WHEN Heidi Onisforou bought a run down terrace in inner city Sydney she wanted to create a beautiful house her family would call home for years. But just 25 months later she has sold it for $13 million without even meaning to.
“I didn’t want to sell at all. I renovated it for my family but only 14 days ago the agent, Jason Boon who is a friend and who I bought the house from two years ago, said he had a favour to ask,” Ms Onisforou said.
“He just wanted to bring a buyer through to show them what can be done with an old historic home like this. Days later they had an offer. I was surprised, but I know now that I just want to do this again, it was such a rewarding project,” she said.
The single mother of three had paid an already impressive $5.25 million for the 1890s Italianate terrace that was once a private residence, but has more recently been a restaurant, office and event space.
In less than a year Ms Onisforou, whose ex-husband Theo Onisforou is a prominent Sydney property developer, carried out extensive renovations on the large Potts Point home, which now totals about 624sq m of living space.
“I took off the louvred glass front and brought it back to its original condition and the rear of the property had been completely bastardised by years of changes. There were also no bathrooms at all at the property, just four restaurant toilets,” she said.
Now the unique residence features five bathrooms and a private courtyard with Moroccan tiles and vertical gardens plus space for two cars.
Ms Onisforou also commissioned fireplaces to replace where originals had been boarded up, installed Baccarat lights imported from the US and had the historic staircase brought back to life.
“It took four months of two guys working on it everyday giving it an acid bath to get it back to how it was supposed to be,” she said.
Selling agent Mr Boon of Richardson & Wrench Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay said although the terrace had hit a price record for an Australian terrace, he was not surprised by the insatiable demand for homes in the well-placed postcode.
“It has changed so much in just a few years with more food and coffee shops moving in, this area is really becoming our version of Soho in New York,” he said.
Just a few years ago Potts Point, which is home to the infamous Kings Cross strip, was best known for its hostels, brothels and bars. Today the city-fringe patch is transforming into a family-friendly suburb where renovations are more en mode than rave parties.
The gentrification of Potts Point is a direct result of controversial lockout laws implemented in March 2014 by the NSW Government in a bid to curb alcohol-related violence.
Although the demand for Potts Point is there, it seems the houses aren’t. According to property data firm CoreLogic there are so few house sales in the suburb, there are no figures on local price movements.
Mr Boon, who broke an Australian apartment price record when he sold a $20 million penthouse on Wylde St in Potts Point in 2010, has sold a number of local houses for top dollar.
He sold a five-bedroom house at 17 Tusculum St in October last year for $5.35 million just 18 months after it has exchanged for $4.6 million and in August he sold another five-bedroom family home for $3.65 million after just eight days on the market.
“These families want to live in Potts Point because it’s close to the city and the beach and everything in between,” he said.
Ms Onisforou said although she has sold her Challis Ave home, she hopes to stay in the new look Potts Point area.
“I bought my first apartment here in 2006 and it’s a very different place today. It’s just such a great community, wonderful for families. You just want a child-friendly neighbourhood where your children feel safe enough to walk down the street — that’s what Potts Point is again,” she said.
“I’m totally committed to Potts Point, I love it!”