Nothing says “the great Australian dream” more than a platypus frolicking around on the river shores just below your home.
That dream is a reality for Fiona and Steve, who decided to build a new home from the remnants of a 1800s homestead in the suburb of Marchmont, overlooking Yass River.
“The stone cottages were beautiful, even in their ruined state,” says Fiona.
“We knew we wanted to keep them as an important heritage component of the property but the big question was what to do with them that made sense in the context of our day-to-day life and need for a comfortable home.”
The couple enlisted Rodney Moss of Cox Architecture to breathe new life into the site. The beautiful stone ruins sparked the concept to incorporate the same material palette into the new sections of the house.
“Decades of neglect had seen entire walls crumble, windows rotted, roofs caving in and nature taking over. What was still obvious to us was the strength and character of the original stone and brick work that remained,” says Fiona.
And, just like a wave of a magic wand, from rags to riches, the house started to take shape.
Walking through the home you get a real sense of the understated grandeur, with all the hallmarks of a luxury high-end home but brought back down to earth with natural warm timbers, the revived stonework that now echoes throughout and its bush landscape setting as seen through every window.
The home now boasts an open-plan kitchen and living area, four bedrooms and a guest area, as well as an all-important feature for country living – a mud room.
Light, warmth and energy efficiency were also a design priority to combat the cold climate of the area, as well as Fiona wanting the home having a certain “je ne sais quoi” – to ooze a “feeling” rather than a specific look.
“We wanted a home that sat comfortably in the surrounding landscape, respected its history and with views to the river,” Fiona says.
One of the old cottages is now home to a study space, while guest accommodation resides in the other. The new structure consists of two overlapping steel-framed pavilions – one for living, the other for sleeping.
The pavilions are finished with timber, precast concrete, raw fibre cement, and stone and slate that have been recycled from the floor of an old barn further up the hill.
As much as they’ve loved living there, Fiona says it’s now time to retire to the coast for a sea change and she’s made the hard decision to put the home on the market.
“What sets this property apart is that it’s got a real sense of community and that’s really important for the locals in the area. The charming town of Yass is just 10 minutes away and is filled with so much unique history,” agent Linda Lockwood of Belle Property Kingston says.
“But it still offers privacy being on 10.5 hectares and convenience as it’s only four kilometres off the highway.
“Yass translates to ‘running water’ in the Indigenous language and having your very own view of the nearby river is just the perfect example of that.”
A bitter-sweet moment for Fiona, she says she’ll fondly remember “the moments that we experience as we live in the house – a framed view, the touch of the stone, being able to take in the view and the sense of connection to the past occupants of the property that we feel by inhabiting those spaces from long ago that now have a new life”.
4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 car spaces
Auction: 5.30pm, October 10
Agent: Belle Property Kingston, Linda Lockwood 0411 244 874