1 White Lodge Court, Kew VIC 3101
Secluded family retreat in Studley Park
Designed in 1957 by architect Arthur Pretty, this unique two-storey home is perched on an elevated site in a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Studley Park. Its neo-Georgian character was the request of the original owner of 46 years, who passed it on to the current occupants in 2003. For the almost-two decades since, it has been a much-loved family home, with the owners now seeking to embark on a new chapter.
The handsome brick façade is situated on a sloping street, with timber-paned windows framed by original shutters. Leading Melbourne architect Clare Cousins assisted in adapting the interior for the present family of five and their cherished cat, while respecting the charm and idiosyncrasies of the original design.
The home is distinguished by a sense of openness and fluidity: arched internal doors allowing for uninterrupted movement from room to room, while French doors lead to terraced courtyards and balconies. In the foyer, an elegant timber staircase curves upwards, emphasising the structure's superb vertical scale.
It is a space intended to be shared, with multiple areas for family meals, loose-limbed dancing or late-night conversations. The entrance opens, on one side, to a generously proportioned, sun-drenched central living area with an elegant open fireplace, and, on the other, to a cosy space suitable for meals, recreation, or as a library and study. Each of these rooms abuts a crazy-paved terrace, with double doors offering sunlight, ventilation and a glimpse of the tumbling garden outside.
The kitchen is the heart of many a home-so, too, here. Carrara marble and brushed metal fixtures lend the room a modern, refined appeal. Two smaller adjacent spaces create zones of intimacy. An alcove with bench seating invites simple weekday meals or a leisurely weekend coffee-and-crossword ritual. Tucked away neatly, a deceptively spacious larder conceals plentiful storage, work surfaces and large trough-shaped sink ready to rinse the soil from market vegetables.
Upstairs, a warm material palette-waxed walls and timber floorboards-is underscored by the abundant natural light. The master bedroom is the jewel of the first floor; amply sized, inviting and tranquil. Windows overlook established trees and, facing west, nearby Studley Park, the Yarra River and the scrubby beauty of Yarra Bend Park.
A second bedroom enjoys this same aspect, with space for a desk or burgeoning library; the third, a private terraced balcony. Like the property's other outdoor spaces, this balcony, wreathed in climbing ivy, offers potential as a place for rest, daydreaming and shared meals; and for Capulet-style acts of teenage rebellion. All three bedrooms feature built-in wardrobes to maximise floor space. Positioned around the central staircase, they mirror the fluid spatial arrangement of the ground floor while offering privacy and calm to occupants.
The first-floor bathroom, with its large shower and adjacent bathtub, invites unhurried daily ablutions. An adjacent room may be used for linen storage; or as a guest bedroom or study/office. The house enjoys generous sunlight and ventilation year-round via numerous windows and external doors; but hydronic heating throughout-and air-conditioning upstairs-ensure comfort during seasonal extremes.
Downstairs, a renovated garage is a space of varied potential: with its own shower and WC, it is sufficiently large and appropriately appointed for residential use, but could equally function as a fourth bedroom, workshop space, home gym or studio. Though it sits below the house, the term 'basement' would be misleading-this room, too, receives plenty of light and access to outdoor space thanks to the property's split-level configuration.
The well-cared-for landscaped garden blends native species with Mediterranean accents in the form of fig, olive and pomegranate trees. The current owners have cultivated seasonal vegetables. Vitally, the eclectic yet subtle landscaping harmonises with local vegetation. It does not conceal the house, but works to weave its solid-brick Englishness with the wild bushy landscape of the neighbouring parklands, so that the two exist in dialogue and not competition.
Having borne witness to just two families since its mid-century construction, this impeccably designed and maintained home is prepared to welcome new occupants, and ready for gentle enhancement if desired. Nelson Alexander Pty Ltd.
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