Stone House, Kotewall Road [1923- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Stone House, Kotewall Road [1923- ]

Current condition: 
In use
Date Place completed: 

Photos that show this place



Colonial beauty up for sale

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, 12:00am

A colonial house on Kotewall Road, Mid-Levels, built between the two world wars, is available to anyone who has the cash and a taste for Hong Kong's golden age of spacious, gracious homes.

Stone House is the property of Charles Wysocki, an expatriate lawyer who says he is taking the opportunity to sell at a time when property prices are on the rise. He plans to invest the proceeds in a business venture in Japan.

The two-storey building is 3,128 square feet in size, with mezzanine bedrooms and a grand staircase. The property is impressive in every way. For example, the granite external wall is six feet thick, and the ceilings are 17 feet high.

Mr Wysocki bought the house 13 years ago from antique car collector Yeung Tak-hang.

He and his family lived in the house for four years and only moved out when their first child was born as they did not consider it a suitable place to bring up children. The house has been rented out since.

Stone House was built in 1923, and during the late 1940s was home to the Foreign Correspondents Club.

In November 1997, the property was declared a Grade III listed historical building by the Historical Buildings and Structures Committee of the Antiques and Monuments Office. A Grade III listing does not impose restrictions on renovation or redevelopment.

There had been reports that the building was to be redeveloped as a 10-storey residential block, but Mr Wysocki said the Stone House property included a number of shares in a neighbouring building. Redevelopment would have probably meant getting the consent of the owners of the second building.

Mr Wysocki said he hoped the house would not fall victim to the wrecker's ball.

'We hope that whoever buys the property will preserve it as part of our Hong Kong cultural and architectural heritage, and not destroy it to build box flats. This will be one of our considerations when we are vetting potential buyers. You can tell the way somebody looks at a house whether he or she will love it or not,' Mr Wysocki said.

During the years Mr Wysocki occupied Stone House, the property was used as a set for the making of three movies and four music videos.

I remember seeing Stone House listed as a Mews somewhere.  So it was the carriage house/garage for Hatton House

Here are the notes from the AMO's Historic Building Appraisal. It is building #885 in their document, and given Grade 3 :

Historic Building Appraisal 
Stone House 
No. 15 Kotewall Road, Mid-levels, Hong Kong 

Historical Interest

Stone House (石寓) is a two-level building that was probably built in 1923. It originally had three levels and the top level was demolished to make way for redevelopment of the present high-rise Hattan House. The second floor were probably used as a servant’s quarter while the ground floor was utilized as a coach house (or garage) with access to Kotewall Road. Stone House is the only surviving coach house in Kotewall Road associated with the style of social living in Mid-Levels in the early colonial period. 

Stone House was probably the coach house for the former nearby Hatton House, the site of which has been redeveloped into the new Hatton House in 1972. According to an archive in 1939-1940 now deposited at the Hong Kong Public Records Office, Sir Robert H. Kotewall (羅旭龢, 1880-1949) was the owner of No. 15 Kotewall Road (Old Hattan House, also known as “Kotewall House”). Sometime during the late 1940s Stone House was occupied by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a journalists’ association formed in Chungking in 1943. 

Architectural Merit

Stone House is built in a rather simplified Classical Revival style which was popular in the 1920s. The two-storey building is 3,128 square feet in size, with mezzanine bedrooms and an elegant Regency style staircase. The structure is a composition of reinforced concrete beams and slabs and massive granite external walls six feet thick. The front façade facing Kotewall Road has three large door openings at ground floor level and three rectangular shaped windows at upper level with bow-shaped heads and key-stones. Decorations are simple. The walls are painted white, the doorways are flanked by simple classical columns and there is a dentil moulded projecting cornice at parapet level. A semi-circular glazed canopy, planters, coach lamps and window boxes are considered to be later additions. The end wall is an interesting bow shape again indicating Regency influence. 
Rarity, Built Heritage Value & Authenticity 

Old coach houses were once quite common in Hong Kong, but Stone House is now the only remaining example left in Kotewall Road and has therefore some built heritage value. Renovations have been carried out internally and it is believed that an upper third floor level was demolished as part of the redevelopment work in 1972. Otherwise the basic structure of Stone House remains undisturbed. 

Social Value & Local Interest

Due to its associations with the social living style of Mid-levels residents in the inter-war colonial days, Stone House has historical value and local interest. 

Adaptive Re-use 

With its high ceilings and mezzanine floors it would make an ideal studio for artists or sculptors. 

I remember reading somewhere that when the SH was sold (?1992 to Mr Wysocki) it came complete with a Rolls-Royce!

About 2 weeks ago I passed it on foot. One of the gf garage doors was open and I looked in. I was amazed to see that builders were in the process of constructing a full height - 2 stories - block wall. We got the impression that the present owners/tenants were converting it into a bar?