The Selling Houses Australia Extreme team change a rabbit warren layout in episode seven of the hit show.
Address: Balmain, NSW
List Price: Offers over $1,600,000
Sale price: $1,350,000
Makeover budget: $30,000
Balmain is one of Sydney’s hottest suburbs with a median house price of well over a million dollars. Normally the most run down of properties will walk off the agencies’ listings so why is this not selling? Is it the fact that the layout is more like a rabbit warren than that of a contemporary home in an upmarket area? With two mortgages costing owners Hazel and Aggi approximately $20,000 a month and now on their 9th real estate agent, they are keener than anyone to work out why their home just won’t sell.
This was perhaps one of the most ambitious projects Shaynna had to tackle this series. The property had too many bedrooms and not enough living area, so what was there to do but knock out a few walls? Opening up the living space was really the only solution if Aggi and Hazel’s property was to appeal to family buyers or upmarket professionals.
First thing for Shaynna was to get expert advice from a structural engineer. It cost a whopping $5000 out of her budget, but it was essential to make sure the demolition and rebuild complied with council regulations. As Shaynna was knocking out a load bearing wall, the team had to erect a steel beam to support the second story. These massive structural changes were expensive but necessary to open up the entire house.
Once the walls had come down, Shaynna needed to consolidate the area by making it into one massive room. The easiest way to do that is with a uniform floor covering. It was a shame to cover up the existing floorboards, but by putting down ‘Natural Oak’ wide floating floor from Carpet Call, the rooms now run seamlessly into one another, creating the large living area this property so desperately needed.
Shaynna’s aim for the living area was to keep it as light and bright as possible, so she avoided dark wall colours and chose the creamy Taubmans Endure Interior ‘Sandbar’. This is a great base colour for a period style house like this because it suits the local design trend of mixing the vintage and industrial look.
With the amazing new living space downstairs, Shaynna decided to turn the non-descript upstairs rumpus area into a self contained parents’ retreat. Charlie was roped in for this too, and helped out by fixing up the day seat on the terrace. He used a treated pine decking board and stained it to look like hard wood to save money. To continue the classy feel from the bedroom, Shaynna asked him to repaint the terrace floor in Taubmans Endure Exterior ‘River Birch’. To add some privacy, roll up shade blinds from Blinds Online were installed. With some gorgeous furniture and accessories from Valiant Hire and Spotlight, this whole area was transformed, giving it a real wow factor to set it apart from other properties on the market.
Charlie had only a tiny area to work with in the courtyard. He needed to create a sense of space and started by removing the oversized palms and transplanting them to the front yard. Then he brought in a mini dozer to make short work of the brick garden beds. They were way too big for such a small area and just removing them alone really opened up the outdoor entertaining area.
One risk of having a courtyard garden like this too much hard landscaping, which means there’s nowhere for rain to soak into. To avoid this potential problem Charlie used an economical mix of decogranite and cement from Materials In The Raw to resurface the courtyard.
It was one thing to create some space in the courtyard, but to bring this outdoor area up to scratch, Charlie needed to give it a wow factor. Hanging gardens are a striking way to bring green into a small paved area just like this one. Charlie built a sturdy frame covered with geotextile, and once it was mounted on the wall, filled it with perlite and potting mix from Alpine Nurseries. He chose agaves because they don’t need much maintenance and they look great.
Taubmans colour chart
Interior walls - Interior low sheen “Sandbar”
Interior celings, including Kitchen - Ceiling “Flat White”
Exterior garden wall - Exterior low sheen “Iron Stone”
Exterior garden wall gaps - Exterior low sheen “Twiggy”
Exterior top balcony french doors - Exterior low sheen “Snowy White”
Exterior top balcony floor - Exterior low sheen “River Birch”
Exterior courtyard walls - Exterior low sheen “Coffee Cake”