Fermanagh Road, Camberwell

Fermanagh Road, Camberwell

This family home has many unique features, and exhibits beautiful craftsmanship. It was built in 1916, but has been progressively renovated and extended by the current owners over 25 years.

The renovation started with the front part of the house, comprising two bedrooms and two sitting/ dining rooms and a bathroom. Many original features have been retained including the marble mantels to the fireplaces, the ornate plasterwork and the leadlight (around the front door and in a porthole from the main bedroom). Period features such as ceiling roses, wallpaper and Australian made friezes have also been added. In the hallway, Lincrusta dado walls have been added.

The surprising centrepiece of the house is the kitchen/ living area, which has a beautiful and unusual Kauri cathedral ceiling with dormer windows. The arches and ceilings were originally contained in the music room of a Brighton school which dated back to the 1880s. The owners saw the ceiling and had the foresight to imagine it in their home.

Brick walls were built and the ceiling was then brought in piece by piece by crane to be reassembled. There were minimal changes to the original ceiling, with only the addition of support beams (from which trapeze lights are now suspended) and a couple of extra skylights. Even the dormer windows at the top of the ceiling are mostly original.

The floorboards in the kitchen were also obtained from the Brighton school. The stools were originally sorting stools used by postmen and were bought in Ireland by the current owners.

Other features in the living area include the Belgian black limestone fireplace, and an overmantel which was sourced from Bendigo.

The kitchen/ living area leads out to a rear garden, containing an outdoor kitchen and plenty of bench seating. It is a very private and peaceful setting and the nearby Camberwell shops seem a world away. The tiered decking of the garden steps down to a beautiful and functional rotunda, which contains a further bedroom and ensuite. The rotunda was also constructed by the current owners and the roof has over 5000 terracotta shingles on it.

The rear garden is dominated by a large eucalypt and a golden elm tree. The golden elm tree was moved from elsewhere in the garden to its current position when the kitchen/ living area was constructed and has since thrived.

Upstairs was another part of the renovations undertaken by the owners. The two bedrooms, living area and bathroom were built into the old roofspace and dormer windows were inserted in keeping with the original design. From the upstairs rooms, there are lovely views of the windows in the cathedral ceiling above the living area.

Much of the detailed cabinetry throughout the house has been done by the owners, as they used to own a joinery. This includes the stairs, the bathroom cabinetry and the cupboards in the main bedroom.

At the front of the home, the driveway contains cast-iron tiles amongst travertine tiles. The cast-iron tiles are a reproduction of tiles used in a dairy in England. They provide a non-slip surface and are yet another example of the clever ideas and lateral thinking used by the owners in renovating their home.