Port Fairy building project a finalist in the Premier's Design Awards

Builder Ross McLeod at Historic Drift House at 98 Gipps Street in Port Fairy, which has been selected as a finalist in the annual Premier’s Design Awards for its blending of ultra-modern extensions with sympathetic renovations.  Picture: AARON SAWALL

Builder Ross McLeod at Historic Drift House at 98 Gipps Street in Port Fairy, which has been selected as a finalist in the annual Premier’s Design Awards for its blending of ultra-modern extensions with sympathetic renovations.  Picture: AARON SAWALL

A UNIQUE building project which turned a 1852 Port Fairy house into boutique accommodation units has been selected as a finalist for the annual Premier’s Design Awards.

Drift House at 98 Gipps Street was first built for sea captain John Mason, but most of its original colonial features were later hidden by Victorian-era additions.

When John Watkinson and Colleen Guiney bought it a few years ago for a sea change they saw potential to give it a modern facelift while retaining its heritage character.

“It needed attention and the new owners were brave enough to take it on,” said Grassmere builder Ross McLeod, who undertook the innovative transformation with sons James and Adam and Troy Bermingham.

“The project  took about 12 months from start to finish. 

“Lots of  people have been amazed how the additions have been married into the old building. We’ve had people from across the state who’ve looked at it and been inspired to modernise their old buildings.”

Work entailed putting two modern apartments into the original bluestone building and adding a wing with two units while keeping the heritage theme by using many recycled materials and features from the old house.

They were under direction from Brunswick  architect multiplicity, Kersulting engineering of Glen Iris, ASA building consultants of  Carnegie and heritage consultant Fraser Brown of Melbourne.

Winners of the design awards will be announced in Melbourne in September.

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