1960s detached house. 105 square metres.


City of Salisbury, South Australia.

Design challenges

  • Short time frame
  • 40 years of accumulated belongings
  • lack of cleaning
  • lack of maintenance.


Transform the home to a fresh, practical, safe and clean state that the owner was proud of.



Design solution

This house had been home to the same family for 40 years.  Its only residents now are an elderly woman and her elderly dog.  The house had good bones but many aspects of its design where not well suited to the reduced mobility of its two inhabitants plus it was suffering from a lack of maintenance, too many accumulated belongings, and a lack of cleaning.

In this instance the client and her dog were moved to other accommodation for a few weeks while I went about sorting out this home to create a fresh, practical, and safe home.

My first step was to organise a substantial cleanout of the house, garden, and garage.  Accumulated belongings that were of no use and simply getting in the way, creating trip hazards and deteriorating were thrown out, given away or sold as was appropriate.  Floor and window treatments throughout the house were also removed and disposed of.  

I designed a new interior and exterior colour scheme for the house and engaged painters to do the work.  New hard flooring was sourced and installed throughout the house that avoided changes in flooring types to reduce trip hazards.  A ramp was installed to the rear garden so both the owner and her dog could now access it without dealing with a set of stairs that neither could safely negotiate.  Stylish chrome grab handles were installed in the toilet, bathroom and by the front verandah.  Local Council aged care services were contacted and negotiation on behalf of the client was conducted to facilitate access to a wide range of home help and maintenance services at a subsidised rate.  

Other work included having overdue maintenance work, such as repairing damaged roof sections on the house and garage and cleaning out gutters.  A new ‘upsidedown’ combined refrigerator and freezer was chosen and purchased that aided both ergonomics and convenience to replace a separate aging fridge in the kitchen and freezer in the laundry arrangement that previously existed.  Likewise a washing machine ‘raiser’ was purchased and installed to make accessing the existing front loading washing machine kinder on arthritic knees.

A new easier to latch/lock rear security screen door was installed with an integrated dog flap to aid security and access.  A new rangehood was installed in the kitchen to aid ventilation, air conditioning filters were cleaned and deodorised and new curtains and blinds were installed that suited the current privacy and lighting requirements of the resident and helped bring a fresh feel to the home.

All of this was organised and completed within a period of three to four weeks.  This makeover transformed this run down house into a fresh, safe, practical and stylish home.  It has transformed the lives of both resident and her dog by allowing them to more easily and safely go about their everyday activities while also uplifting the owner and giving her confidence in her ability to cope and pride in her home.