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Pristine Californian Bungalow

Cowling is a classic Californian bungalow in Castlemaine Victoria, which was originally built in the early part of the twentieth century and historically owned by the Cowling family. In 2005 it was lovingly renovated with an emphasis on updating the space for modern family life without losing the original character and period features of this charming home.

The house presents a huge flexibility in how the owner uses the space. The front portion of the home consists of a hardwood floor veranda, grand entrance hallway, large master bedroom, two extra bedrooms, bathroom, a formal sitting room and formal dining room which are connected by original wood folding doors and feature original fireplaces. The current owners have used the formal sitting/dining rooms as workspace, but they could very easily be used as bedrooms, reception rooms or a combination of both. Through the second hallway the modern north-facing addition adds a large open plan space with a lovely sun filled kitchen, dining room and living area with French doors out onto the patio and garden. A family bathroom and laundry with ample storage and pantry space lead out through the side door to the carport. New air-conditioning and heating units have been installed throughout the home, 11ft high ceilings, carefully chosen wall colours and beautiful timber floors add to the feeling of space and warmth.

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Landmark Property in Burnett Road

At the door of the house who will come knocking?
An open door, we enter
A closed door, a den
The world pulse beats beyond my door
Pierre Albert Birot

Pine Hill Castlemaine

Probably named because of two Bunya Pines (Araucaria Bidwillii) and Hoop Pine (Araucaria Cunnighami), these with three Funeral Cypress and several Cabbage Tree Pine Hill is a gracious historic Castlemaine home. Built by Samuel Kelsall in 1862 Pine Hill lies on prize acreage at 9 Burnett Road, Castlemaine, just a hop, skip and a jump from Castlemaine’s Botanical Gardens.

Once you pass through the ornate gates, decorated with peacocks, walk slowly up the winding drive that leads to the period homestead.

Stop to feel the energy of this space and reflect upon the stylistic elements of this home. It features typical gables, an asymmetrical plan and a verandah with open-work supports.

The current owners have a file filled with information about the property, the period when it was included in a Australian Garden History itinerary, and the Yandell family who lived here in the late 1800’s.

A.C. Yandell was a native of the town, the son of a pioneer resident and leading public man. He was a consulting herbalist in Mostyn Street, a consistent advocate of Castlemaine and giver to all progressive movements of Castlemaine.

This is a simply designed, stylish home. Each room has retained original features and with them comes a sense of a bygone time. Make sure to check out the recent owners library, find out which were their summer and winter bedrooms and stop to enjoy the delightful ‘garden room’, the perfect place to have tea and read the paper.

Above all take the time to stroll and discover the not so hidden treasures amongst the magnificent, historic outbuildings.

Seachangers and treechangers! Do they ever come back?

Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders (and dog Lottie) are putting their Northcote home on the market and making the move to the country.

I want to live in a place that’s beautiful!” you cry. “There’s too much traffic, gentrification and too many people. I deserve more than grey concrete and my dog deserves more than a postage-stamp piece of grass masquerading as a park!”

So you pop your city home on the market, and move to where the grass is, apparently, greener. If you’re lucky, there’s a bit of ocean blue, too.

Your friends and neighbours promise to visit, and you visualise your new dining room filled with your (no longer) nearest but still dearest, all drinking wine made from grapes that ripened just five kilometres away, and eating free-range ham, goats cheese and olives all sourced from your new neighbours.

But is it time to wake up and smell the (city) coffee? Just how successful is a sea change, or tree change?

“Once you move out of town you never go back!” says public relations manager Tara Bishop. She says this despite it taking four years to “defrost” her local Bottle O shopkeeper on the Mornington Peninsula and actually get a smile back.

She moved from the CBD to near Rye and loves it. But does she know anyone who’s given up and gone back? “No. They all love it. They’re happier, their kids are happier,” she says.

A place in the country, such as this Castlemaine home, has always had its appeal for many people.

