Ann Pilmer April 01, 2012
The property's history has been highlighted as part of a renovation that has turned the former industrial site into a family home. Photo: Craig Sillitoe
A warehouse in leafy Hawthorn has much to offer.
You don't normally associate warehouses with the genteel suburb of Hawthorn. But through a happy accident of luck and timing Lynda and Paul Newton happened upon one in East Hawthorn, about four years ago.
It started operations as a smelter and, more recently, was a blind-making business.
Ms Newton, who has done styling and merchandising and runs a fashion business, saw the potential of the property, so they snapped up the single-storey shell and converted it into a split-level, three-bedroom residence.
It's certainly at odds with its more traditional neighbours and the chateau-style house opposite, but it doesn't jar in the streetscape.
It also happened to be around the corner from Barkers Road - and the school Tom, 22, and daughter Katherine, 20, attended. ''When we were digging the back for the pool, we found bits of metal,'' says Ms Newton, citing evidence of the site's provenance.
Working to plans by architect Gail Long, of Stoll Long Architecture, they reconfigured the ground floor.
The front door was inset, windows on the north were lowered and replaced with double glazing and they indented glass walls for a courtyard.
Steel girders were craned in for a second level, including two bedrooms, walk-in wardrobes and sleek ensuites for Tom and Kat. ''They'll never leave home now,'' laments Ms Newton of her children's hotel-like quarters.
Rather than hiding the history of the building, the Newtons have capitalised on it. They've kept its industrial edge, including rugged roof beams discovered above a low ceiling that was removed. ''The builders wanted to replace some fire-damaged beams,'' says Ms Newton. ''They thought I was mad when I wanted to keep them.''
A message on bricks that made way for the bigger windows (stating ''no money kept on premises'') was reused on the external wall of the gymnasium beside the square pool, which doubles as a spa. Dark, polished boards run from the front door - kept secure with ornate, antique gates - to the large back doors, which open onto a roofed verandah with an outdoor kitchen.
There are two sitting areas, a huge main bedroom suite - including a walk-through wardrobe with masses of cupboards, drawers and a sliding mirror hiding shoe storage shelves - and another slick bathroom.
Beside the entrance is a tidy office where Ms Newton runs her business All For Kat, selling kaftans and resort wear.
The kitchen is as well planned as the rest of the house, with a scullery off one end with a second sink, benches for appliances and masses of storage, including wire wine racks. There's not a bar of soap or pair of undies in sight in the laundry, which has cupboards for everything, including clothes drying.
Ms Newton is a big fan of built-ins and she is pleased with the job done by cabinet maker Adrian Hall, of Marrays Joinery, in Yarram.
She has replaced traditional furniture with rough-finished, distressed pieces, so Mr Hall made a television unit from timbers from the old wharf at Yarram.
A chunky coffee table came from vintage recycle store Montreux in Prahran. The fruit bowl on the kitchen bench is a large metal colander from a hard-rubbish collection.