When I was searching for my first house, one of the suburbs I searched was Palmyra. I grew up in Palmyra and loved living there. It’s a quiet little suburb that attracts a lot of renovators and young families, and has quite a large ageing population – many who live in really dated houses. When I was house hunting, I looked at a bunch of Palmyra houses that looked pretty much exactly like this one. But never in a million years would I have guessed that those old ‘granny places’ could be renovated to look THIS good.
However, when you get noticed by casting agents for The Block, chances are you have some serious renovating talent. Aaron and Shannon East have completely redone this once-dated Palmyra place and were contestants on The Block in 2011... which we actually also applied for...
PAVING THE WAY: Aaron replaced the dated brick in the garden with gorgeous quartzite stone paving (sold as Cobb & Co) from . I think it looks fantastic.
THE EAST PROJECTS: Promo photos from The Block grace this wall. Shannon also works in the landscaping business with Aaron – and also takes on work as a makeup artist. After The Block, the demand for Aaron’s landscaping services has gone through the roof. He focuses on mid to upper-end residential and commercial outdoor projects across Perth.
ABOVE: Aaron and Shannon in their front garden fire pit. Don’t worry nerds, the alcohol is just for show. I ask why they are selling the house. “One reason is that we’re having a baby in three months,” says Shannon and I am taken aback for a moment – I hadn’t even noticed that she had a bump. This is how much of a house nerd I am guys. I took note of the full-height wall tiling in the bathroom and the Aneeta windows in the bedrooms, but I hadn’t even noticed Shannon had a six month baby bump until I sort of focused on it. Does it make it more excusable if I tell you she has long, long legs and was wearing a black dress that sort of camouflaged her tummy? No? Ok moving on.
DINING: The gorgeous dining table was from - I love it.
BEFORE: The old kitchen.
AFTER: The stylish new kitchen. As a Block 2011 unsuccessful entrant, I ask Aaron and Shannon what they did in their audition video. “We just got our friends to film us and ask us questions,” says Aaron.“We argued a bit,” admits Shannon. “But I think that’s what made them pick us. Even though our friends said, ‘No! You can’t put those bits in!’”
BEFORE: This bedroom has been given a gorgeous makeover.
AFTER: New windows make a big difference in the bedrooms.
FRONT GATE: The front gate was one of the original features of the home Aaron and Shannon left – they just gave it a lick of grey paint.
Yep, I actually forced lightly encouraged Mr Nerd to make an application video with me for The Block that very same year. (It is something I might just drunk-post up on Modaokon one night, if you are lucky). Sadly our sparkling wit, incredible good looks and inherent modesty didn’t impress the judges. But Aaron and Shannon got noticed. The Block promoted them as The Tradie and the Lady, which suits – Aaron was already running his successful landscape business, , and Shannon was working as a contracts engineer and part-time makeup artist.
They moved into this Palmyra house three and a half years ago, the first one they bought as a couple. The three bedroom 90s-built home is gorgeous now – airy and modern and light. “We call it ‘our apartment’,” laughs Shannon. But it didn’t look anywhere near as good when Aaron and Shannon bought it.
“A little old lady lived here and it was immaculate, but really dated,” says Shannon. “There were three very boxy rooms at the front and we knocked out the walls to create an open-plan living space. We wanted the house to be all about entertaining.”
FIRE IT UP: How awesome is the fire pit Aaron built? When Mr Nerd has his mates round our place for a drink, they seem to like nothing better than lighting a fire in the garden and sitting around it. I think it must be their caveman ancestors coming out. Aaron says the same thing happens when they entertain. “The boys all sit outside around the fire, the girls tend to stay inside!” he laugh. I like how they have planted white star jasmine as a groundcover around the decking – I usually only see it trained up trellises. Aaron says in six months it will have grown thick enough to form a sweet-scented hedge. The garden is surrounded by silver birch trees and magnolias.
ABOVE: Working on the house in stages when they had the money and the time (The Block being one interruption) Aaron and Shannon gutted the old kitchen, laundry and bathroom – put in new flooring throughout, and completely redid the gardens. The windows were replaced, smart wiring and a BOSCH surround sound system put in.
ABOVE: Shannon and Aaron also epitomise the city mouse, country mouse scenario – Aaron is a country boy from Manjimup, Shannon grew up in East Fremantle. They bought this Palmyra house three and a half years ago, the first they bought together, and had already started renovating when they applied for The Block.
BEFORE: The living area, with walls knocked out... and ORBS (or, you know, dust)
AFTER: Aaron and Shannon worked their colour scheme around the gorgeous painting they got from Chris Broderick of Art Broderick. The sofa was from Anthony Murray.
OPEN-PLAN: The walls separating the old “boxy rooms” at the front of the house have been knocked out to create one open spacious room. “We wanted to make it flow from the street to the back,” says Shannon. The console by the dining table was from Dash Design Furniture.
BEFORE & AFTER
BEFORE: The gardens when Aaron and Shannon bought the house.
AFTER: With fruit trees planted and the gardens completely re-landscaped it is like a completely different house. I love it when people plant real fruit trees over ornamental varieties. The Easts planted three oranges, 13 apple trees, two limes and two lemons. The Japanese buxus hedge in the back garden is very low-maintenance and keeps the lines of the plants simple and clean. Aaron says if you have really busy paving, as he has, you should keep your plant palette plant simple and the lines planting clean. “You can have either a really busy garden or really busy paving,” he says. Initially they were going to render the brick house, but decided that the warm-toned brick worked better than a render would as it gives a bit more warmth and texture to the elevation.
They had planned to stay here a while longer – but with a baby now on the way and Aaron needing more space for his business equipment, they are moving to a five-acre property in Banjup where they are building. It’s semi-country, but not too far from the city. “Him being a country boy and me a city girl, we have compromised!” says Shannon. Maya x
Oh and here is a snap of Mr Nerd and I mid-intervew, from our own audition tape for The Block 2011. Not really sure why we didn't get selected as clearly we look stunning on camera and not at all possessed.
The new fire pit
Aaron and Shannon East, contestants on The Block 2011, who run
A contemporary, stylish and fully renovated three bedroom 90s home
Palmyra, Western Australia
Shannon and Aaron designed the full renovation, including the interiors and outdoor areas (under )
Front garden fire pit, fruit trees, quartzite paving, open-plan living, three bedrooms
Home photography by Michael Conroy of
THE SELLING AGENT
The house is under agent Wendy Maben from REMAX, 0413 998 941 or 6394 5010