Hometruths Melbourne x Little Projects : South Yarra – The 10 Minute Suburb

horse racing (2)

Just a few short weeks ago, Hometruths Melbourne were exploring life on the south side of the city – enjoying living and working from the designer-filled environs of our beautifully curated Little Projects apartment at Central South Yarra. (More on that here if you missed out first time!)

And whilst the TRES-styled interiors of our home-in-the-sky were VERY hard to leave, we were keen to see what living at Central South Yarra would be like ‘on the regular’. Where would we go for a jog, find a good coffee, pick up some flowers and have a browse on a lazy Saturday morning? Often called the ’10 Minute Suburb’ – South Yarra offers its lucky citizens so much culture and beauty within a 10 minute stroll. In today’s Hometruths Melbourne x Little Projects blog, we take you with us on a mini-adventure from our Central South Yarra abode – and show you exactly how sweet your southside lifestyle could be.


Setting off on a rather blustery winter day, we headed north along Yarra Street, past South Yarra Station and alongside the redbrick grandeur and lush green playing fields of historic Melbourne High School (There’s another perk! If you have kids, they won’t have far to get to class.). Strolling along Alexandra Avenue towards the Botanical Gardens, you really get a sense of the history of South Yarra – a mixture of gorgeously aged Hollywood-style art deco blocks (I can imagine generations of twenty-somethings sharehousing there, making their first forays into adult life in the city), Cape-Cod inspired homes with meticulous gardens (peach tea on the porch in a polo, anyone?), 1970’s dreamboats looking over the river with their brown brick and glass facades (the location of real-time Don’s Parties in days of yore) and of course, modern architect-designed apartment buildings like Central South Yarra, too.


Crossing the road, I strolled along the Yarra River as cyclists, joggers and power-walkers passed by me. Living in South Yarra means tearing up your gym subscription (and probably your taxi passes, too): with easy access to running tracks including the Tan and safe cycling paths right into the heart of the city. Gazing along the Yarra’s long familiar bends, dotted with icons such as the Nylex sign, AAMI Park and towards the soaring scrapers of our city – you’re no more than a 20 minute walk from Melbourne’s sporting, retail and business hubs.


The ornate lace ironwork of the Royal Botanic Gardens – a perfect place for casual Spring picnics with mates, Royal Shakespeare Company garden performances on Valentine’s Day or nights at the Moonlight Cinema with a glass of bubbles and lots of imported cheese.


What’s a morning walk without a coffee? I know you’re asking this question somewhere in your subconscious right now.


A morning without coffee is not much of a morning, indeed! That’s why I was excited to learn that Melbourne’s latest cool kid of the southside – Entrecote on Domain Road – has a self-proclaimed ‘Magic Millswyn Window’ from which they distribute both bonhomie and takeaway coffees for only $2.50. I KNOW, RIGHT?! Grab one to pep you up while you perambulate around the Tan clockwise, and then come back to Entrecote again for their signature ‘golden folded eggs’ while sitting in their frenchy-chic surrounds with your best ami. Best known for their legendary steak frites (with endless frites I KNOW, RIGHT?!), Entrecote is the cherry on top of South Yarra living in 2015.


Cheeky Entrecote barista Dennis (who told me his Greek name was Dionysius, the God of Wine and Party) makes a mean takeaway coffee and delivers fine repartee, too.


Fully caffeinated, we headed back along Domain Road past The Botanical Hotel (a great place to begin your morning before Portsea Polo or the racing season) and spotted something humorous in the window of Domain Dry Cleaners on Park Street: rack after rack filled with carefully laundered Santa suits. If South Yarra is good enough a postcode for Santa to do his annual laundry, surely that is tick of approval enough for us mere mortals! Turning off Park Street opposite lush Fawkner Park, we cruised down Toorak Road before coming to our design mecca of choice: Top3 By Design.


Top3 By Design pieces featured heavily in our Central South Yarra apartment – and having had our palette for fine things duly whetted, it was a treat to go in store and see what other treasures they had!



These giant, ceramic ‘bell’ lighting fixtures took my eye – their soft palette and organic shapes felt a bit like ‘Devo’ helmets, too! A very tempting place to browse for unique pieces to furnish  your new Central South Yarra apartment.


After all that walking, my tummy started to rumble and my mind turned towards returning home for morning tea. But first: flowers! Walking east up Toorak Road past hairdressers, boutiques and hip men’s barbers, we stopped in at Victoria Whitelaw: Beautiful Flowers. A legendary florist of the southside, Victoria’s business is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of beautiful blooms.


Featuring carefully curated seasonal displays (there were mounds of fluffy white ‘snow’ nestled around her flowers on the day we visited),  the scent of her business is intoxicating.


