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Sigrid Thornton’s Amazing Inner-Melbourne Compound Is For Sale!

On The Market

If the walls of this unique North Melbourne property could talk, they’d share stories of the many Australian entertainment legends who have frequented the grounds, starting with the owner and SeaChange actress, Sigrid Thornton.

Sigrid and her husband, producer Tom Burstall, bought the original circa 1880s stables on a double block in the late 1970s, which they converted into their two-storey home with the help of acclaimed architect, Suzanne Dance.

The couple later purchased its single-fronted Victorian cottage neighbour, combining the two properties into a sprawling compound across a corner block with an enchanting, tiered garden overlooking Pleasance Gardens.

Four decades on, it’s time for new owners to make this one-of-a-kind, historic North Melbourne property their own.

29th September, 2022

The home of actress Sigrid Thornton and producer Tom Burstall is for sale at 2-4 Carroll Street, North Melbourne. Photo – Chris Alexander

The dining room, located in the converted 1880s stable on site. Photo – Chris Alexander

The living room. Photo – Chris Alexander

Acclaimed architect Suzanne Dance design the conversion of the stables in the late ’70s. Photo – Chris Alexander

 The design pays homage to the original timber features of the stable with a liberal use of western red cedar, tallowwood flooring, and kauri pine joinery. Photo – Chris Alexander

The second building on site is a single-fronted Victorian terrace that Sigrid and Tom purchased in the early ‘90s. Photo – Chris Alexander

The gorgeous tiered garden encompassing mature trees, paving, a fountain, and decking forms an integral part of the home. Photos – Chris Alexander

The original stables facade facing Carrolls Lane. Photo – Chris Alexander

The Victorian cottage facing Carroll Street. Photo – Chris Alexander

Across the combined 421 square metre site today are four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, and multiple living areas. Photo – Chris Alexander

Amelia Barnes
Thursday 29th September 2022

‘We will miss partying in the garden!’ – Sigrid Thornton

The circa 1880s building at 2-4 Carroll Street, North Melbourne has been horse stables, sausage factory, storage facility during World War II, and a plumbing workshop before its current life as a home.

SeaChange actress Sigrid Thornton and producer Tom Burstall purchased the property in 1977, converting it into their two-storey residence under the supervision of prominent local architect, Suzanne Dance.

Sigrid explains the backstory, ‘We were both really inspired by the possibilities the double block offered, providing optimum use of the garden with the building located on the eastern boundary. The unusual stables building had large spaces and openings on all sides creating light and volume. The bonus for us was an elevated position looking over the park to a beautiful square.’

A master carpenter who worked on Rippon Lea Estate was engaged to convert the former stables facing Carrolls Lane into the home you see today. The design pays homage to the original timber features of the former 1880s stable with a liberal use of kauri pine joinery, western red cedar, tallowwood, and kauri flooring.

Sigrid and Tom purchased the neighbouring single-fronted Victorian terrace in the early ‘90s, and, combined with the stables, created an L-shaped home facing a paved and tiered garden.

The garden encompasses mature trees, a fountain, and decking and is directly connected to several rooms — including a library and office areas — to form an integral part of the home. It’s been a hub in the creative life of Melbourne over the years and the site of many legendary get togethers attended by artists, actors, writers, and musicians.

Sigrid notes, ‘The interior living and working spaces flow through into the completely private garden and this operates as an atmospheric exterior living and entertaining area.’

Across the combined 421 square metre site (with two titles) today are four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, and multiple living areas. ‘As our lives changed and family came and went, the configuration has evolved accordingly,’ says Sigrid. ‘More recently, we have used the cottage wing’s creative spaces to develop film and television productions.’

After 40+ years in this property, Sigrid and Tom are selling their home with plans to downsize and travel. Mementos of their life here are embedded into the walls as tiles and artefacts, marking another bygone chapter in this historic property.

2-4 Carroll Street, North Melbourne VIC is listed with Nicholas West and Stephanie Hawke at Nelson Alexander and will go to auction on Saturday October 22 at 11:30am. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net