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The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said
The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

For more than a century, Sydney’s Upper North Shore has held an impressive reputation for its stately homes on large blocks of land with established private gardens. 

This week our property contrarians Jonathan Chancellor and Margie Blok peer at grand garden estates in leafy avenues of this peculiarly “Australian Arcadia” and discuss the essential requirements for choosing a trophy home in this rarefied area.

HE SAID:jc-silhouette-5

  • Location is of utmost importance. The upper north shore encompasses suburbs north of Chatswood, south of Hornsby’s northern border and east of the Lane Cove River - but the best estates are on the east side of the Pacific Highway in Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon, Pymble, Turramurra, Warrawee and Wahroonga.

  • The property must have “the house, court, pool package”, a phrase coined by Julia Burns, the legendary Upper North Shore agent who sold prestige properties at record prices from the 1980s heyday until her retirement about five years ago. For a property to be considered prestigious, Burns insisted it have a big home set in beautiful gardens with a full-size tennis court and swimming pool – and I agree with her.

  • A significant architect is essential. And the architect’s name must be included in the marketing of a property to show its quality provenance. Among architects known for designing beautiful homes on the Upper North Shore are Howard Joseland, John Brogan, Augustus Aley, F. Glynn Gilling, Hardy Wilson and Walter Liberty Vernon. It’s no secret I admire the Spanish Mission style, but on the Upper North Shore I also appreciate Stockbroker Tudor-style such the house at 1 Springdale Avenue, Killlara designed by architect John Brogan.

  • My pick of properties on the market is the Pymble home of dentists Richard Medway and Isabel Silva who are hoping to set a suburb record of more than $8 million for their Spanish Mission style residence on Telegraph Road when the marketing campaign closes on Tuesday November 25 through agent Scott Chadwick. 

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

Designed by architect Geoffrey Loveridge, the grand 1930s house stands in manicured gardens with a tennis court and pool. It was built during the 1930s for Carpenter Group chairman, R.B. Carpenter, and his wife, Gladys.

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

The subsequent owners include medico Dr John Drummond, architect Steve Gunns and, most recently, property developer David Blaynie and his wife, Joanne, who sold it a decade ago for around $4.7 million.

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

I remember when LJ Hooker Pymble’s David Johnson was selling 42 Telegraph Road back in 2004 and successfully advising the then vendor to replace the roof of the home with slate tiles. It cost the vendor more than $150,000, but Johnson suggested it certainly helped achieved the $4.7 million sale price of the 3,389 square metre property.

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

mb-silhouette-4SHE SAID:

East side of the train line is essential – and not too far east. Be it Killara, Wahroonga, Warrawee, Pymble, Gordon or Roseville, the property must be within easy walking distance of a train station for Mums and Dads who commute to work in the city, and kids travelling to schools.

  • The house should have at least four bedrooms, as well as huge sitting and dining rooms and a big open-plan kitchen and family living area with easy access to outdoor entertaining/barbecue areas with an outdoor kitchen.

  • While ballrooms and train rooms once were popular with North Shore mansions, these days home theatres and cinema rooms are the go – or a yoga room for mum and her friends.

  • A huge landscaped garden is de rigeuer – and preferably one designed by Annie Wilkes. While topiary and manicured hedges suit some properties, I prefer rambling gardens. It’s a pity the Upper North Shore doesn’t have any gardens designed by Enda Walling.

  • The property needs to be close to good primary school given families with young children are predominant buyers for Upper North Shore properties. Burns Road Wahroonga is a fine example of a good east side address, for it has the Bush School and nearby Prouille for Catholic kids.

  • Among the best properties for sale, in my view, is “Hazeldean” at 14 Burns Road, Wahroonga. Ticking all the boxes including buxus hedges in the garden, “Hazeldean” has a circa 1898 residence built in the Queen Anne style and updated with an award-winning heritage restoration.  

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

Described by McGrath selling agents, Phillip Waller and Samuel Lynch, as “presenting unparalleled grandeur and prominence”, it stands in about 3,422 square metres of landscaped gardens with a championship-size tennis court and heated swimming pool.

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

Designed by architect Varney Parkes (the seventh child of politician, Sir Henry Parkes, and his first wife Clarinda), it has six bedrooms, an expensive designer gas kitchen (by Scullery and Holtz), grand formal sitting and dining rooms (with high ornate ceilings and original circa 1890s embossed wallpaper) and self-contained guest accommodation in a separate wing.

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

The property is an easy walk to the train station and village shops as well as Knox and Abbotsleigh schools.

The Upper North Shore, Sydney trophy home essentials: He Said/She Said

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