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FEATURE LISTING: Fairytale home at Fitzroy

Suzie and Gerry Rankine are selling their much-loved and recently renovated Fitzroy home, built by Suzie’s grandfather in 1940.

Perfectly poised at 7 Braund Road, Fitzroy, this beautiful ivy-covered cottage facade leads to an impressive five-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

What was first built as twin double brick maisonettes has been dutifully transformed into a substantial family home with contemporary elements melded beautifully with classic charm.

Suzie’s grandparents lived next door, purchasing the land and building the maisonettes to give to their daughters as wedding gifts.

“They loved their daughters so much they bought them next door to live together for the rest of their lives,” Suzie says.

Suzie’s husband, Gerry, explains that at the time, units weren’t allowed to be built and so, to get past these regulations, Suzie’s grandfather added a single door in the middle of the home to connect the properties.

“They were pretty well identical and they were independent of each other, but they shared the same front garden,” Suzie says.

“Down the track, when my parents passed away and my aunt left the property, Gerry and I turned it into a single property by opening walls up for our family to have as a single home.”

The result perfectly suited Suzie and Gerry: a beautiful family home that also had plenty of space for Gerry to set up a home office for his architectural practice.

“It has always been a very happy house. The kids have been brought up always having their friends around and we have had lots of lovely parties out the back,” Suzie says.

Many milestone events have been celebrated within the home, from all the children’s 21st birthday parties to Gerry’s 60th birthday where they hosted more than 100 guests and a jazz band.

Suzie’s fondest memories of the home are those she shared with her children and grandchildren.

“I had a comfy chair – the children always called it ‘Nan’s comfy chair’ – where we would sit in the front window and look out to the garden. We would always have our story time there.

“On the front porch, the kids used to enjoy playing shops. It is beautiful sitting on that porch with the vines hanging down – it is magical.”

The vine growing on the home’s facade has been there since the house was built – offering a unique element that changes with the seasons.

“The vine is just divine,” Suzie says.

“It goes through a beautiful phase of autumnal colours and it comes completely off in winter and that’s when ‘Nanny’s house loses its clothes’. When the new buds start to form, the kids would say ‘Nanny, your house is getting its clothes again.’”

Over the past months, Gerry and Suzie have made sure the home is ready for a new family, pulling away the carpet, polishing the floorboards and painting the interior.

Gerry says the property has a lot of potential for future developments and is offering to hand over his sketch plans to a new owner.

“My plan was to consolidate a lot of rooms and open up one big back room,” Gerry says.

“A kitchen would overlook the open area with a big butler’s pantry and bifold doors leading outside. In the back yard there is room for a beautiful pool and to turn the shed into a lovely pool house.”

Ready to downsize, the couple has moved into a new home only a 10-minute drive from their daughters.

“I am 78 this year, so this is a big deal for me to have another home,” Suzie says.

“I have always loved things being very whimsical, so I am looking forward to making our new house a home with all the things I love.”

The sale is being handled by Peter Shizas and Benjamin Tan of Harris Real Estate.