Originally the houses in this condition were all sold. One to an Oliver Bowcock (a relative of the builder) and also interestingly to Frank Barnes who owned number four also owned Number 2 as well as number 6 and 8. Barnes was a prominent butcher who resided elsewhere and was a successful business man and entrepreneur who owned stores butcher shops in Ashfield, Campsie, Enfield, Earlwood, Lakemba and two at Punchbowl but was later to be fined for tax evasion dated back to two years prior to him purchasing the property. It can be assumed that these houses (sold as a pair initially) were primarily used as investments that were to be let. This is further confirmed when Number 4 Lapish Avenue appears in a Blue Mountains newspaper in an offer for exchange. This is further evidenced by the installation of mortice locks on both bedroom doors.
Of the people who let these semis as yet little is known, there can however be found two accounts that show the colourfulness of the inhabitants of the area and street originally and speak to the society of the time. A young woman travelling home at night was walking when a young man rushed out from a veranda and held her captive, amazingly she struggled free and before he could run anywhere she stabbed him twice with a hat pin! The second story discovered was about a case of adultery and gives us a context for which the types of struggles the society of the time was dealing with. Married to a WW2 fighter who had been serving overseas for 3 years, Mrs Elva Nerida Piper had been living as man and wife with a Edward Archer on Lapish Avenue and was confronted by her husband upon his return at their residence. The article speaks of the lack of discretion of the lady as well as the divorce.
In 1967 the first owner occupants purchased Numbers Two and Four. Edward Bennett and Agnes Bennett then subdivided the property and sold one half to Mary Frances Wiseman Little in that same year. The separating of the two semi’s joined into sole ownership is indicated within the deeds, which show 1 pound being paid to secure the eve at the front. During this time the home remained unchanged. The original application speaks of Cyprus flooring throughout, wallpaper up to the picture rails and a float and set coat. The iconic led light window, picture rail, high ceilings, decorative cornices and brick corner fireplace reference the Art Deco period reflecting the time it was built. Of the wet areas there is only one clue as to their original decoration with it being uncovered what is thought to be the original 1.5 by 1.5 inch blue bathroom tiles. Although no wallpaper remains, within the dining room a remanent of a green patterned motif with a white background has been found.
It is within the ownership of the subsequent purchases, Didier Brow De Colstoun and his wife Dominique De Colstoun in 1973 that the second layer of history and changing house styles as well as needs and desires can be revealed. This man and wife decided to enclose the rear balcony, which suggests a need by them for more indoor living spaces. The dining room and balcony had been changed from a separate indoor and outdoor space into two separate indoor rooms. As a result an external door became an internal doorway and an external window became a hole in the wall. The external door became a sliding door. The former external window was replaced with lintels. In their decorating they were influenced by 70s themes which is apparent from the lantern shape brown tiles they placed edging the bay window, balcony brick top and kitchen splashback to the bright yellow they painted the eves and then finally in the grand brown terracotta tile step they built in the courtyard at the back.
Sharyn Ann Pastor who purchased in 1976 is described as a “femme sole,” a single female. In such a case we may attribute the carpeting, which remains in the bedrooms as a modification made by her. The floor layout that is evident in the staining of the wooden floors within the second bedroom. This staining shows that there was once a bed with slim and tall wardrobes on either side of which the proportions can found by looking at the changes in wall texture and noting the cuts within the carpet. These changes may have been made in order to make the home more attractive to people seeking a shared rental.
It then again became a dual ownership with Dean Frith and Patricia Frith purchasing in 1983 but only holding onto the property until 1988 when it was purchased by Ruby May Shepard. Ruby appears to be highly feminine, preferring floral motifs and renovates much of the house including a built in within the bedroom, did a significant overhaul of the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, changed light fittings and laid down a grey carpet with a popular flower pattern. A renovate to sell, she then sells the property to Cheryl Elizabeth Anderson in 1990.
Cheryl Anderson made no known renovations removing a paint and manicure of the gardens prior to selling. It is apparent that Cheryl had no use of a second bedroom and it functioned as a home office as evidenced by the bright light that was fitted, the additional power points and phone lines.
Although altered by previous owners, the important unique and architectural elements of the original structure remains. These renovations, done over the course of the buildings lifespan reflect the changing nature of the purposes within the home, the changing family demographics as well as reflect what was desirable in that time period. The development of the item reflects the historical periods and has shaped the improvement of the house according to the owner’s perspective at the time.
Although the site has been internally altered over the years, it remains substantially intact. Future renovations done by Ben Jones and Jessica White are intended to be sympathetic.
List of changes made over time to suit change in domestic life
- Milkman/Tradesmans door in kitchen covered over
- Hot water system moved out of kitchen
- Wooden floors carpetted
- Decorative cornice and skiting replaced
- Front yard converted to car space
- Rear wall painted
- Bathtub enclosed
- Phone and TV outlets in all rooms
- Side archway removed
- Mechanical doorbell disabled
- Window security screens