• July 2, 2014

Old Girls Taught New Tricks

Old period homes can be resuscitated, brought back to life in a way that pays integrity to their history, nostalgic charm and journey. We look back at a group of old madams who received identity changing facelifts and transitioned into the contemporary world with verve. Here are a small handful of our favourite classics from 2013 and 2014. They embrace modern souls with beautiful succession.

56 Mason Street in Newport is currently listed for sale. The utterly charming facade of this period beauty gives way to a tale of expert craftsmanship. Built 92-years-ago, this California Bungalow was once in ripe need for a makeover but just recently was given a miraculous new lease of life. With just one step inside, the huge scale and sheer architectural brilliance is immediately showcased to an impressive effect. The facade is kept in the original condition so pays homage to its past, inside, the tale of contemporary craftsmanship truly comes alive to a sophisticated effect with premium fixtures. Currently, this home is on the market for $1,230,000.

With just one single glance at the distinctive form of a modest front porch, broad profile and exposed roof structure, the famous song, ‘California Dreamin’ may pop into your head. Once past the period profile, the inside highlights a beautifully bright open plan living area/dining room which has been destined for contemporary excellence. 37 Anderson Street in Newport really showcases how a captivating silhouette can often leave no hint of the modern tale which often lies beyond.

Never before and never again will you see an 1856 Williamstown timepiece so  exceptionally designed and luxuriously appointed. Opening into a secret world with a dual personality (period & contemporary), two eras unite sensationally in this dress circle setting. Other noteworthy features of the 1850s home included a lush backyard with a mezzanine, evaporative cooling, hydronic heating, NSW gum spotted timber floors and a luxurious kitchen. 41 Electra Street, Williamstown sold in 2013 for $1.901 million.

“How beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterward”- Spanish Proverb. Reflecting designer Spanish flair, made even more seductive by its contemporary renovation, this city edge retreat positioned at 22 Madden Street, Maidstone conveyed a compelling environment.

How do you capture the essence of sleek family living? While a series of period beauties line the established streetscape, one sleek family retreat at 21 Oakbank Street in Newport stands out for a number of reasons. Past the front door stretches the inviting glossy surface of wooden floorboards and flawless, light-filled interiors bolsters its chic appeal.

With a rich naval past, this Victorian Cottage takes its place amidst a quiet streetscape and has only become more desirable with the passage of time. Past the traditional facade, the engaging character of a bygone era is complemented by the enduring appeal of light-filled, renovated spaces decked out in contemporary style.

Based on these beautiful observations as sited above, it raises the question of what sort of renovation is best for you? So how do you strike the perfect renovation balance in period homes and achieve a clever turnaround while keeping a dose of its romance? You can create a stunning work of architecture from even the most tired home by knowing when to add and when to subtract. These basic tips will help you stay on course when renovating the golden oldie:

1. Properties that are heritage-listed by governments have restrictions so check on these before signing anything or undertaking any improvements.

2. Consider the light. The priorities in renovating older-style homes are to get rid of long hallways, make rooms and windows bigger, make the house more open and free-flowing, create indoor-outdoor living spaces and improve thermal comfort.

3. Don’t be too radical or you may end up with a dog’s breakfast. Update and modernise by all means but stick to a unified theme and plan ahead. Read magazines, learn as much as you can about the style of your property and consider consulting an interior designer.

4. Consider colour carefully. Colour schemes are an important part of a period home and renovators should choose their tones carefully when repainting. Also notice differences state to state. Popular colours for 1950s homes in Victoria may be quite different in Sydney, or Perth, even if the architectural styles are similar.

5. It’s important when undertaking any renovation that licensed and suitably experienced tradies are engaged and appropriate pre-qualification should be completed prior to engaging the tradies.

6. Ask agents how much the house will be worth at today’s value if it was renovated. This will give you a clear idea how much it is worth spending on the property. Once you have a budget, stick to it.

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