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.

 

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Werribee Park An Example of Ornate Decorative Features

Exterior Werribee Mansion

The Italianate style, which echoes 16th century Italian Renaissance Architecture, was first developed in Britain in 1802 by John Nash and was further developed and popularised by Sir Charles Berry, Architect in the 1830s. Werribee Park Mansion in Werribee, Melbourne was built in this style between 1874 and 1877. It is an outstanding example of the effect of architectural decorative mouldings.

The Mansion is a replication of a grand English country house and The main building is predominantly bluestone with a simple yet awe inspiring sandstone facade on three sides, the largest example of Barabool Hills sandstone applied to a privately owned building in Victoria. A stone railed balcony surrounds the central block on three sides. A central tower sits high above the second storey. Below an arcade, beautifully panelled and painted, allows soft light through a series of arches to the large windows of the internal structure.

The two wings of the Mansion feature 60 rooms and adjoin at the rear of a central block. The interior is beautifully crafted with ornate cornices, display niches and superb wrought iron detailing on the grand staircase. Elaborately decorated arches and large, feature windows of stained glass featuring motifs and pastoral scenes add further decorative features. Corinthian pilasters or piers are featured in the main hall. A massive formal dining room and a British style drawing room are reminders of bygone times.

Many of the mansion’s associated buildings are still standing and remain unchanged. The original, authentic 19th century laundry is a rare example and is still totally intact whilst the sunken glasshouse and the 17th century style grotto are unique in Victorian Architecture.

Modern architectural decorative mouldings and features are not as ornate and are now available in lightweight materials from the Finishing Touch that are easily installed yet have longevity.

 

Labassa Mansion A Prime Example of Architectural Decorative Features

Labassa Caulfield

The mansion known as Labassa in Caulfield was formerly a modest country house built for Melbourne judge Richard Billing in 1862 and originally named Sylliot Hill. Alexander William Robertson of Cobb and Co Coaches fame, renamed it ‘Ontario’ when he purchased it in the 1880s. Robertson had big plans, commissioning the German born Architect John A B Koch to remodel the house into a 35 room mansion. The home, situated on a 6 hectare site featured gilt embossed wallpapers, ornate and finely detailed stained glass feature windows and a unique ‘trompe l’oeil’ ceiling (a painted three dimensional mural) when remodelled. Robertson also added massive caste iron gates, redolent of an English palace.

The next owner was John Boyd Watson II, the heir to a Bendigo Mining fortune, who purchased the mansion when Robertson died.  Watson was a man of leisure who did not need to work. When he died in 1920 his wife sold the property. Unfortunately, the beautiful home steadily deteriorated over time and by the 1970s it had become a virtual commune with hippy tenants paying homage to Bohemia.

The National Trust purchased the property in 1980 and faithfully restored it to its former glory. Its magnificent verandahs, corinthian arches, ornate plasters, grand staircases, trompe l’oeil ceiling and ornate decorative mouldings on the exterior and interior once again reflecting Architect John Koch’s vision, in its ‘French Second Empire’ style.

Labassa is of genuine architectural significance as the most prominent example of a small number of houses built in Australia in what is known as the French Renaissance style. It is the most important surviving work of German Architect John A B Koch.

Homes of historical architectural significance are prime examples of the beauty of architectural decorative mouldings and much of their magnificence is due to these decorative features. The Finishing Touch are suppliers of modern era decorative mouldings, which are lightweight, high quality and easy to install.

The Modern Arch Has Classical Design Elements Yet Is Lightweight and Decorative

crypt-archway-path

Arches have long been used in building design and in modern times they add a classical, elegant finish to a house build.  Originally built in materials such as stone, marble then cement, the easiest and most effective method to build an arch these days is to use a lightweight house moulding with a steel support.

Dating back to 3000BC was the original arch, the corbel arch consisting of two opposing sets of overlapping corbels, resembling inverted staircases, which meet at a peak and create a structure strong enough to support weight from above. Babylonian architecture made wide use of corbel arches. Then the Romans created a semicircular arch that could support great amounts of weight.  A wooden arch shaped frame was first constructed with stone work being built up around the frame and finally a keystone was set in position. This allowed the wooden frame to be removed and the arch was left in position. Stone arch technology was used on large buildings such as the Colosseum in Rome.

The next major design innovation in arches was in Gothic architecture with the experimental use of pointed arches. The pointed shape introduced a new aesthetic dimension and reduced the arch thrusts by as much as fifty percent which meant that the weight of the roof was now being supported by the arches rather than the walls and therefore the walls could be thinner.

The basket arch is a three-centred arch and sometimes called  ‘basket-handle arch’ or ‘anse de panier’. The Basket arch is a flattened arch whose ellipse like shape is determined by three arcs that are interconnected; with each radius being drawn from a different centre. Also known as Semi elliptical or Elliptical, this style of arch is mainly used in modern day building due to its simple design.

The Finishing Touch are the masters of lightweight decorative mouldings and can create the style and shape of arch desired in any building design.  For a custom made decorative arch moulding made from lightweight materials contact the Finishing Touch.

Columns Ancient and Modern

lincoln-memorial

Columns as a decorative architectural feature on buildings were used extensively in ancient times on important buildings. Three major systems in architectural design used by ancient Greeks have stood the test of time and are still seen in architecture to this day. These include the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles. Each order has its own definitive characteristics, however they can also be easily confused to the untrained eye.

