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12 Apr 2024

Selling Houses Australia: Season 16, Ellalong


Giving a much-loved church a new lease of life

When Trish and her late husband Michael purchased a former church in the small suburb of Ellalong, near the Hunter Valley, they always planned to renovate it and create their forever home.   

Devastatingly, however, Michael soon passed away after a short illness and Trish’s life was turned upside down. She was left with a half-finished project, and no buyers for her home – which sat on the market for seven months without any interest.  

Several years on, Trish was desperate to rebuild her life with a move to South Australia, where she could be a carer for her mother who has dementia. Yet to do so, she needed to sell her largely unrenovated and unique home – a task which was proving very challenging. 

Eager to help Trish move on to the next phase of her life, the team at Selling Houses Australia stepped in to help. 

Revealing a diamond in the rough

While this full-of-character house was set on a generous 4,000 square metre block, and boasted some lovely original fixtures and a charming façade, the home itself was largely obscured from view—calling out for some street appeal.

The home lacked a clear entrance, and the exterior was in serious need of a paint and tidy. Trish and Michael had also been using a large shipping container as a shed, which made the outside feel cluttered and enclosed. As this large property had been pre-approved for a sub-division, it was important for sale purposes to highlight the scale of this lovely piece of land. 

Dennis therefore set to work exposing the church’s exterior, removing the shipping container and some overgrown trees and bushes near the house. The outside was painted in a gentle and soothing blue-grey, with white accents and a warm, “avocado toast” coloured front door.  

The existing portico was also given a new lease of life and denoted as a clear entrance, highlighted by a contemporary arbour with a paved walkway.  

The entrance was surrounded by an elegant, traditional garden, reflecting the church’s heritage and character.   

Creating fixed interior zones

Previously, a major problem with the interior of this unique home was that it lacked defined rooms and spaces. When Trish and Michael had first bought the church, it was nothing more than an empty hall—with no kitchen, bathroom or even any plumbing. While they had installed a kitchen and a bathroom, as well as a loft area, the spaces were all somewhat unfinished and desperately needed a modern touch. 

A first step for Wendy—after removing the existing clutter—was therefore to add a wall which would separate the master bedroom from the living area. A “hidden” door was installed on this new wall, which featured a beautiful scenic decal to add an element of interest. 

Revitalising the interior

Painting the ceilings and interior walls white gave the inside of this home a fresh and welcoming feel, which worked seamlessly with some of the more rustic, country-style features. 

The corrugated iron which had been used as a decorative touch throughout the interior was also removed, and replaced by contemporary VG boards which added important texture, and made the home feel more finished and refined. 

Making the most of natural light

Window coverings also played an important role in revitalising this church, which fortunately, had a pleasing flow of natural light. 

Fitting blinds to all the windows makes the space feel finished and loved,

Wendy chose to install Luxaflex® Duette shades, in a neutral Elan-colour, in both the bedrooms and the living area.  

The unique honeycomb texture of these blinds means they trap air in their “pockets”—providing important thermal control to help the interior cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  

Another reason for choosing these blinds in this home was their flexible operation—Duette shades can be opened from either the bottom or the top. This makes them particularly useful for windows which have a unique aspect or orientation. In the case of this space, Wendy wanted to highlight the beauty of the arched windows, and Duette shades provided an ideal option. 

She also added Luxaflex® PowerView Motorisation to the shades in the master suite, which would be otherwise difficult to reach. 

“I wanted really specific blinds for this beautiful church and these Duettes are perfect. Being able to come from the top down or the bottom up means we can just reveal the beautiful tops of the window without losing any of the privacy that those Duettes give us. It’s such a great solution,” says Wendy.  

Luxaflex® Curtains in sheer fabric were also used in the living space to add both softness and privacy—ensuring plenty of natural light could still flow through into the heart of this special home. 

A fresh new kitchen

To make the most of Trish’s limited budget, most of the existing kitchen was retained—though the entire space was given lift with some new granite benchtops, a sink, contemporary fittings, and new cabinets made from some unused sliding windows found in Trish’s shed. 

The existing cabinets were sanded back but still retained, in keeping with the warm, rustic charm of the space. 

An exciting new start

With the renovation complete, Trish was very happy to sell to a couple who fell in love with the church like she did, and who were eager to make the home their own, for the tidy figure of $760,000. 

“It was difficult to let go, I loved living there, but I do need to move forward and this has allowed me to do that,” says Trish. 

get in touch

If you’re interested in finding out more about the window coverings used in this renovation, please get in touch with the team at Luxaflex today. 

selling houses australia season 16


Duette® Shades

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PowerView® Automation

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Luxaflex Curtains

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