Historic Azuma set to change hands

47 Regent Street, Maitland


Julie and Greg McGrath may have called 47 Regent St, Maitland, home for the past 33 years, but they’ve never called it ‘theirs’. 

No, the couple say they firmly believe they’ve simply been the custodians of ‘Azuma’, which is one of Maitland’s most historic homes.

Looking as though it has been lifted from the pages of a Bronte sisters’ novel, the two-storey home was built in 1892 by prominent retail merchants, the Cohen family, as a wedding present for their daughter.

Set in one of Maitland’s finest streets and surrounded by other grand historic homes, including Cintra House, which the Cohen family also owned, Azuma is truly something special, says Julie.

“We’ve been very fortunate to call it home, but really we were just looking after it and protecting it.

“We were the custodians and now it’s time for new owners to take over as it’s too big for just the two of us,” she says.

Azuma is brimming with original features from its opulent facade to its cowrie pine floorboards, soaring ornate ceilings, grand fireplaces and cedar skirting boards and architraves.

Even the servant call bells have been carefully restored.

A standout in the home is the stunning French-polished cedar staircase in the entry foyer, which frames an acid-etched stained glass window.

“We did a major renovation when we first moved in, but we retained all of the original features including the fireplaces, the staircase and the floorboards,” Julie says.

“That was very important to us.”

Julie says the home has been brilliant for entertaining over the years with an opulent formal dining room and an elegant sitting room boasting statement, working, marble fireplaces.

“We have used the formal dining room a lot in winter as we could light the fire,” she says. “My wine club loved dining there when I hosted dinner.”

There’s also a traditional billiards room and a stunning, open-plan kitchen, dining and family room that flows out to where an old-fashioned lean-to has since been replaced with a covered, outdoor entertaining area above a double garage.

“A heritage architect did all of that,” Julie explains.

The hand-painted timber kitchen with Italian Carrara marble and Miele appliances has been carefully crafted to bring the home into the modern era, while paying homage to the home’s period roots.

“It’s been a great place to entertain,” Julie says. “We have three children and we’ve had their engagement parties and 21st birthdays there with 100 people in the billiard room, dining room and the back area.”

But Julie says one of her favourite features of the property is the rural vista at the rear of the home where a sparkling inground pool is set against a backdrop of lush, green paddocks filled with horses.

“The aspect looking out over the farmland, watching people come and take horses out and use the equestrian facilities is lovely,” she says.

“Greg is an obstetrician, so for him to come home after many hours at work and go out there it was just so relaxing.”

Upstairs awaits four spacious bedrooms, including the master suite, which was originally a day nursery with feature fireplace and French doors that lead to the elevated verandah.

All of the bedrooms are incredibly spacious, while the restored main bathroom has a clawfoot bath, Victorian rolled tiles and a marble-topped vanity.

The original maid’s room has been transformed into a stately home office and there are two full bathrooms downstairs, along with a double garage attached to the house, which is a rarity in historic homes.

Julie says her family has been connected to Maitland since her great, great grandfather, a bootmaker and later a vigneron, came to the city in 1849.

She says it’s a lovely place to raise a family, with excellent schools, a new hospital set to open soon and easy access to Newcastle and Sydney.

“One of the features we’ve also really loved the most is being just 20 minutes from the vineyards and beautiful restaurants,” Julie says.

“But with one daughter in London and the other two in Sydney, the place is too big for just the two of us. 

“It would be ideal for us if another family was able to live here and enjoy it as much as our family has.”


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ADDRESS: 47 Regent St, Maitland
For sale by private treaty
Price guide: $1.8 million to $1.98 million
AGENCY: Charlie Lund, The Agency, 0429 139 260


Travel time is approximately 60 minutes.