Mintaro too has been sold (see "Architecture for Sale", Argus 30 October) at its reserve price of $3 million. Its future is a brighter one than that of St Alban's (see update below) though not without clouds. The new owners will "restore it as it was", which presumably means no jacuzzis, but they intend to make the house "pay for itself" by running tours and a "dining experience". Their model apparently is the British television series Country House Rescue. The worrying part is that they're going to embalm Mintaro. The gas lighting will be restored - why? - and "heritage experts" consulted "to ensure fittings and interior decorations are replicated or restored". Translated, that means a riot of commodes, whatnots, bulbous sideboards and other antique-dealers' wares whose putative authenticity is unlikely to preclude aesthetic mediocrity, together with lacy doilies, self-consciously "Victorian" wallpaper and presumably the heritage expert's favourite colours of maroon, dark green and cream wherever you look. But at least the roof will be secure again and the tower won't fall down.

17 November 2012

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