What it takes to deliver Melbourne's latest $20 million penthouse

Apartments of this ilk are not a common occurrence across Melbourne.

Offered the opportunity to visit Orchard Piper's freshly completed penthouse atop their Washington Street development in Toorak, Urban Melbourne jumped at the chance to view what is now Melbourne's newest entrant in the ultra-luxury apartment living stakes. Urban Melbourne was guided through the development by Orchard Piper's Luke McKie, who along with Rick Gronow spearhead the development firm.

Whilst the other five dwellings that constitute Washington Street have been sold, the 1,000sqm penthouse has been held back by the development team with the expectation that the final product would effectively speak for itself.

Living area and outdoor terrace

Washington Street's penthouse is split between 580sqm of internal living and 420sqm across multiple external terrace spaces. It may not have reached such ample proportions if not for Luke McKie moving into the existing property and befriending the neighbouring land owner.

Far from the stories of internationally-backed developers swooping on prime sites and developing almost immediately, Orchard Piper initially secured two adjoining properties and played a long game whereby a third adjoining site was eventually added to the development plot over the course of a year.

The then larger site encapsulating 27-31 Washington Street was taken to planning, reflecting Orchard Piper's penchant for high-end developments in blue-chip locations.

Enter Melbourne-based studio Jolson. Washington Street is the fourth collaboration between architect and developer.

It's a successful relationship that Luke McKie describes as being based on a gentlemen's agreement in that despite there being no format agreement, the two choose to utilise one another almost exclusively. This is the case as both parties have a near identical ethos to quality design and project delivery.

A bathroom like no other

Upon touring the finished penthouse it becomes apparent that the attention to detail is (and needs to be) astounding for a project of this nature. 

From computer generated programs that modelled a sole aspect of the dwelling countless times until the entire team found consensus, to the depth of research undertaken both domestically and overseas, or simply sitting in the shell pondering vistas and orientations, it is a process of analysing every aspect of the design and build to the enth degree.

Far away from the repetitive towers that dot the skyline, it's the immense attention to detail in this one penthouse that fosters a feeling of craftsmanship in the finished product which for all intensive purposes is an elevated home. Coupled with underlying themes such as space and proportion, security, natural light and amenity, Washington Street does deserve a ‘one of a kind’ status.

Having previously had experience with the likes of Mirvac and working on such projects as The Melburnian, Luke McKie explains that the detailing within the Washington Street penthouse simply has no peer. For the record, the penthouse is split into two wings by a central gallery hall, and includes a gymnasium, pool, sauna, exercise studio, private garage with separate lobby, dedicated lift access, a 1,300 bottle wine room and cigar bar.

Surrounded on all four sides by gardens, Washington Street's penthouse interior features travertine stone, timber floors, polished plaster walls and bronzed metal detailing. Eckersley Garden Architecture account for the landscape design whilst custom touches are added by New York's Lindsey Adelman Studio and Murano glass maker Venini.

Washington Street's penthouse pool with city views

Luke McKie has flagged an existing Toorak resident as the likely buyer of Washington Street's penthouse. He believes the 1,000sqm penthouse will meet the expected sale price of $20 million, or $20,000 per square metre, which is not uncommon in Toorak.

Beyond successfully completing Washington Street, Orchard Piper's nous for high-end projects will shift to Armadale, where a 2,000sqm land plot at 35 Huntingtower Road is in their sights.

Simply dubbed Huntingtower, the project will consist of 10 Jolson-designed oversized residences across two levels. Two and three-bedroom dwellings are in the offing; internal areas ranging between 160 to 370sqm whilst private outdoor spaces peak at 215sqm. 

Once more Orchard Piper hopes to tap into buyers from suburbs immediately surrounding Armadale.

Huntingtower is Orchard Piper's next project

Urban Melbourne utilised the images provided by Orchard Piper.

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