Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn Berkeley Street, Hawthorn

Berkeley Street, Hawthorn

This gracious, stately home sits comfortably in its formal garden setting, positioned well back from the road and shaded on one side by a large tree. With French doors opening to a shady verandah, and overlooking a manicured lawn, there is a quiet harmony between house and garden.

Thought to have been constructed in the 1940s, the house, originally known as "Welwyn", was built in the "Georgianesque" style. When the current owners bought it in 1998, they embarked on a renovation that would give the house more character, update and extend the interior and integrate it with its substantial garden surrounds. The small front windows were replaced with full length doors and a verandah added, giving the house an Early Colonial feel. The transformation has been so successful it is hard to imagine the house in its former austere state.

Despite its park-like setting, it is the interior of the house that unreservedly defines this home as a very English abode. Dark portraits hang on the walls of the entrance hall. Dating from the 17th and 18th Centuries, the rather stern faces belong to the owner's ancestors who settled in Ireland in the 1700s. Note the 1661 portrait of Thomas Maule. The actual cane he is holding is mounted on the wall directly below his painting.

Originally the entrance hall had dark wood panelling and along with the original exposed timber ceiling beams gave the house a dark, baronial feel. Also hanging in the entrance hall are two charming pencil drawings of the family estate - "Kilmacurragh" in County Wicklow - now a famed botanical garden. A third sits at the top of the stairs.

The staircase leads to four large bedrooms and a study. Only the ones at the front of the house are original. Downstairs, a spacious kitchen and living room look across to a gazebo and tennis court, unearthed and restored as part of the renovation. The pool - a new addition - sits along the northern boundary.

The sitting room opens off the entrance hall. A formal room, it is warm and welcoming, decorated with plump sofas, beautiful rugs, paintings, sculptures and artfully arranged groupings, including a pretty collection of enamel boxes. While much has been collected on travels, the house contains many inherited family treasures which have been handed down through the generations. The owner is the current custodian of these heirlooms which include books, silver and furniture, including an extraordinary wooden screen, decorated with ivory and mother of pearl.

Many of these gorgeous pieces have their own documented histories which can be traced back hundreds of years, providing a priceless glimpse into the family's past. Their display alongside more commonplace items creates a charming and uncontrived interior - a quintessentially English country home.