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From neglected to next-level luxe

Photographer Robyn Hills has worked her magic on this penthouse apartment at Marcoola – get in quick when it goes to auction.


From neglected to next-level luxe

Photographer Robyn Hills has worked her magic on this penthouse apartment at Marcoola – get in quick when it goes to auction.

Renowned Sunshine Coast-based photographer Robyn Hills is no stranger to a good property renovation project, having completed at least one every year since she turned 22, but her latest challenge was very different to any she had tackled before.

When another project she had her sights set on fell through following a building inspection, Ms Hills heard about 121/885 David Low Way, Marcoola a five-bedroom penthouse that was available through a bailiff auction after the former owners were four years in arrears on body corporate fees.

The catch was, it needed to be bought site unseen and sans building inspection. She was speechless when the bailiff opened the door and she finally got a look at her investment. There was furniture scattered throughout the apartment, holes in walls, the floors in some rooms had been stripped bare and there was patched plastering and half-painted walls.

“The previous owner had started to do some renovations, but they didn’t finish anything,” Ms Hills recalls.

“I’m an experienced renovator, so I’d seen worse. With this project, it was the sheer size of the place that was challenging. Five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a rooftop terrace, it was around 200 square metres and almost the size of three standard houses.”

Ms Hills threw herself into the renovation project with her usual creative flair and gusto and called on fellow Coast creative and renowned interior designer Adrian Ramsay to collaborate on some ideas to transform the space over eight weeks.

“This property was quite unique so Adrian helped me with some ideas to create the penthouse plush look I was going for,” she says. “He helped me to push the boundaries and gave me a fresh perspective on ways to introduce new concepts to the space.”

In a nod to the location close to the airport and Ms Hills’ own love of aviation, she incorporated bespoke removable wallpaper that is an aviation chart of the Sunshine Coast in matte black.

“I love doing this because I use my creativity and my vision to create something that is beautiful and functional. Just as I capture the beauty in the people I photograph, I capture the personality of each property I work on,” she says.

At 22 years old, Ms Hills’ first property investment was a block of four flats, which she renovated. Over the years, she has concentrated on blocks of units – including designing and building them. Some are renovated and held, others sold profitably. Her aim is to continue to accumulate property and supply the market with housing that is beautiful and functional.

With eager potential buyers watching Ms Hills’ renovation progress photos on Facebook with keen interest, listing agents Kai and Jill Lebens of McGrath Estate Agents knew before the property was officially listed that this would be a high-inquiry property.

“It’s very unusual for a penthouse of this size to come up for sale on the Coast, especially one that has a rooftop as well,” Ms Lebens says.

“This property is not in the flightpath, but has pristine views of the coastline, easy access to the beach and is located close to the airport for those who regularly travel or work in aviation. We are expecting inquiries from a broad range of demographics from owner occupiers through to investors, Air BnB owners and also fly-in fly-out workers.”

Ms Lebens says this listing will shine a spotlight on Marcoola, which offers great beach accessibility in a quiet and picturesque setting.

The property will feature in a series of online videos and print marketing through My Property Preview with the aim of reaching as many potential buyers as possible for the June 22 auction on site at 10am.


Roxy has been a journalist for more than a decade and joined the MWP team at the end of 2016. She is a chocolate-powered writing machine who loves to engage with the Coast community, uncover untold inspirational stories and share information that can help people.

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