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Extreme Make Over - Scandinavian Style

Check out the Warrandyte Cottage Make-Over, it was a simple and cost effective make over of a very tired property that had been rented for over a decade.


From "Brackenbury Cottage" to "Scandinavian Style Log Home"

When we originally purchased the property, it was our family home and had the most gorgeous cottage gardens surrounding it! 

Not long after we moved in, we had to move to Sydney due to business commitments, so sadly, decided to rent it out with the view to returning to it at a later date. Renting it was dead easy and in fact we had people fighting over it, so that at least was a good thing as the initial people renting the property loved it, and the surrounding gardens!

Then along came the ever-worsening drought of the mid 2000's, slowly but surely successive renters let the gardens go to rack and ruin and around 70% of what was there had died and it had begun to look miserable and nothing like its former self.

We had settled in country Victoria for a time during this same period, so by the time we returned to Melbourne in 2008, it was really a mess garden wise!

Fast forward to 2015, we thought it was high time we rebuilt the gardens (this is not something easy to do just before selling a property) and for the next two years we set about planting as many drought tolerant species as possible, so as to rejuvenate the surrounds of the house, repairing rotted retaining walls, mulching entire garden and installing a fully automated watering system for the entire property.

Late in 2016 we considered selling the property but thought we would hang on to it a little longer, in January of 2017 our tenants gave our agent one months’ notice to vacate so we had a choice, to rejuvenate the house and continue to rent it (would not have gotten any more rent for it after doing this) or rejuvenate the house and put it on the market in Autumn?

We chose the latter, as we felt that if we do not market it we would need to rejuvenate it again anyway and of course keep up a lot of work in the gardens, was something we could not rely on tenants and gardeners to do properly.

The home itself was pretty tired at this point but the gardens were starting to look really good, so our main the focus was on preparation put into the home itself.

  • Step 1: Spoke with our agent to seek advice on what they thought would ad the most value to the property and acted on it accordingly.
  • Step 2: Engaged a stylist for advice on colour schemes etc, money well spent! 
  • Step 3: Sourced suppliers for items like carpets and so on.
  • Step 4: Sourced relevant trades persons where necessary to perform the said works often drawing on our own contacts with the balance from the agent.
  • Step 5: Begin and oversee the said works that included, roof pressure washed, decks and staircases cleaned and repaired, interior of house fully painted including all the dado boards in the upstairs of the house, downstairs office/teenage retreat area dado's were left unpainted and we had already renovated this room prior which included putting on the deck and bull nose veranda, some doors were replaced, any items in disrepair fixed, new carpets throughout etc.
  • Step 6: Complete overhaul of garden and grounds which included the removal of an unsightly shed next to the front carport.
  • Step 7: Bring in a furniture stylist and installing rented recommended furnishings.
  • Step 8: Photos taken and marketing for auction commenced.
  • Step 9: Auction Day Itself.
  • Step 10: Sold!!

The auction was held on April the 1st at 12.01pm (bloody scary date) and had a rather large turnout, but it was very slow to kick off and we watched it unfold in slow motion on the car park apron above, while hiding nervously in the below garden bed area behind some now thriving shrubs.

It really looked to us, at the beginning that despite the crowd, it was going to be passed in as bidding was slow and almost non-existent!

Then out of nowhere, it really began in earnest, and once it started it soon passed the reserve and kept going and going with the end result being it sold for just over 25% more than the reserve price!

We were somewhat elated to say the least, the result did a lot to resolve the emotions involved in making the decision to sell and the grim feel we had as to what the result of all this hard work might or might not bring?

Bottom line here was we started on the hard work early, to get a quick result a couple of years prior, worked hard to maintain the results of that, and LISTENED to what the agent and other advisors told us, which in the end is what helped to give us such a great result! 

As always, we did not go with the cheapest trades people or advisors around, as we have long since learnt that you get what you pay for.

Lastly, much of the above was done by ourselves and our two sons Harley (V.I.P. F&HM - Mornington) and Jordy.

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