The most famous Greek system used around the world today is the first order, the Doric style of architecture (pictured above) You will see Doric columns when you visit the Parthenon and Acropolis, distinguished by vertical columns and a plain roof. You will also see this style in historic buildings in southern Italy and Sicily; it is one of the oldest architectural orders that exists today.

The second style is the Ionic order. It is more delicate, intricate, and elegant than Doric architecture. Having originated in eastern Greece, Ionic structures are believed to have become dominant during the Hellenistic period.

ionic-colums

Then there’s the Corinthian style of architecture. Corinthian architecture is intended to be an altered version of the Ionic style with much more detail. Here you’ll see more scrolls , fruit and flower motifs and flourishes.

corinthian-19501_640

These days, in modern Australian architecture we see columns used extensively in housing design.  With the advent of concrete and now lightweight eps building materials it is possible for builders to create columns for suburban homes.  The addition of columns, usually at the entrance of the home, creates a grand, sophisticated façade. The Finishing Touch have a range of lightweight mouldings for columns, both round, tapered and square with capitals in all the styles, along with bases.

 

 

Grand Buildings of Melbourne

The Grand Dame of Australia, the city of Melbourne has an elegant, sophisticated aura , due in part to its classic buildings, which are a fascinating mix of architectural styles. Many of these buildings have significant historical value and it’s fortunate for the city that they withstood the wholesale destruction of so many iconic buildings during the modernisation period in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s when the State Government set about a major renewal of inner Melbourne

The Athenaeum Theatre was at times under threat as was the beautiful Capitol Theatre across the road in Collins Street. The Athenaeum Theatre is Melbourne’s oldest cultural institution and began life as Melbourne’s first Mechanics Institute, established in 1839, where the Melbourne City Council met until 1852.

Princess Theatre, Melbourne.

Princess Theatre, Melbourne.

The flamboyantly designed Princess Theatre situated in Spring Street was first opened in 1857 and again remodelled in 1886. In recent times it was under threat, but thankfully for Melburnians it was instead revamped, and is still a working theatre. These iconic buildings are wonderful examples of architecture and exhibit the brilliant use ofdecorative mouldings to further decorate and define a building.

When it comes to grandeur the two cathedrals in Melbourne are stunning. St Patrick’s, the Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in stages from 1858 right through until 1940 and is a fine example of Gothic Revival Architecture

St. Patricks Cathedral, Melbourne

St. Patricks Cathedral, Melbourne

whilst St Paul’s Cathedral, the Church of England Cathedral,

St. Pauls Cathedral, Melbourne.

St. Pauls Cathedral, Melbourne.

was constructed between 1880 and 1931 in a Neo-Gothic style. Studying the decorative features of these beautiful buildings is truly inspiring.

The Melbourne Town Hall, situated on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, was ready to be used by the City Council for meetings in 1852 and was completed in 1870. This classically designed building is constructed from a mix of bluestone and Tasmanian freestone; it features a clock tower and fine masonry.

As Melbourne grew it developed its character through the construction of grand buildings in the ornate Victorian era style. At 673 Bourke St Melbourne stands what is known as ‘Donkey Wheel House’, a superb example of High Victorian Venetian Gothic Architecture.

Donkey Wheel House, Melbourne.

Donkey Wheel House, Melbourne.

This building was purpose built in 1891 for the Melbourne Tramways and Omnibus Company.

The Old Treasury Building, located in Spring Street, was originally constructed between 1858 and 1862 to hold the gold bullion discovered in the 1850s Gold Rush and was designed by 19 year old Architect J.J.Clarke.

Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

Regarded as one of the finest 19th century buildings in Australia this grand palazzo style building is now open to the public both as a museum and as the Victorian Marriage Registry, a fitting setting to solemnise a marriage.

Lightweight Architectural Decorative Mouldings A Great Modern Advance

French Provincial home built in 1836

French Provincial home built in 1836

Once upon a time architectural decorative mouldings for building interiors were made of plaster and Italian Stuccardores created intricately designed ceilings by hand, onsite.  Stucco was used in Victorian times for smooth, evenly coloured house fronts but by the 1860s terracotta became more popular.  Decorative mouldings held an important significance in the value of houses, with elaborate mouldings adding value to the price of a house.

These days decorative mouldings are simpler in design, sometimes recreating the look of bygone eras, as with columns and arches. The greatest advance in modern decorative mouldings has been the development of lightweight mouldings. The Finishing Touch are leaders in this technology. Their lightweight mouldings are created using a high grade computer cut EPS polystyrene. They offer two styles of finish – smooth or sandstone.  The sandstone finish is created by triple coating the mouldings with a multi-part compound, which is reinforced with a triple coating of sand for maximum strength and durability. The smooth finish is achieved by reinforcing the mouldings with fibreglass mesh, then coating with 1 or 2 coats of an impact resistant and flexible polymer modified cementitious render. This coating provides a smooth, durable exterior.

Current building trends use a number of styles, with the French Provincial look being extremely popular. Georgian and Mediterranean styles are also popular as are Post-Modern designs. Decorative mouldings are used to finish buildings and help to achieve the particular styles being applied. In fact, the Finishing Touch have specific decorative mouldings that are used for French Provincial, Georgian, Mediterranean or Post-Modern designed houses. The development of lightweight decorative mouldings has made it easier for builders to use these decorative features extensively on houses, creating stylish buildings with a classic or modern look.