Make your move today and secure this
extraordinary home and lifestyle!

Wow! At least that is what the ad said.

Every Thursday or there a bouts (depends whether the delivery boy has had a good or a bad day) we get our local FREE newspaper delivered. It is filled with all sorts of fun and follies happenings and services regarding the immediate surrounds and suburbs in a particular area. Living in the Eastern leafy Suburbs of Melbourne, where the suburban blocks still allow you to have a pool, a garden, a gazebo, a decent pergola, a verandah and a beautiful retractable arm awning. You children can still enjoy shooting hoops out the back while dad prepares the weekend BBQ. Plenty of room for four cars a boat and still a bit left over for backyard cricket.

Anyone in their right mind (not including myself), would die for a decent block and a beautiful new home – like ours.

However as I picked up the local papers, I started to skim thru the pages until I got to the “prized’ real estate section. Believe me it is getting thicker every week. Properties galore….prices…well that’s another thing to consider.

Elegance and Charm

What caught my attention was the ad; “Elegance and Charm”. Well I consider myself (and my wife) to be just that – Elegant. We do look after ourselves physically, watch what we eat and drink -not to the point of fanaticism though. We dress well and are huge connoisseurs of things: arts, literature, movies, plays, travel food and fashion. We never felt the need to attend “The Brighton Housewives Snooty School” or the beloved “Frasier and Niles Academy For Toffees”. I thought this property might be a little change for us, you know something a bit different – why not try something new?

The picture of the home in the newspaper was exquisite. It looked good. A charmer from the 50’s tastefully re-decorated and re-renovated. Gardens a-plenty and a decent size block; the ad unfolds the rest:

“What an impressive family home in Leafy Shade Hills premier location, brilliantly restored and extended to allow indoor/outdoor living. Relax by the pool in your own private oasis. Comfortably entertain your family and friends”.

I looked at the photo featured in the paper, and read the bylines of the ad a few more time. I showed it to my wife. The inspection was on Saturday, so we decided to go and see this property that somehow has by-passed the general prying eyes of the average investor. We were about to unearth ‘The Pearl of the East’. Mind you, our home is nothing to be sneezed at either. My curiosity got the better of me – not so much my wife. She did try to convince me that I was reading far too much into the ad – but as usual, I was excited.





Open For Inspection – Show us your Id

The street was well presented with trees, shrubs and greenery, so that is always a great start. The front yard looked nice with a combination of natives, box hedges and stunning rose bushes, which seemed to welcome our arrival.

The real estate agent -with his two offsiders,  still not sure of their actual roles,  greeted us at the door grinning from ear to ear full of enthusiasm as he met us at the door. Not sure if he was practicing for his audition to do  a tooth paste commercial.

Maybe he felt that this home was going to be an easy sale. Maybe he thought it was going to be like some mysterious drug or magic that would appear in our hearts and then travel down to our pockets (where the cheque book is kept) for its purchase. If you are anything like me, I have been inspecting, buying, selling, renting, building and dealing with real estate (especially my own) since 1982. So I am sure you will forgive me if I appear to be somewhat dulled to all that glitter and shine at the outset – especially in glossy brochures and ads.

We entered. The ad reads again;

“High ceilings and stunning leadlight windows. Multiple light-filled living zones. Sensational view to Mt. Dandenong from upstairs balcony”.

The property was a 1950’s California Bungalow. These type of homes are usually standard two bedroom abodes with a third or should I say two and a half of a bedroom if you renovate a few things. Which they did. Upon entering I felt a distinct musky smell (of old rotting or not to be rude – aged timber). The downstairs bedroom looked like you went for a visit to Hansel and Gretel’s grandma in Germany. At worst, it was a poor man’s attempt at a Bed and Breakfast. Walls were full of craft paintings, all sort of cheap trinkets, dry flower arrangements, pillows and needlework everywhere. Creaking freshly sanded floorboards did not help either.

Another door opened that lead to a secret passage from the bedroom – oh sorry, my wife has nudged me, it was a walk –in robe. The moth ball smell of clothes did not help. However, this was no ordinary WIR, this one had a secret door. Hoorah! I knew it! This was a house from ‘Alice In Wonderland’. To my disappointment, it only adjoined and shared space with a very poky and dark bedroom. I knew this was special – the bunk was an actual bed wall to wall, with a lounge directly under it where you lay down to watch the TV. Like a reverse kids bedroom. Very odd.

As we meandered around, like Alice through the looking glass, we found the kitchen and open living room. All classic ala bed and Breakfast style. Pots and pans hanging all over the place. Bay kitchen window looking at the BBQ area. The dining/family room had three TV sets all hanging adjacent to each other vying for your attention. Not sure why so many as you can only watch one TV at a time.

As we went outside to marvel at the so –called views to the Dandenongs, I was having trouble seeing them through the overgrown tree even though I am 1.95m tall myself. So where were these sensational views we read in the ad? More like elusive views through a keyhole?

‘UPSTAIRS !’- I heard another inspection party yell out.

We all followed upstairs.

Sensational views from Upstairs

When we got to the top of the stairs, I bumped my head ducking down to avoid hitting the angled ceiling that followed the roofline. The grand master bedroom upstairs had a lovely balcony, once there it allowed you a slight peek at the hills – only if you contorted your head and looked around. The views were more of overlooking the local rooftops and clotheslines than anything more pleasant. My wife was concerned with peeking into the neighbours yards and invading their privacy rather than having a light beverage and enjoying the fresh air.

The other bedroom of the two upstairs was a kind of dollhouse, with frills and laces all round that would be fitting for a spare room your child used to live in – before they got married and moved away.

Roman Baths

For me the best feature was the outside pool area. Anything that has an added spa is a winner for me as I can see myself nursing the myriad of sporting injuries I carry over the years. The Lovely folding arm awning to one side, giving shade and a natural leafy tree on the other kept you out of the sun even in the hottest days.

The pool was just enough to splash in without having to do laps for exercise – something that I drudge now. Too many sharp edges in the pool design and lot of concrete blocks that would act like rock therapy for your feet when the temperature hit over 40 degrees Celsius in summer.

Then there was the obligatory man-shed (at least that’s what the sign outside said), an old and tired one and a half car garage. A chook-pen with fake grass mats finished the outside tour. The backyard –apart from the pool felt as though it was purposefully placed there as an afterthought.

Such a rare find and opportunity

The look, the feel, the vibe of this house was just unusual for us. It was a property that was not sure to which era it belonged to. The weatherboard exterior, the upstairs extension, the various nooks and crannies and hiding places, the musky smell… were all confusing us – and the other prospects. I knew that as they all vacated the place pretty quickly, leaving us as the only lookers left.


The owners wanted to do something special with this place but something went awry in the process. I think they wanted to bring the 1950’s into the 21st century…but somehow missed the mark. They tried incorporating old style home with new style designs and appliances and surroundings. I was not sure if I was going to be experiencing the classic or contemporary lifestyle – something I needed to contemplate while sipping my brandy in my smoking jacket with my slippers and pipe!

Here I was thinking I was going to be wooed with this property. With lovely gardens, beautiful pool to relax in and a place to entertain, sadly I was left wanting – more. Somehow, it just stopped there. There was no more. Like watching a European movie with no beginning, no fairy tale romance – just an odd end.

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