Unlike Victorian homes, which usually have a central passage with rooms either side, Federation and early 20th century homes offer an element of surprise past the front threshold. The layout of rooms is more fluid, and unlike in the Victorian era, where natural sunlight was shunned, here there’s a stronger connection to the garden, and importantly, the consideration of light.

1. Stokesay

Location: 157 Kooyong Road, Toorak

Stokesay, as it’s named, sits behind a high brick fence that screens the traffic, as well as creating privacy. This Federation Queen-Anne style home features complex roof forms, tall chimneys and roughcast rendered walls with fine timber detailing. The rich verdant planting in the front garden, as well as that bordering the front terrace creates an oasis. The pagoda-style entry and its series of pitched roofs have a distinctly Japanese feel. Designed by architect Arthur Einsiedel in 1908, this lesser-known architect nevertheless made his mark!

2. Darnlee

Location: 33 Lansell Road, Toorak

Designed in 1899 by architect Leonard J. Flannagon as a private home, this stately mannor has been an aged care home since the late 1990s. The Federation Queen Anne style house, with its impressive plot and wide frontage, includes numerous gables, elaborately carved wall friezes and ornamental terracotta finials. Darnlee’s dramatic corner tower is a hallmark in this grand boulevard. Those living at Danlee will undoubtedly appreciate the elaborate and decorative plaster ceilings and cornices, together with the many fireplaces and timber-panellled doors, most of which are intact.

3. Edzell

Location: 76 St Georges Road, Toorak

Dame Nellie Melba once performed in this stately Federation-style mansion. She would have had a choice of a multitude of rooms, many of which are timber-panelled with dark-stained timber strapping across the ceilings. Designed by Reed Smart and Tappin in 1892, this impressive home features a broad gabled roof, Marseilles-patterned tiles and turreted corner towers orientated to the Yarra River. In 1917 and equally eminent architect, Walter Butler, designed an extension for this spacious home.

4. B.E Architecture’s Toorak house

Built around the turn of the 20th century, this Federation house was virtually rebuilt by B.E. Architecture. The original rooms were carefully restored, while a contemporary addition, separated by a glazed link was added. “People love period homes, but they also enjoy having large picture windows to a garden,” says architect Andrew Piva, director of the practice. Where original period features had been removed, the architects refashioned some of this detailing to create a subtle contemporary twist. 

5. Glyn

Location: 224 Kooyong Road, Toorak

Designed by Rodney Alsop of Klingender & Alsop in 1908, this grand home, with its pitched roofs, is one of the finest examples of its type in Melbourne. With a strong Arts and Crafts influence (think of the Arts and Crafts founder William Morris), this unique home is embellished with fine detail, including stained glass, built-in timber joinery and of note the exquisite wrought iron metalwork on the gates and lamps.

Text by Stephen Crafti
Toorak House images is courtesy of Andrew Piva, B.E. Architecture

Toorak House images is courtesy of Andrew Piva, B.E. Architecture

Lifestyle & Design

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