Love It Or List It Australia

How to create open plan living in your home

Melbourne couple, Cameron and Belinda love their lifestyle in the premium beachside suburb of Brighton. However, a busy road and a cramped floor plan are strong cases for team 'List it'. Will Andrew be able to secure the home of their dreams? Or will team 'Love it' reign supreme?

Brighton is a highly-sought after suburb just 11 kilometers south of Melbourne's CBD. Some of Australia's biggest household names including Cathy Freeman, Shane Warne and Eric Bana live here, so it comes as no surprise that this neighbourhood is home to some of Australia's most exclusive real estate.

Set on a 450 square metre block, the couple's single-level Edwardian house has three bedrooms, separate dining room, small, dated kitchen and laundry, cramped bathroom and powder room. The living area is at the back of the property, and pre-makeover, the house is worth $1.3million.

Reasons to love it

Belinda has an emotional connection to the house. It has all the period features she loves, as well as a good 'feel'.

The couple also really value their lifestyle and believe this house offers them everything they need, while still being an affordable option in the exclusive Brighton postcode.

Reasons to list it

Both Belinda and Cameron agreed their closed-off floor plan doesn't work well when it comes to entertaining guests - which this couple do a lot of. 

The poky bathroom is a nightmare for them both of a morning, as they're constantly fighting for mirror space. The kitchen is closed off from the living area and dated... but not in a good way.


Neale's design idea

For $150,000, Neale and team 'Love it' had to deliver an open plan living space and kitchen, as well as a modern bathroom that easily accommodates both Belinda and Cameron of a morning.

In order to open up the space, Neale revealed his plan to drop the floor of the kitchen to take it down to the same level of the living room and link the two spaces together via an island bench. Skylights also flooded the living area with more natural light, giving the illusion of space.

Removal of the old, tired laundry and a re-work of the layout to include a galley-style kitchen with brand new cabinetry and appliances brought this property up to scratch with modern living. Neale also planned a chic butler's pantry complete with laundry amenities, which made the most of the limited space and is guest-friendly.

The bathroom, separate powder room and hallway cupboard were knocked down and consolidated, making way for a bigger, beautiful bathroom complete with double vanity, sinks and mirror.


Andrew's pitch to sell

The couple loved Brighton, but were also open to exploring other parts of Melbourne, including the inner city, South Melbourne and the Collingwood area.

For them to move, a quiet street was a must, with a small, low-maintenance backyard. However, with their wishlist in some of Melbourne's swankiest suburbs, Andrew had quite the challenge to find a bigger property with the relatively small budget of just $1.5million

Andrew found the first potential home in Clifton Hill, the same suburb where Belinda works. The warehouse-converted property with three bedrooms and two bathrooms was certainly a statement, but the stark, urban feel was too much change for the pair.

After property number one failed to hit the mark, Andrew took Chris and Belinda to St Kilda where they viewed an architecturally-designed three-bedroom home with plenty of character. Belinda was blown away by the gorgeous features and clever use of space. But, with a price guide of $1.75 to $1.9million, it was slightly beyond their reach.

As Belinda and Cameron loved the St Kilda home, Andrew showed them a second property in the area, this time a unit with two spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a study. With uninterrupted views of St Kilda beach, Andrew enjoyed watching the pair fall in love with the vista.


The verdict

The couple had their eyes opened up to the idea of moving on when they saw the potential properties around the St Kilda area. Coupled with the successful team 'Love it' renovations, Cameron and Belinda decided to list their property and move on to a new home that ticks all their boxes.

Love It Or List It Australia, Wednesdays 8.30pm. Or watch it your way on Foxtel GO.

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