The current owner of this Ascot Vale property, Renata Slusarski, designer and co-director of BiGfiSh Workshop in Footscray, was initially hesitant to move to Ascot Vale. 28 years ago the suburb was very different to the vibrant spot it is today, but Renata and her late husband, Michael Blunden, quickly grew to love the area.
Initially the house was Renata and Michael’s rental, which they went on to buy in 1997. Utilising their skills as designer and builders, the couple later undertook a major renovation, with the help of structural engineer Peter Felicetti, and architect Steven Swain (then a graduate architect working at DKO Architecture).
The period features in the original 1883 rooms were retained, joined by an eclectic, new extension.
‘By the time we were in a position to renovate and extend, we had lived in the house for 15 years, and knew pretty much what would work and what wouldn’t,’ says Renata. ‘We kept the four original Victorian front rooms which were generously proportioned and had lovely detailing, but we were very happy to say goodbye to the rest of the house which featured a 1970s home handyman renovation heaving with badly-made pine features and trim!’
Renata and Michael were refining the design and build of the chandeliers for the Melbourne Recital Centre with ARM Architecture at the time of building, so they knew their way around beautiful timber and laminates, which feature throughout. ‘We had to have timber ceilings too!’ Renata says. ‘With a well-equipped workshop in Footscray, we were able to build many of the features including the exposed steel work, some cabinetry, the suspended timber shelving in the dining room, and the timber cladding in the main bedroom.’
With the family’s youngest son now moved out of home, Renata says it’s time to pass the baton onto new home owners.
‘I will miss the comfort and consideration that went into the design… It can provide a private haven for my family one moment and then expand to accommodate a dozen people and their dogs,’ she says. ‘The heated slab floor with its gentle and consistent warmth is something I will miss every day, especially in winter.’
Renata hopes the new owners will love the home as much as she and her family have, for almost three decades.
54 Munro Street, Ascot Vale, Victoria will be sold via auction Saturday 13th March at 2pm by Liz Brettell and Jayson Watts of Nelson Alexander. For more information, see the full listing.