A rogue violin maker is sounding out the market with his finetuned Victorian home.
Loaded with noteworthy features, including a sprawling music room that has hosted orchestras, the house is the five-and-a-half-year creation of a man who has waged a personal battle to “destroy the myth” of violin design norms.
But after 22 years living at the 1271 Beechworth-Wodonga Rd, Wooragee home they built to reflect their love of music, Kevin Williams and his wife Lynne are selling up.
Mr Williams has achieved a mild degree of fame in musical circles, using Australian timbers to create violins, violas and cellos from a shed at the back of the home.
“I set out to destroy the myth that you have to copy (the family Stradivari and violin make) Stradivarius,” Mr Williams said.
“The world has been rather taken over by that word ‘Stradivarius’, and it’s due to the dealers who made enormous amounts of money from the Italian.
“But there’s a joy in searching for and using different Australian timbers without being stuck in the same mould that most other violin makers are in.
“I’d just like to be known as a successful woodworker who did some naughty things.”
To date he’s experimented with about 25 Australian grown timbers — a lot of them stringing together parts of his home.
Sound for sound, a King William pine from the mountains outside Strahan in Tasmania matched up to the best of Europe’s maple and spruce, with a messmate eucalypt not far behind, according to Mr Williams.
Messmate features throughout his home’s joinery, door and window frames.
“It’s very plain, but very stable,” Mr Williams said.
“That joinery will last a very, very long time.”
Oregon beams hold up the ceilings, and three towering black cyprus tree trunks support the home’s vaulted ceilings. But don’t make for particularly fine violins.
“I have tried it (black cyprus) for (violin) top material, the belly, and it will do its job, but isn’t the best timber for the sound,” Mr Williams said.
Trained in carpentry and joinery at the same time as he was learning classical music, he is one of very few people to become a master craftsman and orchestra conductor.
A role he’s indulged in nearby Albury, and at home.
“We used to have an orchestra play here about four or five times a year,” Mr Williams said.
“There wouldn’t be any other place in Australia where an orchestra plays in a huge music room in a private residence.”
Mrs Williamson meanwhile has developed a high level of mathematical mastery, which also found its way into the home.
The walls are built from yellow-tinted cement bricks in seven different sizes that form a 2m-long and 0.5m-tall repeating pattern that interlocks and features on every wall in the home.
“We have fooled a lot of people into believing that this is a house made of hand cut sandstone, when they are ordinary cement bricks cut down the centre,” he said.
Other unique features at the five-bedroom home include a ladder to the roof via clerestory windows two storeys high, violin f-holes on the doors to the massive music room, dolphin leadlights in the bathroom windows and a pair of ornamental owls looking over the kitchen.
It’s certainly playing a fuller tune to when the pair bought it for a song in 1987, paying just $14,000 for the bare block, according to CoreLogic records.
After a lengthy build and planning process, they’ve now had 22 years in the house.
With Mr Williams now aged 94, the pair are headed to a more metropolitan environment and on the hunt for “their last great adventure” at a home with a large shed — where he can continue experimenting with violins, and training others to do so.
Devlin Beechworth director Rod Devlin is selling the Wooragee home and said the 3642sq m property with creek frontage and impressive gardens was “unique”.
“It’s quite an amazing building, there’s nothing like it in the northeast of Victoria that I’ve seen,” Mr Devlin said.
“I would think this is something for someone looking for a permanent tree change, and someone who is an artist or a musician.”
And with Beechworth hosting Opera in the Alps once a year, even a new owner might be able to entice an orchestra to stop by every so often.
The home goes under the hammer at noon on November 2, with expectations it will sell in the high $600,000s.