Selling Houses Australia

This cyclone-ravaged beach house is unrecognisable post-makeover

In 2011, Nicole Beesley and Gill McMaster bought a rundown beach shack, located in Campwin Beach near Mackay in far north Queensland. Their dream was to renovate it, live there for a few years then keep it as a holiday home, but that wasn’t meant to be.

After making the life-changing decision to pursue IVF, the couple moved to the Sunshine Coast to be closer to better treatment options and rented out the Campwin Beach house while they tried to sell it.

During four years on the market, only a handful of prospective buyers viewed the house and the best offer Nicole and Gill received was $200,000 for the land value.

Although IVF had drained them financially, they finally had a daughter in 2015. Shortly after, Gill was tragically diagnosed with breast cancer. If those incredible pressures weren’t enough, Cyclone Debbie then ravaged the house, rendering it unlivable and forcing the tenant to move out.

Nicole and Gill were in dire straits financially, living on one income and paying for two mortgages plus cancer treatment. They were desperate for help to sell their beloved beach shack and get their lives back on track.

Despite reservations upon viewing the property for the first time, Andrew, Shaynna and Charlie were determined to make this renovation-on-a-shoestring work for Gill and Nicole.

Summary of Works – Interior

The mould and mildew-covered walls and ceilings were first to be addressed. After cleaning and prepping, the walls and ceilings were painted with an antibacterial, mould and mildew-resistant paint to help prevent any future buildup.

The entry area was turned into a welcoming “wet room”, with space to store beach towels and surfboards: just what every good beach shack needs.

Upstairs in the kitchen, the rusted cooktop was replaced and a new benchtop and splashback were installed to add some sandy, natural colours and textures.

Attaching VJ panels to the walls added extra beachy Queensland-character to the structure of the house. All the rooms were given new light fittings and shutters and were styled with beautiful distressed furniture that perfectly complemented the beach theme.

Summary of Works – Exterior

The tiny beach shack is positioned at the back of a large block, leaving a huge empty area at the front with no definition or street appeal. Charlie planted low maintenance, drought and salt-tolerant hedging shrubs which will eventually grow to create a defined boundary and privacy around the property.

A new driveway with a turning circle created clear and easier access for cars and 'airbrushing' the water tank to match the house helped camouflage the large concrete eyesore.

At the rear of the property, the grassed area that backs onto the beach and gives the house its stunning views is council-owned. There wasn't much to do here, except re-stain the deck, add a few pot plants for greenery and bring in a couple of chairs for potential buyers to sit in and enjoy the million dollar view.

The verdict

This beach house always had a certain rustic appeal, but Charlie and Shaynna's work helped to bring this to fore, overshadowing the house's less appealing features.

Nicole and Gill loved the newly-renovated house they'd originally fallen for back in 2011, and were heartbroken to be parting ways with it once they'd finally seen it blossom into the home they always knew it could become.

The couple soon received an offer of $415,000 for the beach house, which allowed them to move on and begin their new chapter.

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

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