When builder Arthur Hatzimagas bought a rundown Alphington house three years ago the plan was to bring it back to life and give it to his son.
While their plans changed, the desire to give the more than 90-year-old California bungalow at 34 Mercil Rd a chance at a new life did not.
A Covid-era renovation renewed almost every facet of the home, but didn’t come at the expense of its past.
“When I bought the house it was something you might have knocked down,” Mr Hatzimagas said.
“But I decided I have seen worse than this. And I don’t like to destroy houses that have some history.”
The founder of construction and renovation firm Building Recovery took moulds of the original ceiling decorations before creating new ones identical to the original as he stripped it back and relevelled it.
Internal walls were replastered, new doors made to mimic the old and herringbone timber floors.
“The only thing I left was the existing frame, and there I have supported every single stud with another next to it so the house will last another 100 years,” Mr Hatzimagas said.
He also added new carpets, central heating, full-height tiling in the bathrooms and modern black tapware throughout the home.
A striking modern extension at the rear showcases an eye-catching marble-look kitchen with a butler’s pantry and black joinery.
The latter matches not only the tapware, but the fluted cladding around a gas log fireplace in the living room.
The open-plan space also includes a dining area set beneath a soaring void that fills the rear of the home with natural light from the north and east.
Pendant lights add contemporary flair to the space that also looks out to the backyard pool. But it is still the period charm in the front half of the home that Mr Hatzimagas, and his son who was originally intended to live in the house, love the most.
“The existing house is my favourite part, I spent a lot of time and money to restore it and that’s what I’m most proud of,” he said.
“We have brought it back to the way it looked originally.”
For those who appreciate a home with history, a front sitting room and pair of bedrooms, including the main, have plenty of the character you would expect in a period home, including decorative ceilings.
But an ensuite for the main, another bathroom and a laundry add modern appeal to the original part of the house as well.
Head upstairs in the new extension and a retreat offers a third living space, while three more bedrooms include two more with walk-in wardrobes.
Jellis Craig Northcote’s John Karr said the difference between Mercil Rd when he sold it in 2018 (for $1.465m, according to public records) to what it had become was “day and night”.
“It still blends in beautifully with the street,” Mr Karr said.
“But it’s now luxurious and yet still a family home – warm and homely. Kids walk through picking out their room and there’s an instant appeal about it.”
And it is likely to become even more appealing as a landscaped garden grows into its own around a new pool and outdoor entertainment zone.
He said the sophisticated build was so good they were having to point out details buyers missed.
“The study has a pivot door and it just looks like a wall, we have had to push it open to show people it’s there,” he said. “And there’s even a turning space for cars out the front.”
The home is also enviably located a short stroll from public transport and extensive parkland.
No. 34 Mercil Rd goes under the hammer with a $3m-$3.3m asking price at 10.30am, August 6.
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