Hawthorn is richly endowed with fine Victorian homes. Some of them are set on expansive grounds such as many in Harcourt Street, while others simply evoke a genteel time when the well to do were looking for an escape from the bustle of the city. Although these Victorian homes are fortunately intact, many have been restored and extended to cater for contemporary living. And while the focus of these period homes was the open fireplace, particularly during the winter months, today, the emphasis is on bringing in as much natural light into the solid Victorian foundations.

1. Location: 518 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

This Victorian home, circa 1888, sits behind a high front fence. However, it’s easy to appreciate the home’s fine period detailing while riding the tram. Recently restored and renovated, the home’s detailed Victorian lacework literally ‘shines’ set against the grey concrete rendered walls. The high ceilings along with rich period detailing have been retained, together with the addition of a new contemporary living wing at the rear. And although not obvious from the street, there’s a wine cellar, workshop and car parking for five cars in the basement.

2. Location: 20 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn East

Set on over 1,000 square metres, this Victorian house is located in one of Hawthorn’s premier tree-lined streets. Many Victorian gems, from the palatial to simply beautifully preserved family homes, also surround it. This one includes many period features in the grand formal lounge and dining rooms. The home’s large bay window at the front frames an established magnolia tree. But the front garden can also be fully appreciated by the beautiful tessellated front porch that wraps around the red brick tuck-pointed house.

3. Location: 28 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn East

The renowned architect John Beswicke, responsible for a number of other Victorian homes in this highly coveted street, designed this home in 1887. Named ‘Balmerino’, the home, with its impressive tower, includes gracious formal living and dining rooms, complete with open fireplaces and marble surrounds. There’s also a separate music room with deep bay windows that embrace the garden views. And although the past has been carefully restored, the rear elevation includes a delightful contemporary nook for alfresco dining.

4. Location: 4-6 Goodall Street, Hawthorn

Auburn House is a landmark in Hawthorn. A grand balconied Victorian mansion, it has wrap-around balconies and also the original coach house. A circular driveway allows guests to arrive in style by car at the front door, ready for the wonderful surprise of entering the grand foyer. Built in 1852 and classified by the National Trust, the home designed by James Gall was originally a farmhouse –a truly grand one at that!

5. Location: Linda Crescent, Hawthorn

This Victorian home in Hawthorn’s Grace Park Estate, was given an entirely new lease of life by dx Architects. The paint was removed from the two-toned brickwork and a modest contemporary addition was made to one side. “We wanted to reference the Victorian home’s bluestone foundations,” says architect Daniel Xuereb, referring to the extension constructed in bluestone with steel detailing. “You’ll find numerous Victorian homes in Melbourne’s premier locations. You just need to re-orientate some of the spaces to bring in the natural light,” he adds. 

Text by Stephen Crafti
Linda Crescent, Hawthorn. Image courtesy of Estate Imagery

Linda Crescent, Hawthorn. Image courtesy of Estate Imagery

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