They don’t build them like they used to, so they say. Probably true, but an historic house in Galston has been painstakingly restored to all its former glory with the deft touch of quality builders who pay homage to old traditions.
The house, originally a one-bedroom affair, was built by Judge Bevan in the 1870s on an original landholding of 140 acres. Over time the land has been sub-divided down to the single acre on which the historic home sits today.
The current owners bought the property three years ago, and immediately undertook a major renovation to return the house to its former glory, after a restoration completed about 20 years ago incorporated what could only be called “unfortunate changes”.
“We bought the house three years ago, when we're living in a six-bedroom house on Dural acreage,” said the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. “Our last two children had married so we decided to downsize, but the house wasn’t ready. It was renovated about 20 years ago from the original one-bedroom house, but it wasn’t very sympathetic to the house. We worked with the current footprint to create a modern, comfortable home that we hope Judge Bevan would
be proud of.”
It was a labour of love. The owners kept a comprehensive record of their work in photos, and employed the services of local Galston builders Composite Projects and PG Dorahy Homes to carry out the restoration works.
“My husband took 18 months off work to work on the project too,” said the owner. “He did all the concept design work and key material sourcing, right down to the antique brass door handles. We had a new garage and studio designed to complement the house and had it built to replicate a number of key architectural details that we loved.”

Making old new again
Among the work carried out was a complete replacement of exterior cladding boards on the previously renovated part of the house to match the original board profiles. All the original floorboards were painstakingly taken up, denailed, repaired and replaced in their original position. A new kitchen, bathrooms and interior fitout completed the picture.
The result is stunning.
“The previous owners had also put pebblecrete over all the original hardwood verandas, which had to be jackhammered up and demolished,” the owner told Sydney Hills & Hawkesbury Living. “That was a big, terrible job, but it had to be done. You can see the original foundations are large blocks of sandstone.”

A garden makeover
The gardens received as much attention as the house. The owners called in landscape architect Michael Bligh to restore and redesign the gardens. The owners had used Michael Bligh before at their previous acreage property, and were delighted with his vision and creative flair. Those gardens have been photographed regularly for lifestyle and home design magazines and also used for television shoots.
About half the garden in Galston has been restored, based on the original design, and the rest has been recreated with more modern and practical design ideas.
“We kept a lot of the old trees and plants,” said the proud owner. “Designer Michael Bligh did an awesome job. We made sure the gardens are still a major feature of the property.
“When everyone comes here they say that it’s so homely and beautiful. It gives a warm feeling of stepping back in time. So many people in the area have such a connection to it.”
Do the owners have favourite zones in the house and garden?
“I love the kitchen, and I love the area under the oak tree where the swing is set up. Everybody naturally tends to gather there,” she noted.
“I’d still like to fix the utilities area with a new composting area, but the gardens are sufficiently restored now. It takes a lot of time and love. It’s my outlet, along with my grandkids.”
The house and garden are an achievement well worth passing down to the family, who cherish it as much as the current owners. They all love its timeless character and hidden charms.

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