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Home of the week in Hamilton

​GEORGIA Raftopoulos invested in a dilapidated house in Hamilton intending to renovate and sell.
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But on completion of builder William Morton’s makeover and extension, Georgia so loved the results she not only kept the property, she now calls the Lawson Street residence home.

The circa 1860 cavity brick building had been rundown, with rising damp, walls that weren’t straight, uneven floors and a roof that needed fixing.

Now it is a seamless combination of historic and modern features, reflecting both the builder and owner’s passion for function and preservation.

As well as addressing structural problems and rendering, the renovation converted the living room at the front of the house to a master bedroom with an ensuite.

The rear extension now includes a living room, kitchen and dining area, enclosed patio and laundry.

“To start with I bought the property so I could renovate it and sell it to make a profit,” Georgia says.

“Now it is my home.”

So what changed her mind?

“My love for old places,” Georgia says, one of them now her three-bedroom home.

William does a range of residential and commercial work but has a particular passion for the historic.

“I just love old buildings,” he says.

“So I get the feel for them and try to make them, as much as possible, the same as what they were.”

This shared belief in the value of heritage is reflected in the structure William has created, and the decor Georgia has added.

Many features of the original residence are repurposed in the renovation.

French doors removed from the former living room turned master bedroom are now the exit to the backyard.

A fireplace previously in this front room now has pride of place in the living room, albeit with a modern gas conversion.

The home’s front door was kept when the property’s main entry point was shifted and new stained glass added. It’s large brass centred-knob and gleaming red paint makes a bold and bright entry point.The bathroom door is original too, as are most of the windows, the elegant crystal chandeliers in the hallway and light shades hanging over the kitchen bench.

A metal box once used to store firewood outdoors was sprayed white and converted to a bathroom storage cabinet.

William’s craftsmanship comes to the fore through other added touches – everything from the picket fence out front to the archway at the end of the hall and the architraves, mouldings and double skirting boards in between.A built-in bedroom wardrobe, display cabinet in the kitchen and an exposed brick feature wall in the living area are among the other handiwork.

William is especially proud of the atmosphere he has created in Georgia’s home.“Some places, they’ve got no atmosphere, no feel to it,” he says.“People who’ve come in since I’ve completed the works, they can feel the warmth and the atmosphere as a home.”

It’s ideal for the place in which Georgia so often acts as chef and host.“I do a lot of entertaining,” she says.Many of the home’s modern additions are designed with hospitality in mind.A huge granite kitchen bench doubles as a table, a favourite spot for guests to sit and chat.The enclosed patio is another key entertaining area. In addition to her gas stove in the kitchen, Georgia has a table customised as an induction cooktop on the patio.These two adjoining areas are Georgia’s favourite spots in the house.

“I love eating out there, sitting, drinking, watching outside,” she says.“I completely relax being in the kitchen.”

Georgia’s attention to detail and handy practical touches are dotted throughout the unseen corners of the home too.Mosquito netting under the patio flooring helps keep the indoor-outdoor area as comfortable as possible.She even has a working clock-face on the door of her clothes dryer – decorative and a handy point to glance at to check the time from the nearby kitchen.

Georgia has put thought in to every part of the home, from the patterned cornices that remind her of her Greek heritage, to the custom-made stained glass window fitted above the bathroom door and a hand-painted tessellated tile artwork of a Spanish lady spraying herself with perfume hanging above the master bed.It’s a home reflecting every bit of the owner’s heart and soul.

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