In the late 40s/early 50s it wasn’t uncommon for people to build their own homes, quite literally from scratch.
Cabinet-maker John Wilson spent countless weekends lovingly hand-crafting this Martha Street, Beaconsfield home for his new bride and a family yet to be born.
And over the next 60 years, every two years, he would strip back and re-polish the jarrah weatherboard cladding of the lower half of the exterior walls.
He’s gone to the great workshop in the sky, but his legacy lives on in a three-bedroom home, that is a time-capsule to a bygone age.
The wardrobes and bedside cabinets built by John—in the late deco style fashionable in its day are still there, and can stay.
And the bathroom cabinetry is down to him, including one with a built-in-brass toothbrush holder, although new owners will want to update the rest of the space.
And while John junior has had offers for the beautiful, wedge-shaped Tasmania oak cupboard made to fit into a corner of the dining room, it’s a mate for the one fitted to the wall above, and he reckons the two should stay together.
This home really has had one careful owner and it’s not often the owner of a home lives in it long enough to win a heritage award for “meticulously maintaining” a slice of Fremantle’s built heritage.
It’s almost a shame the carpet in the formal lounge room will most certainly go—revealing beautiful jarrah floors—because it looks brand new, if a little bright for today’s decor.
It would be great if new owners were gentle in renovating the kitchen, because there are plenty of old John’s touches, with lovely curved cupboards, including a dinky pantry.
And the green, flecked terrazzo benchtop and sinks are just gorgeous—if a little worn from well over half a century of cooking and washing up.
Sitting on 350sqm the corner block has room to expand to meet today’s family lifestyle.
I can see extending off the dining area to create a spacious open plan kitchen/dining/living area and maybe going up (with council permission) to get even better ocean views than you get from the front verandah.
And the original timber garage, with access off Trafford Street, would make a great studio bedroom.
Centrally located Martha Street is close to a swag of shops and cafes, with a primary and high school in walking distance—as is South Beach.
by JENNY D’ANGER
20 Martha St, Beaconsfield
Frank Fleming 0400 771 479
Mark Brophy Estate Agent 9335 9800
Open today, Saturday June 22, 2.15 – 3pm