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  • James Treble

Appealing To The Market

I love it when clients provide me with images they have collected to help express how they wish their property to look and feel, because whether dealing with a renovation or a new build, my job is to offer the best possible design solutions which will allow them to personalise a house and turn it into their home. When building to sell however, the challenge is a little different, as we need to create a property which is less personal, providing the broadest appeal to the largest number of buyers possible. This duplex shown below, built in the elegant Sydney suburb of Greenwich by Newport Homes for Fiducia Properties, is one successful example of this, and one that I have enjoyed being a part of.



The appeal of any property starts of course with the façade, the very first statement that is shown in all advertising and the first thing you see when arriving, so it must immediately offer a positive first impression, and broad appeal. We chose to highlight the horizontal lines of the home’s design, increasing the sense of width for this duplex, and teamed it with a neutral colour palette for maximum appeal, where the light and dark contrasting shades of the same colour, create a contemporary feel with everlasting appeal. The simplicity of the palette chosen is activated by the textural finish of the surfaces, to enhance the sculptural forms of the overall building.



To keep up with the high-end expectations raised by the front of this property, the high standard of choices must continue inside, from the very first steps you take through the front door. The statement staircase faces the entry door and is the very first thing you see entering this house. To ensure as much light as possible floods through the space, we opted for open risers, but instead of trying to make the staircase disappear we turned the design volume up to enhance its character with streamlined stringers in black, ensuring they stand out in all the right ways, and finished off the look with natural timber treads to soften the contrast. This staircase is obviously a functional necessity, an unavoidably presence, so why not make it a talking point?




Obviously, all of the interior finishes, like the choice of flooring, wall colours, skirting and door frames, among many others, work in unison to tell a story of quality and care infused within the property, making it desirable. Its apparent simplicity also allows everyone to easily personalise the space with their own individual style. Of course nothing works its magic quite like the kitchen; we opted for a contemporary but neutral palette of warm greys for the cabinetry, a comfortable choice for any taste, and the perfect background for any styling. The kitchen island has rounded corners, adding an 'on trend’ design feature as well as softness to the modern feel; the natural stone inspired man-made benchtop with its subtle grey-vein adds additional character. The splashback matches the island in colour, but in an easy to maintain glass finish, providing a reflective surface, which adds additional interest against the matte finish of the cabinetry, and it’s of course perfect to bounce light around the open-plan living area.





Like kitchens, bathrooms have a strong impact on the overall appeal of any property and attract buyers, so to be successful this room has to be beautiful, highly functional and feel welcoming at the same time, a challenge I always enjoy. Once again, we opted for a neutral colour palette as a background, where the whites of the furniture and the black of the details stand out adding contrast, but in a soft way. The overall feel is contemporary, sleek and functional, with plenty of natural light flooding in and reflected around to offer a welcoming effect as well as adding to the overall sense of space.





It was a great pleasure working on these duplexes with my clients Fiducia Properties, who are known for their quality developments, and my boutique builder Newport Homes, also known for their quality workmanship, and attention to detail.


Ultimately there is not a 'one fits all' way of designing a property constructed with selling in mind, as its appeal always depends on the local market expectations that it aims to reach. So, for a successful result, my first advice is to always listen to the brief given by your client, as well as the voice of the property itself, as its design style does not always match the intended design direction; also the anticipated price range will influence the choice of finishes, and always pay great attention to the expectations the surrounding area creates. Thinking laterally, certainly allows you to explore the possibilities ensuring your client’s property will stand out in the right way, but avoid bold choices that might restrict its market, unless that is the aim. Never forget that for any investment property to be successful, it should be welcoming but not personal or too 'out-there' with finishes and design; it must of course be well built, provide a functional design, and be welcoming in presentation; overall it has to be able to reflect the story of any family that might be interested in it.






James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.


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