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Wattle Road

In the late 1850s the two Crown allotments either side of what is now Wattle Road were together known as German Paddock, reflecting the fact that the first European owners were German immigrants with farms and market gardens including vineyards. The lane between the two blocks became German lane until a petition from fourteen residents in October 1860 requested that the road be properly made and named Weinberg Road ; 'weinberg' being German for vineyard. In 1916, when the farms had been replaced with houses, post war anti-German feeling led to the change to Wattle Road .

18 Wattle Road , a slate-roofed brick Victorian villa with verandah and bay window, is thought to be designed by George Johnson for law stationer Alfred Harston when both were councillors of Hawthorn in 1871. In rate records of 1877 it is shown as the home of lawyer William Davidson.

By the time the current owners acquired the property in 1999, the house had already undergone a number of renovations, the most recent of which was in the 1970s. It was decided to remove an earlier single storey rear extension and renovate to meet the needs of the current family. Architect Nicholas Gioia was briefed to design a light and airy two level extension not visible from the front of the house, which would result in six bedrooms with a number of distinct zones for parents, children and guests with a shared family room.

The front formal rooms to the left of the front door comprise a sitting room and dining room divided by a large doorway. Redecoration, involving new cornices, window treatments and painting in green shades, has produced elegant results. The chinois inspired blinds allow plenty of northern light through the large full length bay window. To the right of the entrance is a study, again featuring a full length original window.

Next down the hall on the right is the main bedroom. From the cellar in this room can be seen the original bluestone footings. Across the hall, a bedroom has been converted to a dressing room and bathroom for the main bedroom. Another bathroom is down a few steps to the right and is now mainly for the use of guests, with a guest bedroom to the left. The end of this section of the hall marks the limit of the original house.

The hallway now continues down steps to a new kitchen, meals and family area, with stairwell to the children's rooms, play area and bathroom upstairs. On the right before the family area, is a bathroom intended for users of the backyard with its pool and mod-grass tennis court.

The owners' desire for light has been spectacularly achieved, principally through the north facing windows and skylights at the top of the stairwell, large french doors across the back and east facing windows above the kitchen cupboards. The open area with its neutral uncluttered décor (note the concealed fridges) and timber flooring in honey tones enhance the feeling of light and space. A large laundry with drying cupboard is to the left.

These notes have been prepared with the kind assistance of the owners and from local history materials in the Hawthorn Library, principally the works of Gwen McWilliam.