There is no nice way of saying this without coming off as a complete snob, BUT nothing makes the old ticker skip a beat as much as a luxury, acreage property.
I guess I can be a little flexible on what constitutes luxury – it is as I see it though the lens of a woman in need of comfort and beauty, with the odd bell and whistle on the side.
This week two Australian beauties caught my beady eye – one has sold this weekend, one is still in the offing. If I could just scrounge around the sofa cushions and find a lazy five or ten million I’d be in the running. Though the first one, in Yass, was FAR less than that.
First 16 Walgrove Road, Yass – not all that far from the country’s capital, but far enough away from anywhere to be considered urban. And dare I say it? Covid war appropriate.
Twenty three acres (I hate hectare conversios …sorry), a 1905 residence draped in elegance and white trim, with five bedrooms and loft.
Have a look at it – that lounge room shot? I felt my shoulders drop at least 2 inches as the anxiety of Sydney life took a temporary back seat.
It sold this weekend for $1.8m through Ray White, with the underbidder trying their hardest via phone from Tokyo.
On a different plane entirely is this all whipped cream and caviar; 652 London Road, Chandler in Queensland.
A tad Georgian, and very grand. Seven beds, six baths it is called Motifex Mansion and sits up on a mowable one hectare or so … mowable because an awful lot of the grounds is actually water or topiary. Control freaks would just adore this place…
Go into the listing/s and note the wallpaper. Please. You won’t regret it.
I have no idea how long or how often it’s been on the market – or which agent has what agreement and with whom – I really don’t care and it has a complicated history.
Confused much? It’s never been this cra cra in the real estate world, and I’ve been playing in the field for more years than I care to mention (okay, a decade or two … I don’t even want to add it all up because I haven’t had a botox top-up since Covid hit and I look my age).
There is still strong vendor discounting to be found (i.e. Unsure sellers and taking lower than advertised offers seriously) in the mid market, while the pointy end of the game is actually looking very healthy indeed. Luxury developer Crown Group is reported to have sold a staggering $63 million worth of top drawer properties between Feb and March.
I thought perhaps I might do some digging in the rich garden of the weekly listings to see what would interest me, or horrify me if I were in the market.
With any luck, although you will come out just as confused as when you started, you may have discovered some interesting bits and pieces.
Let’s start with a little gentrified luxury in the form of shady verandas and a gate house (!) at Kin Kin, Queensland. For those without an encyclopaedic knowledge of regional Queensland, let’s just say Noosa adjacent.
Eight bedrooms, lots of bathrooms, tastefully renovated plus a self contained, ever so pretty, studio.
They’re looking for $2.3million – through Ray White
I have long dreamt of having a place in Leura, the prettiest village in the Blue Mountains. It’s always worth a look there as the prices have this huge arc, yet you get the same picturesque village atmosphere no mater where you plonk your bags.
The lovely property in designer grey (I’m am becoming very sick of grey let me tell you) is a beauty which is looking for more than $1.28m. In a semi-main street at 170 Megalong it has four bedrooms and rather unusually for the area three bathrooms – but why you ask? Because there is studio/loft space above the back garden garage. The listing is with Belle Property.
Literally just up the road five minutes and there is this diamond in the rough for over $595-$650k. Whaaaat? Four beds three baths and and some pretty ordinary decor, complimented by dated layout BUT all that can be fixed. The block is huge – and there’s even a (sort of) undercover swimming pool. Wentworth Falls has some fabulous properties, and some not so fabulous properties with great potential. This is one of those. Have a squizz at 11 Page Avenue, it’s listed with Purcell.
In Melbourne and I just stopped dead in my tracks when I came across this over the top number, at 6 Boston Road. Lordy. When enough just isn’t enough – and why stop there? Architect designed – and with very cool Jack Merlot designed gardens, this 2005 built property is the current Wow! factor in a suburb that frequently has hot properties. William Chen at Marshall White has the listing.
There are still too many faux chateaus for my liking around Melbourne, but at the same time, so much really great eye candy as well. Kay & Burton have this one – very sleek. Found at 11 Reid Street, it’s all about the space … and the calm. Understated. Too chilled for me – but I am becoming more eclectic in my doteage.
And a little Hollywood one caught my attention – because I have been there! Well, loitered on the lawn actually during my time as an LA resident a few years back.
This was the original Ozzie & Harriet house from the 50s TV show (what they would have thought of as a reality show, but was of course scripted’ish) – and since then (though it is reported to be haunted by Ozzie who died in the house) it has had several high profile owners, including the current vendor Chris Meloni of LAW & ORDER (though I loved him in VEEP too) fame.
