A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.

‘Wahgunyah’, 32 Stanton Road, Mosman

 

Before I launch into this, a little note: Word Press is not doing any of the things it is supposed to do. As a result, the pictures are not positioned as I would like them to be. But I turned 24 this week, and with age comes maturity, wisdom and, of course, jadedness. So we will all have to live with the positioning of the photos.

 

Mosman is, obviously, one of Sydney’s foremost blueblood suburbs, and its real estate reflects that. Enter 32 Stanton Road, which sits on the slope towards Balmoral Beach on a reasonably generous 845 sqm block – a Victorian gem with water views, an immaculate renovation and the requisite entertaining area that I seem to seek out in every house I blog about. Oh, plus it has a library.

 

 

The house is located in the Balmoralish part of Mosman (Mosman is enormous. I live here at the moment, and it is the biggest suburb I believe I have ever been in – although this, of course, has a well-documented history), which is a sweet spot given it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Sydney, for my money, and is also handily close to Mosman village and Chinamans. According to Savills’ 4Q14 Sydney resi ‘Spotlight’ report, Mosman was the fifth most expensive suburb in Sydney as at June 2014, with a median price over $2.3 million and non-waterfront houses fetching in the $2-$9 million range. Why this is is self-explanatory, but here I go anyway; serious prestige, proximity (8km) to the Sydney CBD, some of the world’s most spectacular views, esteemed private schools, a Chargrill Charlie’s…the list of assets goes on.

 

Master bedroom.

 

The home has been renovated accordingly, with French doors leading out to a sandstone deck facing the pool and beach views. The renovation has preserved the exquisite ornate fireplaces and other details, like the cornices, while providing the house with an airy, contemporary feel through the contrast of light walls and dark timber floorboards.

 

Up for a nip of cognac in the library? (Is cognac a thing that adults drink? In libraries? Is it served in a 'nip'?)

 

The house is going to auction this weekend, and one of the features that will surely pique punters’ interest is the DA it has for a second storey, which would allow the owner to further capitalise on the views. That said, with five bedrooms, room for two cars and a manicured garden looking over one of the world’s most lauded harbour beaches, it’s a worthy contender just as it is.

 

Darlinghurst

 

Darlinghurst terraces… yes, yes, yes. This lovely number is on a quiet street near Darlo Bar. Its super cool owners bought it two years ago at an excellent price, which is rare given the inner east isn’t known for its buyer-friendly trading terms. There are several reasons underlying my love for this terrace; prime location, thorough renovation job completed by the former owners, scale (three storeys), and entertaining areas. I love a quality entertaining area.

 

 

The best features of the place have been retained – ceiling rosettas and fireplaces, for starters – but the house was also substantially remodelled to suit contemporary family living. The interior walls on the ground level were demolished, improving light and creating an open plan living/dining/kitchen space. Light was an obvious focus of the renovation, with a glass ‘atrium’ style feature on the ground level near the back courtyard exit and the kitchen lined with windows.

 

 

 

The search took a year, “I was just looking around and waiting for the right opportunity to come up.” The owner ended up buying while overseas, with his father his rep at the auction.

 

 

This house is tall. Two bedrooms are on the second level, as well as the bathroom, with the sweet master bedroom commanding the top floor.

 

Guest bedroom.

 

 

My favourite room in the house is the master. It occupies the entire top floor and leads out to a well-manicured courtyard with district views (the second courtyard; there’s also a sizeable one on the ground floor at the back of the house). Basically, this is another excellent party house. And party houses are my favourite kind of house. It’s a family house, too, though, that’s been well cared for and fit out with careful attention paid to detail. The master, to borrow a real estate ad term, is ‘bathed in natural light’, and has been prettily put together in neutral tones with the odd splash of colour.

The Entrance…kinda

 

Okay, so it’s been … three months. Or thereabouts. Not great form. I apologise. I apologise also for such a lazy-ass post. But I had to get something on the screen, man. And this is the best I could do when contending with all the things that take up the days. Like hangover recoveries, eating hummus out of the container ’cause there are no crackers in my apartment, pissing off neighbours by playing music too loudly and watching Reservoir Dogs. Et cetera.

 

I wanted to bring you a sunsoaked vision of one of the less-than-amazing suburbs near where I grew up, The Entrance. My brilliant sister summed up the area pretty well: “I’m pretty sure The Entrance is where the rainbow ice cream flavour was invented.” That and the lower back tattoo.

