“I went through a separation and I purchased this house because I saw potential,” he says. “I gutted the kitchen, I did the surface of all the walls and everything, so, for me, the house meant a lot.”
But, after a light transformer ignited and started the fire, all of Graeme’s hard work was gone. For Graeme, that was just the beginning. Not only did people rob their house days after the fire, but Graeme didn’t have insurance and desperately needed money to help get the house rebuilt.
“After the fire, the firefighters go, ‘OK, can you sign this waiver that releases us and hands the house back to you?’ Once you sign that paper and everyone leaves, there is silence and it sinks in that you are responsible to get the house back up,” he reveals.
“I didn’t have insurance, so I had to get in contact with the banks to get money off them, but it was during the royal commission and their lending scrutiny was tough. The money I needed and the money they were willing to give me didn’t line up.”
With the little bit of money they had, Graeme and Mary began to demolish and rebuild their home, but they knew that without the funds they needed, it might not be possible. That was when House Rules asked him if he was interested in having his house completely renovated by this years’ contestants.
I was going about my everyday duties and I got a message out of obscurity and it was someone from Seven asking if we were interested in having a renovation,” he says. “At the time I was down and out and had no place to turn and I said of course, and it was a whirlwind from there.
“You don’t know whether to believe it, because of what you’re going thorough. You don’t know if you’re allowed to believe it. To get that little bit of hope you are scared to hold on to it in case it doesn’t come to fruition.”
Of course, it did, and the House Rules contestants are set to completely transform Graeme’s home. “What they’ve done is life- changing to us,” he gushes of the teams. “I didn’t have anything. So, to hand my keys over with the hope of getting even just a little bit, was amazing.”
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