Modern Old Mansion

New Weekly

Since it was built in the ‘30s, nothing much had changed at the front of the mansion featured on Our House. However, inside, some clever renovations by Architect Victoria Hamer created a modern family home without losing the charm of the earlier era.

She started by moving the kitchen from the old servants’ quarters to a place with lots of natural light. Before the final design was drawn up, all the kitchen appliances were measured to make sure they fitted perfectly into their designated storage spot. 

Everything is easy to get and hide away. A clever idea is the recipe-book holder that keeps your books close enough to read yet far enough away from any splatters. Even the paper towel has a place, right up off the bench.

No longer just tacked onto the back of the house, the sunroom is now a real feature of any home. The one in the mansion faces out to the garden and lets light enter the adjoining room. Even the ‘70’s pool house had a stunning revamp. 

The lush garden was specifically designed to fit in with the style of the house, and with an area this spectacular, the last thing you want is an ugly clothes line, so Victoria came up with an alternative. A suspended drying rack is a great idea, if you don’t have a backyard or don’t want to spoil the one you have. It’s easily adjusted up or down and – because it’s suspended so high the clothes dry fairly quickly in the warmer air. A laundry chute from the children’s bathroom upstairs us designed to encourage kids to pick up their own dirty clothes. 

Another good idea is the shoe-polish box on rollers. Before the kids rush out to school, they can give their shoes a quick polish without too much mess or fuss.

The study arrangement works well, too. The children all have their own working bay, which encourages them to have a disciplined approach to all their studies. Even in grand old homes, there are a number of issues, such as upstairs renovations, that have to wait. But the ‘30’s home proved the more thought used in designing, before the money was spent, the more liveable the results.