Driving through the semi-rural suburb of Carrara you may find yourself doing a double take.
For among the suburban homes sits a six-bedroom mansion at 2 Maryland Avenue that would not look out of place in the French countryside.
Painstakingly restored by its owners over the past four years, no stone was left unturned in their pursuit to achieve not only an authentic example of French-provincial design, but also a spacious and functional family home.
“When we bought the house, we didn’t expect it to become such a long-standing project,” said owner Jennifer de Viana Fernandez.
“Originally we were just after somewhere with a lot of space, because we had four grown children all living at home, and had come from somewhere which was quite small,” she said.
“But once we started doing things, like most renovations, one thing led to another.”
No expense was spared in the makeover, which Mrs De Viana Fernandez said included several extensions, and an upgrade of the pool and pool house, while internally everything received a facelift.
All the while, the family tried to stay as true to the French-provincial style as possible, with Mrs De Viana Fernandez spending hours scouring online websites for the right light fittings, shades and decorative pieces.
Everything is as authentic as can be, from the artisan wallpaper to the blue felt on the billiard table to the paint flown in from France to ensure the correct hue.
“Having known nothing about the style I now feel like an expert,” Mrs De Viana Fernandez said. “I just learned that I had to pick things up when I saw they had the right features and try and find a place for them.”
Nothing was overlooked in the renovations, and Mrs De Viana Fernandez would not divulge how much the family spent on it, except to say it was “well over a seven-figure sum”.
Considered the ‘original Gold Coast mansion’ in the Eighties, 2 Maryland has had a long line of high-profile guests rumoured to have passed through its doors, including Whitney Houston and Frank Sinatra, who allegedly stayed there when they came to Australia for the official opening of Sanctuary Cove in 1988.
Yet for all its glittery past and now elegant restoration, the thing the family have loved most about the property is its sense of home.
“It was really important that we had space, and that it was usable. The biggest feature of this house is its sheer size, functionality and flow. I didn’t want a home where we felt like we couldn’t touch anything,” Mrs De Viana Fernandez said.
“It’s a spacious home in a semi-rural setting. You come here to relax and enjoy the space, and you have cows, birds and ducks that wander into our yard, and it’s so quiet.
“All I hope is that someone looking for the same things, find the happiness that we have here and appreciate the grandeur of the architectural style.”
The house is open to expressions of interest.
This article originally appeared on realestate.com.au on 27th December 2020