Built in 1908 for wealthy Finnish property developer William Back by Sydney builders Harris & Hughes, this beautiful example of Edwardian architecture steeped in local history has long been the jewel in the crown of the Byron Shire town of Mullumbimby. It is one of the most beautiful and significant period homes in the region.
The Back family sold the property to local doctor and cricket club president D.D. Gibson in 1923. The property was his residence and consultation rooms where scores of locals were treated, including current owner Jan Buckland who, with her husband Colin, bought the home in 1973. It has been their family home since then and in 1984 they converted the Maid’s Quarters and Carriage House into the showroom for Cedar House Antiques which operated until 2012.
The architectural integrity of the house has been preserved and it retains every bit of its original character and grace. Recent refurbishments and restorations to the bathrooms, kitchen and rear portion of the home allow the property to have a balance between old-world charm and originality with modern usability.
The house includes four generous bedrooms; the master featuring an ensuite, two fireplaces, a safe and built-in robe. The fourth bedroom was once the captain’s cabin of the SS Wollongbar (now known as ‘The Wreck’) which sank off Byron Bay. It was salvaged and added to the south-east corner of the home in 1921. Three of the bedrooms enjoy French door access to the verandas surrounding the home.
The formal lounge and turret room leads to a large dining room, the threshold of which is framed with decorative cedar pillars. A large inglenook fireplace with a tiled hearth, mantelpiece and original brass fender warms the two rooms.
Light filled and suitably large, the kitchen still occupies its original position in the home and has another fireplace, loads of bench space and cabinetry plus an old-style pantry. The kitchen opens onto the informal living room and dining area which flows out to a rear deck through huge timber stacker doors creating a great indoor-outdoor entertaining space. Gorgeous Art Nouveau leadlight windows and panels also feature extensively including dolphins depicted in the windows of a beautiful turret room in the north-west corner.