House Rules: Campbelltown family’s fire-damaged home rises from the ashes
A devastated Sydney family, who spent months living apart after a blaze tore through their home, have been thrown a lifeline.
In an emotional reveal on Seven’s House Rules, Graeme McPake, his partner, Mary, and their four children returned to their Campbelltown property after it had been transformed by contestants of the hit renovation show.
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The house was a far cry from how it looked just days earlier, when it still had a collapsed roof and rubble scattered across the living spaces and bedrooms.
The Macarthur Chronicle spoke to the father-of-four following the life-changing episode, which the family watched from the comfort of their newly rebuilt home.
“We were all cosied up on the couch under a blanket — everyone got emotional because it is still really raw for us,” Mr McPake said.
“They all (the teams) did a brilliant job and we are really grateful; even if I came back to a roof on the house I would have been happy but to see what they had done in six days blew me away,” he said.
The family had lived at the two-storey, 1970s dwelling for just under five years when it caught on fire in November.
It was the house they brought their two youngest children, Cole, 2, and one-year-old Jade, home to from the hospital.
Fortunately, no one was there at the time. However, the family “lost everything”, especially where inferno broke out, above the room shared by Mr McPake’s daughters, Lily, 10, and Skye, 7.
“You really don’t imagine it will ever happen to you, hence the reason for having no insurance,” the doting father said.
“You do what you think is right for you at the time, but that was a mistake.”
House Rules judges Jamie Durie, Wendy Moore and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen gave
It was a phone call from producers that led to the family’s second chance, which saw five teams put their building and design skills to the test.
The result was a stylish, open-plan version of the former home, complete with flowing common areas, a new balcony, and bedrooms with contemporary fixtures and fittings.
South Australia’s Lisa and Andy Carman were given the highest overall score for their zone.
While the episode saw NSW team Katie and Alex sent home in a shock elimination, Mr McPake said the family appreciated the effort from all contestants.
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“The kitchen, living and dining area is so inclusive and we sit in the downstairs area almost every day.
“We really enjoyed seeing the main bedroom and the baby’s room, those two areas were really well done and it was nice watching it back and seeing who did what.
“We love it all — it far exceeded anything we could have imagined.”