As TV’s Edwina Bartholomew prepares to part with her family home, one of the oldest in Sydney’s Dulwich Hill, she shares with us what she’s enjoyed about living there the most and what made the biggest difference when renovating it.
“We absolutely love the history of the home and the area,” she says. “When we first purchased this house, we didn’t have any kids and had just added a little puppy to our family so the house has really evolved with us. We lived in it for three years un-renovated and really got a feel for the home, where the light fell, what we wanted to change and what we wanted to keep as is.”
The renovation itself took around six months and saw them gutting the entire back section of the house, re-waterproofing the brick exterior and re-landscaping the back and front gardens. “We love that the home is right in the centre of the Inner West and close to all the best cafes and restaurants but feels so serene and peaceful inside. The courtyard is a wonderful space to escape.”
Each room has its own character and there is plenty of space to stretch out. “Our library at the front became a home office for my husband during the pandemic but I love going in there for some quiet time to read a book and look at the big bay window.” Now parents to Molly and Tom, Edwina and husband Neil Varcoe, a fellow journalist, have created a dedicated kid’s zone upstairs with a big terrace backing off it.
“This could easily be a dining area too. I designed the greenhouse trellis system so that it will eventually be entirely covered in jasmine. It is my only regret that I’ll now have to drive by and catch a glimpse of how it’s going. Maybe I can get the new owners to send me a few pictures!”
Edwina and Neil were very keen to honour the history of the house while updating the interiors. “This is one of the oldest homes in Dulwich Hill so we did a lot of structural work first and then got to work on the interiors. We engaged our very good friends, Studio Esteta on the interior design. We have worked with them before on our farm accommodation property, Warramba, and they have such a wonderful way of working with the history of a home while still achieving a contemporary design direction.”
The use of colour, and avoiding all-white walls, has made a huge difference to the feel of the home, with “what paint colour is that?” being Edwina’s most asked question! Highlights include the moody library and home office at the front and a navy tiled bathroom upstairs. “The rest of the walls aren’t white but are tinged blue with a Dulux colour called Terrace White. It makes the house really warm.”
The couple are big on storage so made sure all of the rooms had built-in joinery plus more storage space beneath the stairs for toys or suitcases and a dedicated cleaning cupboard too.
More recently, Edwina worked with interior designer Kate Nixon on finding some final pieces for the house. “She helped source some beautiful throws, cushions, ceramics, rugs and some furniture. This really completed the home for us and tied it all together. I wanted to incorporate a lot of family antiques but wasn’t sure how to make them work and Kate really helped with that process.”
Having well and truly caught the renovating bug, the couple’s plan is to buy a guest house in the country to turn into a boutique hotel.
1 Abergeldie Street, Dulwich Hill, is for sale through Bresic Whitney and due to go to auction on 18 March 2023 with a price guide of $2.1 million.
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