The majestic look and feel of Yarra House, as she sits proudly on her corner block with a grand bull nose verandah embracing her four sides and manicured formal gardens, means this is a house you take note of as you walk or drive past the street. However, the story of hardship, commitment and a couple determined to bring this turn of the century weatherboard Victorian home back to its former glory is one many people of the town of Yarrawonga in Victoria’s North East don’t know about.
It all started in 2014 when Graeme and Jan fell in love with this renovators delight.
"It was in very bad shape when we bought it." Graeme | Yarra House Homeowner
Graeme goes on to say that "it was vacant for two years prior to us coming along so, a lot of the home had deteriorated in that time and it was very close to being a property you bulldoze. Basically, in order to save it we knew we had to throw a lot of time and money into it.”
Thankfully, Graeme and Jan didn't bulldoze the house, instead choosing to contract a local home improvement builder, Jack Ritches, to complete the renovation.
They began by pulling down the "add-on's" and then made plans for a new open plan kitchen and living area. The original part of the home was kept in true Victorian style with the long hallway and the arch was repaired. The rooms were stripped of their multiple layers of wallpaper and redone with a classic and timeless decor. The psychedelic carpet was ripped up to reveal wonderful wooden floor boards.
The four rooms at the front of the house that make up the original building are now a formal study/lounge, two bedrooms and a dining room. In the new addition of the home, the couple chose to create a light and spacious open plan living zone, an additional bedroom and ensuite.
The new area retains the charm of the period style with the use of antique and formal style furniture in a casual, thoughtful way whilst displaying personal and everyday items. A classic shaped couch and matching armchairs arranged symmetrically give the space balance and form.
Choosing to run with a blue and white theme in the kitchen, the cabinetry is kept white and the island bench painted a deep blue. Jan opted to carry this through to the bathrooms also creating a wonderful cohesive and traditional style throughout. The kitchen is a galley style with a butlers pantry, cleverly designed to hide all the appliances, food items, fridge and large dishwasher. The laundry is also tucked away behind the pantry with easy access outside towards the garage making this a perfect back entrance to the home.
Graeme and Jan have created a stunning entertainers dining room - a traditional separate room in the original part of the home yet close to the kitchen. First thing you notice in the room is the majestic deep hue of blue on the walls.
"We happened to be away when the painter was scheduled to paint this room and we got a phone call to check if we were sure this was the right colour". Jan | Yarra House Homeowner
And yes it is a great colour...helping create a sense of opulence along with the formal antique furniture, fireplace and the show stopping chandelier. Jan recalls going through 100's of magazines to be inspired about how her home should look.
During the renovation the couple discovered a secret underground cellar they did not know existed. It was important to keep the cellar as part of the history of the home. It was believed that the cellar was near where the original kitchen would have been. Back before the days of refrigeration, the cellar would have also been used to store butter milk and cream. These days, Graeme has his own wine cellar to be proud of.
Outside, the home had certainly been brought back to her former glory. Graeme and Jan were meticulous in sourcing tradespeople and selecting the perfect materials - all evident as no compromise was made. The wrap around verandah meets the side entrance to the home and a new "breeze way" alfresco area was recreated from an older version that was attached to the house.
"We loved the lattice work and the idea of an outdoor seating area for guests so we made this breeze way," noted Jan. And, not surprisingly it is the favourite part of the home for both of them.
Thank you Graeme and Jan for taking House of Home on a tour of your stunning Yarra House