, it feels like a bit of a rabbit warren - and Anita is fed up and ready to move.
Cameron, however, is a little more invested in staying on. He wants to keep the family memories alive, and not increase the mortgage.
Neale's design idea
With the couple's budget of $80,000, Neale must create an open plan kitchen, two living areas, a new laundry, a study nook, and some new built-in wardrobes.
Neale's idea is to create living zones and eliminate the home's small, uncomfortably sized rooms. Towards the back of the house, he'll remove walls to create a butler's pantry and a sprawling dining area. He'll also raise the ceiling to make the kitchen seem bigger with a skylight above a new island bench.
Unfortunately, Anita and Cameron's budget won't stretch to include wardrobes and a study. Will the design be enough to convince Anita to stay?
Andrew's pitch to sell
With the couple's buying budget of $1.4m, Andrew must source a new home with two living areas, four bedrooms, a master bedroom with ensuite, indoor-outdoor living - and all within the same locale.
The first home Andrew shows Anita and Cameron is located in Heathmont - where the median house price is a little lower than their set budget. However, the suburb is too far out, and the couple isn't convinced.
Second is a home in Vermont South, a pool and spacious open plan living. This time, Andrew's on the money, and both Anita and Cameron are impressed. Finally, he shows them a home at the leafy gateway to the Yarra Valley in Ethem. While it's a bit of a wild card, the couple are impressed by the size of the property.
The process has been a learning curve for the couple - they've been able to see potential homes in their price range, within the same or nearby suburbs. However, in the end, Neale's design magic has won them over, convincing the family they have a few years yet to enjoy at their current home. They decide to love it.