When it came to downsizing from the family Edwardian home in Monomeath Avenue, Canterbury, the owner had quite a particular and arguably paradoxical request. She needed a smaller property with more room to accommodate a small fleet of cars, including a couple of MGs she raced on weekends.
She stumbled on a colourful converted garment warehouse in Richmond that looked like it would fit the bill. The previous owner – who promoted punk bands in the 1980s and distributed music and videos, notably Japanese anime – had revamped the industrial factory into home and office.
But the three-storey building still needed attention. The building was dark and poky in some places, yet it gaped and was unwieldy in others. What’s more, the interior was a hotchpotch of styles with uncertain construction.
What began as minor surgery ended with a total makeover. ”It was a mess; the whole place didn’t flow,” says Richmond architect Craig Rossetti, who was called in to overhaul the joint.
From the relatively linear facade in Botherambo Street – which the property fronts, despite the street address being Wangaratta – there are few hints of the great job Rossetti has accomplished inside. However, some of the more curious features of the previous reno – such as the metal bamboo and Shinto temple entrance (re-coated in Hammertone enamel) and the manga art on the garage roller door – remain intact.
On the ground floor, a curving wall guides you past the first of two garages; a powder room; a lift; a large bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe, en suite and courtyard; an enormous home theatre; and a second larger courtyard, featuring a John Patrick-designed stepped tropical garden; and to a full-width back garage, boasting a four-vehicle double-level car stacker.
Up a level are two bedrooms, bathroom, laundry and open study – previously one open lounge – that flows into a single dining, kitchen and living area. Where once there was chunky timber and a void, there is now a corridor behind a sleek, curved glass-louvred wall. This leads, via a louvred walkway, to a private back bedroom suite, with walk-in wardrobe and en suite, overlooking the western courtyard (previously covered by a corrugated fibreglass roof and rickety bridge).
In place of a dim octagonal bedroom and compact sundeck on the second floor are a bright main bedroom with fireplace, enormous en suite and walk-in wardrobe as well as an airy retreat and, through bi-fold doors, a large deck with built-in barbecue, wet bar, spa, storage and sweeping views.
Top-notch materials – marble and travertine, ironbark and spotted gum as well as commercial-grade anodised aluminium, for example – and luxury touches (extensive home automation, multi-room video system, monitored security, zoned climate control) deliver comfort and quality throughout.
There’s also an emphasis on eco-friendly design – where the building acts as a thermal flue, pushing heat out the top – assisted by argon gas-filled double glazing, underground water tanks, solar panels for water and electricity, and cross-ventilation.
23 Wangaratta Street
5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 8 car spaces
Built 2010 (renovated)
Agent Abercromby’s, 9864 5300
Inspect 1-1.30pm, Saturday
Private auction March 6
Need to know:
Richmond median house price $803,500
Median apartment price $521,000
26 Mary Street, three-bedroom house, $850,000
Stawell Street, two-bedroom house, $725,000
Abinger Street, two-bedroom apartment, $585,000
Living in Tigerland:
Richmond and, more particularly, the Punt Road Oval have been home to the Tigers – the Richmond Football Club – for the past 128 years, although there was mention in the newspapers of a “Richmond team” dating to the 1860s. Originally a part of the Victorian Football Association, the team joined the Victorian Football League – now AFL – in 1908, winning the first of 10 premierships in 1920, with a second in 1921. The team’s last cup was in 1980 and ended a golden period for the Tigers, where the team bagged four premierships in a dozen years. Some of the Richmond greats include Jack Dyer, Kevin Sheedy, Ian Stewart, Royce Hart, Matthew Richardson and, of course, Tom Hafey.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.