It was a pleasure to chat with Victoria about her business and the changes she’s observed as a younger generation move into South Yarra.



Let me say – it was difficult to choose which bunch of flowers to take back to our Central South Yarra abode. But choose we did, and before long we arrived at our last (magical) ’10 Minute Suburb’ location:


Conveniently located just a block from Central South Yarra (perhaps a little TOO conveniently if you know what we mean), Adriano Zumbo‘s South Yarra premises are a feast for the senses. With a mirrored shop fitout rich with bright neons and cool blues, his signature macarons pop like gems from their brightly lit cases.


What to choose!?! We settled upon peanut butter and toasted coconut, salted butter popcorn and drunken pear. One thing is for sure: there will always be something impressive to offer your guests next time they decide to ‘pop round’ to your gorgeous Central South Yarra ‘pad!



Coffee? Check. Exercise. Done. Browsing, flowers and sweets? Tick, tick, tick – that’s what we call a perfect ’10 Minute Suburb’ location! Now back at our apartment it’s time to arrange those beautiful pink Victoria Whitelaw ranunculus and pop the kettle on.



Good Morning blend by T2 steeping, I swirled the tea leaves while looking out at our incredible view of the city skyline as a drizzly day set in. Home just in time!


Tea for three? Mais – oui. And a special limited-edition Top3 By Design Apres candle into the mix for good measure – throwing a scent of vanilla, tonka bean, caramel and birch tar around our beautiful lounge room.


That caramel scent complimented a Zumbo morning tea perfectly.


One macaron or two? (Two, definitely.)



And thus ends your morning with Hometruths Melbourne – having explored our ’10 Minute Suburb’ of South Yarra, we can safely say that when you live at Central South Yarra – you won’t need your car keys any time soon. With provedores from florists to gallerists to hairdressers and booksellers, Toorak Road offers all you need for a perfect morning stroll. Additionally, living so close to running, walking and cycling tracks along the Yarra River and the Botanical Gardens which take you directly into the city means there’s more time for socialising and enjoying all that Melbourne has to offer – rather than being stuck in your car or on a train. Inner-urban apartment dwelling is an increasingly popular and sustainable way of living that offers huge opportunities for rich community engagement. Living close to where you work and play literally adds hours to your day – meaning that you have the chance to pack more adventure, learning (and possibly Netflix) into your life. Our verdict on the ’10 Minute Suburb’ of South Yarra? 10 out of 10!


Home Truths Three

Hello Home Truths lovers far and wide. Here we are for another instalment of Melbourne’s only indie property journal. We’re big into the business of innovation, so you’ll notice a new feature category called Agentsays. In addition to Vitalsigns, Agentsays will be updated each week – it’s a down-home, honest summation of the property industry from a Melbourne industry leader each week. This week’s Agentsays features Adam Joske of Gary Peer. Don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll for which cafe we’ll be reviewing too! Down to business – Auctions for Saturday 2nd of April 2011.

Starting out in Northcote, Editor-in-chief Iolanthe Gabrie.

Vibe: Autumn chill in the air, daylight savings will make our mornings less bleary-eyed.

Wearing: Forever New Dress, Novo Boots, Tiffany  necklace.

This little editor is certainly glad that daylight savings has hit Melbourne, because Saturday morning  was certainly misty and dark – weather that makes one want to read Don Watson autobiographies in bed rather than traipse the drizzly morning streets. Luckily I had the inspiration of this week’s cafe review to anticipate – Penny Farthing Espresso , 206 High Street in Northcote.

Penny Farthing Espresso is located right at the peak of the hill, quite near to the Town Hall and Trivia-Night specialists the Peacock Hotel. Penny Farthing Espresso is an intimate cafe with a separate larger back room, and the general feel of the whole space is warm, vintage and welcoming. From Steve’s happy grin (barista extraordinaire and owner) through to the objet d’art version of a Penny Farthing cycle in the window, my breakfast was a peaceful and tasty event.

I felt like a bit of a plain and hearty start to the day, so I opted for poached eggs on Dench sourdough with harissa on the side as standard. It was very yummy and hit the spot, especially with the sweet/spicy harissa to top it off. There are other more substantial breakfasts on offer, including a tempting smashed avocado with feta and chilli oil on sourdough to name only one exotic combination. I also had a creamy and caramel-smokey flavoured soy cappuccino, and a richly fragrant Earl Grey tea. Penny Farthing’s brainstrust are big on the little details, with the Earl Grey tea served with its own little egg-timer to indicate the optimum steeping time for the leaves. When you accompany all this quiet, calm loveliness with lithographs of old Melbourne on the wall and tinkling bluegrass in the background – you have a very Northcote, very calm start to the day. With a diverse clientele of older and younger folks, this is the kind of cafe you’d expect Nick Drake to have penned lyrics in.

