Real Estate

this cottage is virtually unrecognisable after a familyaes renovation

Written by The ReReport

Totally transformed: the Tomasino family’s house post-makeover. All ‘after’ pictures of the home: Simon Shiff.

AS a real estate agent and senior auctioneer, Tristan Tomasino knows better than to buy a property after one quick viewing and without a building inspection.
But one day, in June 2016, after spotting a renovator’s delight in Yarraville, he did just that.
“It was one of those funny stories. I had a bit of time between my own open houses and auctions,” Mr Tomasino said. “My wife, Eliza, and I rocked up with the intention of just having a look.”
Bidding stalled, so Mr Tomasino made a quick call to his mum — and ended up buying the Victorian cottage, for $856,000, as a family renovation project with her (Lauren Carland-Tomasino), his wife, his sister (Electra Tomasino) and her fiance (Dylan Davies), with the intention of selling it at the end.

What the house looked like when the Tomasinos snapped it up.

The find

The location was the first thing that caught Mr Tomasino’s eye that auction day. The cottage was only a few hundred metres from Yarraville train station and shops and he knew from his work in the industry that these houses didn’t often come up for auction.
An accessible laneway in the rear was also an added bonus.
The confusing layout of the home was possibly what turned a lot of bidders off, Mr Tomasino said, but the generous footprint meant a renovation could bring the home back to its glory.
“It was a really quirky house,” he recalled.

Despite its quirks, the home had a generous footprint.

The garden pre-makeover.

The kitchen was ripe for renovation.

The home had a confusing layout.

The plan

While the family had done smaller projects previously, this was by far the biggest.
The team of five opinionated decision makers unsurprisingly had their share of disagreements, but they did all concede they didn’t want to create simply a showpiece home.
“We wanted a home that we would want to live in,” Mr Tomasino said. “It wasn’t just about selling it.”
The goal was to bring back the home’s original character while transforming it into a practical family home with all the bells and whistles. The team knew exactly what they wanted in terms of a floorplan and decided to go directly to a draughtsman to come up with the drawings.

The stunning new look. Co-owners Electra Tomasino and Dylan Davies, with extended family members Lola (left) and Minnie, and dog Lenni, enter the renovated cottage.

To create a practical family home with all the bells and whistles was the agreed brief.

The renovation

Turning an old home with a “weird layout”, two oddly sized bedrooms and one bathroom into a modern, light, four-bedroom home with two bathrooms is no easy feat.
But Mr Tomasino explained they decided having less of a backyard and more bedrooms was a priority.
“In this area, and what is the trend at the moment, is that people don’t mind smaller homes and living spaces, as long it can accommodate everyone. And (with this house) you are really close to the park,” he said.
Local builder and heritage home specialists BCT Group went about re-centring the front door and restoring the two existing front bedrooms, bringing the home back to its original double-fronted look.
The rest of the home was demolished and rebuilt with two more bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area at the rear.

All new: the rear open-plan area.

The look is clean-lined and contemporary.

Wanting to maintain the home’s grand heritage essence, the family opted to keep the high ceilings, which culminate at the rear with a cathedral ceiling.
The house now boasts a butler’s pantry, as well as a custom-designed walk-in wardrobe (with shoe closet) in the main bedroom.

An envy-inducing inclusion.

The main bedroom, in the original front part of the home.

The swish-looking ensuite.

Mr Tomasino, who with his wife lived in the house before the renovation, said in many ways he was sad to see the house go.
“We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it, so we are pretty proud of the outcome,” he said.
His favourite element is the living and dining space, especially the fireplace.
He also likes the front aspect of the house, where the former overgrown banana trees have been replaced by large magnolia trees.
“The magnolia trees in the front look great and really set the tone for the whole house,” he said.

The fireplace is one of Mr Tomasino’s favourite features.

Check it out

Biggin & Scott will auction 3 Cuming Street, Yarraville, today (October 20) at 3pm, with an asking price of $1.47-$1.6 million.

Step on up: the transformed back garden.

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