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Yarra Street

Yarra Street is one of the oldest roads in Hawthorn. Local historian Gwen McWilliam notes that in the 1850's it was sometimes called Treacey's Road in reference to the owner of a tannery which operated near the river. Sir James Palmer, who resided at nearby Burwood later Invergowrie , asked that the street be made, as it would be used extensively as a landing place from boats and steamers in the Yarra in 1861 and plans of the time show it continuing to the river.

Yarra Street was built for a Thomas Sharp in 1872, one of the first houses built in the street following sale of lots in St James's Park estate (the land formerly belonging to the by then late Palmer) in 1871. Together with no. 22 next door, it was designed by Taylor & Conlan.

By the time the current owners acquired the property in 1998, the house had been stripped of its original Victorian features, converted into 5 self-contained apartments (each with a separate entrance) and was in a run-down state.

To return the house to a single dwelling, a decision was made to retain the external walls, adding /removing doors and windows where necessary, and to remodel within. Cleverly using the areas defined by the 5 flats, architect Joseph Toscano has designed a modern family home with distinct zones that take advantage of the northern sun. The current kitchen and family room, for example, is in the space formerly occupied by one of the flats.

A central space at the rear of the property between two of the flats lent itself naturally to the formation of a courtyard, a feature of Toscano's designs. Distinct living areas of the house come together through the courtyard. To one side are the children's rooms, bathroom and play area, opposite is the kitchen and family area, and to the front is the dining area, taking a central position in the house.

Some features of the influences on the property over time have been retained. The two front rooms, now a study and lounge room, have high Victorian ceilings. A small window in the pantry would appear to be from the 1920's. The steps up to the front door were reinstated having been discovered buried in the backyard.

The interior décor of the house is neutral and the furniture is modern reflecting a minimalist approach whilst accomodating family life. The flowing gallery spaces allow plenty of space for the display of artwork.

In keeping with the original building base, bluestone crazy-stone and paving has been used on the garage wall, external steps and courtyard paving. To give a consistent appearance to the house, all external walls have been rendered.