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

Various, Cremorne Point

I really hope that one day I become the kind of person who lives in a place like this.

 
Can you smell the sweet, sweet scent of prestige? That’s Cremorne Point for you. You know the people who traveled first class on the Titanic? The people who live at Cremorne Point are the modern-day equivalent of them. That sounds more dire than intended (I’m sure the suburb isn’t sinking). The point I’m trying to make is: woah wealth. The suburb is around 6km from the CBD and is smack bang on the harbour. It has a ferry wharf, making it even cooler. I couldn’t find anything more recent in my five minutes of research, but according to Property Observer Cremorne Point was the sixth most expensive apartment market in Sydney in 2012…just a random fact reaffirming my ‘this is an expensive suburb’ thesis.

 

 

I’ve been a bit slack lately and haven’t explored a house, but since I was in the area I thought I’d snap some pictures of the fairly amazing houses and apartment buildings dotted along the foreshore of this suburb. Hopefully that will tide you over.

 

 

The view isn’t bad, either. Incidentally, I think the shed in the above photo might be the same one that’s the subject of this article? Fun fact: I was eleven when that article was written. Half the age I am now. Ah, nostalgia.

 

 

Although this set of apartments comes from a later era than most of the places in the suburb, I really like the formation/symmetry/pattern.

 

Cremorne Point is also home to my favourite Sydney pool. It's right on the harbour. Perfection.

15 McLeod Street, Mosman

I love terraces. My fascination with them was one of the reasons I started this blog. What makes featuring this house so interesting is that I was able to explore a pretty rare Victorian terrace – one located at Mosman. Mosman isn’t renowned for terrace housing. It has short semis, large (super-large, oh-man-why-can’t-I -afford-a-place-like-this?-large) Federations and modern homes, but to be honest I didn’t even know it had terrace stock (and I love finding out new things about Sydney’s architecture). There are some suburbs in the lower north shore where terraces are bordering on common (Neutral Bay, Waverton, Kirribilli, McMahons Point), but this isn’t one of them.

 

 

So this place excites me.

 

It’s three storey and right near Mosman Bay, one of the suburb’s most coveted spots. Mosman, for the record, is pretty massive (it’s divided up into unofficial precincts), and the sections near Mosman Bay and Avenue Road are very pretty and worth a walk, if you don’t know the area.

 

The house is mostly unrenovated (one of its bathrooms has been updated), but that’s one of its best features – firstly as I love looking at homes in original/semi-original condition, and secondly as it means the character has been retained (there’s nothing sadder than a terrace that has had all its trimmings ripped out and is just a modern husk). There are multiple ornate fireplaces and lightfittings, plus the original floorboards, high patterned ceilings and sash windows.

 

It’s an end terrace, which means that it has more light (and space) than your average terrace – makes renovating easier, as the main priority when reconfiguring a terrace is often getting access to more light. The floorplan is closed, and I imagine that the downstairs living/kitchen areas will be opened up, leading onto a timber deck facing the direction of the harbour. There is a second kitchen in an upstairs bedroom that I presume will be pulled out when the house is renovated. The current staircase is narrow and tall. The fact the terrace already has two bathrooms, an internal laundry and parking (…just try to park nearby for any significant amount of time and you’ll see how useful this is) is handy as it means that renovation can be focused primarily on restoration, especially if the new owners don’t choose to dramatically change the floorplan (and I’d argue that the floorplan only really requires substantial alteration on the ground floor).

 

On the property side of things, I found 15 McLeod Street as it’s on the market. It’s for sale (not auction) for around $1.4m, which, given the fact it’s such a unique find in such a covetable location, makes it well worth scoping out for anyone looking in the area, in my mind.

 

Disappointingly, I couldn’t find this terrace on the heritage register. I find this a really strange omission given there are houses far less worthy of conservation that have the notation. I’m confident that its new owners will keep it mostly intact, but I hope they keep ahold of all the little bits and pieces that make character homes so … well, characterful. When polished, this house will be seriously amazing, and even moreso if all the intricate details it has now are still there at the end.

