A historic home located on Sydney’s waterfront is being listed this Saturday with a guide price of A$24 million to A$26 million (US$19.3 million).
Called Vailele, for the Samoan word for running water, the home was built in 1892.
The home’s historical past include the fact that 19th-century Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson visited the sandstone mansion as a guest of the owner, and spent some of the last years of his life in a cottage on the property, according to the listing.
A recent two-year renovation done by the current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, made sure to leave the period details intact.
“It is really special,” said Ken Jacobs of Christie’s International Real Estate, the listing agent. “It’s a beautiful old sandstone mansion which has a lot of history but has also been significantly renovated so you have the best of old and new. You have the appearance and style of the old architecture but you also have really modern conveniences, such as a state-of-the-art kitchen, state-of-the-art theater and wine cellar.”
The 11,442 square foot home is located in Woolwich, on a private cul-de-sac on a peninsula jutting out into the harbor. According to Mr. Jacobs, the area, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Sydney, was the location of the first French consul general in Australia, so many of the streets have French names. The area hasn’t been overdeveloped, so many of the grand old homes have been left intact.
“The first part [of the peninsula]… Hunters Hill and the second section, Woolwich, are both undervalued,” Mr. Jacobs said. “We sold Cate Blanchett’s property and it set the record for Hunter’s Hill.”
Ms. Blanchett’s property, which sold in January, was offered for A$20 million (US$15.4 million), though the final sale price is confidential. According to Mr. Jacobs, this home is on track to top that price. But at the same time, according to Mr. Jacobs “it represents really good value compared to the Eastern Suburbs and the Lower North Shore.”
The three-story six-bedroom, six-bathroom and two-powder room home has many of its original details intact, including a sandstone façade and slate roofs, and the exterior has turned timber posts on marble-tiled verandas. Inside, marble-framed fireplaces, roses, cornices and stained-glass windows continue the detailing, while a marble foyer with a turned timber staircase creates an impressive entrance.
Many of the entertaining rooms take their cues from the home’s historic past, such as the lounge, dining room, music room, and a cedar-paneled billiards room with a bar.
“The billiards room, with its beautiful timber ceiling is very grand and very much of the period,” Mr. Jacobs said. “At the opposite end of the spectrum you have the home cinema which is state of the art. It’s an eclectic mix of old and new and it works well.”
Other modern details include a temperature-controlled wine bar, 10-car garage, ducted zone heating, state-of-the-art CCTV and Sonos sound system. The gleaming white Calacatta marble And the master suite has the utmost in modern conveniences, with a dressing room and spa.
Toward the back of the property is a two-bedroom cottage for guests or extended family (or convalescing writers). It has air conditioning, a country kitchen, a marble bathroom and a gas fireplace. The grounds are covered in gardens, large lawns, as well as a heated infinity pool and spa. Terraces, verandas and a gazebo add to the list of entertaining and relaxation spaces.
Garden highlights include a sandstone fountain and a sandstone well, as well as climbing roses, lavender, frangipanis and a vegetable patch. The two towering heritage palms were gifts from Stevenson.
Homes like this “rarely come to the market,” Mr. Jacobs said, “and are usually generational holdings so it is quite special.”
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