To really appreciate this Victorian-era building, you need to take a few steps back and look upwards. It is fairly plain at eye level, but its first and second floors are far from ordinary.
Architect Daniel Garlick and his son Arthur tendered their design for three shops in 1886 for owner Samuel George Smith. At the time it was described as "built in the German treatment of the Renaissance…much the same style as that at present in vogue in the Fatherland."
Above the heavy cantilevered canopy of the ground floor, there are two sculpted heads on the first floor. These represent peasantry and warfare. There is a semi-circular balcony at the centre window of the second floor. Around it are semi-circular windows with decorative shell motifs. There are also two female heads "decked in lace". At the very top of the building a carved shield bears the monogram of the building's owner.
Charles Vernon completed the detailed plasterwork. His own home at 53-55 Symonds Street also shows his handiwork.
The facade of this distinctive building has a remarkable amount of detail compared to its modern neighbours in this shopping precinct.