Properties just don’t get more impressive than this. Built in 1860 by renowned designer John Beswicke (responsible for a number of impressive builds including MLC, Hawthorn Town Hall, Auburn Rd shops and Dandenong Town Hall), this truly magnificent Victorian property is set on 2,483m2 in an exclusive pocket of Kew.
Once surrounded by an adjoining block of flats to the front and a cream brick dwelling close behind, this hidden gem has recently undergone a mini facelift – removing surrounding buildings, giving it the chance to breathe and reveal the beauty within. Where the block of flats once stood, we now see heritage arches and features that were long forgotten but so sorely missed and sort after.
After stumbling upon a photo negative of the house in its original state in a Beswicke book, our clients’ sole desire was and remains today, to restore this incredible property back to its former glory. It was always intended to be a slow burn – something that no party involved wanted to rush, especially our dedicated clients. As self-proclaimed perfectionists, they want to ensure that it is restored meticulously to the last detail. “Do it once and do it right” is their mantra.
Our goal for the front garden is to compliment the grandeur of the house – let the sheer impressiveness of the property speak for itself. Extensive research went into looking at how gardens of yesteryear in the area are today. Given the sheer size of the land, we deliberately chose to open up the façade (in contrast to how we often plant up against architecture to soften the hardscape). In its day, a central circular driveway would have taken pride of place in the front garden and trees would not have been planted between the road and the home. We chose to stay true to that era, albeit give it a modern twist. The driveway will be rectangular, still in a central position, accompanied by a large pond – with the intent that it will showcase impressive reflections of the house.
Cobble stones were chosen as a nod to times of old, contrasted with modern bluestone inlays. A wide solid pedestrian path has also been designed to allow our clients and their guests the comfort of not having to walk over the cobble stones when enjoying the property.
A grand water feature was finally added to the design to give a Romanesque feel.
The left side garden (city side) sees a transition from classic front garden to modern back. Our design allows for wandering through a cluster of Ornamental Pear (Pyrus Chanticleer) trees.
The right side garden will be a kitchen garden – with potted herbs, through bay hedges and include a breakfast table/entertaining area.
The transition through to the modern back garden sees an expanse of useable lawn, streamlined lap pool, tennis court and alfresco dining area. It’s a balancing act – of simple design and functional use. As with all of our designs, there is a focal point on the far side of the court than can be seen from within the house, to coax people out to enjoy the outdoors.
Our wonderful clients have come to us looking for a team that will join them on their quest for perfection – for us to create something that will not only complement the heritage of the house but bring it back to its glory days.
Although landscape construction is yet to commence for this beauty, we know that this project is a rare find and something that will be incredibly special to work on. We look forward to sharing our journey with you on this one!
Here are some images of demolition to date…