Of the many homes I have visited, many of which have been absolutely stunning, this is by far the grandest. Carinya epitomises Upper North Shore Federation gloriousness – it is enormous, retains all of its heritage-protected features, and is very exclusive. Amazingly, you would not necessarily realise the estate was there – its 102 metre frontage gives the impression that you’re walking past a well-heeled school, or several different houses (which, to some extent, you are, as Carinya offers two houses over three titles).
There are so many notable aspects of this house that I almost feel like I have to list them in dot point form. The fully-established English garden – boasting crabapple trees, magnolia trees, its own orchard (which produces mandarins, oranges and lemonade fruit. The latter is a sweet version of lemon that tastes like lemonade – I didn’t realise before visiting the house that such a fruit exists, and now that I do, I am desperate for my own lemonade tree), and an impressive enclosed vegetable patch that offers protection from possums – is enchanting.
The interiors offer an impressive, granite-lined entry foyer; soaring ceilings; smartly painted rooms that highlight the ornate ceiling details and picture rails; bay windows; large, modernised bathrooms; functioning, gorgeous fireplaces; detailed archways; stunning chandeliers; and timber floorboards. My favourite room of the house is the formal living room, which has the most impressive ceiling I have ever viewed – its fine embellishment is accented by royal cream, red and blue, and its championship motif is continued throughout the room’s cedar cabinetry.
Formal living area
The billiards room is another sight to behold – the room is an authentic heritage cigar room, offering an original billiards table (which is marbled to the timber floor), as well as the original scoring board and an ornately detailed backgammon table. The new kitchen is located within the house’s east-facing sunroom, and offers every possible luxury – two ovens, a six burner stove top, a hand-crafted tile splashback with a butterfly motif, lime-coloured Corian benchtops (which complement the subtle cream cupboards) and a Tasmanian Oak benchtop on the kitchen island. In addition, the house has a fully equipped, professional-standard office, which has timber partitions for different workstations and a glass panelled enclosed office for private meetings. I have never seen such an elaborate office in a house before – in fact, it is more elaborate than some of the offices I’ve worked in as a law student.
There are two stairways leading down to the lower level, which offers some of the house’s best treasures, including a cellar with an external entry for deliveries, an expansive ballroom with a wet bar (which is also a fully equipped kitchen), a gym and an exquisite powder room.
The house’s grounds have been designed for serious entertaining – there is a championship-sized tennis court and an incredible cabana and pool area. The cabana, which possesses the same style of Federation tiling as the house’s veranda, includes a sauna, bathroom, wet bar and barbecue, and includes an exquisite headlight window that was originally in the ceiling of the main house’s entry foyer. The large saltwater tiled pool is surrounded by sandstone paving, completing the entertaining area’s high-end look.
There is also an additional, fully equipped house that mirrors the tiling, sandstone pillars and intricate air vents of the main house. The second home can be used as a live-in nanny’s quarters, to house in-laws or for a very lucky teenager or university student.
The essence of the house’s perfection is that it marries finely detailed Federation features with extensive contemporary inclusions, so that the house retains its historic value while offering an entirely modern standard of living. And what a standard it is – it is increasingly rare to see properties of this calibre and size on the market in Sydney.