Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn

Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn

The revival of this magnificent heritage property has been keenly watched by many in the local area. While its much admired façade celebrates tradition, the revitalised interiors expertly fuse both quality craftsmanship and the latest in cutting-edge design.

Originally constructed in 1888 for James Westley (Mayor of Hawthorn from 1889-90), this home has a storied 130-year history, which saw it change hands among a number of society's elite, converted into apartments in the 1920s and returned to a single family home in 1974. Once an impressive example of traditional Italianate architecture, years of neglect resulted in this property becoming a shadow of its former grandeur.

In March 2017, new owners embarked on an extensive renovation project (completed in just 7 months) giving this property a new lease on life; its lovingly restored heritage features blended beautifully with the latest in modern design. The result is a grand, yet warm and personal, family home.

A carefully selected team of experts was engaged to deliver the project: Architects Accent on Design helping to rework the existing internal footprint; Russell Haythorn (Haythorn Builders) completing the building works (including fabricating the extensive joinery on-site with over 110 drawers); and Old Melbourne Plastering's Aaron Manson expertly restoring the incredible, intricate detail of the home's many mouldings, cornices and ceiling roses. Keen to get their hands dirty, the new owners also had an active involvement in the project, providing both hands-on building support and interior design functions - selecting all finishes, fittings and furnishings themselves.

Stripped of ageing exterior render, this landmark property now cuts a striking figure with its original moulded bluestone patina on show. It bears all the hallmarks of late Victorian architecture - hipped slate roofs, moulded brick chimneys, decorative iron trims, and a double-height canted bay window with cast-iron verandah. The reimagined interiors make good use of its grand proportions, including soaring ceilings, vast living areas and generous bedroom spaces.

An arched entry hall introduces the soft grey and white colour palette which forms the perfect backdrop for the many original, ornate features of the house. Stunning Mink Grey Oak flooring from Royal Oak runs throughout the lower level adding depth and texture and a show-stopping amethyst chandelier by Christopher Boots adds plenty of wow factor.

A home office to the left features a modern fit-out, with built-in cabinetry around the first of many original, unique fireplaces. To the right, the front sitting room presents a perfect balance of old and new - the beautifully restored heritage features and antique furnishings at home alongside custom joinery and modern art pieces.

The front 'ballroom' similarly showcases layers of traditional and contemporary detail. Works of many of the family's favourite artists line the walls here - and throughout the home - including Rone, Stormie Mills, Adnate and Hazel Dooney. Personal touches abound via the family's vast collection of eclectic ornaments and curios - and the centrepiece Edra 'On the Rocks' sofa cleverly selected for both form and function.

Impressive black geometric ‘leaf' chandeliers from Lights Lights Lights which, along with matching wall sconces and track lighting, feature throughout much of the property and work perfectly alongside intricate ceiling rose detail.

The master bedroom is luxurious, yet elegantly understated. An original marble fireplace upgraded to gas provides ambience at the foot of the bed, with its lush velvet and layers of cushions. Ample built-in storage frames the impressive bank of stunning leadlight windows - the undoubted feature of this space (and many other rooms in the house). A modern ensuite bathroom with terrazzo flooring and grey wall tiles is a stylish modern addition.

The powder room off the entry hall is an unexpected highlight, with its futuristic sparkling polycarbonate flower Kartell 'Bloom' pendant light and whimsical Fornasetti's Chiavi Segrete (secret keys) wallpaper.

An original L-shaped mahogany staircase lined with charcoal carpet leads up to the left of the entry hall. Upstairs are two more bathrooms, two generous bedrooms - complete with abundant built-in joinery - along with a study/TV den and a gym room; all featuring playful styling perfectly tailored to the family's teenage boys. A door off the landing provides access to the re-engineered upper balcony - which showcases the beautifully restored original ‘Richmond Fern' balustrade ironwork.

The home features all the mod cons - fully equipped laundry, heating and cooling. The tailor-made central ‘smart-hub' cabinet, designed by Anderson AVI to house all the home's technology needs, is something to behold.

The converted 1980s single level extension to the rear of the property houses an open plan lounge-kitchen-dining space which features modern luxuries that make this an inviting family zone. The kitchen (including walk-in butler's pantry) is sophisticated and spacious. Fitted out with Miele appliances, it features classic white shaker-style cabinetry and Caesarstone Rugged Concrete waterfall benchtops.

French doors at the rear lead out to a covered return porch and the large back yard, where the final stage of the project will see the construction of a pool, pool-house and garage space in 2019.


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