Living with a sense of history
STARTING out as a coach house and stables and evolving into a substantial grand house, Jill Webster’s home has been both a family home and the scene of many picturesque marriages.
The New Town property originated as a stables and coach house for the neighbouring property from the late 1820s until it was converted into a home in its own right in the 1930s.
Jill and her husband have been busy this year fi nishing off the latest round of renovations and an extension.
“We’ve lived here for about 28 years, JIll said. “When we moved in it was still a substantial home, but we’ve redone it completely.
“Over the years, we’ve done bits and pieces to make it into a really comfortable family home.”
And what a stunning home it is, not just in construction but in every small detail Jill has looked after in the furnishing and decoration.
Her pride and joy is the new kitchen/ living extension at the rear of the home planned by her husband and project managed by Derek Chambers of Jackman Builders who is also the owner of another grand historic Hobart home – Lyndhurst, in North Hobart.
The original kitchen was quite small and now serves as a scullery.
Taking pride of place in the new kitchen is a fantastic cedar island bench which was sourced from Gowans Auctions fi ve years ago and is believed to have come from an old church.
Also encompassing an informal dining space and living area, light pours into the room through the double- glazed windows which also work as an effective sound barrier.
“We’re right near the Brooker [ highway] because that’s where the coach house needed to be, but now it’s so quiet you wouldn’t even know it was there,” Jill said.
This area overlooks the English- style gardens, with its camellias, roses and box hedges.
There is also a large lawn area where many of celebrant Jill’s couples have said their “I dos”.
“I’ve done 2500 weddings, so it’s been a really nice house to bring my couples to and to share a sense of family and richness of history,” she said.
The garden also hosted former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret in 1987 for a fundraiser for Duncan Kerr’s tilt at the seat of Denison.
Much of the rest of the house has also seen renovations this year as it was rewired, which required all the carpets to be pulled up and most of the furniture to be moved.
“My arms and elbow joints are still aching from moving everything,” Jill laughed.
Downstairs houses the lounge ( where the carriage was originally kept) and dining room ( where the stable originally was), both of which are decorated with regal blues, golds and reds and are fi lled with many antiques and pieces collected by Jill from local markets.
Upstairs is a master bedroom with double- height ceiling and ensuite plus a further two bedrooms and a main bathroom complete with opulent spa bath and marble vanity with a huge goldframed mirror over.
Where the hay was kept back in its days as a stable, is now a spare room, where the Websters have big, incomplete jigsaw puzzles.
Prior to buying the home, Jill said she had no real experience with renovating.
“I’ve got lots of friends who are interested in it and we share ideas,” she explained.