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Steeped in history and set for auction market

FIRM FOUNDATIONS: Shai and Tony Karouhanis inside the dining room of the newly renovated Rathgar Lodge.
FIRM FOUNDATIONS: Shai and Tony Karouhanis inside the dining room of the newly renovated Rathgar Lodge.

SOUTH Grafton landmark Rathgar House is back on the market, but in much better condition than when it sold in May last year for $302,000.

Ray White Grafton is handling the sale, which will be concluded at auction on August 6.

The Victorian-era two-storey residence built by the first mayor of South Grafton, J J McKittrick was in total disrepair when businessman and restaurateur Tony Karouhanis began renovating it.

Ray White representative Ben Hottes said Mr Karouhanis had done a brilliant job in restoring the building to its former glory.

"At one stage it was a place where people helped the homeless by selling cups of coffee to passing truck drivers," Mr Hottes said.

"It's been a labour of love for Tony, made more remarkable because he is not a Grafton person with a love of the city's history.

"That he has been able to bring Rathgar up the standard where it can operate as a coffee shop and B&B for a new owner is a real credit to him."

The renovations include new flooring, chandeliers and carpet throughout, plus a complete restoration of details like architraves, mantelpieces and other decorative features.

"There's only one property with a similar historic feel to it I can think of - Stannum House in Tenterfield with its connections to Sir Henry Parkes," Mr Hottes said.

He said it would be hard to put a price on the work Mr Karouhanis has put into the building.

"He's done a remarkable job with the work he's put in himself and in finding the quality tradesmen to do this kind of renovation," he said.

"He's certainly put a lot of value into the property, but it will be up to the eye of the beholder as what they're prepared to pay for it."

He said Mr Karouhanis has not put a selling point on the property, indicating he was a serious seller.

"He's done the work and spent the money. The best bid on the day will win a fully restored Victorian mansion ready to operate as a coffee house and up-market B&B," said Mr Hottes.

Auction info

There has been a correction of the action date originally advertised for the property.

The auction will now be on site on August 9 at 1pm. The auctioneer will be Daniel Kelly.

Potential buyers will be able to inspect the building from noon.

Topics:  auction, rathgar house, real estate

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