The Hartnell family home on Rockland Avenue is on the market to be sold outside the family for the first time since its construction in 1972.
Nestled across the street from Government House, the Catalan Modernist home was built by native-born Victoria builder and businessman Peter Hartnell. Hartnell was responsible for the construction and management of the Queen Victoria Hotel and owned many other residential and hotel buildings in Victoria including Hartnell House Apartments, Thunderbird Motor Inn, Michelangelo Apartments and the Victoria Princess Hotel.
“My father, who is now deceased, was inspired by the architecture of Antoni Gaudi during his travels to Spain in the ‘60s,” says John Hartnell, current homeowner, longtime resident and son of Peter Hartnell. “He built this unique house because we needed a larger space for my nine siblings to grow up in and because he liked to design and create interesting things. He wanted it to stand out.”
The house, listed at $1.798 million, is hard to miss due to the extraordinary two-storey oval-shaped concrete great room with parabolic windows.
“My father created the original drawings of the house and even went so far as to put together a cardboard model that he then turned over to the architectural engineers to finalize,” says Hartnell. “Building it was a family project. I was 10 at the time and my brothers and I were tasked with helping to do the tiling. When it was finished the house was the talk of the neighbourhood, everyone was very intrigued by the design, which was totally different from anything else in the area. To this day people stop by regularly to stare and take photos.”
The inside of the house is equally distinctive with 17-foot ceilings in the great room, heated marble floors, a custom tiled centrepiece fireplace, mahogany walls and a glass railed second floor mezzanine walkway. The house also comes with an oversized rooftop patio, heated pool and outdoor stone fireplace. Building materials, tiles, marble, paint and wool carpet were imported from Mexico, Japan, Korea and Italy to ensure the interior had an authentic look and feel.
“My father left a legacy with this house. Not only is it unique, but it’s a great family house and spectacular place for entertaining friends and family. I love the location and the ambience and have many wonderful memories of growing up here, from family dinners, to pool parties and get-togethers. There were even three family weddings here, including my own,” says Hartnell. “It’s time now though for me and my partner to downsize and travel. I just hope whomever purchases the house appreciates it for its architecture and funky style. It’s a perfect property for anyone that loves entertaining indoors and out.”