Couple shares journey of constant renovation

Marie Romeo. Picture: Joe Mastroianni

A husband and wife team who have painstakingly restored some of the area’s most historic properties, including Rupertswood, and Mount Macedon’s Karori, are offering a taste of what it takes to live and breathe major renovations.

Marie and Dominic Romeo’s first coffee table book, The Constant Renovators, was released last Thursday.

Ms Romeo says the full-colour book is a study of the ups and downs of fixing and preserving historic mansions. But she admits she took some convincing before putting the couple’s experiences into words.


‘‘I thought, who wants to read about renovations … all the things that go wrong and all the things that go right.’’

Interviews and a transcript prepared by a property journalist inspired Ms Romeo to take the next step.

‘‘I read that and I had to admit it did sound interesting.’’

Writing ‘‘like I was talking to a friend’’, Ms Romeo weaves an interesting story about six of the 12 or so properties they’ve saved from decay.

The book includes background on each of the houses and a wealth of photos from the present and distant past.

‘‘The story’s as much about how we came to be constant renovators,’’ she says.

‘‘We didn’t really plan to do all these houses. Some of them we stumbled upon and then it became kind of addictive, I guess.’’

Ms Romeo, a designer who runs Gisborne’s Bellholme, and Mr Romeo, a real estate agent specialising in heritage properties, have found renovating a great creative outlet.


‘‘It’s also great working with each other,’’ Ms Romeo says.

‘‘I’ve always been a design and history buff, and Dominic has that interest in the architecture.

‘‘It allows all that to come together.’’

With so much involved in each project, she admits that moving on is never easy.

‘‘We always leave a bit of ourselves in each property,’’ she says. ‘‘They’re all different and charming in their own way.’’

The couple recently sold Karori and are already looking for their next project.

‘‘It was meant to be our ‘forever house’,” she muses.

“But we get to the point where things are looking perfect and pretty, and we get itchy feet. The thought of never doing one again … we’re not at that stage just yet.’’

The Constant Renovators is available at Mount Macedon Trading Post, Bellholme and through Miegunyah Press for $45.