June 20, 2024


Home living innovation

From neglected dump to beautiful family home

a house with trees in the background: MailOnline logo

© Provided by Daily Mail
MailOnline logo

A first-time renovator has revealed how she turned the ‘ugliest house on the street’ into an elegant manor after her work life slowed down during the pandemic. 

Sunshine Coast property developer and real estate agent, Tam Wrigley, 43, is still in awe of the incredible job she and her brother-in-law David did on their first full house renovation in Brisbane last year.

The Wrigleys wanted to be able to resuscitate the old home instead of tearing it down because they believe it important Queenslander style homes are not all lost, as they are an important part of the area’s heritage.

The developers usually design and build new homes – but with Covid lockdowns they decided to bring two dying properties back to life.

‘We kept as much of the original house as possible, and used all the old windows where we could,’ Mrs Wrigley told Daily Mail Australia.

‘But we also modernised it, to make it a comfortable home to live in. 

‘Instead of tearing them down it can be just as cost-effective to bring them back to life,’ Mrs Wrigley said.

The renovation took eight months and included lifting the home to make room for the new lower level, and moving it about three meters across as it was initially standing on two separate titles.

The pre-war home was always a four-bedroom Queenslander-style home, but now it features an open-plan living area downstairs.

The project has given the property developer the desire to restore old homes, to maintain the character and old-school charm of the outer Brisbane suburbs.

‘It was the first time i had ever gotten my hands dirty and renovated, and it was great fun,’ she said.

The family-run property development firm also restored a home on the Sunshine Coast at the same time.

‘A lot of the work done on this house was done by my brother-in-law David, he was here more than me – almost every day.

‘I tell him he needs to be very proud of what we have done,’ she said.

She said although it was worn out and had been neglected for quite some time the old home had ‘great bones’.

‘There has been blood, sweat and tears but it was worth it. It has turned out beautifully.’

Mrs Wrigley says neighbours have been very supportive of the project, which saw work ongoing for most of 2020.

‘They no longer have to look at the ugly duckling house we had here before,’ she said.

a building with a pool table: It now features a second storey allowing for open-plan living, a tame garden and a swimming pool

© Provided by Daily Mail
It now features a second storey allowing for open-plan living, a tame garden and a swimming pool


 Curbside Appeal Improves First Impressions

The first thing to consider with any property is what kind of first impression it gives. Think about what improvements can be made at the front of the house to start with – the fencing, the garden, the entry – then move inside and make a list of what could be updated from room to room. 

Base your decisions on what you think will improve the emotional appeal of the property; this will become someone’s home after all, so the overall impact should be one of inspiration, that creates a desire to live there.

Simplify Colour Schema to Increase your Home Value

Changing the colour scheme of your home from dark colours to light colours, or even simply making everything one matching shade can make a huge difference. There are plenty of small things you can do that will transform a space for very little cost. Add some contrast by repainting skirting boards, window frames and door frames. Go on, you can even paint the fence over a weekend as well. Bathrooms often need attention, but a full-scale renovation is not always necessary.  Replace small dark tiles with larger light coloured ones to open up space and then change the shower heads and tap fittings to a more modern style.

Smart Home Devices can Modernise your Home

Investing in new appliances and smart technology like a Google Home, ring.com doorbell security system or smart LED lights controlled by your phone will appeal to technology lovers looking to buy your home.

 Home Climate Comforts

The non-essential luxuries that improve our lifestyle have become a key factor in increasing selling prices for many inner-city homes. A split heating/air conditioning system (which for many IS an essential) is a great addition to one or two rooms in the house, as are simple things like ceiling fans or even heated towel rails. 

Outdoor Living Areas Increase Property Values

Creating an extra living area by renovating an outdoor space is a great way of increasing your property value, as well as improving its emotional appeal. Adding a timber deck off the back door, or even knocking out the kitchen wall and replacing it with French or bi-fold doors to the garden could be the first step.

Open Up

Lifestyles have changed and the open plan home has become a staple on the housing market in recent decades. 

Taking out a wall between a kitchen and a dining room to create an open plan family space will almost always improve the value of the house. 

It will also improve the spatial dynamics of the property as well as bring in more light and air. 

Consider knocking down walls between two small bedrooms and adding a second bathroom, or a walk-in closet or dressing room, to create a master suite or a parents’ retreat.

a person standing in front of a building: Mrs Wrigley is selling the home off at auction on January 30 - and has seen a surge of interest in the property

© Provided by Daily Mail
Mrs Wrigley is selling the home off at auction on January 30 – and has seen a surge of interest in the property

And while the renovation was exciting and only came about because of the pandemic lockdowns also made things difficult.

‘There were times when we couldn’t get things in that we needed, or they were sitting on docks somewhere,’ she said.

‘Trades were slower and so were materials, but we got here.’

The home is on the market and will be sold by Ray White Annerley on January 30th at auction. 

To keep up to date with Tamara’s DIY and renovations, visit her Instagram and Hepburn and Corder renovations page.

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