It’s looking for $USD6.5m, and sadly is not being rushed with offers. It IS a little pedestrian but, BUT it is Hollywood history, with a nice lawn.
One more before I go – I delved into my file (yes, I actually do have a file) of alarming real estate shots – it’s just my opinion, so don’t sue me. Some people may find this bathroom wonderful. I dare you to find them.
“Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
The wonder dog and I hit the road this week, for a property inspection in NSW Southern Highlands. The pics on line had grabbed my attention, and while my column in the Saturday Telegraph is more often than not about Dream Homes of a certain style, 542 Moss Vale Road pretty much crossed those boundaries. But I cared not one tit. It looked delicious, rich, lavish and more to the point, interesting.
The floorplan is single level, but the decor is another level all together. Murals, amazing murals, which the agent estimates would cost a million dollars to replicate, illuminate spaces – the dining room?
The design of this room could only encourage the most retiring guest to add full throated opinion to discussion, adding to the enjoyment of lucky guests seated around a large and inviting table.
The living areas are more salons than rooms – the furnishings (much of which may be negotiated as part of the sale) are silk and brocade and guilt and perfect for these most wonderful spaces.
What I wouldn’t give to have been lucky enough to have attended a big ‘do’ here as a guest of the former owner who I am reliably told just loved to have folks over.
The pictures tell so much of the story – I mean look at that Teppenayaki kitchen/dining bar, it opens onto the INDOOR POOL!
The master bedroom, a study in pink, includes a sunlit sitting area, and measures a staggering 50sqm. The word ‘palatial’ came to mind again, but I may have been influenced by all the guilt furniture. The ensuite does not exceed expectations despite columns around the sunken bath, a flawless marble statue, and a shower encased in etched glass.
And the gardens – oh my giddy aunt! Three acres of towering conifers, swathes of rose beds and winding paths that tke you past waterfall endowed ponds surrounded by gnarled and bountiful weeping cherry trees.
Amazing, I could have wandered the halls and pathways for another hour or more, but the wonder dog was giving me that look from the front seat and it was time to go.
Di Jones Southern Highlands has the listing, and its looking for around $AUD3.9m
Prue Miller is a freelance property and architecture journalist in Sydney Australia.
The signature of Kings Cross, the El Alamein fountain was water sculptor Robert Woodward’s first commission; his last can be found here, in the courtyard garden of Peter and Angela Keel’s home in peaceful McMahons Point.
“It’s called Piper’s Rill,” Peter told me as we stood on the threshold shared by both the calming courtyard and the generous dining room, separated by giant pivot, glass doors.
The Keels lived at No. 33 Bank Street, and were looking for a larger home in 1997 when they approached their neighbour about buying No.31. Problem solved.
Sandstone, glorious sandstone is the heartbeat of what has become an exciting, almost sprawling home designed by acclaimed Architect Jon Johannsen. And the delight of winding one’s way through the rooms, the levels and the era’s is one of it’s greatest charms.
As Peter leads me through the home he brings me to the central stair way, lined by walls of sandstone, perfectly lit by the afternoon sun pouring through the skylights.
“This is how Jon resolved the two properties, these were the outside walls of 31 and 33,” said Peter just as we reached the top step, and I turned to see the perfect walls had formed an exquisite two story void and view into the home’s core.
Did I mention the pool and towering Morton bay figs? At times the light reflects off the pool and into the deep green foliage of the towering trees. Divine.
The Keels are well read, articulate art lovers and included space for both passions here. A rare occurrence, and an aspect that will be enjoyed by buyers who have trouble finding wall space on which to place beloved pieces.
One absolutely charming aspect is how the original rooflines, an almost whimsical A-line peak of sandstone, has been retained and revealed in the bedrooms. The combination of that, and wide openings to the street-side verandas, lined in blue petals, well, who wouldn’t want to lie back and relax?
“When you sand back here,” says Peter in one of the rooms, “you feel like you are floating in Jacarandas.” And he’s spot on.
What’s the showstopper? It’s very hard to decide, there is so much to be experienced here. For me it was the dining room; sandstone, (perfectly lit), timber, glass and plenty of room to enjoy an atmosphere of bonhomie, where fine wine and finer conversation would fill this fabulous home.
This story was published in part by NewsCorp’s Mosman Daily.
Well Houston, we have a problem. This house is so outstanding there is a good chance I shall gush adjectives like a nervous schoolgirl.
For a start, it’s big. From the street, it’s just monumental, and wonderfully curvy and absolutely anchored to the location that offers a view that … hang on. Before that, you go through well-trodden gate threshold, and are welcomed by lawn the quality of broadloom surrounded by leaf perfect landscaping.
