Picture perfect

as featured in
This spacious Victorian-style homestead is a loving re-creation of another house the owners admired
Story by: Charles Moxham
Exterior view of Victorian-syle house featuring steel roofing, cloud, coast, cottage, estate, home, house, mountain, property, real estate, sky, villa, water, gray
Exterior view of Victorian-syle house featuring steel roofing, cladding, landscaping.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the owners of this home have paid high compliment to the house that first inspired their dream.

Set on the rolling hills of Tasmania, this homestead is an exact copy, to the last measure, of a Victorian residence that the owners, Ann and Kurt Deby, saw outside Melbourne.

"We fell in love with the house, vowing that if we ever built our own home, it would look like this," says Ann Deby. "Following on from this, we secured a large site on sloping terrain overlooking the river."

Upon excavating the site and creating a retaining wall from local quarry stones, a large concrete slab was poured to sit the new-built house on.

"Then we began the painstaking task of measuring every aspect of the facade of the original building, right down to the dimensions of the wraparound veranda, the window sills and cornices."

With measurements made of everything that was in reach, the owners then employed an engineer to turn the metres and centimetres into a real home.

The project was made easier by the simple, rectangular shape of the original house.


View of bedroom with chandelier, wooden flooring, rug, bed frame, bedroom, ceiling, estate, furniture, home, interior design, property, real estate, room, suite, orange, brown
View of bedroom with chandelier, wooden flooring, rug, bedroom furnishings, heating.

"The only exterior change we made was to move the main entrance to the side of the residence," says Kurt Deby. "Having the front door here allowed us to create a 12m-long entrance hallway into the central living spaces.

"The living and dining space is virtually a replica, but the bedrooms, an ensuite and a bathroom are newly configured. Most of these rooms are accessed off this hallway."

The exterior remained faithful to the residence that inspired it in other ways besides the facade. While the new house is built in breeze block and not brick, its walls are still finished in a patterned render similar to that found on the Melbourne residence.

The corrugated roof from the Melbourne house is also replicated. The veranda tiles on the new home, however, were chosen to the match the wall tones, whereas these are terracotta in the older house.

While the exterior is a near-exact re-creation of the original in scale and style, the interiors include several departures.

"We designed the interior ourselves to some extent to evoke the spirit of the original home," says Ann Deby. "The interior wasn't measured out to match, but elements such as the skirting boards and door panels are all faithful to the Victorian aesthetic.

"Essentially, we wanted the interior to have fewer rooms, and on a larger scale. We also wanted to ensure the finishes would be in keeping, but not fussy. For example, cornices are deep but simple in detail."

View of dining area featuring a wrought iron countertop, cuisine classique, dining room, furniture, home, interior design, kitchen, property, room, table, white
View of dining area featuring a wrought iron chandelier, recycled timber flooring, dining room furnishings, lighting.

Parquet floors in the house in Melbourne are replaced here with recycled blackbutt timber. Choosing recycled wood was not only ecologically sound practice, but also provided the large-plank dimensions that suited the scale of the rooms.

With similar advantages in sustainability and economy, the home's fireplace surrounds are made of panelled wood instead of marble.

The owners let the home out to paying guests, so the furniture and furnishings had to be both comfortable and welcoming.

"We haven't introduced any Victorian furniture into the home," says Kurt Deby. "We simply wanted a classic, relaxed feel appropriate to any rambling country house."

The result is an interior that boasts antique chandeliers, a Spanish dining table and French bedroom furniture, to name only a few elements.

The house includes all the comforts of modern technology, with sleek kitchen appliances and air conditioning.

"In terms of decor, we kept the palette neutral," says Ann Deby. "While the home is rich in furniture and finishing detail, we had to ensure the views take centre stage."

Apr 16, 2009

Credit list

Draughtsperson
Andrew Gifford
Builder
Brian Larratt
Cladding
Rendered Hanson blocks
Flooring
Recycled timber from Shiver Me Timbers
Lighting
Seanic Antiques; Custom Lighting
Doors and windows
Custom from Hansson's Joinery
Blinds
Adea
Kitchen cabinetry
Tesrol in matt white
Splashback
GlassKote from
Taps
Perrin & Rowe from
Refrigerator
Liebherr
Rugs
Persian Rug Collection
Interior and kitchen design
Kitchen manufacturer
Tony Bell
Roofing
Colorbond from Metropolitan Roofing
Paints and varnishes
Wattyl; Dulux
Heating
Daikin from Parr's Heating & Cooling; Jetmaster Heat & Glo gas fires; Jetmaster open fire
Window and door hardware
Audiovisual
Boss from Quantum
Benchtops
Granite from Apollo
Kitchen sink
Shaws from
Oven, cooktop, ventilation, microwave, steam oven
Miele
Furniture
Brigitte Forestier; Geraldine Cooper Beautiful Room; Rocco Interiors; Grange Furnishings; The Orient Express; Seanic Antiques
We know the specialists