Retro makeover for an ugly duckling facade

This house in the Hunter Valley has a most unusual roofline: in fact it is so wacky, the home was dubbed by locals “the Kentucky Fried Chicken house”.

My renovation strategy was to cosmetically refresh the front facade and right side of the house only, due to the home owner’s budget constraints. Down the track, Colleen will renovate the left and rear side of the house, as budget allows. Colleen had already done a fine job of completing all the internal renovations, and the property had gained $100,000 in value in the two years since she’d bought it.


The house’s mishmash of styles made it almost impossible to pin down to any particular era, so I decided on a retro style that played to its strengths. The front and garage doors had some interesting detailing I was keen to highlight, and the raised sandstone garden beds had a fifties feel I decided to run with. With a three-day time frame and $15,000 budget, the pressure was on!


The beige colour scheme of this facade definitely had to go, but before any painting could get underway, more than $3500 of the budget had to be spent on scaffolding, and electrical labour to temporarily move the overhead wires for painters.

I wanted to add some decorative features and flesh out the garden beds. I replaced the leaking aluminium sheeting on the porch roof and swapped out the old railing for breeze blocks, then painted the bare concrete entry porch with White Knight Ultra Pave tinted to “Winter Mist”.


The existing sandstone garden beds were repaired and extended up the driveway, then planted with a selection of hardy natives, including kangaroo paw, and regular and dwarf conifers, I scattered river pebbles over the garden beds, as both a decorative feature and to seal in the moisture in this searingly hot part of NSW.

I chose a beautiful mint green for the exterior, Taubmans “Sussex”, teamed with “Crisp White” for the fascia, eaves and new breeze blocks. The front door was treated to a contrasting pale pink with white trims: Taubmans “Pink Dust” and “Crisp White”.

The sandstone garden wall now wraps around the full length of the driveway and front yard.

With its identity crisis resolved, the house now turns heads for a very different reason, its retro styling giving it a distinct personality, not to mention bumping up the value of the property by a massive $75,000! That’s a net profit of nearly $60,000 for Colleen. My beloved Lambrecht Chevrolet Bel Air 1956 looks right at home in the driveway – a touch of Hollywood glamour  in the heart of the Hunter.

  • Property purchase price in 2016          $320,000
  • Property Value (Before Renovation):     $420,000
  • Renovation Spend:                        $15,293.91
  • Renovation Timeframe:                    3 days
  • Property Breakeven Point:                $435,293.91  
  • Property Value (After Renovation)        $495,000  ($75,000 uplift in value)
  • Net Profit:                              $59,706.09
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