 

Two sets of French doors lead out to the front terrace from one of the bedrooms.

 

 

Just one of the many excellent fireplaces still on display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/4 Richmond Avenue, Cremorne

 

This one’s exciting. Seriously exciting. Take a nip of brandy and get comfortable, because this is one you’re going to savour. It’s a duplex in Cremorne – and oh, wow, what a duplex. This is the kind of place that prompted me to start this blog in the first place – it’s stare-worthy, mesmerising, in its way.

 

Let’s get some initial facts out of the way: a two bedroom, one bathroom, one carspace lower duplex at Cremorne, with a sizeable terrace and around 100 square metres of interior space. It was built in the 1940s, and it’s fairly clear it’s had no renovation work done since. The property is located on the north side of Cremorne, perched on a high-up street that offers nice district views.

 

Now to the good stuff: photographs.

 

 

As an aside, this home was extremely difficult to photograph as it was packed full of potential renovators. It’s on the market and there is serious competition. Disappointing for me, as in my pipe dream fantasy land in which I have enough money to make another property purchase, I was very keen on this one. In any case, it’s popular. I’m impressed that people see the magic of the place, although I also hope that its character is retained.

 

Speaking of character, it has 1940s charm in spades. The curved wall in the above photo is a prime example, as is the fireplace in the living area you’ll see below.

 

 

The bathroom is a particular treasure, but also is the room that probably requires the most work. It’s in a parlous state, and is a tad spooky to stand in, but is somehow, at the same time, utterly gorgeous. The Art Deco-ish yellow tile/sea green combination is actually so catching that I’d consider reviving it in the restoration – even if that means gutting the bathroom and ‘re-doing’ it in its former style. It was once a very handsome mid-century bathroom, and now it has a totally different type of appeal.

 

 

 

The floors are timber, and are in better condition in some rooms than others. The living room is the best example of this, and is also probably the room that’s in the best condition. It occupies prime position at the front of the duplex, and leads out onto an expansive terrace.

 

 

The living area is also a good example of how the home would feel as a ‘lived in’ property, as it’s the only space with a notable amount of furniture – all of which, pretty and charming, suits the property perfectly. The fireplace appears to be in outstanding condition.

 

One door leads to a sunroom, the other to the terrace.

 

Sunroom.

 

Eerily beautiful.

 

The kitchen is a retro fan’s fantasy, right down to the seriously awesome oven, which epitomises the mid-century appliance design ethos. Kitchens have always been important, but it seemed like it was mid-century in Australia that they really took off as the ‘heart’ of the home, forming the nucleus of a family’s social activity.

 

 

Can whoever renovates this house please donate this oven to me?

 

The bedrooms follow the same trend as the rest of the home – timber floors with peeling paint. The rooms are generously proportioned, and have high ceilings (always a massive plus on this blog).

 

One bedroom.

 

The other bedroom.

 

This home is a renovator, and it’s a thrilling prospect because it gives the lucky owner the opportunity to restore it and frame it with their own character. However, I’m happy I’ve had the chance to preserve it in its current form, which presents a type of exquisiteness that’s impossible to replicate.

31 Euroka Street, Waverton

 

This is a sweet little semi dating from around the 1860s in a fairly private little corner of the lower north shore, Waverton. The suburb, along with Wollstonecraft, is a good buy as the properties tend to be a bit cheaper than the surrounding neighbourhoods, such as McMahons Point. What it lacks in mansions it makes up for in history, views and, to quote The Castle, serenity.  Reason enough to visit, in my book, but the main drawcard was the fact that one of Australia’s most celebrated (and perhaps the most celebrated, when it comes to prose, sharing the poetry stage with Banjo Paterson) authors lived here, Henry Lawson.

