Ok so clearly, I spend a significant chunk of my of time in beautiful Australian homes these days... but I must say, this seriously stunning house in Melbourne's Princes Park is the closest I have come to visiting my own 'dream home'! It's quite simply the most classic, beautiful, gigantic yet unassuming and relaxed family home, in one of Princes Hill's prettiest wide leafy streets, just a stone's throw from the city. Aghhh I truly wish this one belonged to me!
Barbara Hyman has lived here for 4 years with husband Ben and kids Conor (12), Lola (10) and Sunny (almost 5). The family were lucky to inherit a house which had already undergone significant renovation - allowing Barbara to focus most of her attention on the garden and interior details. Barbara put in a beautiful and positively Sydney-esque swimming pool, and invested in landscaping and a new pergola in the backgarden. She also worked to 'de-beige' the house by painting throughout, pulling out unnecessary cupboards, and installing simple chunky solid oak shelving from Mark Turkey. Carpet in the bedrooms was replaced and extra wide oak floorboards were salvaged and installed - they came all the way from Sydney! Well worth the effort I must say - these wide blonde boards are such a defining feature of the space.
I must say, the main drawcard of this home is the stunning and very generous contemporary extension at the rear of this house - it is truly just about the loveliest addition I have seen to a Victorian home in Melbourne. It's understated yet vast in scale - the wide hallway is flanked by numerous light wells and internal courtyards, and the ceilings are out-of-this-world tall (like I think truly 4 metres high or something). Meanwhile, the pretty Victorian frontage gives none of this away! Standing at the front door you really wouldn't have a clue just how spectacularly grand this home is beneath the surface - a beautiful example of the most sympathetic renovation and modern update of a period family home.
Barbara has filled her home with a mix of antiques and simple contemporary furniture, beautiful warm-toned rugs and treasured artwork. 'Everything has a story around it' says Barbara. 'The carpet under the dining table is a very special memory of my 40th birthday trip to Morocco with a friend'. Likewise, Barbara has a special fondness for the pool tiles (pictured at the bottom of this post). After seeing these particular tiles in a photograph of her sister in law on holiday in Italy ('at some groovy hotel pool in Ravello!' she says) - Barbara tracked them down and found someone locally who could import them.
When asked what she loves most about this home, not surprisingly, Barbara has quite a few favourite features - 'The vista to 'green' wherever you are in the house... being able to see nothing but blue sky in the back yard, which is so rare in the inner city - and my son and daughter love the extra wide, long corridor for indoor cricket!'. WOW. Very brave Barbara! I hope it's a squishy cricket ball!??
Now as seems to be quite common amongst TDF house tours of late, you will be amazed to hear that Barbara's house will be on the market soon. HEARTBREAKING, isn't it!? HOW on earth one could bear to part with this kind of residential bliss in beyond me. It isn't listed online just yet, but if you have a budget for this kind of enviable lifestyle, you can jump the gun by emailing the agent now. Make sure you tell him where you saw it and perhaps he'll send me a bottle of champagne or something. :)
Massive thanks to Barbara and sweet Sunny for their patience and hospitality during our visit, and sharing their world with us today!