The iconic Esplanade Hotel on the esplanade in St. Kilda, Melbourne (the Espy) was closed for three years for renovations under new owners hospitality group Sand Hill Road. The extensive restoration included three live music stages, 12 bars and two restaurants.
“The Gershwhin Room is the MCG of music for a lot of people, it’s really hallowed turf,” Mr Maskiell of Sand Hill Road group said “To not have one of the best band rooms and best music and arts hotels in Melbourne operating has been a real shame. To have new life in it, to have it up and about and up on its toes, I think it is symbolic of a really bright future in the area.”
The attention to detail through the restoration the team have brought to the beloved hotel is breathtaking.
The vision was to renovate the venue so it offered a diverse range of entertainment venues, from the old public bar to high end cocktail bars and restaurants.
Lined with 1980s Espy band posters, the public bar has retained its grungy feel and will host up-and-coming bands, keeping the Melbourne music scene alive.
A glass retractable ceiling in the main bar’s foyer shows off the hotel’s original 1878 building, which sits behind a facade built in the 1920s. Mr Maskiell said the group retained the historic parts of the hotel, restoring anything that was original, while replicating any that weren’t, keeping the same old-world feel. It is fascinating to see the beautiful decorative mouldings retained or restored from the original building. The fine detail and highly decorative designs hark to another time.
The upstairs level that was previously derelict now boasts a Cantonese restaurant and cocktail bars.
‘The Ghost of Alfred Felton” cocktail bar on the top floor, is inspired by resident Alfred Felton who bequeathed his large fortune to the National Gallery of Victoria in 1904, elevating it to a buying league of international museums it would never again emulate.
The room features a 100-year-old bar and is adorned with art and antiques scoured from around the world to restore his old rooms to their former glory.
Banyule is an architecturally significant building as one of Victoria’s earliest grand residences and also for its sophistication and style. Colonial Architect John Gill designed the home and it is the only remaining known rendition of the Elizabethan style designed by him.
The home was built in 1846 for a Mr John Hawdon, an Englishman who drove cattle overland from New South Wales to the Port Phillip District in 1836. He selected property in Heidelberg, a rural retreat for the landed gentry and very popular during the 1940s, that had splendid views of the Yarra River. Architect John Gill designed the property to be constructed in an Elizabethan style with french gables, crenellated oriel, pepper pot pinnacles and chimney groups and it had a part-shingled roof. The original roof was replaced with slate entirely by 1867.
Further additions were added to the property in a sympathetic style in 1908, designed by Architects Klingender & Alsop. A two storey wing was added to the south east and the kitchen block was linked to the house on the north side. Later on, in 1922, repair work was carried out. The house was altered by Yuncken Freeman Architects in 1975 for use by the National Gallery of Victoria.They removed internal walls and doors, added a chimney and filled in fireplaces.
Grand houses of this era were highly decorated with decorative mouldings. In this modern era it’s possible for middle class suburban residences to exude elegance and grandeur with the addition of lightweight, decorative mouldings. The Finishing Touch are the experts when it comes to quality decorative mouldings. So much easier to transport and attach, the new, modern decorative mouldings have opened up the possibilities for decorative finishes to new builds.
Often the Finishing Touch are kept busy supplying French provincial decorative mouldings for the ever popular architectural style. But last week Edwardian pier caps and wall capping seemed to be most in demand.
A builder in Kiama, NSW was supplied with six custom sized Edwardian pier caps. Four were sized at 440mm x 400 mm whilst two were 640mm x 640mm. Another builder was supplied with six Edwardian pier caps, sized 600mm x 600mm and 7.8 metres of Edwardian wall capping, 240mm wide for a build of a post-modern home in Malvern. 120 metres of flatband decorative mouldings, model # DGB075, sized at 75mm x 20mm also lifted the finish for this home.
A house in Evans Road, Kew is being renovated by the owner. Old decorative mouldings on the building from twenty years ago now need replacing. The Finishing Touch supplied 9.6 metres of parapet mouldings, model # P8300, sized at 300mm x 235mm and 36 meters of parapet mouldings, model # P8200, sized at 200mm x 155m. Six custom made Edwardian pier caps, sized 500mm x 500mm and 9.6 metres of custom made Edwardian wall capping, 260mm wide give an elegant finish to fencing, whilst 24 metres of stringer mouldings, model # M22, sized at 100mm x 45mm help decorate the al fresco pool area.
A post-modern, 2 storey house in Keysborough features faux weatherboard panels on the top storey with brickwork underneath. Bricks are rendered immediately below the weatherboard panels and exposed on the bottom section. Flatband decorative mouldings, model # DGB1003, sized 100mm x 30mm were supplied to be used as a stringer at the junction of the rendered brick and exposed brickwork.
An owner/builder needed eight custom designed columns, each 1700 mm high by 450mm diameter together with Doric bases and Tuscan capitals for a home in Reservoir, which will create a splendid façade. Ninety metres of window architraves, model # W19D, sized 120mm x 55mm completes the decorative finish.
The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne is an iconic building that was first constructed for the international exhibition held in 1880. Designed by Architect Joseph Reed of Reed and Barnes, the hall was originally surrounded by an array of annexes, with one of the annexes housing Melbourne’s first aquarium. His grand design was influenced by Rundbogenstil, a round-arched architectural style that combines elements from Byzantine, Romanesque, Lombardic and Italian Renaissance buildings and the design for the dome was influenced by Brunelleschi’s 15th-century cathedral in Florence.Decorative mouldings and architectural features abound. This magnificent building has served the city of Melbourne in many guises.
Original building with annexes.
