From ugly duckling to swan

OUR last trip to Stephen Brown's house involved dodging paint tins and missing floorboards, and we weren't even allowed to see the state of the bottom room.

Six months later, we could be in a different home altogether - the City Mission chief executive and his wife, Barbara, celebrating a successful heritage renovation.

Built in 1835, Widdeson Terrace is nestled in the central business district among some of the city's most beautiful 19th- century architecture.

By the time Mr and Mrs Brown bought the place in 2012, the central wedge of the three- part property was a dilapidated shell in need of TLC.

Not to be deterred, the couple embarked on an ambitious six- month makeover with architect Samuel Haberle and SWM Project Management to incorporate the best parts of yesteryear into a modern motif.

Fresh white walls accentuate original wooden floors, archways and doors, while the classy new kitchen, bathroom and loungeroom areas remain faithful to the home's history.

"A lot of change is visible, but there was a fair bit done under the surface as well," Mr Brown said.

"I'm talking about wiring, plumbing - looking after the walls while we were changing things around.

"It's been a long road, but it is very satisfying to have a vision and see it come to life."

Mr Brown said he and his team had forged a good relationship with the Tasmanian Heritage Council, with preservation requests seamlessly worked into the end design.

"If you remember from last time, the only point of contention was a rear window near the sunroom," Mr Brown said.

"As you can see, that has become a really good feature."

After the Sunday Examiner article last October, the Browns said they were contacted by a local antique shop who had the property's original hallway doors.

The end result of the renovations is two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and dining, a guest and office space in the attic, and a downstairs guest and art room.

From the lounge room extends a new deck with views over the business district as well as the city's southern and western suburbs.

It has been an impressive transformation, but the Browns said there is work still to be done.

"We're nearly there, but I'm sure something else will come up along the way," Mr Brown said.


Twitter @AlexDruce1987


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