It’s something of an icon in the eastern suburbs and now the historic mansion at 123 Kensington Rd, Norwood could be all yours.
Built in 1912, the home, known as Kensington House, was purchased by Anthony and Sylvia Toop in 2007 who have since restored it to its former glory, enjoying it as both a family home and a place to run part of their real estate business from.
“We purchased it from a chap who had bought it from a lady who had converted it into nine apartments,” Mr Toop says.
“(The previous owner) started work on it but it was such a big project and it actually needed some fairly serious horsepower to sort it out, so we threw money at it to restore it to a new version of its former self.
“When we bought it there were no floors at all in the bedroom, living room and kitchen above the cellar.
“We did it properly so it’s got a lot of modern goodies in it like Cbus wiring, security cameras, underground tanks, solar panels and electric gates.
“We haven’t extended it at all, it was always a three-level mansion, and that’s why this is special because it’s hard to find mansions like this that haven’t been extended.”
Offering more than 1000sqm of living space, including the garage, shed and coach house, the property has been an ideal family home, according to Mr Toop, who says the property could also be ideally used as medical rooms (subject to council consent), given it sits diagonally opposite Burnside War Memorial Hospital.
“We had the four of us living there, and one of my daughters eventually lived in the coach house, so it’s just been a great family home,” he said.
“We’ve also got approval for the use of the eastern wing for commercial purposes, so we had our IT division and our marketing people in there.
“Sylvia and I live in the New York-style apartment upstairs. Our daughters have taken over the business and moved the people working here to our other sites, so it’s ridiculous for just the two of us to be here – we’ve got almost 1200sqm between just the two of us.
“We set it up for a family plus business, where the business side is completely detached from the house in the way it’s laid out in the entire eastern wing. It’s a very big house and if you were going to live in it, it would be ideal for a multi-generational family.”
The home’s Kensington Rd south wing entrance opens to a large reception area leading to a media room, a cabinet room and a large formal dining room.
Below it is a gymnasium, complete with a massage room and weights room, and above it sits the master suite, set up as a self-contained studio apartment.
The home’s east wing, accessed both via the south wing’s reception area and a George St-facing porch, has been recently used as the business’s conference room, production room, drawing room and living area.
The ground floor’s north wing features two bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen and dining area, two bathrooms, a decked alfresco area and a private paved patio with a pizza oven. Below it sits a cellar and a store room.
The home also has a self-contained single-bedroom coach house with two toilets; a garage and a shed.
It is set on almost 3000sqm of land and is surrounded by established gardens designed by Michael Keelan.
“It really is the most incredible location – you walk to the Parade daily, can walk to Dulwich easily and you can also walk into town if you want to,” Mr Toop says.
Mr Toop says the couple will miss the property, but are looking forward to splitting their time between their Hills home and a city apartment.
“We’re immensely proud of what we’ve created here, but it really is just too big for us now,” he says.
The property is on the market with Toop&Toop Real Estate. Offers close Monday, November 25 at noon.