This week’s Selling Houses Australia season finale took us to Middle Ridge, in Toowoomba, Queensland to Paul, Amanda and David Guard’s family home of 30 years. The Guards lost their parents, doctors Roger and Jill, in the MH17 Malaysian Airlines tragedy in 2014 and, after what must have been much emotional turmoil, decided to sell their family home of 30 years.
We all went into this makeover tentatively as Paul, Amanda and David’s loss was still so raw but, as soon as we met them, we were blown away by their positivity. It was clear they had such a beautiful family upbringing and they were such a tight unit. We learned they wanted to sell their home for all the right reasons and were even planning to donate some of the money from the sale of the house to the charity Medicines Sans Frontiers. It was all so moving I just felt on the verge of tears the whole time.
Set on 12 acres of bush land, rivers and camping sites the Guards grew up with three home-made tree houses that are still standing strong after all those years. The home itself, a Swedish-style A-frame cabin, was inspired by the Guard’s time living in Sweden, so the architecture had a deep personal connection for the family, and really resonated with me as I visited Stockholm during a recent trip to Europe.
Scandi is a term that has been diluted but the heart and soul of this home is true, authentic, Scandinavian design. Sure the carpets had faded, the rooms had fallen into neglect and the home had started to look every bit its 1970s heritage as the family grew up and moved out, but the refined structure was still there beneath the surface and it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to restore this much loved family home to its former glory.
Not knowing whether or not their application for Selling Houses would be successful, the Guards had already got stuck into preparing the house for sale, emptying out the rooms and event partially painting the place. Talk about blank canvas!
Knowing they didn’t have a big budget to spend, our job was to work out how to make all the changes we wanted to make on a little budget. Our challenge was made more achievable by the fact that the whole family and a huge contingent of their friends were there working like Trojans every step of the renovation. There was not one moment when any of them stopped working.
Throughout the makeover, as we got to know the Guards, their family story unfolded, They had all such positive memories of their childhoods, family life and their parents. It was Roger’s birthday during the makeover and that night they gathered all of their friends for a big big bonfire near one of the tree houses. To be involved that celebration of their dad’s life was so special and meant so much to me. I‘ll remember it for the rest of my life and it reminds me why I do this job.
I think this will go down as my favourite – not just of this series of Selling Houses – but all series. We went through so many emotions during the renovation, but for all the right reasons. The house and the people were so amazing I’m willing to bet that if you’re a regular Selling Houses viewer, you’ll get more out of this episode than any episode previously.