Selling Houses Australia

The Good Life - Bush Meets Suburbia, West Ryde NSW


The 1950’s time warp, dark wood panelling and cluttered rooms is enough to send any buyer running


We’ve all dreamed of living the good life, fresh country air and the great outdoors, but how about your own slice of the country in suburban Sydney? Well, that’s exactly what Andrew and Erika Coombe set out to achieve. They bought their overgrown bush block, complete with a rambling country style home 10 years ago, in smart suburban West Ryde and have cherished its rustic charm. But now with two young boys and another one on the way, the Coombes want to make a move to the “real” countryside. Unfortunately your average Sydney buyer doesn’t share their love of all things overgrown… and even if they are brave enough to fight their way through the jungle to get to the house, they’re greeted with a 1950’s time warp, dark wood panelling and cluttered rooms. It’s enough to send any buyer running, and that’s even before they’ve seen the price tag. Almost a million dollars!


Summary of Works – Inside


Shaynna’s biggest challenge was to modernise Erika and Andrew’s home while maintaining its retro charm.

The mahogany woodwork throughout the house was beautiful but made the space feel very dark. To bring some much needed light into the house, Shaynna created a brand new lighting scheme by having a licensed electrician install retro style pendant lights from Beacon Lighting in all the rooms. She then painted the non-wooden wall areas with Taubmans Smokey Pearl, and installed Silhouette blinds from Luxaflex to allow beautiful soft filtered light into the house. Her final light-enhancing trick was to replace Erika and Andrew’s heavy dark furniture with light coloured furniture from Valiant Hire.

Erika and Andrew’s place desperately needed a new kitchen but a custom fit-out was out of Shaynna’s budget. Her solution was a custom-built flat pack kitchen from DIY Kitchens. So as not to lose the retro feel, Shaynna reclaimed some of the original 1950s cabinetry, which she used as an overhead feature. She retained the breakfast nook and dressed it up with funky geometric patterned cushions. The new kitchen look was completed with a stone benchtop from Royal Stone, a new sink and tap from Caroma, and a new dishwasher and rangehood.

The downstairs powder room looked like it belonged in a caravan; hidden away under the stairs, it was small and dingy. It would have been too expensive to rip out the fittings, so the vanity and tiles were resprayed in white by Resurfacing Australia and new flooring was fitted with Choices Floorclic in Heritage Oak to tone with the existing wooden floors.

To turn the sunroom into a proper second living area, Shaynna painted out the blue walls with Taubmans Low Sheen Smokey Pearl and laid Floorclic in Heritage Oak from Choices over the existing tiles. She then created a proper laundry in the existing bathroom and fitted a door to close it off from the sunroom.

As Shaynna’s main focus was the downstairs living areas the upstairs bedrooms only received a minor freshen up with a coat of paint and some dressing.


Summary of Works - Outside


The overgrown garden and lack of a welcoming entrance really let down the home’s street appeal. Charlie had a huge job on his hands taming the overgrown gardens while still keeping a leafy yesteryear charm. To make the garden look neater, more manageable and let in more light, Charlie called in a team of experts from Sydney Wide Tree Cutting to trim the existing trees and remove excess foliage. He then used natural forest fines mulch to help to keep down emerging weeds.

To create a sense of arrival Charlie removed the old crumbling brick fence near the front door. He also removed the mature bamboo plants that were blocking the entryway and repositioned them throughout the front garden. He then created a new front porch by adding dark timber decking over the existing structure and adding a set of timber stairs. To brighten this new entryway Charlie painted the fascia and new timberwork with Taubmans Semi Gloss in Aspen Snow, which also complimented the blue colour of the house’s exterior. The finishing touch was a quintessential white picket fence to add to the home’s country charm.

Off street parking is always high on buyers’ wish lists so Charlie added an inexpensive car space at the front of the house using deco granite. Charlie chose deco granite as it allows water to drain through naturally, as well as being very cost effective.

Out the back Charlie’s main focus was creating a family friendly environment. The pond by the back door was removed to make the garden safe for buyers with young children, while the rest of the rear garden was turned into a country style expanse of rolling lawn space by pruning the existing trees and laying new shade tolerant turf.

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