Glory days for ter­race trea­sure

Spa­cious­ness and dec­o­ra­tive fea­tures are among char­ac­ter­is­tics of a North Tce home, writes Ben Hyde.

The Advertiser - Real Estate - - Front Page -

THE land­scape of North Tce has changed much since 1881. A con­stant fea­ture has re­mained at num­ber 261: a com­mand­ing char­ac­ter home that now sits as one of only two stand-alone res­i­dences on the street. The other one is Govern­ment House.

Built when the city’s cul­tural boule­vard was a res­i­den­tial street, the prop­erty has such 19th cen­tury dec­o­ra­tive fea­tures as col­umns, pi­lasters, para­pets, a mansard roof and a tower crowned with cast iron rail­ings.

The Michell fam­ily has owned the prop­erty for a lit­tle more than 25 years but Mrs Michell says the in­ter­est was sparked long be­fore this.

‘‘I’d been look­ing at it since I was a stu­dent and I used to ad­mire it when I’d walk past it as a stu­dent,’’ she says.

‘‘The ar­chi­tect was Wil­liam McMinn, who also de­signed the Mitchell Build­ing at the Univer­sity of Ade­laide and the Gov­er­nor’s res­i­dence at Mar­ble Hill, and he de­signed such lovely build­ings.

‘‘The ar­chi­tec­ture of it, I thought, was just beau­ti­ful and I loved its pro­por­tions.’’

The prop­erty has been home to no­table Ade­laideans, in­clud­ing ar­chi­tect Wal­ter Bagot, who de­signed Bonython Hall and the Barr Smith Li­brary at the Univer­sity of Ade­laide.

Dur­ing World War II, the prop­erty served as a guest house and in the 1950s it was con­verted to a doc­tor’s clinic.

When the Michells bought the prop­erty in the 1980s, they set about re­turn­ing it to a grand fam­ily home.

‘‘We’ve done a sen­si­tive restora­tion to it,’’ Mrs Michell says.

‘‘It was al­ways in good shape but it had lost its charm be­cause it had been con­verted to doc­tor’s rooms for some pe­riod. It wasn’t that hard to get it back be­cause it was such a well-built build­ing.’’

A grand en­try and stair­way hall with a ceil­ing height of al­most 12m is a pre­cur­sor to the pro­por­tions ev­i­dent through­out the prop­erty.

High dec­o­ra­tive ceil­ings, in­tri­cate cor­nices, hall­way arches and char­ac­ter fire­places abound through­out the in­te­rior. ‘‘It’s an ex­tremely beau­ti­ful build­ing,’’ Mrs Michell says.

The ground floor fea­tures the orig­i­nal ma­hogany stair­way and spa­cious for­mal rooms, in­clud­ing the north-fac­ing li­brary and draw­ing room and the spa­cious din­ing room.

Also down­stairs is a kitchen loaded with cup­board and bench space, and an ad­ja­cent ca­sual liv­ing and meals area.

A spi­ral stair­case leads from the kitchen to an un­der­ground cel­lar of al­most 25sq m.

The down­stairs bath­room has a tran­quil out­look over an atrium while there also is a de­tached laun­dry and store­room.

Up­stairs, a sit­ting room leads to a wrought iron bal­cony over­look­ing North Tce. There are four bed­rooms, a study and a sec­ond bath­room.

The Michells say liv­ing on North Tce has af­forded a con­ve­nient life­style.

‘‘It’s in such a prom­i­nent po­si­tion and it’s con­ve­nient to pretty much every­thing,’’ Mrs Michell says.

‘‘Be­cause it’s such a well-con­structed build­ing, it’s very quiet in­side and you’re not con­scious of the busy road out­side.

‘‘We en­joy be­ing here and we are only leav­ing be­cause we feel it is too big for us now.’’

The prop­erty fea­tures off-street park­ing for up to four cars and a cov­ered out­door en­ter­tain­ing area.

Mrs Michell says the spa­cious­ness of the rooms will be missed.

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