Marymeade - Mary Street, Hawthorn

Described as `architecturally significant' in the 1992 Hawthorn Heritage Study, Maryemeade was one of the first grand mansions to be built in the Grace Park Estate during the land boom of the 1880's.

Thought to have been designed by well-known Melbourne architects Reed, Henderson and Smart, the house was completed in 1885 and originally had expansive gardens which extended across what are now 47 and 51 Mary Street.

Built in the `modern Italian' style, merchant, Harold Carter, was the first owner of the house. In 1895, the house was leased to the Rev. Alexander Marshall and in 1897 to Robert Gillespie. In 1919, the house and its neighbour at 43 Mary Street, were operated together as the "Maryemeade Guesthouse" by Mrs Keers.

Entered via a discreet, arched porch, laid with tessellated tiles, the house opens into a magnificent two-story entrance hall featuring two striking stained glass windows, open fireplace, mahogany staircase and crystal chandelier, imported from Waterford in Ireland.

This entrance hall leads into the formal reception and entertaining area of the house. Extended in 1996 by the current owner, this room now contains a magnificent 27 seat purpose built dining table .The chandeliers above the table and the crystal tableware, were all imported from Waterford in Ireland. The glass doors lead out to an expansive veranda which overlooks the rear garden and the swimming pool.

At the rear of the house, renovations were undertaken in 1989 to create an informal, open plan kitchen, dining and living room. This room is bathed in natural light and also overlooks the garden and pool. The airline seats which feature, were a gift to the owner from British Airways in recognition of the many travel miles he undertook during his executive career.

Adjacent to the kitchen and informal living area is the billiard room, with its Alcock, Thomson and Taylor billiard table and walls adorned with sporting memorabilia.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms decorated primarily in the late Victorian style. The master bedroom overlooks Mary Street and includes a large marble bathroom and dressing room.

Throughout the house, there are many examples of early Australian and Aboriginal artworks which complement the diverse mix of furniture styles - from Victorian antiques through to modern pieces and oriental influences - all of which live well together to create a warm and welcoming ambience throughout this beautiful home.

Source: Hawthorn Heritage Study, Meredith Gould, Conservation Architects, 1992.