On a rainy winter’s evening, there’s nothing quite like lounging in your formal sitting room, basking in the glow of an antique marble fireplace, book in hand and music playing.
With a piano, large antique French mirror and soaring coffered ceilings, this space transports current custodian Robin Rose back to another time. It will be one of the many things he will miss about 15 Halstead Street, Fitzroy.
Robin, who is semi-retired, is selling the gorgeous four-bedroom villa to move to the Hills.
The formal lounge is the heart of the home and is exemplary of the style that permeates the rest of the property, which was renovated two years ago.
Robin purchased the property in 2018, having moved back to Adelaide after many years working on construction projects in Sydney and Melbourne.
Back then, Robin was looking to build in the Adelaide Hills but, as he was travelling regularly for work, started to explore closer to the city.
“I was interested in North Adelaide and this place in Fitzroy was open for inspection, so I went and had a look. The house was really nice and had been renovated previously,” says Robin.
“I bought it from an older couple who were long-term residents. The bones of the property were good, which appealed to me. It was perfect for what I hoped to achieve in doing a renovation.
“I wanted to create something fresh and modern without being overly fashionable so it would last a long time.”
The previous owners had commissioned architect David LeMessurier to design a major contemporary extension that was constructed in 1995.
A master en suite was added on in about 2012 and then a new kitchen in 2016.
Robin was pleased with the high quality of the extension, yet the finishes were common of 1990s style and the home felt dated.
“A lot of people might have lived in it the way it was,” he says.
“The owners had already done a really good job of the main structural work. The design and the execution were high quality, so it had all the bones. I wanted to bring the finishes up to date.”
Robin embarked on a major renovation, which involved replacing flooring, repainting the internal walls throughout as well as refurbishing the laundry, bathroom, toilet and carpets.
A salvaged marble fireplace was installed into the formal living room, while all the tiled hearths were ripped out and replaced with Mintaro slate.
“Then, the gardens and outdoors looked pretty tired so I had all of the landscaping done in October to December 2020,” says Robin.
“Some of the plantings and tall trees are still here, including the murraya hedges at the front and back, as well as the weeping cherry.
“So now, when you walk through the property, it feels like a complete project.”
The modern addition is complementary to the heritage of the stone villa.
“Most villas have a strong transition between the original and the extension, but this home does not have an obvious separation between old and new and that’s one of the things that appeals to me.”
The home is suited to hanging art and Robin has made use of a wire hanging system fixed beneath the cornices to hang various pieces he has collected over the years.
Robin purchased the home pre-COVID when he was travelling regularly for work, but now he works mostly from home.
“One of the bedrooms I’ve set up as the main study with a leather sofa and a desk, but I’ll sometimes work at the dining table and half day-dream looking out at my courtyard,” he says.
“It’s very ideally located. If someone wants a city lifestyle, then this is hard to beat.”
With Halstead Street being a no-through road, the property offers a quiet lifestyle.
“From this back room you can see the planes at night coming into land, but you can hardly hear them because of the double glazing.”
Robin is selling so that he can pursue his dream to build a retirement home in the Hills.
“I’m 68 this month and retirement is on the horizon. So, I’m designing a new house in the Hills which is ultra-modern with lots of glass and stone.”
Yet he will miss the formal living room where his piano resides.
“I do play the piano a little bit, but my sister plays it a lot more than me. When she comes over, her after-dinner job is to play the piano, which is what she did when we were kids growing up.
“At the end of the day when it’s cold and raining, to go into that formal room, put some music on, sit by the fire, read a magazine and have a drink, it’s like being in the gentleman’s club.”
The sale is being handled by Steve Alexander of Alexander Real Estate.