Oct 17, 2011

Rescue Me Please: I'm a Boom Style Italianate Mansion

Put on your best Victorian walking dress, 
because today we are going to buy Friesia, 
an 1880s loggia-encased Italianate home 
and we shall start with a walk in its most charming botanical gardens.

  The carriage will arrive here, 
by the wrought iron gates,
and we shall alight prettily 
so as not to get our long skirts too muddy.
No actually, on second thoughts, 
let's arrive by penny farthing bicycle.
Because we are up with the latest fashion.
As we walk through the crunchy gravel, 
we shall admire the beautiful Italian Renaissance inspired architecture,
with its loggia and bay windows.
Friesia was designed by the German architect John Koch,
and employs all the fabulous details of the Boom Style, 
for this is Melbourne during the Gold Rush, 
and there is plenty of money to be spent on details
like stone balustrades & intricate plaster mouldings on the parapets.
Oh, there are the children playing in the lovely garden. 
Plenty of places for them to play hide and seek.
We might have our sponge cake and Earl Grey tea on the loggia,
while the children play in the garden.
But let's go inside now, 
so we can explore the house itself.
This is the Octagonal Clerestory Hall, 
rather a splendid centrepiece of the floor plan.

Speaking of floor plans, 
let's get our bearings,
so we can see where we are.
The Hall has some extraordinarily beautiful leadlight,
casting colourful shafts of light below.
The house also comes with a restored cottage & stables,
so our guests can stay here too.
In such a romantic house, 
how could we not fall in love?
Friesia is an absolutely enchanting home,
from an era of grandeur and detail.
It's a glorious property,
and part of social history.

Would you like to live here?

Friesia: 21 Isabella Grove, Hawthorn, Melbourne.
Property Images & Agents: Kay & Burton
Victorian fashion plates & last image: hats from history.


  1. Miss Virginia, 

    It's Miss Loulou here - well isn't that the way we must speak with this era?

    I love the lot.  The photos you have shown are wonderful.  

    I just have to add - I need a bustle, no one would know the true size of my booty!

    have a great day

    x  Loulou

  2. Great idea, then we can have as many slices of sponge cake for afternoon tea as we wish, and we can blame it all on the bustle! 

  3. Such a stunning house - Renaissance style architecture is so elegant and such beautiful gardens! I wouldn't mind joining you both for afternoon tea and sponge cakes in one of those very pretty dresses as well! I would love to see the interior of this house designed with a mix of beautiful new furnishings that still complement the era of the home. Would be stunning!

  4. I can imagine living there!  When I go to Melbourne I always drive around Hawthorne looking at the beautiful homes.  Mimi xx

  5. Hello Anna! Ok, brilliant - well we are up to 3 now for our afternoon tea party of sponge cakes and beautiful dresses with bustles! Wouldn't it be delightful? 

    And yes, exactly what I was thinking about the furniture too. A mix of old and contemporary would be a wonderful thing to see, so that it celebrates its history but is not confined by it. 

  6. Virginia, Oh I have always wanted to be a fair lady and live in a beautiful mansion - this one is perfect - wow thanks for sharing the dream. Happy Monday,

  7. Hi Mimi. And a lovely big welcome to Glamour Drops! Yes, it is a gorgeous suburb - lots of wonderful homes with an absolute myriad of architectural styles. Hard to find 2 houses alike - which I adore. 

  8. Well then we just need to invent a time and space machine, and this one will be perfect! 
    (Lucky we have imaginations to go on with, while we are waiting for the inventors to sort it out, don't you think?)

  9. robinsonheather17/10/11 7:40 PM

    Oh my, just shoot me now so that I can go to Heaven--because it probably would look like this house and its gardens! Sigh. Can you tell that I like it? Perhaps with such un ladylike talk, I won't be welcome to take tea, so I'll just head off to play "Hide and Seek" with the children.

    The architectural details are just so lovely--I can hear the footsteps on the parquet! Any house that has such a big library is perfect for me. 

    And I love how this post tied in with yesterdays hats. 

    Merci pour cette belle debut de semaine. Bisous! 

  10. new term of

    "does my bustle look big in this"?

  11. I am snorting with laughter in a most unladylike way....that phrase  is a keeper!!!

  12. Claudia Lane17/10/11 9:14 PM

    A most fascinating post...what  a magnificent property...I'd love to move in (and get lost in those beautiful gardens), who wouldn't? 

    I think Melbourne is a wonderful city, I can't wait to go back (will visit chez drez next time, unfortunately we couldn't squeeze it into our schedule this time around) 
    Have a great week 
    Claudia xo

  13. Heather, j'espere que ta semaine finira comme elle commencera - avec beauté.

    (Now, I am not that clever to write this myself, I have asked the Henriette mouse to help me out here. She said don't judge her if it isn't correct.) 

    The library...ooh yes...when I spotted that on the floor plan my heart leapt too! 

  14. What a charming idea, to get lost in these gardens....and only be found again when one wished to be found. Glad you had a great trip - and I don't think Chez Dre will be going away anytime soon. We had breakfast there last weekend, with some friends from out of town and it was as busy and fabulous as ever. 

  15. robinsonheather18/10/11 5:18 AM

    Henriette mouses French is better than mine. :) Remi photographed a home in Hue, Vietnam (when it was under French rule) that was sadly in a truly delapidated state. Here is the link to one of the photos to give you an idea: 

  16. Oh now you absolutely KNOW that I cannot resist having a look at that...any home in need of rescue always get my attention!  (Often to my clients' endless amusement. One client remarked he thought I may have loved his home even more than he did at  the start, but at the end, oh no! Somebody (famous) wanted to buy it when it was finished, but he would not part with it.)
    And as for Vietnam, have always desperately wanted to travel there, but haven't found the chance just yet. Remi's photo may just be the incentive I need....V xx

  17. Georgica Pond20/10/11 1:49 PM

    I love that we do have some wonderful old historic homes in this country with some history and a unique style of design and architecture. My pommy husband is always complaining about awful Australian architecture.


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