Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Inspiration - Rapunzel Tower Houses in Melbourne

Being a boom time town built on the back of an enormous gold rush, by the 1880s Melbourne was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. And what do newly wealthy people do? They build large houses in the current style. So, there is an abundance of Victorian, Italianate and Queen Anne architecture dotted around the inner suburbs. And in many cases, these lovely houses have towers. That's right, real towers. How I love those towers. And I so rarely see anyone in them. Perhaps they are a difficult space to use for anything other than staring at the view.

It seems to me that apart from admiring the vista, towers are well suited for use as a reading room, craft room, study or a garden style room. Here is my mix and match:

This is Belmont in Hawthorn, built in 1898.

This is a large family home, so I feel I would want a grown up space to retreat to:

This is Uxbridge House dating from 1889. Built in an unusual Queen Anne style it has a tiny little two storey tower on the left.

Given its garden setting perhaps a little green study would be apt here.

This is Glucksberg in Hawthorn.

I can see a wooden pannelled study in here, with a slightly European feel in the patterned desk:

This house (Kinniel in Hawthorn) could have a light filled craft room in the Tower

with lots of storage for crafty bits and pieces:

This is Rupertswood in Sunbury dating from 1974. It is the homes of the Ashes (as in cricket) such a fascinating fact I didn't have time to find out what that meant.

It's a pretty serious house so I think there could be a pretty serious looking grey study for serious business.

For contrast, with a little flowery sitting space for the top of the tower:

This is Rosina in Moonee Ponds, built between 1850 and the 1890s hence the mish mash of architectural styles.

This tower looks quite large so I think you could have a light filled sitting room with some antique paintings scattered around.

And perhaps above that, a conservatory style area for reading:

This is Illawarra in Toorak. This has a quite amazing three storey tower, which you can see in town halls and post offices in Melbourne but rarely houses. The spaces are probably quite small, and perhaps to off set the heavy Italianate architecture something light and dreamy is called for:

First, a bedroom:

Next level up, a letter writing desk:

And then a bathroom. Don't ask me how you get the plumbing up there. That's the plumber's problem.

Here is Huntingtower in Hawthorn.

This has a touch of the Edgar Allan Poes about it so maybe a room for writing gothic novels would work:

think this is my favourite - Sarathon in Prahran built in 1880. The owners appear to have subdivided the land and there is now a very modern boxy structure in the front garden. It is an interesting contrast but affects the approach to this tower a little.

Given that I would be living here I think a ladylike desk for writing little bon mots and wrapping small gifts would be appropriate with lots of natural light:

There is a very run down Victorian house up the road from where I live. It has peeling white paint, a willow tree in the front garden and a single white Italianate tower perched on the roof. I have never seen it for sale and I picture a grey haired lady happily ensconced in there with her 10 cats. I hope it is one day bought and refurbished by someone who loves the tower.

And thank you to Dean Melbourne your architectural photographs are amazing. You can see all of them here.

(1) Walking Melbourne (2)(4)(6)(11) (18) Point Click Home (8) Country Living (9) Martha Stewart (12) and (19) Sandra Lane (14) Tim Evan Cook (15) House to Home (17) Marie Claire Maison (21) Homes and Gardens. All other houses photographed by Dean Melbourne.


Millie said...

Jane what a stunning post! Your idea of combining a little 'imagination' with the real thing was great fun. We have very dear friends who live in a big Victorian Italianate house complete with tower in Moonee Ponds. We clambered up to the top on the rickety stairs one day & the views of Melbourne where fantastic. However, it is empty aside from the pigeons!
Millie ^_^
P.S. Their's would be the only house in Melb. where you can sit & eat fish & chips on a 17th century table purchased from Glammis Castle & which Bonnie Prince Charlie once used!

Lee said...

Hi Jane, what a fantastic post! I have lived in Melbourne for over 20 years and yet I never knew about the towers in these houses. Thanks for educating me just a wee bit. I think the rooms you have chosen for each home are gorgeous and absolutely spot on! Lee :)

Julie@beingRUBY said...

HI Jane
I too love this post. Clever, entertaining and informative. I love old homes and those turrets just make for a fairytale imagination to come alive. We have some houses like this in Sydney. Beautiful old structures that unfortunately cost a packet. Maybe one day I will get out there with my camera and show you, but until then I can drool over these ones and your clever choices of rooms to match. I love image #8.
Thanks for brightening my monday. x Julie

Samy said...

Hi Jane,
what an amazing post! just stumbled upon your blog and am so glad to have found it as it's just lovely. Always very happy to discover fellow Melbourne bloggers :)

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