The path is wide and winding and takes it’s time reaching the staircase up to the front door (bypassing the pretty entrance to the lower-floor living quarters), and then, there it is; THAT view.
It’s a showstopper. The breadth of the view, the interest within it, deserves easy and ample viewing opportunities, indoors and out, and this gracious home delivers on all fronts.
Even the spacious veranda tessellation is flawless. The owners have taken no shortcuts in delivering a home is extraordinary condition.
The entry foyer? It sure feels like a ‘12ft ceiling’ height, lined in a rich and intricate cornice, up-lit from the stained glass laden front door. Picture rails, archway corbel, subtle paint pick out … this is a how you did a hallway when making an impression was more than having a busy Instagram account.
As is the norm in this vintage, formal spaces are given room to breathe, with a seriously large lounge (even the current piano seems small here) leading to the front veranda, and a nearby formal dining room with a glorious, dark marble mantle. Kitchen? Another 10/10, with a massive servery to another, Jacaranda shaded, terrace.
The hallway beckons to its conclusion – the parents’ retreat.
It would seem this expression is often misused, because this, dear readers, this is what a retreat should be; 20sqm or more chic bedroom, accessorised by an ensuite and wardrobe, but also with shuttered French doors that open to more broadloom lawn and the mosaic tiled pool and tiered garden – with a ridiculously glamorous staircase up to the four-car garage. To the GARAGE no less.
Not ONE leaf out of place. I swear.
Down the carpeted stair and voila, a two bedroom entirely separate apartment with an exposed stone bedroom that is just, oh my gosh, divine. And be assured this lower level living space is still tops when it comes to sharing THAT view. It’s inspired and inspiring.
Is there a better way to experience the world of design? A fountain head from Paris, a chandelier from Spain, a circular staircase that’s origins stretch back so far, we just know it came across the seas before careful records were kept. And all housed in in one of Australia’s most valued suburbs.
Well-travelled owners owners have done more than curate and display here, they have re-visioned the entire property, and enhanced it into a bespoke experience.
The front door opens to a soaring foyer, and a swirling, almost sensuous staircase, bordered custom made wrought iron balustrade all of which set the scene for drama set across three floors which are a mix of creamy travertine and contrasting clouds of pristine carpet.
The clever couple extended, and to be honest draped this home in so much care, expense and attention that each room is a study in elegance, style and grace and is reminiscent of luxury one only finds in the best hotels. In fact there is a distinct spa feel to the book-matched marble bathroom in the main suite. Who would have thought in-shower lighting could be so divine?
Here is a tale with the romance of a Hollywood hideaway, with the impact you feel when you first see a masterpiece in person – whether it’s a Norman Rockwell or a Zhang Xiaogang. Both of which, by the way, would be totally at ease in this elegant re-vision of a 1930s Mosman mansion.
The kitchen, with its walk-in crockery pantry, has a flawless Statuario marble island, and a very private, ceiling-high aspect out to the tiered orchid and gardenia beds created by the owner. I don’t think I have ever seen an orchid terrace – which now that I HAVE seen one, seems crazy. They offer a superb outlook.
But I must say, the lounge room, nicknamed the Langham Lounge after the famed London Hotel, is a perfectly proportioned room, currently decorated with Roslyn’s perfect touch in deep floral tones, set off with equally rich Macassar cabinetry.
Though rarely mentioned, I just have to mention the window treatments. If you love drapery, or if you have never seen how superb drapes can be, the good news is these silken window ball gowns are included in the sale. Trust me, they are sublime.
And finally, the terraces; the stunning, travertine terraces that link and meander and bring you that much closer to the soaring heights of Sydney’s elite landscape.
The lovely Gayle Walker of Sotheby’s has this listing.
There is simply not the space to describe further, but be assured, if you are searching for a home that has been created by people who have never settled for second best in anything, and have exquisite taste, get a contract couriered over. Now.
For those is the snow know, The Remarkables is a breathtaking mountain range and well respected (and very possibly feared by dreadful skiers like me) ski field in New Zealand – not Europe. Europe dreams of having The Remarkables. The Swiss lie awake at night, with silent tears pooling on their kissenbezugs* cos they don’t have The Remarkables. Yep, it’s that amazing.
So where better to build a lake house than right here, at Jack’s Point? Where from glass enclosed bedrooms you can become one with the oh-my-god-it’s-unbelievable views, while snuggled under a doona.
Mind you, there are SO many fireplaces in this place, you wouldn’t even need to unpack your ski socks. Cosy baby.
It’s (rather unimaginatively you’d have to say) called the Lake House. It’s only a drive from posh and pricey Queenstown, but you could be anywhere as you gaze across That Lake. This can be achieved from a number of outside spaces (I love that NZ isn’t afraid to go outside even though it can get so bleeding cold the hairs on the inside of your nose get frosty) in lounge chairs, or neck deep in the steaming spa.
