Before & after: a Melbourne home is transformed

First time renovator creates an amazing abode

WATCH: Three Birds Renovations before and after

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When new homeowner Ivy Huang bought a run-down house with the idea of updating it to create a family home, little did she know she’d be bitten by the renovation bug.

“I won the auction in November 2017,” Ivy explains. “At that time I’d been looking for a family home for nearly six months and missed out on several auctions, so I started to look for more run-down, renovation opportunities.”

The property had last been sold 50 years previously, and needed a lot of work. Ivy’s original plan was to live in it and slowly do it up, however she “seriously got the renovation bug during the process” and decided to sell and move on to another project.

See below for photos of Ivy’s stunning home.



“The build ended up taking eight months – I hoped for six – from demolition to moving in. That’s after a year in design, planning and permits,” Ivy says.

“As with many renovations of older homes, there are lots of unknowns that can blow out the timeline.

“Every delay also has a flow-on effect – this was a huge learning curve for me. In future I would start on design and planning the day after winning the auction and not wait to get the keys.”


As a project manager, Ivy was keen to oversee the renovation herself. 

“For a project this size, my budget was quite stretched so I knew extra effort on my part would be required to build to the quality I wanted,” she says.

“I specified and procured most of the interiors and finishes myself, which meant countless hours of research and decisions, and many moodboards.

“I also oversaw the build with a number of contractors and experienced tradespeople who were instrumental in providing the technical expertise and knowledge. I was totally out of my depth, and had to find my feet quickly.

“Every day was a new challenge and I loved that it combined technical, financial and creative elements.”


Ivy’s beautiful home is currently on the market, and she’s already on the lookout for her next project.

“I’m hoping to work with a fab architect to create something a bit out of the ordinary, and learn more about design and building. There is so much to learn! Then I’d love to build an A-frame as a holiday home for my family,” she says.

“My dream is to one day build an eco retreat on a small island, with a hobby oyster farm. You have to put it out to the universe to make it happen.”


For more about Ivy’s renovation journey, follow her on Instagram.

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