Sam Rigopoulos, director of Jellis Craig in Northcote and Rob Waller, director of Waller Reality in Castlemaine, may both lay claim to coining the term “North Northcote” for regional Castlemaine, but they agree on one thing; those who move from the city to the country don’t come back. They are, according to both agents, happy.

“The only ones that really stick in my mind that didn’t work out were when relationships broke up,” says Waller. “And maybe the odd few where they had to move to climb the ladder at work.”

In fact, Waller sees treechangers acting like magnets. “If you look at couples we sold to, you’ll see that two years later you sold to their brother and sister, and then mum and dad will make an appearance, too.”

We tracked down Helen Bodycomb, who, in 2009, told The Age she and her husband were joining the exodus from Northcote to Castlemaine. Update: they held onto their Northcote property until two years ago, realising they would never go back. “We initially thought we’d be here for a year,” she says now. “I was more keen coming here, but after two weeks, my husband said he didn’t want to leave.”

Still, if things do go awry, buying back into the city isn’t so straightforward, and Waller has seen treechangers get stung. “Years ago they’d sell the house in the city and buy something here, travel the world and buy a new car. Then maybe something would happen health-wise, or they’d want to come back to be near the grandkids, and they’d find they couldn’t come back to where they’d come from,” he says.

Waller says people are being smarter with their money. “Now, if they sell a four-bedroom house in Camberwell, they will buy a country property in Castlemaine and simultaneously buy a townhouse in Fairfield, Kew or Richmond,” he says.

Long-time Northcote residents Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders and their two children attempted to move to Castlemaine over a decade ago, but failed.

“I set it up so our Northcote house would be auctioned one hour before the house in Castlemaine,” Bondy remembers. But no one bought the Jessie Street property. There were no offers, so I couldn’t bid and it was sold at auction. That was bad,” he recalls. Ten years later, a now renovated Jessie Street is hitting the market.

“The draw to the north may have ebbed slightly but it never really left. We saw this gorgeous property, like a dream house, not in Castlemaine, but in Mount Macedon – it’s the new Castlemaine!” he jokes.

Bondy, a public servant, will continue working in Melbourne, and is expecting a 48-minute commute on the train to the CBD, while Anders, a primary school teacher, will look for work closer to her new home.

Anders is Melbourne born and bred, but has long dreamed of moving to the country. “Making the leap now has given us such a deep sense of being alive!” she says, though admits the hardest thing will be losing the proximity to friends and family, and the cinema.

Source: Domain article by Jayne D’Arcy

Summer Sales

SummerThere are an number of things to think about before selling your home. This is a time of big change so you’ll want to make the best of the situation to ensure you get the best result possible. If you’re looking to sell over the warmer months there are a couple of things you can do to make your property appeal to a summer buyer.

Maximising outdoor space

It’s easy to let the summer sun get in the way of going some routine gardening but making sure that your outdoor area looks its best is a sure way to capture a buyer’s attention. Your buyers will be looking for a space where they can enjoy the sun so sprucing up the exterior of your home and keeping a high level of kerb appeal will massively improve your chances of securing a sale. Water the grass and garden so it looks lush come inspection time and clean up any outdoor entertaining areas. A lick of paint on fences or a new coat of oil on your deck will freshen up the outside’s appearance.

Keep it cool

Scheduling inspections at the beginning of the day can have two benefits. First, buyers are more likely to venture out house hunting earlier in the morning when they have plenty of time rather than late in the afternoon when the day’s coming to an end. Second, an early inspection will avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. There is nothing worse than a stuffy home so keeping doors and windows open for ventilation or switching the air con on low will make the inside a pleasant place to be on a warm day. Little details like a vase of flowers or a scented candle can also make the indoors a nice place to be.

Summer clean

Forget spring – summer is the perfect time to thoroughly clean your home. If your kids are off school for the holidays get them involved in the clean up. Not only does decluttering add a bit of polish, it can help put you in the right frame of mind for a move.

Our office is open on January 4th
Make an appointment for an appraisal.

