This house is as amazing as it appears to be from the street – an old mansion with a character-filled history, an exquisite representation of early Federation architecture, and a great opportunity to restore a Glebe landmark. The hard-worn rooms are fitting for Glebe, where once-grand terraces and Victorian homes were routinely left to fall into a sad state of disrepair before being revived by new-to-the-area professional couples (maybe they’ve been priced out of the north shore and eastern suburbs, or they could be part of a new upper-tax bracket group who wants to experience the ‘grittiness’ of the mostly gentrified inner-inner-west).
That renovation is presumably what is going to happen to this house, which is currently on the market (to be auctioned next week, with estimates around halfway between the suburb’s median and the highest sale price in the Glebe in the past twelve months). It needs it – as much as I tend towards peeling paint and retro tile arrangements over perfect limestone bathrooms and exquisite entry halls, there are some rooms on the second storey where I trod gingerly in case I fell through the floorboards (the house is said to be structurally sound, so this was mostly psychological – the bones of the house are good, which makes renovation a surface job). Many of the home’s features are so well maintained that, thankfully, it will be easy to preserve the house’s character and identity upon restoring it. Nevertheless, there is something to be said for the house’s raw ghostliness currently – you breathe in decades of life as you move through the rooms.
The house has all of the hallmarks of fine period architecture – the ceilings are soaring, the fireplaces are gorgeously ornate and the house’s front garden couldn’t be prettier. One thing it offers in spades is space – the rooms are huge, and there are many of them. I could’ve gotten lost in the place.
24 Glebe Point Road was first recorded as existing, according to the house’s heritage listing, in 1902. That seems about right – the house’s face appears to blend Victorian and Federation themes, although the exposed brick (rather than stucco coating) confirms its Federation background. The listing concludes that the house “is a rare, high quality, outstanding example of a highly intact original residential exterior and interior of high quality design with outstanding potential to be restored with minimum effort”. The steep gables, tessellated tiles and front verandah are given special in the mention in the listing, which makes sense as they, firstly, represent key period design features, and, secondly, are still in good order.
Walking through this property in original condition is worth it – faded grandeur has more character than a refashioned mansion, although it will make an exquisite home once restored; one to impress and inspire envy in guests. The house may seem eerie to some, but that tingly feeling of suspense you get before entering each room connects you with the house’s century of existence.