 

So, on this particular day, I dragged my mother and sister to this place in order to take some photographs. “But why?” My mother asked. Good question, mum. Always listen to your mother, folks.

 

The problem, as it turned out, was rather than boasting charming Australiana beach shacks and apartment blocks with excellent old fonts spelling out names like ‘Beachcomber’ like the ones you see in Manly, The Entrance (on NSW’s Central Coast, in case you don’t know) doesn’t really have much of architectural value. So you know. I snapped these. I wrote a bit. And I’ll be back with something better. But in the meantime, this post stands as a testament of some sort to the average Australian suburb with nothing to offer. Yeah, I knew I’d be able to spin something out of this.

 

Of course, while dragging half my family around, my DSLR ran out of battery. This is unsurprising as I can’t actually recall having charged it since I returned from Europe. In April. I then discovered my second best option – my phone – was in the car. After I stopped hyperventilating from the realisation that a) I’d been separated from my phone for a good ten minutes and b) I would continue to be separated from it for at least another fifteen, I borrowed my mum’s phone, took a couple more shots, grumbled words like “hole” and “waste of time”, then left. And now I bring the truly glorious results of that to you.

 

Seriously, though, this place is pretty cool. Especially if you like right angles. And dolphins.

 

14 Wolaroi Crescent, Tamarama

 

I don’t usually use a non-house shot as the lead but I mean…c’mon. It’s a helluva view. This place is on a particularly private little street in Tamarama, perched above the beach with jaw-dropping views from each level. And there be a number of levels.

 

Tamarama, as I’m sure you know, is one of Sydney’s most highly sought after beaches. It’s a jewel in the east’s crown. It and Bronte, which is right next door. As an aside, something I noticed when I was there to photograph this house is there is a disproportionately high amount of very attractive men there on Saturday mornings. I feel like that’s important to note.

 

 

It’s a classic ‘Sydney eastern beaches’ beach house, by which I mean it’s big, built to capitalise on the views, and perfect to party in. Glamorous, is what I’m getting at (I’ve veered away from calling it Glamorama but…oops, there I go). It was rebuilt a decade ago and is now designed in a vertical fashion with wide open spaces and expanses of glass. The vistas are the focal point, and the architecture complements that. White features heavily, which is ideal in a place built for the sun and sand.

 

It feels like summer when you walk in, basically, and that appeals to me as I hate winter and am desperately waiting for its end. It’s also on the market. If you buy it, please invite me to the housewarming. I’ll bring cheap wine. My usual.

 

 

 

I love this bathroom. The exposed brick was covered in the rest of the house but kept in the main en suite, which gives it a bit of an edgy Brooklyn feel…yep, that's a thing.

 

 

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

It’s been a while, kids. I unreservedly apologise.  But hey, I have a nice shiny new post for you on Kuala Lumpur, and that’s got to garner some excitement, right? Because KL, like most of Asia, is exciting, friends.

 

Now, this is a bit of a cheat post, since it’s more ‘stuff I saw in KL’ than ‘houses I saw in KL’, but it’s inspired by buildings and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to head out to the suburbs in search of residential inspiration (and wouldn’t have trusted a cab to get me there, anyway).  If you’re interested, the New York Times has this intriguing article into KL’s houses – tip: it’s more expensive than you might think to buy into.

 

 

 

KL is hot. Virtually always. Which is awesome. God damn, I love the heat. Sydney winter is cold. Please, stop being so cold. Please. It’s kind of Singapore’s scruffy sibling. It doesn’t like bathing quite so much, and it’s a bit rowdier. The national obsessions are clear – food and shopping. Architecture does, however, feature, especially in the city’s temples and mosques. In addition, it’s home to Petronas Towers. Not so much my kind of thing, but it deserves a mention.

 

Tabung Haji is my favourite ‘major’ building in the city – an Islamic Modernist structure that dominates the block it’s on and is plain interesting to look at.

 

Tabung Haji

 

Most of my shots were taken walking through one of the city’s ‘eat streets’ – Jalan Alor – and Chinatown (Petaling Street). What interested me more than the hawker stalls (my feeble stomach and love of hygiene do not translate into ‘avid street food fan’) were the apartment blocks looming on either side of them, and the layout of the restaurants tucked behind the carts.

 

Petaling Street.

 

Flashing lights on Petaling Street.

 

So far this year, you’ve had posts on Singapore, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Malaysia. I hope to continue The House Hunter’s world domination soon.