Artists Proof

25 Beautiful Homes, Dec 2004 - Jan 2005, Melanie Ambrose

Artists Proof

“An enterprising Couple show just what you can achieve with a vintage bungalow and a creative eye...”

A Renovated church in a hip suburb seemed the ideal abode for Shannon Hamilton and Mark Dillon, and they had no intention of leaving their converted home. That is, until they chanced upon a rambling bungalow for sale in Wembley, Perth. “We saw it on Saturday and by Sunday, we were signing subject to nothing!” exclaims Mark, who was bowled over by ‘the hugeness’ of the rooms. “Everything felt right”, confirms Shannon, “especially as we were thinking of starting a family.”

After purchasing the property for $318,000, the newlyweds quickly set about renovating. First they painted the interior walls in vibrant colours like fuschia, Mediterranean blue and a lime green for an instant facelift. For their next trick, they converted an old junk room off the master bedroom into a big walk-in robe and added ensuite bathroom with spa. Mindful of their budget, Shannon and Mark asked their friend and building designer Peter Fryer, or Peter Fryer Designs, to renovate the house in stages. A priority was to build a large, bright workspace for Shannon, a successful artist. To this end, a 9m x 6m artist’s studio with glass frontage and gable windows was constructed out back.

The last stage was to create a rear extension featuring an open-plan lounge and dining area. To achieve a smooth transition from old to new, the three-metre ceilings and jarrah floorboards were replicated in the extension. For a gallery effect to showcase Shannon’s oil paintings, most interior walls have been painted in Dulux White on White.

“We’ve had the old owners come back and they’ve been really amazed with what we have done with the place,” says Shannon. “We did shop around ourselves, so the whole project ended up costing about $140,000,” Mark calculates.

Beyond the living space, bi-fold doors open to reveal an inviting entertaining area. “We had 80 people here for my mums 60th Birthday,” says Shannon. “It worked well being able to create one large space.” The same batu wood for the decking has been used to make a feature wall beside the studio.

The home’s clever flow-through design means that whoever’s cooking in the kitchen gets a birdeye view of the studio out back. Kitchen benches have been given an industrial look using a pewter-toned laminate. All-new cabinetry in gloss white has been finished with a low maintenance vinyl wrap.

With a baby on the way, not to mention exhibitions of Shannon’s work planned for New York, Melbourne and Singapore, it’s hard to imagine just when this dynamic couple will have a chance to relax in their new home and take in the rewards of all this hard work. For now, though, they’re happy to kick back and watch and ever-changing real-life canvas through rectangular skylights in the walls of their living room. “At night you can look up and see the full moon,” says Mark. “And,” adds Shannon, “it really does look like a painting!”.

Get the look-Shannon Hamilton’s works cost between $500 and $8000. For more information visit or contact Gullotti Galleries in Perth on 08 9321 5891.