A project to restore a historic central business property has been a labour of love for its new owners who have breathed new life into the formerly disused premises.
Ambleside Wealth Advisers moved to Kepler Street in December and the property, which is believed to be Edwardian and dates back to the early 1900s, has undergone an extensive renovation.
Historic records show the land originally belonged to the Cust family, some of Warrnambool's earliest settlers who arrived in the area in 1847, the same year as the city's first land sales.
Other structures, thought to be housing built by the Custs, occupied the site prior to the current building's construction.
Ambleside Wealth Advisers owners James Kelly and his wife Katherine said they were passionate about retaining the building's historic features.
Mr Kelly said the most striking aspect was a tessellated tile floor entrance, which thanks to a nearby resident, he'd been able to extend to the entry path outside.
He said the footpath was quite damaged and a lady passing by, who lives in Banyan Street, had seen the works going on.
"She said 'I've got 50 of those tiles I've just lifted from my place that I don't want. Would you like them?'," Mr Kelly said. "She'd walked past a number of times and just stopped one day and said 'I've noticed you're doing this, would you like them?"
Mr Kelly said it was almost impossible to buy new tiles to match the originals and it had finished the project perfectly.
"She allowed us to restore the footpath to pretty much the same standard as it was originally," Mr Kelly said. "The path came to life thanks to the tiles the lady gave us. It just cost us a bottle of wine."
He said they pulled out old dental fittings and the former surgery's industrial feel had been replaced with a spacious and modern finish while retaining its period features.
"When we peeled back the floor coverings and the wall coverings it really revealed the old bones of the building behind it," Mr Kelly said. "Cement sheets were attached to the inside of the sandstone walls with wooden plugs, which left big holes when removed. These were filled in and re-rendered, which brought the rooms back to life. We really tried to preserve the original look as much as we could."
It now includes two large client meeting rooms, three offices, a kitchenette and staff amenities. It also boasts eight rear carparks.
Mr Kelly said they'd received lots of positive feedback and clients also relayed their memories of the businesses that had previously occupied the premises. "I've had a number of people come in to say how good it is to have the buildings come back to life and people recount stories of them being here as dental patients and some even remembering when it was a restaurant.
"We've got the chain of title going back to the mid 1920s and who did what over the time. I've got clients in their 70s who remember coming here as kids to the dentist."
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