 

The living room

 

Lawson, who was born in a goldfields town, lived in several houses on Euroka Street, and settled in North Sydney. A Campfire Yarn and A Fantasy of Man, which I read as a child when my grandad loaned me the volumes,  capture Australian life, and particularly the reality of outback living, more honestly than any other source – and I really recommend picking anything of his up.

 

The house has a combined kitchen and dining area – quite a modern, open plan feature!

 

One of the house’s most welcome features is its clear thread to the past – renovations have been completed over the years, but the home’s layout betrays its nineteenth century construction. The new buyer (it’s up for auction, and with a price guide around $800,000 I’d suggest that it’s a good deal) would most likely prefer to change the house’s quirky design, building a unified second storey to replace the separated upstairs rooms at the front and back of the house, inaccessible to each other, and probably add another bathroom. But as it stands, it’s a charming house that straight away transports you to Lawson’s era, which is what sets it apart from similar period homes.

 

As in many terraces/semis, the stairs were narrow, tall and slightly intimidating.

 

The house is, unsurprisingly, heritage listed, and bears all the conventions of a Victorian home – attractive floorboards, well-kept fireplaces, high ceilings. The owners have added pretty accents to the home with their design choices, with the children’s room and eat-in kitchen boasting some nice artefacts. The front yard is long and narrow, there’s a courtyard with a sitting area at the side of the house and the backyard is layered. While there isn’t much grass in the back, the courtyards make for a great entertaining space, and the height of the land gives you a peaceful view to the trees over the roofs of the street’s other historic houses.

 

Knick knacks around the fireplace

 

The main bedroom is a loft-style space at the front of the house

 

The bathroom/laundry has an exposed stone wall feature – very cool, and quite a surprise

 

Love the 2GB sticker on the bunk bed!

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tanderra’, Floating House, Pearl Bay, Mosman

 

This week, I’m taking a look through one of Mosman’s floating houses, and (I think) it’s a real treat. The home is one of three floating houses in Pearl Bay at Mosman, and one of four still extant in Sydney Harbour (the fourth being in Clontarf). It is considered derelict by the Roads Maritime Service Authority (RMS), but there are plans to overhaul it (which the RMS appears to be all for). My friend Marion sent some photos through of its neighbours a few months ago, and I spoke about the potential for floating houses to form a viable solution to housing stress (as well as offering the opportunity to live in a place that is simply amazingly cool). This time, I was able to enter one of the houses myself, and I fell in love a little bit.

 

 

I am thankful to the home’s lovely owner, Maureen Young, who took me through the house’s history. People started building houses on the water in the area during times of economic depression (including the Great Depression) – it was an innovative form of accommodation for those who were left without alternatives. This is unsurprising to me as my grandad’s family, who suffered a riches-to-rags downfall for a brief period after the passing of his grandfather, was relocated from a Strathfield estate to a makeshift place in Sutherland that he and his brother constructed out of a shipping container; the early-to-mid twentieth century saw a range of living arrangements pursued by those who had to think outside the box due to their financial situation. The homes on the water now are those that were permitted by the government to stay (as Mosman Daily has documented).

 

 

The most fantastic aspect of the house is obviously the fact that it’s located on the water (literally). Seriously, have you ever seen anything like it (other than in a tropical resort…or a slum city)? The uniqueness and appeal of this cannot be expressed without standing in the house and feeling its connection with the water. It’s a special, and exclusive, community.

 

 

It was a bit nerve-wracking walking up the wooden plank to the home’s patchy balcony – not because it felt shaky, because it didn’t, but because it looked haphazard. This is part of the house’s immense charm, though – it’s hotch-potch, with layers having been added over the years. The interior has water stains and the window frames have been warped by the salt water. The house slouches on a slant, and the bottom level is half-submerged. It’s currently the size of a one bedroom apartment, although it has a pretty awesome rooftop deck.

 

 

Maureen is confident that government rulings in the ’40s prohibiting further building of floating houses east of the Gladesville Bridge make the homes in Pearl Bay the last of their kind. So, this is it – celebrate them, preserve them, and hopefully we won’t lose them.