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

268 Belmont Street, Alexandria

 
Alexandria. So many things to say! I used to live in this suburb, so I hunted down a home there to feature on the blog. My intention was to find a Victorian terrace or worker’s cottage to explore, since these characterise pockets of the suburb (as do apartment blocks, old and, mostly, new). This home, which is on one of Alexandria’s best streets, is a very worthy modern version of one. In fact, I was tricked by it and thought it was one until I was up close to the frontage, and I rarely make that mistake! I don’t normally like contemporary interpretations of heritage designs, but this home is impressive, particularly as it complements the streetscape – a vital quality, in my mind.

 

 

The houses in Alexandria (excluding the apartments) are generally worker’s cottages – mostly small, with few of the exquisitely large terraces in wealthier suburbs like Paddington. Its history is intriguing as it was extremely industrial, and much of the area’s southern end remains that way (although it’s had Bourke Street Bakery for years, and more recently Sonoma) – it therefore didn’t necessarily have the same ‘sordid’ past as surrounding neighbourhoods going through similar processes of gentrification such as Waterloo and Redfern. It was strictly a working class suburb, though, and for awhile it stagnated while its northern neighbours began to be lavished with attention. That’s changed, though – the suburb is now strictly trendy, although you’ll find it’s cheaper to buy into its southern end. On that note, it’s a pretty substantial suburb – its northern edge is four kilometres from the city and its southern end snakes down to Mascot, around seven kilometres away from the CBD.

 

 

This home ticks a hefty box by offering four bedrooms, three bathrooms and two carspaces – this is something that most of the older homes in Alexandria won’t offer, so you can see the different ways in which old and new have appeal! These days, we’re slightly more conscious of light than the Victorians (thank god, because I need natural light in indoor spaces), and the home is also built in an efficient way, offering space and storage by using areas that are normally wasted.

 

The main bedroom.

 

The home is currently on the market, as is its neighbour, for $1,350,000. If you are keen (or if you are house hunting at the moment, clearly a favourite hobby of mine), you’re probably thinking about home loans (or you have an impressive amount of wealth, and I am seriously jealous) – so mortgage comparison tools can be helpful (I’m a big fan of sizing up the competition, whether deciding on flights or fake tan brands for my crazily pale complexion). These cute terraces are definitely a good step for the suburb – I’m happy to see that its heritage is finally being respected and celebrated, as I was a little scared that it would become completely dominated by unremarkable modern apartment blocks…

 

 

My favourite room!

Willandra House, Ryde

 

This Georgian house at Ryde is very imposing on Victoria Road, so I stopped by to have a look. A knock at the door produced no results, but at least we can appreciate its magnificent exterior. It was built around 1841 by a local magistrate, according to the City of Ryde, which now owns the property. The council describes the home as being in fair condition, with most of its features intact.

 

 

Ryde District Historical Society and the City of Ryde Art Society now use the site. Unsurprisingly, it was once on a much larger plot, which has been progressively subdivided over the past two centuries. Like many historical houses, it’s had an at times turbulent history – for a period it was used as the grounds of a service station! … Because that’s appropriate. Luckily, Sydney now acknowledges the significance of heritage buildings; there was a period in the mid-to-late twentieth century in which no one seemed to care either way.

 

 

It’s a true beauty – the popping red is instantly recognisable from the busy main road and the rear of the house, with two adjacent wings, shows off its size and character. It’s located in Ryde, a middle class suburb in Sydney’s northern suburbs (wedged between the north shore and the north west) that boasts many of the city’s best historical homes due to its background as one of the area’s earliest commercial hubs.

 

 

View of the Parramatta River