The agent stats include the fact it is a big two acres plus land parcel, and is part of a golf course? I don’t get that part. You’ll have to sort that out with Terry. So it’s kind of like a luxury resort, with a warm clubhouse and cold beers just a op skip and a jump away. Nice.
It’s only ten k’s to the airport and one imagines the holiday rental potential is mind blowing.
At just $NZ5.95m ($AUD5.42m, $USD4.3 or so), it’s a steal … with a one in a gazillon view.
And finally, why are they called The Remarkables? Named by Alexander Garvie in the mid 1800s for the fact that they are one of only two magnificent mountain ranges that run North South. Or maybe that’s a myth. Ok, well, you’re not reading this for a school assignment, so just enjoy the story and forget the facts.
*You had to look right? That’s Swiss German for pillowcase
Maybe 1 in 100 brutalist designs make me take pause. But a sweeping arc, a glorious curve? An exact and balanced resolve of angles, glass and light?
I just swoon.
Found in Carmel, California is one such design currently on the market with Sotheby’s International Realty. Man, if I only had the money…
Any-hoo, this is from the brain of designer genius Wallace E. Cunningham (a name found on the illustrious AD Top 100 Designers on more than one occasion), a ten year project, that honestly soars in so many ways.
Is it possible that a designer, a design and a location are sometimes matched in heaven? If so, the angels were at work on this Pacific Ocean bluff. The concept of organic architecture is often limited to terrestrial comparisons – Cunningham looks at the curves of the earth, the clouds, the waves of great oceans and resolves to create the essence, the energy and the beauty, here.
It is concrete, steel and glass manipulated into something as graceful as a falling feather.
If that is not genius, I’ve lost my mind.
On his company website the telling statement – “The concept of spirituality and motion are integral to my work”. Never was a truer statement made.
Investigate, discover and enjoy this marvellous man’s work. And if you ave $USD11m or so, buy this house. Love this house. Because I sure as hell do
For further enjoyment, meditate blissfully with this video of his work.
Prue Miller has been nuts about architecture and sharing her passion in the media for a long, long, long time. Yep, she’s that old. A former host on Sky News Real Estate, print journalist with NewCorp and a published author Prue is always looking for new challenges, delights and moments that make her swoon.
Call them dams if it helps, but what we’re missing from the laid-back, luxury property market down under is that chilled out, ever so still, LAKE.
Because what follows is the lake house. The Golden Pond potential (and if you haven’t even taken the time to see this movie, then frankly you don’t DESERVE a lake house) of a Scrabble led family retreat, and rediscovery. (As an aside, I have to say I think Jane Fonda is even better in Grace and Frankie than she was in Golden Pond. But I digress…)
Ocean view homes, the ones right on the water – are also majestic – but there’s so much going on. And worse still, people in all their Lycra loudness surge like a coconut scented tide for at least half the year. No, give me serenity with a glass-like finish and the security of a tree lined fiefdom.
Sothebys have a beautiful one for sale in Nashville at the moment.
A Main House, and a Guest House (it’s my blog so I can use upper case at random), plus the de rigueur Boat House can be found on the aptly named Kentucky Lane – overlooking Kentucky Lake. God, I’d buy it just for the address.
The house is aimed squarely at the lake; the great room a centre piece with what could only be called a glass altar, where the lake is praised, and cocktails (one hopes) partaken.
Four beds, four baths and lots of lovely land for the very reasonable price of $USD2.35m.
Yep, let’s get some of them thar lakes for down under. I need a Golden Pond moment or two.
“I am becoming obsessed with New Zealand real estate. I admit it. When I feel like I need a big hit of property porn, I settle back and click through the outstanding delights of Queenstown
Sometimes I linger longer than I should, eyeing off the snow capped peaks. Sometimes I play a little game of “if I sold everything I owned, and borrowed some money…maybe, maybe…” But that’s a game with a sad ending, so I go back to sighing and clicking, sighing and clicking.
25 Drift Bay Rd is an earth hugging, deep breathing, honest home with moving scenery that offers an endless ‘better than 4K’ experience in beauty.
Three beds, four baths and living spaces that open in adoration to THAT view. Honestly, how could you not wake up full of optimism and awe in the master bedroom …I mean, really?
Just divine. It’s listed with the good folk at Luxury Real Estate in NZ with an asking price of $3.75mNZD.
(Maybe if I sold a kidney …?)
Prue Miller writes luxury international real estate for News Corp, Australia, though her views here (and her continuing disappointment that she’ll never be able to afford any of these home) are all her own.