A century-old botanical wonderland has hit the market in the mountains, offering buyers the opportunity to own an oasis just 45 minutes from the city.
The treasure trove’s stone and wrought iron entry opens to reveal garden paths winding past blooming pockets of flowers, along with stone walls and vast lawns.
The 2ha estate at 168-172 Falls Rd, Olinda, is known as the Dandenong Ranges’ Georgian Guesthouse and has a $2.3-$2.5 million price guide.
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The main three-bedroom residence has been completely renovated by the owners, now standing as a unique and inviting home.
And a self-contained cottage at the rear of the property also underwent an extensive update, creating a cosy abode in what was once the property’s stables and is now a thriving short-stay rental.
Vendor Carolyn Schuwalow said many guesthouses were built in the Hills during the 1900s, but few remained.
Ms Schuwalow said the main building in her property burnt down in the ’50s or ’60s, but the gardens were spared.
“The previous owners turned the servant quarters into the main house and used it as their mountain retreat,” she said.
“The second cottage used to be the stables for their horses before they turned it into a small cottage.”
When Ms Schuwalow purchased the property in 2013, the gardens were overrun with blackberries and house was rundown.
“You could see the structure and that it could be beautiful again, if someone spent the time and money and brought it back to life,” she said.
The renovation involved up-cycling products to maintain a rustic feel to fit with the environment, including floorboards repurposed from a Geelong church and an antique kitchen bench from a woolshed.
“We wanted the house to fit into the garden, not dominate it,” Ms Schuwalow said.
“And we used as many windows as possible to capture the amazing views of the gardens.”
Majestic rhododendrons and azaleas are highlights of the greenery.
The property also features a tennis court, spa pool, croquet lawn, lily pond, waterfall, a separate wine cellar and a copper fireplace.
The detached two-bedroom cottage has been used to house extended family and as a short-stay rental.
“It has been absolutely flat out — there have been only three days since Christmas someone hasn’t been in the cottage,” Ms Schuwalow said.
“It can pay for a gardener once a week, pay the bills, even the mortgage.”
Ms Schuwalow said the thought of selling the property was breaking her heart, but she was moving up north to be closer to her three-year-old grandchild.
“My husband is a bit of a gypsy and likes to find a project, so we will find something new up that way,” she said.
Bell Real Estate director Trevor Bell said a range of buyers would suit the property, from young couples to families and locals or those looking for a tree-change.
“It is quite unusual in the way they have renovated the house, with recycled materials but the latest in double glazed windows and hydronic heating as well,” Mr Bell said.
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