LOCAL Australian landscape artist Ian Lean and wife Christine are glad they didn’t demolish the fibro cottage they purchased in Berowra Heights almost 30 years ago.
The couple initially fell in love with the location of the property and not its cute facade. At the time the home, which dates back to 1935, consisted of two internal walls creating just four small rooms.
Instead of bulldozing, they decided to renovate and ended up doubling its size with a rear extension featuring a new kitchen and bathroom. They also added a separate artist studio with beautiful cathedral ceilings and a loft.
“We were living only about 300m away in a property that really lacked sun and we would drive past this one and decided that if it ever came onto the market we would buy it,” Mr Lean said.
“We had been admiring its position for a few years, we could see the potential because it was reasonably level and at the top of the hill.
“It wasn’t the house at all but we are very happy with how it turned out.”
It is believed the cottage was built by a family from Leichhardt who originally constructed it in just a weekend. In its early years it had no glass in the windows, just holes.
Today, the cottage at 103 Berowra Waters Rd has five bedrooms, a wraparound veranda, polished timber flooring and entertainment deck overlooking a saltwater swimming pool and landscaped gardens.
Agent Francesca Parrino from McGrath Berowra said she has been ‘gobsmacked’ by the large number of groups coming through the home in ‘one of the toughest markets’ seen in the Berowra area.
She has listed the property for sale with a price guide of $1.1m to $1.2m.
“We are have been getting a lot of local residents who have been dying to see what the home is like inside — but there have also been second inspections and contracts issued,” she said.
“The facade just captures you with its beautiful rose gardens, it is really like stepping back in time and inside is very welcoming with the fireplace and the piano.”
The couple are now planning on downsizing. Mr Lean, who has been part of the Arcadian Artists group and is well known for his Hawkesbury, Pittwater and Hunter Valley landscapes, admits his next studio may not be quite as glamorous.
“It is likely to just be in the garage, but I will keep painting,” he said.