Seddon House :: Red Door Project
By Kate Cole
Basic Habitat’s own Dani Wales and her partner Dan Reilly, both of Red Door Project, chose their Seddon house because it was the one property they couldn’t get out of their heads. “We’d been watching it for a while but weren’t sure if we wanted to undertake such a significant project”. The area has experienced significant growth in recent years and good friends of theirs had always said “invest in the West”, and after missing out on another property they really wanted at auction, they decided take on the Seddon house challenge.
“We were ecstatic when we first purchased the house because we were fresh from our success on The Block All Stars in Sydney and thought we would absolutely nail the reno… Reality quickly set in”. After purchasing in mid 2013 they began what Dani describes as “a hard two year slog”.
Dan and Dani started with six months of planning. “We didn’t hire an architect since Dan and I knew the floorplan and materials, so we sat down with a draftsman to put it all together”.
The challenges began after demolishing the most damaged parts of the building in early 2014. “The property had originally been built on stumps. Once we commenced work we realised that the re-stumping by the previous owners hadn’t been done to the building code, so our plans weren’t viable anymore. In turn this meant more of the property had to be demolished, which then classed the renovation as a ‘new build’, which because of the poor soil meant the build had to be done on a concrete slab”. This added a three month delay and a big financial hit for the project.
“We had all the usual key players including carpenters, plumbers and electricians but probably Dan was the most important player. His skill set meant we saved a lot of money on trades since he took on a lot of the work himself. He also painted, which I hate, and built the deck himself which saved us thousands”.
Dani saying that the biggest of the challenge was finding the energy to keep going amidst hectic schedules. “At one point, Dan was working six days a week, fourteen hours a day, on two separate Block’s as ‘Foreman Dan’, while I was working full-time too. We’d have to muster up the will to get to site and keep working”.
When the interiors were finished and it was time to style the property, Dani was inspired by her friends. “I’d spoken with Jenna Densten from Bicker Design and she had some great ideas for the look and feel so I took inspiration from that. It’s been a fun collaborative project and I’m very lucky to have such creative people around me to bounce ideas off”.
They finished the build in November 2015 and moved straight in before a much needed holiday. “We are definitely sad about selling but feel it’s the right time on our little property journey. It’s been a pleasure to live in and make my own so its going to be very hard to hand over the keys”.
Dani says they have plans to stay in the area and are considering a small dual-occupancy development on a parcel of land. “Although, part of me wants to keep renovating old beautiful period homes”, she says. “There’s nothing more satisfying than bringing a house that has been the home to many, back to life to be a home to many more. I feel so content and proud of what we have achieved with this property”.
Seddon House is currently for sale and you can view the listing here.
Photography by Elizabeth Allnutt.