In 1901, the western annexe was converted to accommodate the Parliament of Victoria. In 1912 the Great Hall was the venue for the first Victorian Motor Exhibition, featuring parts, oils and the latest in imported vehicles. Seven years later the Great Hall was commandeered to be a hospital during the Spanish Influenza pandemic. Home Shows, first held in 1936, were popular with Melburnians, keen to see the latest trends in home and garden design. The Melbourne International Garden Show is still held at the Exhibition building and surrounding gardens annually.
Floral exhibits in the Great Hall.
The first exhibitions of the Australian War Memorial were held in one of the annexes and trainee technicians from the Royal Australian Air Force were actually housed in the Great Hall during the Second World War.
Following decades in which the building was used as a venue for charity dances, state receptions, musical pageants, evangelist missions and balls it became dilapidated and neglected with little consideration given to its historical value. In 1985 restoration work commenced and in the 1990s the building came under the care of Museum Victoria. It became World Heritage listed on 1 July 2004, after a rigorous international assessment process by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. As the only 19th century Great Hall to survive largely intact, still being in its original landscape setting, and used as an exhibition and event venue to this day, it is of enormous architectural value to the people of Melbourne.
Apart from supplying lightweight decorative mouldings for new builds the Finishing Touch are sometimes asked to replace decorative mouldings that have been supplied by other suppliers but have failed. For example, they were once asked to manufacture and install architectural mouldings for a new home because the exterior mouldings that had been installed were not level and didn’t follow the construction lines of the house, with joins visible and the mouldings not meeting. Corners were broken and the previous repairs were poor and patchy. This unfortunate experience for the owners illustrates why builders should take care in selecting their decorative moulding supplier. This was not an isolated incident, the Finishing Touch have been called upon regularly to replace faulty decorative mouldings on homes.
On another project the Finishing Touch were asked to supply decorative mouldings to match and blend with architectural mouldings already installed during the original build. The Finishing Touch were able to match the mouldings and manufacture decorative mouldings that would blend in and complement those already on the house.
To ensure all builders can have confidence in the adherence of lightweight decorative mouldings on their builds the Finishing Touch are now supplying the DAP Touch’n’Seal system.
It’s the fastest moulding install method available with a drying and full grab time of only 3-5 mins (depending on humidity levels). Compared to most other polyurethane foam based products, which take 10 mins or more to dry, this is a faster system and has been proven to be reliable, strong and long lasting. The DAP Touch’n’Seal system has proven popular with builders since the Finishing Touch began supplying it directly late last year.. It’s fire rated and can also be used for polystyrene foam cladding walls and as a gap filler around cables and pipes on building sites.
It’s Friday 13th. To get your spook on we are looking at some famous haunted houses. Studley Park House in Camden, was originally built by grazier William Payne in 1889. Although considered haunted, it is a beautiful building, featuring many admirable decorative mouldings. The death of two children has earned the house its haunted reputation. The residence became a boarding college and in 1909 a 14-year-old student, Ray Blackstone, drowned in a dam near the residence. His body is believed to have been kept at the cellar until it was buried. The building was sold soon after and reverted back to a residence. The son of acclaimed business man Arthur Adolphus Gregory died at the house in 1939 from appendicitis and his body was kept in the theatrette.
Spooky disturbances at the house include a hangman’s noose found dangling from a steeple roof by builders renovating in 2010, unexplained lights, sightings of a lady who stands at the window and a photograph of a ghostly young boy in the basement taken by ghost hunters.
Closer to home in Bundoora, on the outskirts of Melbourne, is the old Larundel Mental Asylum, famous in its day for incarcerating a great number of Melburnians suffering mental illness. Closed in 2001, it has been an abandoned building, off limits to the public but has built a reputation for being haunted. This attractive building was one of Melbourne’s three “magnificent asylums for the insane” built in the 1930s and 40s.
Now covered in graffiti the building, since its closure, has been a hangout for ghost hunters, graffiti artists and squatters. There have been reports of loud banging, children’s laughter, crying, and an eerie music box. Serial killer Peter Dupas was treated here, adding to the mystique of the building. Only a few original buildings of the vast complex remain and are soon to be reconstructed into apartments, completing the residential development already constructed on the grounds, which includes a shopping centre.
Example of French Provincial decorative mouldings.
Eight arches with architraves originally adorned a heritage, commercial building, the Queensberry Hotel, situated on the corner of Queensberry Street and Swanton Street, Carlton. At one stage they were removed but recently the decision was made to restore them and the Finishing Touch were called upon to supply their quality architectural mouldings. They supplied the restoration with 27 lengths of 3 metre architrave mouldings, in a style similar to French provincial, model # WDG8XY, sized 120mm x 50mm. These decorative mouldings were used to form the one metre diameter arches. They also supplied a DAP adhesive and sealant.
A French provincial, two storey, fifty square home recently built in Strathmore boasts an elegant façade with the addition of exclusive French provincial decorative mouldings from the Finishing Touch. A beautiful finish was achieved with 58 metres of French provincial parapets, model # P4200, sized 200mm x 195mm, 8 metres of French provincial parapets with dentals, model # P6240, sized 240mm x 220mm and 34 metres of French provincial quoinings, model # Q300, sized 320mm x 30mm. Further decoration was added with 6 metres of French provincial plinth, model DGPL400, sized 400mm x 55mm.
The windows of this Strathmore property were decorated with French provincial architraves, model # W1100, sized 100mm x 45mm, 23 metres of French provincial windowsills, model #WSR15, sized 135mm x 185mm. Adding further glamour to the façade was one large arch for the balcony window and four small arches for windows at the front. 8 metres in total of model #W1100, sized 100mm x45mm was supplied for the arches.