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An Edwardian Garden House :: Progress Report

I mentioned that I was going to take Glamour Drops

in a new direction this year,

with more focus on my everyday life & work,

and this is the first glimpse into that....

Because it's a snapshot of where the beautiful Edwardian Garden House project

is up to at the moment,

as seen in yesterday's site visit to check progress

on the transformation of a sad house to a happy house. 

 Incredibly beautiful lead light windows in Art Nouveau patterns set the tone for the entire renovation of this once-glorious house.

Just as a little background,

this glorious house was built around 1910,

in the Edwardian Attic Bungalow Style,

which means it has a cute little attic level,

complete with its own balcony. 


And as was the way with the Edwardians, 

the emphasis was on light and views to the garden wherever possible. 

But in this case, each of those views was through a spectacular 

Art Nouveau influenced lead light window.


This one, with an arched head, was in the formal dining room, 

and as you can see from this image taken on Settlement Day late last year,

it was hidden under mountains of 1980s curtaining. 

 The original formal dining room with a spectacular window. The light fitting had to go....

But as soon as I saw the images and the plans

(because I began work on the floor layouts before I had actually 

stepped foot in the place - due to the sale process),

I knew that this room must be the new kitchen,

because my clients are composed of somebody who LOVES to cook

and somebody who LOVES to garden.

This room, in the centre and heart of the house,

with views onto the garden,

just had to be the centrepiece of the whole renovation,

with a kitchen focussed on that incredible window. 

 The new spotted gum floorboards have been laid this week, and are absolutely beautiful. Once the curtains were taken down, the windows were allowed to shine as the star of the show.

When we first pulled up the carpets,

we found Baltic Pine floorboards with Japanned edges,

and thought we could retain and polish them. 

But sneakily hiding under the centre of the carpets

were dozens of access holes which had been cut over the decades.

Too much patching was required,

so the decision was made to replace them all with spotted gum boards,

which is a much denser and harder timber than baltic pine,

and which will subsequently wear much better. 

 Before : heavy drapes, weird ceiling roses in the corners of the room and the patched baltic pine flooring...all has now has that very low travertine mantlepiece and mirror which was out of proportion.

Looking back the other way,

into the room,

there was a central fireplace with an enormous formal mirror,

a 1980s fireplace of travertine and some rather special lights.

The mantle piece was just all too low,

while the mirror was too big.

 1980s travertine mantle has been removed and the beginnings of a new, much simpler mantle have been built, in better proportions with the room and windows.

There is a new firebox going into this fireplace,

with a very simple surround,

and a new hearth of dark, dark green tiles 

which will sit flush with the new spotted gum floorboards.


With such high ceilings, of 3 metres,

this house is all about the vertical,

and the new mantlepiece reflects that. 


To the right, is a door leading to the new butler's pantry

(which used to be a family room)

and to the left is the entry from the main hall. 

All the doors have this amazing lead light! 

(The one on the right has been temporarily removed 

while the pantry is being built.)

 Before : detail of the incredible doors and their Art Nouveau lead light.

To say I am in love with this house is an understatement. 

The 3 metre ceilings, the windows, the doors, the details, the atmosphere of calm,

it all adds up to a beautiful home with much personality 

and a sense of quiet, and timelessness.

The intention with the renovation is to marry the best of old and new,

speaking the language of the house,

and yet responding to the way that we live today.

 Before : the formal drawing room. Mirror, mantle and travertine surround, light fitting & drapes have all been removed.

This room used to be the formal drawing room,

but will now be the everyday dining room.

Lined with custom built bookshelves,

and housing a spectacular over- sized table 

that my clients already own,

it will become a very central part of this family home,

as this area opens to the kitchen via an original arch way,

which you can just see to the left of this image.

 The new spotted gum floor boards look so good that I was fairly dancing on them yesterday morning....

It's very exciting to see the house coming back to life,

and sometimes, I think I can almost hear it whisper "thank you" 

to the new owners, 

as they have such a strong vision to celebrate its provenance,

and yet to bring it into the 21st century

with our more relaxed way of living. 

 Fabric swatches for the new window seats in the bay window of the dining room....


We have a self-imposed rule on the colour scheme of grey, white and these soft greens,

throughout the whole house, in the "built" elements, 

all of which has been driven by the fabulous lead lights,

allowing them to take the spotlight.

My clients also have a wonderful collection of artwork

which will be allowed to shine against this controlled colour scheme.


Yesterday, my day started with this site visit,

middled itself working on the Spanish Mission by the River project

& the Craftsman Bungalow Reimagined project

and ended with a site visit to the Dichotomy of Contrasts Apartment project,

which is also looking exciting,

but that's another story waiting to be told....


I truly am very lucky to be working in a job

which is so fabulously exciting and rewarding.