A little blurry, a lot yummy. Poached eggs with harissa on Dench Sourdough.

Happy Steve, barista and one of Penny Farthing’s owners.

Egg-timer accompanying a very floral and girly Earl Grey.

A little Nick Drake to put you in the Penny Farthing vibe.

Auction 1: 4/11-21 Marne Street, South Yarra

The beautiful art-deco curves of ‘Castle Towers’

Agents: Woodards, Juanita Kelly

Time: 11:00 am

Punters: A real cross section of different buyers for this ground-floor deco apartment, from younger couples through to older purchasers. Located on Marne Street, South Yarra (tucked between Fawkner Park and Domain Road, no less) this was a property for the blue-blood in all of us.

L-R: Juanita Kelly (with fabulous shoes), John Piccolo

Review: The day was drizzly and overcast – the perfect dramatic setting for a cosy indoor auction. The apartment itself was on the ground floor of well loved ‘Castle Towers’ development, an icon of deco Melbourne design. It was brilliantly lit with natural light, a huge living room with  glowing honey-wood floorboards and fireplace ( you don’t get that in many new developments!), quaint kitchen and two spacious bedrooms. The quote on the property was $650,000 – $710,000. The auction was called by Woodard’s legendary auctioneer John Piccolo, who engaged openly and with humour to the crowd. John is a very illustrative auctioneer, pointing out benefits of Castle Towers throughout the auction. He made mention of the ‘dress circle location’ of the development, making it a perfect investment or addition to the superannuation fund. There was lots to talk about, as the property was rich with period features including a ‘Georges-style’ lift and rooftop terrace. Leaping into the call, John announced ‘There are only three questions we have – What’s it worth? Who’s going to buy it? And who is going to make the opening bid?’ An indoor auction is a necessity in inclement weather, but sometimes it can lead to a shell-shocked crowd, unused to being in such close proximity to one-another in an auction situation. John worked very hard with the crowd before making a vendor bid at $600,000 . A natural bid of $610,000 then occurred before John referred to the vendor. Upon coming back to the crowd ‘I’m the bearer of good news!’ – John made a second vendor bid of $650,000. One more bid came live from the audience at $655,000 before the property was passed in. The property is still available on the market, the reserve published as $710,000. Home Truths were surprised by the reticence of the buying public with this unique home, certainly offering an excellent return for any owner lucky enough to get their hands on it. Just beautiful.

Auction 2: 70 Neill Street, Carlton

Agents: Thomson, Glenn Bartlett

Time: 12:00 noon

Gee Carltonites love auctions… check out this hardy crew in the rain!

Punters: As this home was an older-family style residence on quality sized land, there were a lot of owner-builder types present – in addition to the usual Carlton punters. Neighbours, pets, kids – the whole 3053 family were there!

Ross Hedditch gets his Vogue on, calling a fast and furious auction for Thomson Real Estate.

Review: Located in a short street between Canning and Nicholson Streets, this family home on large land represented excellent buying to potential owner-builders. An elegant double fronted home with quaint views onto the wide nature strip of Neill Street, the only location drawback being its close proximity to the housing commission flats. Ex-Thomson Director Ross Hedditch lead a rousing call to action, highlighting the benefits of the residence and explaining its history to the attentive crowd. The current vendors were described as ‘Carlton people through and through’, and Ross made it clear that the home was the realisation of a family estate. Unlike other auctions in today’s Home Truths Melbourne, this auction went off like a packet of crackers with a strong opening bid of 1.1 million. Ross stopped at 1.230 to consult with the vendor, before announcing the home on the market. Two competitive bidders then went hammer and tongs in small jumps of $2500 and then $1000 increments. The home eventually sold under the hammer to the new proud owners for $1,455,000. A cracking auction which left Home Truths Melbourne with a ping-pong neck from looking left to right at the bidding.

That’s it from Home Truths Melbourne for this week. We look forward to catching up with you next Monday, and hope that you enjoy the new Agentsays column too. Cheerio!

*Home Truths Melbourne has gathered this information to provide an interesting document for readers and subscribers. Information contained herein is gathered from a range of sources including but not limited to; local press both virtual and hardcopy, Valuer General Information & Agents own investigations. All efforts are made to verify the information provided. The information is not to be relied upon or used in dealings with third parties and people should make their own investigations regarding their own property or personal circumstances. Opinions and observations offered should not be treated as fact.