Pieces of $7 million Hawthorn mansion to be auctioned off before reno
Pieces of a $7.75 million mansion will be sold off at an unusual Melbourne auction.
Keith and Rosie Rous, the Earl and Countess of Stradbroke, are set to send two staircases, stained-glass windows, and light fittings including a glorious chandelier from their 1898 Hawthorn residence Haven under the hammer next weekend.
They plan to gut the mansion they bought in 2016 and comprehensively renovate it — and they don’t want its grand fittings to go to waste.
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EJ Ainger auctioneer John Ainger said it was only the second time in his career he’d taken on an auction like this, and the previous one was 20-odd years ago.
“People were demolishing a home in Toorak and we sold the staircase, windows, doors — even the camellias in the garden,” he recalled.
“This is giving people contemplating renovating period homes an opportunity to buy items that otherwise would go to the tip.”
Mr Ainger said several of the pieces would be auctioned without reserve prices, the most notable being a central timber staircase he estimated could fetch $1000-$5000.
“It’s hard to price. (But) to replicate that, you’re probably talking $150,000-$200,000,” he said.
“If it doesn’t sell, it’ll be demolished. That would be a real shame.”
Also up for grabs are a Victorian cast iron spiral staircase, expected to fetch $1500-$2000, a Federation-era chandelier, $1500-$3000, ornate wall lights, $500-$800, and stained-glass and leadlight windows, $500-$1000 for the lot.
Mr Ainger said these items would be sold with the proviso a specific prestige builder carried out their removal, at the buyers’ expense.
The well-known “Aussie Earl”, 82, and Countess, 65, are selling elaborate pieces of furniture too.
Also on the auction block are prized artworks external to their collection, including a rare tapestry Mr Ainger estimated could fall anywhere from $7000 up to $30,000 and paintings by Arthur and David Boyd, Brett Whitely and John Olsen.
Countess Rous tipped the main staircase and chandelier to be standout items at the auction, which will take place from 11am on April 14 at the 14-16 Isabella Grove property.
She and her husband of 42 years plan to turn the six-bedroom mansion into an even bigger and more modern open home to cater for their family of 15 children and 29 grandchildren.
They’ve spent two years designing the new look with architect Robert Simeoni, with the renovation set to take up to two more years and add a lift, cloister and underground parking.
“It’s time we upsized,” she said.
The couple notably sold one of Victoria’s largest farms, the 5900ha Mt Fyans, for $34 million in 2016.
ON THE AUCTION BLOCK
-Grand central staircase made of Australian timbers: $1000-$5000 price guide (no reserve)
-Victorian cast iron spiral staircase: $1500-$2000 (no reserve)
-Gilded Federation-period gasolier/chandelier: $1500-$3000 (no reserve)
-Gilded gasolier bracket wall lights: $500-$800 (no reserve)
-Stained-glass and leadlight windows: $500-$1000 (no reserve)
-17th century court cabinet and Georgian tables, bureaus and bookcases
Also part of the auction
but not being sold by the Earl and Countess):
-Late 17th century/early 18th century tapestry: $7000-$14,000 price guide
-Carved Italian rococo cherub wall mirror: $10,000-$12,000
-Gallery-size portrait of two women in period costume: $2000-$4000
-Arthur Boyd’s Shoalhaven, plus works by David Boyd, Brett Whiteley and John Olsen
-Bronze Art Deco figures by artists Demetre Chiparus, Claire Colinet and Ferdinand Preiss