We purchased the house from a couple who were the second owners after Mr Clarriecoates had passed away and the second Mrs Clarriecoates was moved to a home for the aged.
So we became the third owners of what was up until then, a very original Californian Bungalow house.
The reason the house was known as a State Bank house is because it was at this time that the banks began lending to ordinary people to build. They then watched over every facet of the building process with each step needing to be approved before the next parcel of money was handed out. Thus, these homes are highly sought as they were very well built.
While reseaching some information on the Californian Bungalow I came across these few paragraphs that someone had written on their home that describes our home perfectly.
"Our house is what is known in Melbourne as a 'State Bank Cal Bung'. It was built in 1927, nine years after the end of World War One, as part of a plan to make Australia a better, more egalitarian society. The Victorian government had decided in 1920 that the best way to provide workers on low incomes with better housing was to offer them long term housing loans at low interest to enable them to buy a home of their own.
The State Bank of Victoria ran the scheme with a fierce paternalism. It drew up a book of house plans from which prospective clients must choose. It specified all the materials to be used and insisted that the building could only be carried out by an approved builder. The bank's building inspectors made frequent inspections on site. Over 12,000 houses were built like this. Most survive and have lasted well.
Number three is a Type 13T [T for timber] in the Californian Bungalow style which was immensely popular at the time. It is a compact design with all rooms clustered around a shortened hallway - very different from the Victorian cottage it replaced where the long central corridor bisected the whole house. The wood of which it is largely built was almost all imported: weatherboards and floorboards of baltic pine, framing of oregon from west coast America, and doors, skirting boards, picture rails, architraves and window frames of Californian redwood. Only the redgum stumps and hardwood floor joists and bearers were grown locally."
This is basic plan of our Cal Bung except for the placement of the fireplaces and the addition of the bay window. Our home still had the old stone wash trough and the outside toilet was moved inside beside the laundry when we bought. The small kitchen had a large walk-in pantry. This was all replaced in our renovation with a modern kitchen and family room that opened up to the leafy backyard.
The front of the house retains all its original features but has since been repainted three times.
Bold concrete columns support the gabeled veranda
One of the features of our Cal Bung is the bay or bow window protruding from the living room.
Fortunately the leadlight sash windows are in good order and the lounge bay or bow window adds to the charm of the house.
Lap sash windows throughout the Cal Bung have leadlight features.
Our dining room leadlight has an almost Edwardian style of leadlight where the front rooms tend to lean towards an Art Deco influence.
We purchased the house in 1982. On entering the hallway, Sue decided that it would become ours. Our home has seen many changes over the years but we did retain the original integrity of the architecture outside and in the four front rooms. We even refitted the original fireplace overmantle in the lounge room and the light fittings with those of the era. With central heating and cooling throughout the house we now use the open fire places for atmosphere.
The re-installed overmantle and cast iron fireplace are the same as was originally in the home when built. We pulled out the small gas space heater and the terrible brick facade.
This fireplace is in what originally was called the Kitchen Room on the plan. It is our dining room.
Most if not all Cal Bungs have double front doors.
And when you walk through the front doors, a hallway invites you to explore further. The simple fretwork is a sure giveaway that this was a State Bank home. The linen closet didn't exist originally. This was installed in our renovations when we closed part of the hallway to the bathroom and second bedroom to make room for our en-suite.
It wasn't long after we purchased the house, we discovered that maybe one of the past residents was still in the house. Rumour has it, that the first Mrs Clarricoates passed away in the house.
Strange things began to happen. Closed doors were open in the morning when we arose. On one occasion Sue's sewing basket was missing, I found it in the backyard woodshed. I thought that our labrador shepherd dog, Che may have somehow picked it up in her mouth and left it there. When I held the sewing basket near her, she cowered away from it fearfully. For two people very skeptical of paranormal activity it was an interesting time!
We eventually decided that it was time to start a family, but first a wedding needed to be organised. Being the second time for both of us, we wanted an intimate, close friends and family affair in the backyard of our new home.
It wasn't long after our two boys were born that Mrs Clarricoates (no.1) seemed happy with us as the owners of her home and she quietly slipped away. I somehow sense that maybe she wasn't happy with the previous owners as they only kept the house for 18 months before selling to us. I wonder if she gave them a hard time.
One day our elderly neighbours asked if we knew that the second Mrs Clarricoates was still living in an aged care home quite near to us. We set about inviting her to afternoon tea so she could see the changes we had made to her house. She was very excited at the prospect of this outing, but on the day she was to come, got over excited and had a small turn! Couldn't come of course, and we were too scared to issue another invitation as we felt guilty enough about what happened the first time! She died a year or so later.
Light fittings from the era of the 1920s Cal Bung home.
Californian Bungalows were usually built on reasonably large blocks of land and before we renovated and extended, our backyard was huge. It consisted of a long single car width garage, a wood shed, the remains of the outside loo and a chook shed across the back of the yard. Unfortunately we lost two great trees with the extentions but these have been replaced with the Jacaranda and "the Stick" and the 3 car garage.
This picture was taken just prior to the extension being built.
And this one during the building.
Sunny days are now enjoyed on the back deck with a glass of wine and nibbles.