Going on Vacation? Protect Your Castle!

Vacation Tips

Murphy’s Law for travelers: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you’re on vacation — which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Coming home from your honeymoon, African safari or Mediterranean cruise can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating.

To make matters worse, a house left empty while its owners are traveling is a tempting target for criminals. We don’t want to scare you — or leave you fearing for your treasured belongings while basking on a at beach over summer. But it’s imperative that every traveler take certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while seeing the world. Basic preventative measures (which take only minutes to complete) can work wonders to help you avoid power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.

1. Hold Your Mail

A huge pile of mail on the front doorstep, or envelopes pouring out your mail slot is an instant tip-off that no one’s home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office to place a hold on your mail. Put a hold on your daily paper, too. If you don’t have the time or inclination, ask a trusted neighbor to collect the goods daily.

2. Create the Illusion of Someone Home

Beyond setting your lights on a timer, you can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. But wait, that’s not all! Leave a car in the driveway. Arrange for someone to mow at least once a week (an unruly lawn is as bad as a pile of mail). During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm (neighborhood kids are great for this, if you get their parents’ word that they’ll remember). If you normally leave toys outside, or keep a hose unrolled, or do anything that shows signs of a home being lived in, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.

3 Mum’s The Word

Never, ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. Sharing settings are not foolproof and with new security updates it’s always hard to tell what’s public and what’s private. Stay on the safe side, and don’t mention your trip – until you’re back, with tales to tell and photos to upload!3. Mum’s the Word

4. Trust a Friend

Give your vacation contact info and a spare key to at least one friend or neighbor. That way, they’ll know how to contact you in case of emergency.

5. Unplug

Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This goes for the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances.

6. Hide the Hide-a-Key

It’s impossible to forget your key if you’re not even home, so go ahead and take any hidden spare keys out of commission. Just don’t forget to re-hide them when you return!

7. Shhhhh…Stay Quiet

While using personal pages on the Internet may be a convenient way to keep in touch with friends, sharing your itinerary can cause problems while you are away from home. Show some caution when you talk about your trip. Your blog isn’t the best place to announce that you’ll be away from home for a month.

Being aware of who’s around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn’t a bad idea either. Make sure that your children are discreet, too. No one is saying that you should be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

8. Maintaining Appearances

If your house is obviously uninhabited, you may be at risk of becoming a target for a burglar. An occupied home looks lived in. Lights go on and off, and cars come and go. When you’re away, everything stops. To help create the illusion that the residence is still occupied, invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening. If you can get a neighbor to take out your garbage and put the cans back after the garbage pickup, it’s another way to send the message that everything is proceeding normally at your house.

Paying someone to keep the yard mowed while you are away is a good idea if you will be gone for a significant amount of time in the spring or summer. Parking a car in your driveway also can make it appear as though someone is at home.

Invaluable Local Knowledge

Elphinstone

Given that this beautiful property in Elphinstone had been on the market for six months with an out of town agent it is not surprising that the owners were delighted when Rob Waller successfully sold it within just six week.

According to the vendor Rob Waller’s work stood out for a number of reasons.  During the appraisal process Rob invested the time to identify aspects of the previous marketing process that had fallen short and made expansive notes. He was frank and honest and had a realistic sense of the market price. Instead of putting forward a price range he determined what proved to be an accurate fixed price.

The vendor was also impressed with the depth of Rob’s experience, his knowledge of the area, the breadth of stock he works with and the potential buyers he is able to access. The vendor had chosen an out of town agent because of previous dealings but came to understand just how valuable such local knowledge and experience is.

Rob WallerPerhaps most importantly it was Rob’s professionalism that stood out. He was thorough, gave excellent advice and made himself available at all times. He was responsive and present throughout the process and was genuinely supportive.

Given that selling one’s home is high up on the list of major stressors it is heartening to know that it can be a very positive experience and that clients are prepared to publicly say how satisfied they have been.

