Selling the Australian dream

March 30, 2018


Good homes are built on wisdom and understanding, the Bible tells us in the book of Proverbs (chapter 24 verse 3). That’s an apt thought for Selling Houses Australia, where the intrepid trio of English host and property expert Andrew Winter, interior designer Shaynna Blaze and landscaper Charlie Albone take on sad homes that won’t sell and transform them into desirable residences that everyone wants.

Wouldn’t we all love to have a trio of experts descend on a property we own and have them transform it into the bees’ knees? A show like this could be either deadly dull or inspire jealousy and resentment, but its success and positivity is due to the combined efforts of Andrew, Shaynna and Charlie.

Andrew oozes conviviality, mixed with a dash of dry English wit. This contrasts well with our two down-to-earth Australians. Each member of the Selling Houses Australia trio obviously enjoys being part of the team, and there is a genuine camaraderie that makes the program compelling television.

In a recent episode, our brave three set out to transform a historic half-renovated Lutheran church in the Barossa Valley, two hours north of Adelaide, into the weekender everyone would walk over broken glass to own.

Our first vision of the church is definitely that of a neglected property that doesn’t even have a proper bathroom, but has plenty of dead flies and dusty lace curtains, as it hasn’t been inhabited for quite some time.

It was meant to be the dream home of Dutch immigrants Sabrina and David, but David’s severe back injury halted the renovation and forced the couple to move closer to Adelaide to be near medical facilities. After starting a business involving their hobby, chess, they realised they needed to sell the church so they could finance their new dream. Except that half-renovated churches in a remote locality tend to stay on the market and not sell, making this a perfect challenge for the makeover the Selling Houses Australia team has in mind.

Gradually Shaynna renovates the inside, including creating a beautiful modern bathroom that fits well with the rest of her ideas for the interior, while Charlie uses an innovative approach to landscape the dry and dusty surrounds, transforming the church into a one-bedroom dream home in a native garden setting.

But wait, there’s more…two old corrugated iron sheds that had been used for Sunday school are given a coat of paint and internal refit, then connected to the church by new decking, and voila!—we have two extra quirky bedrooms.

While Shaynna and Charlie are working their magic, Andrew is working on a new marketing campaign with the real estate agent. After only one week of inspections, the old church has a new lease of life and a very happy new owner. What you could call a win-win situation.


Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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