Lo­cal home:

De­spite hav­ing no pre­vi­ous reno ex­pe­ri­ence, Ho­bart am­bos Sean and Ella se­cured a spot on re­al­ity show House Rules and were rapt with both the work they did for oth­ers and the way their own home scrubbed up,

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - LOCAL FOOD - writes JARRAD BEVAN

Ho­bart am­bos tell how House Rules helped them res­cue their Howrah home

WHEN paramedics Sean Mackay and Ella Cuth­bert bought their ‘60s house on Ho­bart’s Eastern Shore early last year, their idea was to ren­o­vate.

At the time they did not re­alise those ren­o­va­tions would be com­pleted by strangers or broad­cast on TV.

Al­though nei­ther had ren­o­va­tion or build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Ella had the idea to ap­ply to be con­tes­tants on House Rules soon af­ter buy­ing the prop­erty.

Sean was hes­i­tant at first but quickly warmed to the idea.

“It’s the first house that we have owned,” he said.

“My brother is a builder so we were hop­ing he would be able to help out in do­ing it up.

“In­stead, we were lucky enough to get a spot on the show.”

While the cou­ple said they be­came friends with the other teams, they did not know any­one very well at the time of hand­ing over the keys to their house.

Ella said it was a nerve-rack­ing week away from the show while their house was be­ing ren­o­vated.

“You come back and it is com­pletely dif­fer­ent,” she said.

“When we first saw the house it was over­whelm­ing. And, of course, ev­ery re­ac­tion you have is go­ing to be on na­tional TV!

“The change that hap­pens in only a week is amaz­ing, from in­ter­nal walls be­ing moved to the lay­out re­con­fig­ured.

“We were thrilled with the end re­sults.”

Sean and Ella’s orig­i­nal house had no open-plan spa­ces and the kind of shag­pile red car­pet that was typ­i­cal of the home’s era.

To­day, the front side of the house

The change that hap­pens in only a week is amaz­ing, from in­ter­nal walls be­ing moved to the lay­out re­con­fig­ured ... We were thrilled with the end re­sults

opens it­self wide to the views across Howrah, to the Der­went River and Mt Welling­ton, with a con­tem­po­rary liv­ing room, chic kitchen and a deck.

It is one of their favourite spa­ces in the house.

They also adore the master bed­room and bath­rooms.

With their shift-work lifestyle, the en­gaged cou­ple needed spe­cific things from the ren­o­va­tion.

They asked for a func­tional, low­main­te­nance home that would be prac­ti­cal for night shifts. Mak­ing the most of the view was key. And, with the lo­ca­tion back­ing onto a

high­way, it was im­por­tant to block out the traf­fic sound.

“We also wanted a nice bed­room to re­lax in, es­pe­cially if one of us needs to sleep while the other is awake,” Ella said. “Ev­ery­one did a great job.” As far as changes go, the cou­ple is only con­sid­er­ing up­dat­ing the study and sec­ond bed­room.

Since the show fin­ished they have changed some styling and given things their “own touch”.

“We are pretty min­i­mal­ist, so we wanted to pare back the styling,” Ella said.

Sean and Ella said they did their best work on the show when build­ing bath­rooms. Ella said, one of their most chal­leng­ing projects was the ren­o­va­tion of a steam punk-in­spired bath­room, for the twins An­drew and Jono, from Western Aus­tralia.

Sean said ini­tially they were very ner­vous about un­der­tak­ing this pro­ject but iron­i­cally it ended up be­ing their favourite room on the show.

“It got fan­tas­tic re­sponses from the judges in­clud­ing Lau­rence Llewe­lynBowen who called it the “best room he’d seen by an ama­teur de­signer”,” he said.

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