Grand Hotel Maldon

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Maldon is a town steeped in history and The Grand takes pride of place in High Street.(Click link to visit web feature on this property) The National Trust declared it Australia’s first Notable Town in 1966. It once had quartz reefs that were among the world’s richest, attracting a population which built grand houses and a very busy commercial centre.

Today, thanks in part to the fact that the community has rigorously maintained the authentic, historic character, Maldon attracts regular tourists and visitors coming to enjoy the wonderful selection of eclectic events that help to give the town a very special personality. There are always people seeking apartment accommodation and the bonus of easy access to the diverse cafe and shops.

The Grand Hotel, set in the heart of this historic village, currently offers the opportunity to shop, relax and stay. Know at Stayz as ‘Apartments on High’ this arm of the business provides a solid income but the flexible floorplan of the building clearly provides the potential to move on to another level. Existing business can be continued or, given that plans to establish two shops have been approved there is the capacity to develop a whole new look.

Perhaps someone, yearning to create their own ‘Marigold Hotel’ might be browsing! Whatever the direction it is a property hard to resist!

Entry to Castlemaine

Gaffney Street

11 Gaffney Street has been given fresh life with a complete makeover. Now, priced at a little over $300,000 it might be just what those seeking to enter the Castlemaine market are looking for. This home could prove to be the perfect investment, but equally it is ideal for first home buyers. With a spacious yard, scope to extend and located close to all the services that Castlemaine offers, this home will appeal to a diverse range of people.

Don’t miss the opportunity! Check it out today!

Gaffney Street Castlemaine

Vintage Cottage and Land For Development

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This unique property at 50 Hunter Street Castlemaine demands more than a cursory glance. It offers not only a fully renovated, historic cottage but a significant land parcel, with permits to build, that enjoys landscaped views across the adjacent, prized Buda house and garden.

The fully renovated, picturesque vintage cottage dates back to the 1860′s. During recent renovations old papers were found in the original cottage section of the home and original horizontal timber board that clad the inside of the cottage remain under the pasteboard walls.

But then there is more! There is the rather quirky repurposing, done by a previous owners, one of whom worked for the PMG (Post Master General). He added real interest to the property by re-purposing a number of the old red telephone boxes (the same as the television series of Doctor WHO), slate telephone box floor panels and telephone pole isulator beams, which can be identified in the shedding, side and back veranda areas.

Peaceful Rural Setting

Munro Road Green Gully

Set amidst pristine bushland, this meticulously maintained country residence, at 49 Munro Road Green Gully, enjoys a privacy that so many yearn to escape to. With its beautiful gardens and gorgeous outdoor living and entertaining areas it is the place to bring your friends. Locals say that their friends are very happy to come to this part of the world. Here, in this part of the Central Goldfields, you are in close proximity to all those places Melbournians love to visit.

We Sell

Bull Street Castlemaine

41 Gingell Street Castlemaine

By the very nature of the work itself, successful salespeople possess a unique set of personality attributes that enable them to succeed.  Mediocre sales performance cannot be disguised as a salesperson’s success or failure is revealed immediately by the bottom line results. It takes a special kind of individual to succeed in sales.

Our team possess key qualities, such as empathy, focus, a sense of responsibility and optimism and sheer drive. As a result our sales record show that we sell properties.

Bushland Home

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One of the striking features of this property at 176 Ranters Gully Road, Muckleford, is the pristine bush setting and the stunning views of Mount Franklin. As the owners of this 10 acre property will tell you, it is the bush, the sense of sanctuary and the privacy which is what they have loved most about living here.

Given that there are three dwellings within relative proximity of one another it is all the more amazing that each seems to have a bio system of its own and that they do not impinge in any way upon the other. As a result it is possible to rent two and live in one and still enjoy all the sense of solitude that this property offers.

Another feature is the sense of contrast in the styles of living provided. The main home offers a divine, retro world while the light airy, two bedroom barn will suit those who like the modern, ‘industrial’ feel. In contrast the compact, snug Studio is an ideal place to escape completely.