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  • Writer's pictureJames Treble

Living in Mr Taubman's House

To celebrate the exciting adventure that was both a renovation and a restoration of a heritage house Open Homes Australia recently broadcasted my recent visit to the Taubmans House on channel 9Life. The house is in Manly and I've been very excited to be called in to help its current owners through an amazing journey that took about two years since the work started. This 1905 home is not only beautiful, but it also carries a charming story, as it's the house built by George Taubman, the creator of well-known Taubmans Paint.

I started the conversation by asking Gero why they bought Yuggawai.

“Well, we first came across the house probably about 14 years ago when we first arrived in Manly, and I was just walking the dog past the street. I remember looking up, thinking how great it would be to live in a house like this one, and so when about five or six years ago the opportunity came to buy the house… we just absolutely fell in love with it.”

I was recommended to them by friends, clients of mine that built just around the corner, and when I came on board, the new owner were already living in the house, but it looked nothing like it does now. It was in a bit of a mess.

“There were parts falling off,” says Gero. “We were naïve… we didn't know what it took to actually restore a house like this one... We thought of a new garage and a lick of paint… we were very wrong. So we really appreciated having someone like yourself to come along and actually help us… it was so much to do we just really didn't even know where to start.”

There were many elements of this house worth saving, and other aspects that needed urgent attention, like the lack of a balcony on the upper level, a kitchen that tucked at the back could only be reached via the home office and a long list of other issues that needed addressing so that every change would fit perfectly within the overall character of the house. Like the backyard shed: to keep it or let it go?

“Yeah, Mr Taubman's man-cave itself… It roughly was around the time that the company started that they built this house as well, so the origins of Taubmans' (paints) are very much at the back, in that shed.”

We added a large new bathroom on the upper floor, and the challenge was once again to add something that would fit within the heritage feel. We retained all the cornices and vents and skirtings and the led-work on the windows, the striking front door and the shingles of the façade, also adding new ones to reiterate the history of this home. The paint used of course had to be Taubmans and despite the heritage restrictions that this renovation faced, the colours we chose are fresh, contemporary and appropriate to the coastal address.

Watch the whole conversation as we walk through the Taubmans House in the video below, and to experience the full journey watch the BEFORE (, DURING ( and AFTER ( videos on my YouTube channel.

“I asked my six-year-old boy at the time. I said, do you want to stay here or do you want to move back… he said ‘I’d like to stay here because I can see whales from my bedroom window’ and although we can see the country Wales also from our house in Shropshire it doesn't quite match the view that we get now…”

What an emotional journey... If this project has inspired you too, find all the colours used on Mr Taubman’s House revealed here: or visit to discover the colours that best suit your own home.

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. More of James' knowledge is now accessible via Practical Design Online Course.


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