Posted on 20 May 2019, 12:08 p.m.
When you turn the car off Burwood Road, Hawthorn into Yarra Street, you find yourself in some of the most rarefied property air in all Melbourne.
The St James Park Estate and its winding, verdant loveliness is a thing to behold. On the exclusive streets here, that bend and dip to accommodate the flow of the Yarra, are a clutch of our city’s grandest homes.
Although the area is studded mostly with imposing period manors on large grounds, there’s a sort of lovely accessibility here; views that open onto the city
skyline and the river gums confer a connection, rather than retreat from the surrounding environment.
Number 26 Shakespeare Grove is a radiant case in point. This wedge-shaped block offers fine vistas from its sublime west-facing rear where the inner suburbs lay a gorgeous multi-coloured carpet up to the towers of town.
Built in about 1890, plenty of period finery has been retained and polished here, but there are generous broad spaces of a more contemporary bent too. The rear of the house, with its expansive family and entertaining spaces, was added about 20 years ago and the amenity the rooms provide is brilliant.
From the bend on Shakespeare Grove you take the gated entry up a set of stairs to a tessellated-tiled return verandah. In front, a parterre-style garden offers prettiness and privacy and provides a winning green frame. Beyond the luminous leadlighting of the arched entrance a wide foyer with parquetry flooring anchors the lofty decorative ceilings.
Bank right to the first of the majestic formal rooms. The billiard room has excellent dimensions and an entirely apposite colour scheme; deep magenta walls rise up to a charcoal trimmed coved ceiling.
A beautiful large bay window brings the light and a timber fireplace the warmth.
Cross back to the near identical dimensions and style of the media room, except here you get your own marble wet bar.
You can cross past the stair and head west to the living areas via a passage that has a powder room, neat little indoor cubby and internal access to the garage or take in the grand dining room just below the entrance hall.
A set of steps take you down into this fine space, both broad and beautiful. French doors lead onto a quiet, covered terrace with a pond.
Head further on from here to the kitchen that features a rangy walk-in pantry and a long marble preparation bench to the side.
Sitting front and centre is the lovely kitchen with a long marble and timber island bench.
Behind there’s an ornate rangehood and top-notch appliances. Across on the north wall there’s a brilliant little sun trap where a window seat looks out over a mosaic-tiled feature wall.
The spacious open-plan family room has enough space to offer another generous dining area as well as luxurious lounging. There’s plenty of leg room here centred around an angled corner fireplace and three sets of french doors over that superb west-facing rear garden.
A full-length verandah rolls down to a deep, synthetic-grass terrace. The lush borders offer excellent privacy and feature towering palms and tropical greenery.
All this flows down more stairs to surround the sparkling pool and spa. There’s plenty of paved areas down here too and a raised platform offers a terrific dining spot. Beyond there’s a pool room with a kitchenette and bathroom. You can access level one via the main entrance stair or the steps near the kitchen.
Whichever way you choose there are treats galore up here. To the easterly front are two superb, typically Victorian rooms – grand in size and with glorious views beyond the lacework balcony that wraps around to the south. You could use these as particularly fine bedrooms, or they’d be perfect as rumpus/retreat spaces. Boasting marble fireplaces, ceiling roses and bay windows, you’d be happy whatever the function.
A crisp white bathroom services this section before you do the hall split and head up more stairs. Three lovely bedrooms sit here, two on the south side are split by a sparkling shared en suite with twin basin vanity and glass shower.
Head into the main bedroom – the scope here is near perfect – large, but not overwhelming. There’s a walk-in wardrobe and a marble-trimmed en suite but the star is the balcony.
Running across the room at full stretch you can head onto it through three sets of french doors and then you’re in heaven. Sit out here and you can see the city and those gums; the Pelaco sign and St Kilda Road.
You know you’re in Melbourne but here in St James Park, on this balcony, you feel like you’re on top of the world.
26 Shakespeare Grove, Hawthorn
5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 car spaces
Agent : Abercromby’s, Jock Langley, 0419 530 008
Expressions of interest: close 5pm, June 4
Need to Know
The Yarra River winds its way along the bottom part of this precinct. Access to Richmond and the city is a skip away over Hawthorn Bridge. The 75 tram services the area and Melbourne Girls’ College and a range of private schools are within a few kilometres.
What the Agent Says
“The St James Park Estate is arguably the pinnacle of Hawthorn with wide, leafy streets and magnificent architecture. Only eight houses on the west side add to the prestige of this location.” Jock Langley
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