Stroll the streets of Darling Point and you’ll see some wonderful architectural examples in the Arts and Crafts style, a movement which began as a reaction against the Industrial Revolution.

Arts and Crafts: a reactionary style

In the 18th and19th centuries the Industrial Revolution ushered in the age of manufactured goods. And while the rise of factories brought consumer goods to the masses, this availability came at a cost: a decline in handcrafted items and a loss of craftsmanship.

By the 1860s, some of England’s craftspeople could bear this loss no more. Their answer was the birth of the Arts and Crafts movement.

A direct response to mass production, the movement favoured handmade goods and superior workmanship. Notable among the movement was William Morris, the English poet, socialist and designer, and founder of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. The interior decorations company aimed to capture the spirit and quality of work inherent in mediaeval skills and techniques. In fact, so committed to this approach was Morris that he refused to visit the famous 1851 Great Exhibition in London because of its championing of all things manufactured. He was aged just 16 at the time.

Arts and Crafts in Sydney

While the movement was in decline in England by the end of the 19th century, it had begun to take off elsewhere.

In Sydney, architects such as George Sydney Jones, Walter Liberty Vernon and John Horbury Hunt incorporated Arts and Crafts principles into their designs.

Architecturally, the Arts and Crafts movement rejected the small, stuffy rooms of earlier decades in favour of larger, more free-flowing interiors. It championed natural materials and, above all, expert craftsmanship.

The beginnings of these principles can be seen in two key Horbury Hunt designs: Fairwater in Point Piper, and Cloncorrick in Darling Point. Other notable Sydney homes of the style include St Kevin’s in Woollahra, the Hastings at Neutral Bay, and Darenth, in Strathfield.

Darling Point examples

The Arts and Crafts movement reached its peak in Sydney in the years between World Wars I and II, and Darling Point’s Babworth House is one the finest examples of this era.

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But stroll along Darling Point Road and you’ll see a trio of homes where the simple elegance of the Arts and Crafts style can be viewed from the footpath.

The face brickwork of the houses at 42, 44–46 and 48 Darling Point Road singles them out as Arts and Crafts-influenced designs. The movement encouraged the use of “honest” materials like brick and wood and was opposed to more modern trends such as cement rendering.

At 42 Darling Point Rd, Osterley is a notable example of the inter-war Arts and Crafts style. Along with its brickwork, the home’s gabled roofs, timber eaves and tall tapered chimneys further point to its architectural heritage, features shared with its two neighbours. Other unique elements include an oval window above the home’s entrance and a pressed metal-roofed bay window to the right of the entrance.

Although Osterley’s original designer is unknown, in 1925 the home was converted into two apartments by prolific architect Claud Hamilton. Hamilton’s work is prominent in the eastern suburbs, with other examples being the Savoy in Darlinghurst and Byron Hall and Kaloola in Potts Point.

Arts and Crafts: Property for sale in 2022

Osterley at 42 Darling Point Road is currently for sale and offers a unique opportunity to own a piece of Sydney’s Arts and Crafts history. Consisting of two apartments, the property is to be sold as one and presents the perfect canvas for a spacious family home. The upstairs apartment boasts four bedrooms and Harbour Bridge views, while downstairs consists of three bedrooms. It represents a rare opportunity to secure a large house, with unlimited potential in Darling Point.

To arrange an inspection, call me today.