Cherie Bar­ber gives a dated sub­ur­ban house fab­u­lous new street ap­peal.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Cherie Bar­ber gives a tired sub­ur­ban fa­cade a makeover that puts its best face for­ward.

THIS HOUSE COULD BE in any sub­ur­ban street in Aus­tralia. It’s neat and tidy, looks in solid con­di­tion and it’s prob­a­bly almost iden­ti­cal to dozens of oth­ers in its south-western Syd­ney lo­ca­tion. How­ever, in this orig­i­nal state it sure wasn’t go­ing to turn heads or win any de­sign awards. On a $6000 bud­get, my mis­sion was to turn it into the smartest house in the street.


There were sev­eral dated el­e­ments, prob­a­bly a mish­mash of fea­tures added over the years, that let the fa­cade down. These in­cluded the mis­sion-brown win­dow frames, the faux Corinthian porch col­umns, the rusty wrought-iron rail­ing, the ugly se­cu­rity door and the bare con­crete pavers that ran straight up the mid­dle of the front lawn.

An in­te­gral part of the facelift would be restor­ing a de­gree of uni­for­mity, so the first step was to strip away these of­fend­ing el­e­ments. Out went the porch col­umns, the rail­ings, the screen door and the con­crete pavers. And to make way for our new en­try we de­mol­ished the nar­row steps.


The res­cue rem­edy for the pre­vi­ously drab colour was a mod­ern two-tone grey colour scheme for the roof,

“Every front fa­cade needs a clear point of en­try.”

gut­ter­ing, down­pipes, weath­er­boards, brick base and side fences. This was punc­tu­ated by white trims for the alu­minium win­dows and front door. This new scheme also pulled to­gether the var­i­ous fin­ishes that were mak­ing the fa­cade look scruffy and ad hoc.


Even painted, those alu­minium win­dow frames looked flimsy and cheap, as they lacked the bulk and scale of more tra­di­tional tim­ber frames. The so­lu­tion was to add just that: a new bor­der of mer­bau tim­ber, which trans­formed the win­dows. And the own­ers’ de­ci­sion to re­place the scruffy lounge-room cur­tain with plan­ta­tion shut­ters was a bonus that lifted the home’s ap­pear­ance.


Every front fa­cade needs a clear sense of en­try. Con­tin­u­ing the warm tim­ber theme, I used mer­bau deck­ing to cre­ate cen­tred tim­ber steps which now line up with the front door, pro­vid­ing sym­me­try and bal­ance. Match­ing tim­ber posts on ei­ther side of the steps re­placed the old white col­umns.


New gar­den beds con­structed from pine sleep­ers and planted with a mix of hardy na­tive grasses, topped with woodchips, soften the home’s ex­te­rior. They also clev­erly con­ceal the lower bricks of the house. A dose of lawn fer­tiliser is all that’s needed to com­plete this bud­get trans­for­ma­tion.

Look at me now A fresh colour scheme and a few lit­tle ex­tras have trans­formed this home. af­ter flash new let­ter­box

new gar­den beds

be­fore Drab, not fab This ex­te­rior was more than ready for a lit­tle TLC!

Neat and tidy The liv­ing room has a lovely new out­look of gar­den. af­ter

Do come in af­ter The home now has an at­trac­tive and stream­lined en­trance. smart tim­ber steps

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