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,
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.