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AU Sydney's Great Gatsby-style homes have the Hollywood price tags to match

Property Here - Friday, May 17, 2013

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Gatsby homes

101 Victoria Rd, Bellevue Hill. Source: Supplied

WITH grand proportions and plenty of Great Gatsby-era charm, Sydney has a number of 1920s and 1930s glamour homes on the market, featuring even more glamorous Hollywood price tags.

These mansions are rare remnants of a pre-World War II Sydney property boom when both money, and space, was no object.

In a time when affluent Australia's fascination with America was in full bloom, local architecture moved from the preceding Victorian era of palatial and impractical homes to the Hollywood Spanish style.

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Charles Pickett, author and architecture curator at the Powerhouse Museum said these grand homes were at the forefront of modern architecture, designed for homeowners, much like the wealthy characters of The Great Gatsby, who loved to entertain and rub shoulders with their elite neighbours.

Gatsby homes

19 Gilliver Ave, Vaucluse.

"But the funny thing about this era of Sydney mansions is that they tended to represent a lot more about the people who owned them them than a particular movement of architecture," he said.

These 1920s mansions featured bold balconies for outdoor entertaining, grand arches, wood-panelled foyers, elaborate ceilings and chandeliers, as well as the "must have" sweeping grand staircases.

Mr Pickett said true examples of 1920s and 1930s residential architecture will become rarer as today's cashed up buyers tend to prefer contemporary design.

"The Sydney mansions of the 1920s were smaller than the great estates of the 1800s, but it seems it is the Victorian homes and even the 1800s typical terrace houses which have been given official heritage significance," he said.

Gatsby homes

282 New South Head Rd, Double Bay.

Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, assistant director of creative services at Sydney Living Museum said preserving homes of a bygone era is a "battle".

"I think it's probably the heady cocktail of sky-high land value, desire for super-sized houses, craning for harbour views and the personal desire of people to create a "masterpiece" entirely of their own making that makes the restoration of older houses less desirable for wealthy purchasers," she said.

Eastern suburbs agent, Michael Pallier of Sotheby's International Real Estate, currently has two Gatsby-style homes listed in Bellevue Hill.

"While contemporary houses are highly-sought-after, there are people out who there still want a character home," Mr Pallier said.

Gatsby homes

3 and 3a Northview Rd, Palm Beach.

He recently listed 'Fintry' at 101 Victoria Rd, Bellevue Hill with a price tag of about $14 million. The glamorous six-bedroom home was built in 1930, but has been modernised internally.

On the same street at 23 Victoria Rd, Mr Pallier is selling the grand 1920s home of the late transport magnate Sir Peter Abeles and his first wife Claire Dan which is expected to sell for more than $11 million at auction next week.

"The Abeles' old home is very much a Gatsby era property, but it is quite run down and many of the interested parties are considering pulling it down," Mr Pallier said.

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