Author Charlotte Lance’s Preston home smashes reserve

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The home of author Charlotte Lance and gallery director Andrew Chew sold under the hammer for $950,250.

THE Preston home of children’s book author Charlotte Lance and her partner, gallery director Andrew Chew, has smashed price expectations.

The Art Deco house at 115 Murray Rd was advertised at $760,000-$830,000 and the couple was “absolutely over the moon” when it achieved $950,250 under the hammer.

“They didn’t expect that it would sell so well,” Ray White, Preston, agent Ian Dempsey said.

Ms Lance wrote and illustrated several books in a studio she and Mr Chew built on the property. Her works include A
Really Super Hero, I Have a Dog (An Inconvenient Dog) and Three Brothers.

Mr Chew part-owned nearby restaurants Stray Neighbourand Chew Burger and is now the director of YAVA Gallery and Arts Hub.

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A strong crowd attended the auction. Photo supplied by Ian Dempsey

Andrew Chew and Charlotte Lance were thrilled with the result. Photo supplied by Ian Dempsey.

The weatherboard studio overlooking the courtyard.

The bright living room has a fireplace.

Mr Dempsey said more than 70 people attended the auction, and at least seven bidders — mostly young couples — were involved.

He said the buyers loved the romance of the story behind the home, as well as the Art Deco features.

“The auction started with a vendor’s bid of $700,000, and a buyer came in with a second bid of $850,000. It went back and forth from there … before selling to a lovely young couple with a young kid (from) St Kilda,” Mr Dempsey said.

“They had a friend bidding on their behalf, who did a very good job.

‘She was like steel.”

Beyond the lush front garden and brick facade are three bedrooms, a separate living and lounge room and an open-plan living domain including a kitchen with striking timber panelling.

The couple built the separate weatherboard studio, which overlooks the courtyard, and is where Ms Lance wrote some of her books.


The carport at the rear hosted their vintage 1967 Volkswagen Notchback.

Mr Dempsey said the couple were looking for properties near Yarra Valley, close to YAVA Gallery and Arts Hub in Healesville.

What will be the next car in the carport?

The striking kitchen with timber panelling.

The lounge room is filled with natural light.

“They were absolutely blown away by the attendance of the auction, and by the whole process,” Mr Dempsey said.

“There’s a lot more activity in Preston and a big lift in clearance rates. It looks like the market has bounced back, but that’s partly due to a lack of stock. Stock will come on in spring, which might give buyers more choice.”

He said the buyers would make cosmetic changes, but would live in the property as it is.

The renovated bathroom has a claw foot bath.

One of three bedrooms.

Artwork fills the walls.

The property last sold for $517,500 in October 2009, according to CoreLogic.

Data shows the median house sales price in Preston was $905,000 for 12 months to April 2019.

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