‘Yarroma’, located at 12 Coppin Grove in Hawthorn’s uber prestigious St James Park Estate, has listed once again. This time, the c1871 James Conlan-designed mansion comes with a refreshed interior, a “new” master bedroom, and seemingly more subdued pricing expectations: $10m+, if Domain is to be trusted. The mansion’s new listing struck us for two reasons: 1) any home in the St James Park Estate holds a certain kind of staying power unrepeatable even in the most blue-blooded pockets of Toorak; and 2) when any home undergoes a base-level interior refurbishment after failing to sell, it signals to the Radical Terrace a certain kind of interior design demand en vogue at the top end of the market. And to begin with the latter, what is the market indicating? High Victorian is out; a minimalist (and white) homage to past is in. That, and bedrooms demand an ensuite if to be taken seriously; the master bedroom requires a bedroom-sized closet; and a butler’s pantry reigns over a laundry room. It’s all a very intuitive, albeit simple, renovation to bring Yarroma up to snuff in the modern age of real estate luxury.
But perhaps the most important before and after lies in the floor plan:
Current floor plan above reveals a complete master suite, with a secondary bedroom converted into a closet, the subdivision of an unnecessarily large laundry room into a laundry room + butler’s pantry, and the opening up of the living room to the kitchen. Also note ever bedroom now contains an ensuite. 2010 floor plan is below.
And to all the NIMBYs out there, you may be familiar with this property for the recent scrutiny of the owner’s plans to develop an adjacent chunk of Yarra River-fronting land into luxury townhouses. The Radical Terrace sees both sides of the story. Firstly, the owner - Peter O’Brien, aquarium planner extraordinaire - tried in vain to sell the entire property as one chunk with bullish $18m+ expectations at various times over the last 2 years. The market did not respond in kind. So what’s a man supposed to do? His $10m idea for luxury townhouses is, in our opinion, no less obstructive to the Yarra River than the development of a mega mansion, which is no doubt the other option for the 3/4 acre piece of land.
That said, what we do respect is the single-family nature of the St James Park Estate. The 1870s subdivision of land was Melbourne’s first significant concentrated development of mansions and remains to this day the highest concentration of larger than life housing in the metropolitan area. The opening in 1860 of the then-named “Richmond Bridge Road” enabled the settlement of Hawthorn on the high ground of the Yarra by the city’s elite. The parcel lines were large enough to accomodate hefty mansions, but small enough not to face the piecemeal subdivision that whittled down many of Toorak’s most impressive multi-acre estates in the 20th century. There’s more juice to the story of the St James Park Estate, both in the past and present, but for now, here’s some historic map porn to enjoy:
An 1870s parcel map above. Yarroma is situated in parcel “54”.
The oft-referenced MMBW map of 1890 showcases a partially developed St James Park Estate (above), and Yarroma zoomed in (below).
A map at the time of Federation shows a built-out, but still young, neigbhourhood.
A quick aside: seeing that the home was built in 1871, and presuming that the exterior has remained unchanged since construction, this may very well be the earliest use of the Hawthorn brick treatment that the Radical Terrace knows of. Can any reader help confirm or refute this claim?
The listing: Yarroma, 12 Coppin Grove, Hawthorn.
Click below for more before and after imagery and other listing photos!!