MARISSA CALLIGEROS June 21, 2012
New Farm's historical Coronet Court.
An apartment in one of the most recognisable art deco buildings in inner-Brisbane was sold earlier this month long before it even hit the market.
The first floor, two-bedroom unit in Coronet Court, located on the corner of Brunswick Street and Elystan Road in New Farm, sold for $715,000 to a woman who had been waiting for an apartment in the 78-year-old building to become available for nearly two years.
Owner and caretaker of the building, Tamsin O'Connor, whose great-grandfather purchased the building to ensure his daughter a secure financial future, reluctantly relinquished the first of two units to ever be sold in the complex in 2010.
Ms O'Connor and her sister Kirsten became owners and caretakers of the three-storey brick building of nine units after their aunt, Eileen O'Connor, passed away and have carefully restored it to ensure it remains one of the finest examples of art deco architecture in Australia.
The renovation retained original art deco light fittings and timbers and included rewiring. An intercom system and air-conditioning were also discreetly installed so as not to detract from the heritage-listed building.
Real estate agent George McAteer, of Professionals New Farm, said flat 6 sold this month within 48 hours of going on sale.
"We had a waiting list of people who wanted an apartment in the building, but missed out when the first flat went up for sale in 2010," he said.
"Before we formally advertised online, or in the papers I started calling people on the waiting list. By the time some people had a chance to return my phone messages, the place had sold."
The most recently sold apartment boasts an ornate fireplace, which is adorned with plaster koalas, as well as matching original hand painted chandeliers.
The original windows frame charming views of New Farm Park and glimpses of an ever-climbing city skyline, while the sharply angled bays capture breezes.
Max Strickland, one of Melbourne's finest plaster designers and manufacturers, who travelled to Brisbane as part of a team commissioned to create the ornate plasterwork in the city's Regent Theatre, designed and built Coronet Court in the summer of 1933/34.
Originally called Coronet Flats, the building was praised upon its completion for its modern design.
However, Mr Strickland did not take to being a landlord and sold the building to Ms O'Connor's great-grandfather, Thomas Maloney, for £10,000 in 1939.
Coronet Court has predominantly housed women, although State Library architect Timothy Hall once called the apartment building home.
"Before New Farm took off and became a real estate agent's dream, it was a place for artists and Coronet Court was an absolute favourite among them," Ms O'Connor said.
She said the security of the building was at the forefront of her and her sister's minds in their decision to sell two units.
"My father and aunt were raised in the very unit I live in," Ms O'Connor said.
"We just couldn't let it go to developers. Those next in line to inherit the building are cousins, not siblings, so we felt the best way to ensure that it is preserved was to sell two units.
"Tears have been shed, but we both wanted to put the building first. We knew we couldn't carry the burden forever, so we found a way in which we felt we could save the building and let it go at the same time.
"Now we are sharing a little piece of magic with others."
Comment at the Brisbane Times.