THIS Fremantle house was built in 1927 when WA was suffering a major shortage of building supplies, at the height of the development frenzy just prior to the Great Depression.
It is hard to imagine today, while standing at that sumptuous Swanbourne Street house, the bleakness of the years that followed that brief golden age.
I call this a maze-like mansion because my tour of this massive, five-bedroom home with agent Peter Smart seems to never end.
Off the hall, near the main entrance, we go through a door to what could easily be a self-contained, one-bedroom apartment with its own bathroom, kitchen and living space.
There’s a six-car garage and undercover workshop just off to the side of a separate building. Inside, there is a small studio—with its own bathroom—which could work as a guesthouse or study retreat.
Now, hardly surprised by the expanse of the property, I keep my awe in check while treading on ancient jarrah timber floors, admiring the gloriously high ceilings.
My favourite parts are the sunroofs and sunroom/living/dining area. Bi-fold doors of the living space are open to the rear courtyard when I visit, but I can imagine shutting them as well as the glass shutters to create a warm cacoon in winter.
There is a fireplace there, too—perfect, I think, as I dream up my ideal night in.
What character, what style, I tell Mr Smart. The man’s response is as informed as his name would suggest: “the 800sqm property has been fully renovated. And the frangipani at the front has got to be one of the nicest and oldest ones I have ever seen.”
I then notice some edible goods in the yard—three passionfruit creepers and a thriving vegie patch. I also like how branches of a nearby tree poke out from a wall near the front alfresco dining area.
Check, check, check—I say to myself as I mentally tick off all the boxes.
12 Swanbourne St, Fremantle
Price guide from $1.5m
Peter Smart 0414 887 717
Acton Fremantle 9319 3022