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Quirky Geelong store conversions push for spot on shopping list – realestate.com.au

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This converted shopfront at 89A Skene St, Newtown is now a two-bedroom residence.


A cute converted shopfront in Newtown offers a big upside for buyers keen to blur the lines between work and play.

The former Silks Grocer Store at 89A Skene St is now a renovated two-bedroom residence with space to expand on a prime corner block.

It is among a handful of properties currently for sale where Geelong househunters can reap the rewards of clever conversions.

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In Geelong West, a former butcher’s shop offers an innovative blueprint for how to elevate an unconventional space into a smart home and office.

Architect Jack Chen has transformed half of John Gill’s old Elizabeth St premises into a flexible shopfront for his business Tsai Design, with his private residence at the rear due to be completed next month.

With neighbours on all four sides, a new courtyard negates the absence of windows on the compact 110sq m home’s lower level, while the addition of a second storey carves out space for a third bedroom and future rooftop deck.

The former butcher’s shop at 66 and 68 Elizabeth St, Geelong West, before both properties underwent funky conversions.


Jack Chen, of Tsai Design, has transformed the front of the building into a clever office space with shutters that can be closed to create more privacy. Photo: Tsai Design and Tess Kelly Photography


Stage two of the project involves adding the residential component behind the office. Photo: Tsai Design and Tess Kelly Photography


Mr Chen said commercial buildings presented a fantastic opportunity to create off-one homes as they often came with high ceilings and an interesting backstory.

“A shopfront conversion is great because you start from a blank canvas, there is no expectation as it’s usually bare bones on the inside and you don’t start with a notion of the kitchen needs to here, the bedroom should be here,” he said.

“So you start fresh and you are definitely going to get a very unconventional outcome.

“There is obviously the story of the business, like a butcher’s shop and how it evolves into a residence, and you can bring that character and story into the design.”

89A Skene St, Newtown, is now a two-bedroom residence.


Sheer curtains create additional privacy at the corner property.


Much the same could be done with Skene St, Newtown, which was most recently used as a hairdresser’s residence and studio.

Kardinia Property listing agent Jackson Wilson said the “beautiful little conversion”, selling with $850,000 price hopes, was a great way to tap into a prized neighbourhood.

“With this one there’s still plenty of upside. It has not been totally renovated so there is still some avenues for buyers to make it into what they want without having to undo what’s been done,” Mr Wilson said.

“It’s a really good crossover with working from home. We have a couple of interested parties who are looking for a semi office/semi residential space. The lines are a bit more blurred since Covid.”

A sunroom creates an additional living space at the Newtown home.


The bathroom has been sympathetically renovated.


A heavenly Bellarine Peninsula church reborn as a lavish residential home is another impressive conversion for sale at 42-50 Church Rd, Bellarine.

The circa 1865 stone chapel and neighbouring hall is now a three-bedroom entertainer with a hidden basement concealing a wine cellar, gym and spa room.

It’s listed with Stockdale & Leggo, Drysdale agent Sam Smith for $1.75m-$1.925m.

42-50 Church Rd, Bellarine, has a hidden basement packed with modern luxuries.


23B Elizabeth St, Geelong West, is part of the Pix Cinema conversion.


The visionary transformation of Geelong’s West’s Pix Cinema into two high-end townhouses is yet another great example of urban renewal.

Many of the theatre’s original features, such as oregon trusses and steel bracing, are woven into the fabric of the two-storey home for sale at 23B Elizabeth St.

Jellis Craig Geelong agent Marcus Falconer has price hopes of $1.495m to $1.595m.

Ray White, Colac is selling the former Larpent school.


This former church at 755 Irrewillipe Road, Barongarook West, is on the market for $330,000 to $365,000.


The backstory is a big part of the appeal of The Old Larpent State School, now selling as a converted four-bedroom home almost 30 years after classes were dismissed.

There’s also a rich history to weave into the next chapter of a rundown 1920s weatherboard church on the market in Barongarook West.

In need of a major renovation, the one-bedroom dwelling is listed with Colac to Coast agent Wendy Flint for the bargain price of $330,000 to $365,000.

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