Heritage – From Programmed Neglect to the Best House in the Street

There are some strange concepts floating around when it comes to property covered by a Heritage Listing or Overlay. Real Estate Agents are often touchy about such properties, only speaking of the limitations – a rather negative approach. Given the right planning, design and heritage restoration such properties can provide exceptional returns not to mention being a joy to live in.

The first step? Engage a qualified and experienced Architect. Principal Architect at Balance Architecture, Andrew Fedorowicz, is such an Architect, with a passion for heritage architecture and restoration. Andrew is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and has developed, managed and/or supervised a wide range of architectural projects over many years.

The key to restoration is to have a solid understanding of the original construction, the materials utilised and the design of the construction and its ultimate intent. For example, Victorian terraces often depend upon internal structural walls for the overall integrity of the building. In inner Melbourne many of the older terraces depend upon the adjoining building for structural strength. South of the Yarra River many of the older homes were constructed using blue stone lintels for foundations. Placed on sandy soils these often shift over time resulting in cracking and fissures. This is the base point of any renovation.

Then there are the cosmetic additions that provided character and beauty from ornate iron work, intricate patterned tiling, stainless glass feature windows, to tall masonry columns and pillars and wide verandas with curved iron roofing. Internally there were high ceilings with elaborate plaster mouldings, ornate light fittings and carved timber architraves and features. Gardens often had fountains with extensive beds of perennials in formal patterns with hedges and topiary. 

So what happened? Areas like South Melbourne, Albert Park, Carlton and Clifton Hill give up the story readily. Post-war migration saw Europeans from the Mediterranean settling in these areas, buying up what the ‘Australians’ of the time saw as slums. Of course, those buying often wanted to ‘modernise’ and often removed the features and artisanship of previous generations from terracotta tiling and verandahs to gargoyles and slate roofing to ornate iron work and Victorian tiling – down it came, ripped up and replaced with concrete and terrazzo. 

Over the last 40 years many of these gorgeous old homes have been restored. Look to St. Vincent’s Place in Albert Park or Drummond Street in Carlton. The result? Some of the highest priced real estate in Victoria. Now it is the homes further out that are at risk – not from under-capitalised migrants but from fully capitalised developers. Homes in Armidale, Hawthorn, Kew, Brighton and Essendon that would otherwise provide a pallet to create grand restorations are disappearing at a rate of knots under the developers’ wrecking ball. 

But what if you can invest capital in a full restoration with tasteful and acceptable extensions that complement heritage? Look to those suburbs such as Albert Park mentioned earlier. In an auction earlier this year a fully restored home in Albert Park sold for $9.9M on zoom! The developer’s story simply doesn’t always ring true. Living in a heritage home can be magnificent. High ceilings, light and airy – it really depends on just how you go about restoring. 

Start the process now – call Andrew Fedorowicz on 0418 341 443 and schedule a no-obligation, free consultation at your convenience. Or, if you prefer, simply leave your details here for a prompt reply. 

Make the very best of your superb home, your heritage property. It’s time that you transformed it into the ‘jewel in the crown’ of your street, your neighborhood. Return it to its former glory, yet enjoy the advantages of space and modern living. Best of all be sure of a genuine return on your investment. 

Balance Architecture, Heritage Architecture At Its Very Best. In Every Detail. 

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