Victorian family home renovation and backyard makeover

From Dull to Dreamy: A Victorian Family Transforms Their Home Into a Paradise


An interior renovation and a complete backyard makeover have resulted in a home that is a true slice of paradise for this Victorian family.

For many Australian families, the passage of time will see them outgrow their home. This could be due to the facilities on offer or a simple change in lifestyle. Regardless of motivation, this maturation can lead to a move even if the house had the perfect location.

House of Harvee

Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Krystal Dahaby from House of Harvee in Victoria was living with her partner and their three children in a 10-year-old Metricon home that was no longer meeting her needs. Despite having no prior experience, she decided to take matters into her own hands and designed a renovation that has given the dwelling a new lease on life thanks to improved facilities and a modern aesthetic. “It was important to me that we brought more light into the home and more of our personality and style,” says Krystal. “The house was very ‘Metricon’ and similar to many, many other homes built around the same time, so making the home feel new again and like it really belonged to us as a family was very important.”

Krystal Dahaby from House of Harvee in Victoria

And so the work began. This project entailed a complete kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovation, as well as updates to the three children’s bedrooms and the master bedroom, the sitting room and the living room.

project entailed a complete kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovation

Even the backyard was given a makeover. Once, the garden here had been left to run wild, with the drab brown brick of the house creating a rather dull backdrop. During the renovation, the backyard changed into a light and bright haven. The home’s exterior wall was finished in white and a solid white fence was added. This was complemented by large stone tiles in a series of whimsical shapes that invite the visitor to wander down the garden path. For those lucky enough to take that journey, the reward is a stunning curved-edge pool, complete with a detailed tile exterior that marries desert beauty with coastal opulence. The privacy screen is a natural colour that shares a tone with the metal outdoor shower — a necessary luxury that looks as good as it functions. Finally, the decking for the pool was constructed from Millboard, a composite decking product that is 100 per cent wood-free.

hybrid flooring was added to replace the tiles that had been on trend

This wasn’t the only environmental consideration of the build. Throughout the interior, new hybrid flooring was added to replace the tiles that had been on trend when the house was first constructed. “This automatically gave well-needed warmth and homely vibes to the property,” adds Krystal. This flooring is especially suited to the new kitchen, where it shines against the cabinetry and keeps the space feeling warm.

backyard with pool

“Bringing in the new kitchen design of whites and brass with a touch of pink marble and a wider, bigger island bench helped to create that centrepiece of the home that draws everyone in and brings us all together,” says Krystal, describing the scope of the renovation in that space. “We also removed a bulkhead that was over the kitchen in the original home design. Just by doing this, the entire main area felt fresh, new and so much bigger than it had been before, even though we hadn’t changed the size.”

spacious patio with pool and couch

Some other features Krystal loves about her new kitchen include the oversized white sink that is big enough for all pots and pans while still looking stylish; the hidden coffee/tea bar; the pull-out spice rack positioned close to the cooking area; and a butler’s pantry with doors, allowing her to close away any potential mess whenever she desires.

The style continues in the living area, where inviting lounges are paired with a luscious thick rug that enhances the sense of light in the room thanks to its colour. “I would love to have added a skylight in the main living areas, but unfortunately that didn’t happen this time,” says Krystal.

Of course, as per any renovation, things weren’t always smooth sailing — especially when the family decided to bring home a puppy at the beginning of the backyard makeover. “Having no backyard, a new puppy, and with the full kitchen and living areas under construction, there were so many moments we will not forget,” recalls Krystal, but it’s clear to see that not only did the family survive the challenge — they thrived.

As for what’s next, Krystal plans to tackle a few other projects to keep the house moving forward with the family as they grow. “The house is still a work in progress, with the master bedroom ensuite and front facade next on the list!”

This article originally appeared in Home Design Magazine #25.4

Words Lauren Clarke Photography Krystal Dahaby