Selling Houses Australia

Selling Houses Australia declutters a stunning home from the 1900s in Bendigo, VIC

Shirley Wilkins and Steve Sparkes resided in the Bendigo suburb of White Hills in their eclectic, early 1900s home, which also doubles as their antique shop.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home has lived many lives over the years - as a library, an RSL hall and Shirley believes part the Australian constitution may have been written there, too.

With Shirley and Steve running their business out of the house, it had become overrun with their vast collection of antique furniture and trinkets. The clutter was off-putting to buyers and it was impossible to get a full sense of the house's size and features - no wonder it spent eight months on the market and didn’t sell, even after a price drop.

After major health issues for Shirley, including back surgery, two heart attacks and a triple bypass, they knew it was time to declutter, downsize and move to something more manageable.

This house needed a lot of TLC to expose the potential and character hidden beneath the colossal collection of antiques and bric-a-brac.

Summary of Works – Interior

The first step of this makeover was to get professional packers to clear the clutter so Shaynna could work her magic. Most of it went into storage, so Steve and Shirley could still run their business, and Shaynna kept several key pieces which she could use to style the house.

The front room was so huge, it could easily be split in half to create a third bedroom and still retain a large space to run a home office. Since the back windows were bricked-in, the obvious fix was to install skylights. And by tweaking the foyer floorplan, the office could be entirely closed off from the residence.

Using a lighter palette of paint colours, Shaynna brightened up the previously multi-coloured, dark rooms while keeping the character of the timber panelling. New window treatments with an art deco-inspired print were in keeping with the character of the house, while the sheer fabric allowed light into the rooms.

A newly-created attic space with ladder access was built, to house many of the items that won’t fit into the home or office.

Finally, Shaynna injected a bit of fun and personality by mixing modern décor pieces with some of Shirley and Steve’s antiques.

Summary of Works – Exterior

Charlie’s challenge for this house was to attract buyers who may want to use the property as a home-based business, which he did by creating an eye-catching street frontage.

His first step was to paint the façade with bold colours, to enhance the character of the house. His dramatic black and grey colour scheme on the walls and trims contrasted with a striking red door to match the existing letterbox.

A lovely new garden with a flowering crabapple tree and a cobbled bluestone path created a beautiful welcome, and widening the driveway to create an additional parking space would be attractive for anyone looking to run a home-based business.

The verdict

Despite being very attached to their eclectic collection of antiques, Shirley and Steve were practical when it came to purging their possessions.

Rid of the clutter and restored to its former glory by Shaynna and Charlie, the home's charm and character was on full display. The couple soon sold the property for $465,000 - $25,000 more than Shirley had initially hoped for.

Selling Houses Australia continues on Wednesdays, 8.30pm on Lifestyle.


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