House Rules

EXCLUSIVE: How the House Rules teams are helping Graeme McPake and his family rebuild their home

This could be one of the most heartbreaking stories we've seen on the show.

By Alex Lilly
Last year on House Rules, we heard the heartbreaking story of Chelsea Dunley, whose husband Wayde tragically passed away shortly after they applied to be on the show.
But this year, we met Graeme McPake, his partner Mary and their children whose worlds were rocked after their Campbelltown home in Sydney's west was destroyed in a fire and robbed just weeks later.
Now, speaking exclusively to Now To Love, Graeme reveals the emotional rollercoaster he and his family rode and how the show has totally changed their lives.
Dad-of-four Graeme shares his two eldest daughters Lily and Skye with his ex wife and two year-old CJ and one year-old Jade with his partner Mary.
Following his separation from his first wife, Graeme was in and out of hotels for months and bought the house in order for his girls to have a home. He spent between two and three years renovating it and during that time, met Mary and their family safe haven was created.
Dad-of-four Graeme bought the house after living in and out of hotels for months. (Image: Supplied/Channel Seven)
But in November 2018, tragedy struck when a light transformer caught alight and a heavy wind picked up leaving the house in ashes.
Speaking of the moment he first saw the house in ruins, Graeme told Now To Love, "You can't ever prepare yourself for what you're about to see, it's not natural."
Just three weeks after the fire, the family suffered another blow when they were robbed and even Mary's ultrasound scans were ripped up.
The house was devastated by a fire in November 2018. (Image: Supplied/Channel Seven)
The family did not have insurance, but their neighbours and friends rallied around to help them with one friend even launching a GoFundMe page that according to the Sydney Morning Herald raised almost $3000 in the first 24 hours.
However, when a friend suggested that they appear on House Rules, Graeme and Mary jumped at the chance to get some much-needed assistance in rebuilding their home. And it's safe to say Graeme was a little starstruck!
"I'm a massive reality TV fans whether it's Survivor or a building show so I was a fan of House Rules before. It was so surreal, seeing it on the other end of the camera and meeting Joh and the teams."
WATCH: House Rules 2019: Johanna Griggs introduces the new Home Base. Post continues after video...
During filming, Graeme's eldest girls were living with their mum while he, Mary and their youngest two were crammed into a room at Mary's parents but now that filming has wrapped, things are back to normal.
"We were living separate lives and it really has brought us back together as a family," Graeme says.
"You really learn how much you value routine and when this happened, it shook up our routine and the girls' routine in a way we didn't know."
And despite their heartache, Graeme is so proud of his daughters.
"They've been so emotionally invested but they've become so resilient and it's a testament to you as a parent to see them grow and how strong they've become."
The family of six just wants to be together again. (Image: Channel Seven)
So what can we expect for what is set to be the most emotional reveal of the season yet?
"Expect to be wowed!" Graeme tells us. "It's amazing what the teams have done with it. The show really does change lives."