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Balmain Catholic convent is converted into an extravagant eight-bedroom mansion with rooftop retreat

A Catholic convent has been converted into an extravagant mansion, complete with a gym, 600-bottle wine cellar, eight-metre ceilings and an indoor lift that moves between four floors.

Built by Australian architect Edmund Blackett in 1876, 14c Jane Street in Balmain, in Sydney’s inner-west, started life as the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, a school home to 10 nuns and 30 boarders who took lessons in a study hall large enough to seat 300 pupils.

After closing its doors due to financial hardship, a 20th-century renovation divided the school into three private residences before it was restored to its original glory in 2011 as part of a project to preserve historic buildings.

The redesign has transformed the landmark – which is listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register as a structure of ‘High Local Significance’ – into a one-of-a-kind family home with a rooftop entertainment deck overlooking the Harbour Bridge. 

The Convent of the Immaculate Conception on Jane Street in Balmain, in Sydney's inner-west, which has been converted into an extravagant eight-bedroom mansion

The Convent of the Immaculate Conception on Jane Street in Balmain, in Sydney’s inner-west, which has been converted into an extravagant eight-bedroom mansion

Vaulted ceilings tower eight metres above the living room, decorated in a Gothic style in a nod to the building's heritage

Vaulted ceilings tower eight metres above the living room, decorated in a Gothic style in a nod to the building’s heritage

Eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms are spread over 702 square metres of internal space – a staggering 482 bigger than the average floor size of a New South Wales home which sat at 220.3 in 2018, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Vaulted ceilings tower between up to eight metres above the spacious living room and kitchen-cum-dining area, which is fitted with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, custom timber cabinets and Italian marble.

Other standout features include a self-contained guest apartment, a master suite with its own lounge room and office as well as premium kauri floorboards and cedar doors which run throughout the house. 

The kitchen-cum-dining area is fitted with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, custom timber cabinets and Italian marble

The kitchen-cum-dining area is fitted with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, custom timber cabinets and Italian marble

Eight bedrooms are spread over 702 square metres of internal space

There's also a games room in the house that's a staggering 482 square metres bigger than the average floor size of a NSW home, which was 220.3 in 2018

Eight bedrooms (one pictured left) and a games room (right) are spread over 702 square metres of internal space – a staggering 482 bigger than the average floor size of a New South Wales home which sat at 220.3 in 2018

The sprawling rooftop deck overlooks iconic landmarks including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city skyline

The sprawling rooftop deck overlooks iconic landmarks including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city skyline

Natural light floods in through cathedral-style windows, offering a clue to the past life of the building

Natural light floods in through cathedral-style windows, offering a clue to the past life of the building

Standout features include premium kauri floorboards which run throughout

There's also a self-contained guest apartment and a master suite with its own lounge room (pictured)

Standout features include a master suite with its own lounge room (right) and premium kauri floorboards (left)

Natural light floods into every corner through Gothic cathedral-style windows, providing a clue to the building’s past life.

Outside, multiple balconies jut out over the landscaped garden where a barbecue and dining patio runs along the edge while an ornate fountain acts as centre-piece.

The house is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of ‘Gothic-revival’ architecture in the Harbour City, where many Victorian-era buildings were demolished by developers and replaced by concrete blocks from the 1950s onwards.

Staircases crisscross between the four floors, with spacious landing areas in between

Staircases crisscross between the four floors, with spacious landing areas in between

The dining area has ample space for a 12-seater table

A barbecue and dining patio runs along the side of the building

The dining area has ample space for a 12-seater table (left); outside a barbecue patio (right) runs along the side of the building

An ornate fountain acts as centre-piece in the landscaped garden attached to the house

An ornate fountain acts as centre-piece in the landscaped garden attached to the house

The property has even greater potential than its current state because it comes with pre-approved planning permission for a swimming pool and space to build a four-car parking garage – a far cry from its humble convent beginnings.

Bresic Whitney listing agent Adrian Oddi said the unique property has already attracted interest from overseas just days after it hit the market with a price tag of $12million on Saturday, September 19.

‘The owners have given it a complete overhaul…the buyer pool for this property will stretch well out of Balmain,’ Mr Oddi told realestate.com.au.

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