News & Insights
The unassuming façade of the double fronted Victorian, which almost meets the footpath, and with no front fence or security gate, provides a delightful contrast to the spaciousness and breathtaking interiors that lie within.
Amanda Cahill (Fraser’s mum) originally bought the house, completely unrenovated, some eight years ago, and the mother/son team shared the house together before transforming it into what it is today. Although Amanda was responsible for most of the renovations, Fraser with his real-estate experience contributed to the practical design elements and spaces. After the renovation was complete, Fraser bought the home.
“I love not having a fence,” says Fraser, who has set up a café table and chairs in the front ‘yard’ and loves to sit out there in the evenings and chat to the neighbours.
“It’s definitely an open door policy here.”
Fraser, who grew up in country Victoria, enjoys bringing rural hospitality to the city.
“It’s quite unique in Toorak to not have high walls and security. We host the street Christmas parties here and the neighbours all know they can drop in anytime.”
The extensive interior renovation project was largely driven by Amanda, who has a great interest in French Provincial style, having co-founded Perfect Pieces, a homewares importing company in the 90s.
Fraser, who consequently grew up surrounded by ‘everything French Provincial’ says he knew this style would suit the Toorak home.
“I do like things to look a little distressed, not perfect,” he explains, as he walks along white-washed timber floorboards that stretch the length of the century-old home, which retains its Victorian era soaring ceilings, ornate fireplaces, and rich plasterwork details.
“Basically we kept the principal rooms at the front of the home, then built everything else on. The ‘transition’ space, a landing between the front and rear sections with soaring cathedral ceilings really sets the tone for the ‘new’ part of the home.
In the rear open plan living/dining/kitchen space, the home’s pièce de résistance is a pair of towering, carved oak antique doors which Amanda sourced from France.
“Basically the rear wall of the living area was built around them,” Fraser explains.
The doors open out to a beautifully landscaped French inspired pebbled courtyard.
“We spend so much time out here, it’s so private and contained, I’ve got lights set up and it’s magical at night. You feel like you’re a world away from everything.
But perhaps the most surprising space in Fraser’s home is his ‘borrowed’ vegetable garden, that he’s created on a patch of public land out the back gate.
“We back on to the railway line, and this is a great north facing space, says Fraser as he points out his latest crop of leafy greens, eggplant, zucchini, corn, and tomatoes. He also has herbs, a lemon tree, ‘required for Gin & Tonics’ and is even planning on getting a beehive.
“I guess it’s a bit like being in the country, except for the graffiti on the fence and the suburban trains going by. I think it’s really cool. It’s definitely not what most people would associate with living in Toorak,” he laughs.
Now sharing the home with his partner Bec, Fraser’s 4-bedroom house continues to be the ‘Melbourne base’ for his tight-knit family. Fraser is the youngest of four children. His parents Doug and Amanda now live in a large federation home close to their farm in South-West Victoria (Cape Bridgewater).
With siblings, their partners, and a growing brood of nephews and nieces now based in Point Lonsdale and New Zealand, he loves hosting family get-togethers in the beautiful space he helped create.
Fraser, who has been with Marshall White for the past six years, knew he wanted to work in real estate from a very young age.
“I did work experience at a local real estate agency when I was in Year 9 at school in Bendigo, and I was hooked.”
Fraser went on to complete his schooling as a boarder at Scotch College. “Leaving home and boarding at a young age, certainly helped me to become independent.”
He left school with a firm plan in mind. He would work, travel, then return to Melbourne and pursue a real estate career. He worked as a farmhand and jackaroo in country Victorian New South Wales to fund a two year backpacking trip to Europe where he worked a ski season in France, a summer on a Scottish estate, and bar work in Amsterdam.
True to form, he returned to Melbourne and began working in real estate.
So what does he loves about Real Estate?
“I guess it’s being involved with the buying or selling of what is likely a person’s biggest asset. It’s about getting to know them, what sort of house they need for this particular time in their life and family circumstances. I really feel homes reflect the personality of the people who live in them, and the longer I do this, the better equipped I am at knowing how to connect the right property with a buyer or the right buyer with a property.
At age 36, he has now clocked up 13 years in the industry, and is regarded as one of Stonnington’s most respected and successful agents.
“I’ve definitely got my work ethic from my parents. They just don’t stop.”
“I think both my parents are pretty proud of me and what I’ve achieved. Despite being the only one not to have provided them with grandchildren as yet,” he laughs.
And future plans?
“’I would love to own a hobby farm one day and I do want to have a family,” he admits.
“I’m definitely not afraid of hard work and love getting hands-on.”
In the meantime, Fraser is currently renovating a beach house he has bought in Point Lonsdale, close to family members.
“I love going to Lonny, the beach, fishing, and scuba diving. When I can, I head off on Saturdays after the last auction, then come back to the city early Monday morning. It just gives me a break from my busy work life, some time to recharge. I do that, not by doing nothing, but by working on the house and garden there. It’s completely different to this place, it’s 80s brick, but transforming it is equally rewarding.
There’s no doubt that whatever ‘space’ he’s presented with, Fraser will be able to put his own stamp on, and make it his own.
To find out more about Fraser, click here.