Penshurst – A Sea Captain’s Mansion Saved from Ruin

I have a soft spot for Penshurst, the historic house I’m going to share with you today – which was actually one of my very first home tours – in fact I visited it before I’d even clicked ‘publish’ on my first blog post! (Original post here).

When I was a teenager, after school my best friend and I used to walk down to the river, swim at Bicton Baths and then we’d walk home, sometimes taking a different route to look at the beautiful houses by the river. One day in 2000 we chanced upon this huge old Victorian house, which looked much like the below at the time.

It was a wreck then, but there was something about it, sitting proudly on the hill, older than any other house around it – it had a presence. I was enthralled.

ABOVE: Penshurst in 2000.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: A photo of the back of the house, before its renovations.

So were Tim and Frances Brien from the U.K, who first clapped eyes on Penshurst in 2001, a year after I first came across it. The Briens, who own a childcare centre, came across a newspaper ad with a drawing of what the house might have once looked like (see below).

But as they drew up to the house, they realised the drawing was not entirely accurate! Time had weathered the home so much it was a dilapidated ruin. But they were hooked – and they bought it.

Watch
  • A Solar Passive ‘Shed-House’ in the Country

    Rolling country views, a pony, dogs, a beautiful solar passive new build, a lovely family and two pet sheep who are convinced they are people – this wonderful home visit was one of my favourites and I’m so pleased to share it here today with these gorgeous photos by Heather. Nestled in the Perth hills in picturesque Stoneville, this family home is special – it is proof that building on

    Watch
  • Florence Broadhurst Blinds for Your Home (and WIN!)

    Would you like Florence Broadhurst patterned blinds in your home? Or would you prefer to design your own pattern and have it printed and custom-made just for you? Whatever your fancy, you can have the most stylish windows going with one of the newer window treatment companies to make waves on the market, Blinds in Print. When I first came across Blinds in Print I fell in love with the

    Watch
  • 14 Great Books About Houses: My Reviews

    If I was down to my last $20, I’d probably buy a coffee and a book… maybe a novel about a house. Me at bookstore *Spies book with pretty old mansion on cover* TAKE MY MONEY I am very partial to a story where an amazing house is almost a character. And I’m a total sucker for a book cover with a beautiful old sprawling manse, the more secretive-looking, the

    Watch
  • A Timeless Federation Bungalow in Coolbinia

    This beautiful home has just gone on the market with Nadija Begovich and Dan Broad of The Perth Property Co. Buying a house in beautiful Coolbinia was a dream come true for then newly-engaged couple Ash and Lisa Mitchell. Both Ash and Lisa had always loved character homes and when the chance came to buy this 1947 Federation Bungalow 14 years ago, they jumped on it. Since then, the house

    Watch
  • Before the Fire: Paganin House by Iwan Iwanoff

    I originally published this post on the old format of Modaokon here. Iwanoff fans rejoice.  Iconic Paganin House has been saved! After this famous Iwanoff home in Floreat was gutted days before Christmas 2015 by a house fire, it has now been brought back to life by the careful work of its owners and a team of dedicated tradespeople. And Restoration Australia has followed its journey! (I have fond

    Watch
  • Le Fanu, Perth’s Most Expensive Renovation, is Now For Sale

    Le Fanu, Perth’s most expensive home renovation, is up for sale. If you could do with a luxury beach home and have a spare $17 million, this heritage-listed house could be yours! Some of you guys may remember the story I wrote a few years ago on this house. Right by the beach in Cottesloe with spectacular views, the 1893-built house later fell into ruin, catching the eye and imagination

    Watch
  • How to Update Dated Lighting in an Older Home

    The right lights can have a major effect on a room or an interior. In fact there are few things that can date a home more quickly than old, daggy lighting. Hello boob lights and oyster lights! No matter how curated and stylish your décor, or how modern your renovation, if you still have an ugly nipple light in the centre of your ceiling, the eye is naturally going to

    Watch
  • What I’d Buy on Facebook Marketplace Today (If I Wasn’t Broke)

    I was a teenager the first time someone told me I had an addictive personality. “Oh!” I said brightly, flattered. “Meaning people find me addictive?” I was picturing myself as this alluring, magnetic creature. “NO,” they shot back rudely. “It just means that you get addicted to things very fast.” It wasn’t the last time anyone said that to me, and I have to admit, they have all been correct.

    Watch