60 Phillips St, Bracken Ridge QLD

Wowee! Not only one of the best QLD postings we’ve have in a long time* but it so happens it was the childhood home of a personal MA buddy. Once housing a big, boisterous family in the 70s and 80s, this is a classic 4 bedder (with pool) of still awesome exterior features (though the interior has seen a little messing) and true Don’s Party heritage. To wit: a series of musings and descriptions (of no more than 50 characters) from former child resident, to set the heady scene:

Mates of mum n dad built it / parents bought it off them / slate entrance which I think is still there / did have a full size pool table on the lower level / orange ‘pig hair’ carpet tiles in the family room / much more brown all round back in the day / not so much ‘feature walls’ as there is now / when we were there it was the last house in the street with bush all around / used to climb in the roof when thunderstorms were coming in and then jump in the pool / had a bike race track circuit that went down the driveway thru the courtyard and up the front entrance path / we used to arrive home from school with wild pigs around the pool / some crazy parties the folks n then kids had / classic 70’s………..


 *Architect – Russell Gibbins

21 Pettys Lane, Doncaster VIC

We’re under no illusions about this one. We only came to say that for anyone with 1.5 million + to spend on 730 sqm of land in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, these ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities, funnily enough, seem to come up twice a week.

4/32 Hebe St, Bardon QLD

An intriguing proposition in Brisbane today. An old-timey cream brick exterior revealing a Mediterranean cool, studio pad inside. This one could really go either way; as a minimal inner-city paradise for a certain breed who trades material acquisition for intellectual and interior inquiry or spooky Mullholland Drive star-dreams-gone-to-seed refuge from the world. Either way we kinda can’t stop looking at it.*

*and that wasted space behind the toilet – why?

Vermont Park Open Day

It’s been a while since we checked in on the Boyd Foundation’s bustling events calendar but this weekend is a particular ripper for those who revere progressive architecture but who, like us, are perpetually irked that civic planning and more highly conceived ideas for estate housing have completely fallen away amid the hoopla of real estate booms and urban growth.

Unlike today’s housing estates thrown up with the main focus of marketing events, shopping convenience and godawful street naming conventions (Mews? Passage? Way?) the heady experimental times of the 1970s saw several high-profile architects and building firms collaborating with other professionals in landscaping to deeply ponder the broader philosophies of community, movement, place, embracing the natural Australian environs and a push to develop housing tracts as a direct response. Winter park was one such ideological dream made real by Merchant Builders (originally founded by David Yencken and John Ridge) completed in 1974. This was followed up by the establishment of Vermont Park (confusingly in Nunawading) in 1977, a collaboration with Tract Consultants. As described in Architecture AU by Andrew Saniga:

“They converted a four-hectare site, formerly an orchard, into a residential complex of forty-three homes with shared access, open space and a community centre that had barbecues and a swimming pool. Tree preservation, new plantings and small garden spaces together gave the impression the houses were set in a forest.”
A community clubhouse! Perhaps a perfect, though unusual, marriage of exclusivity and communal space. Party down!

An open day this Sunday at Vermont Park, proudly presented by The Robin Boyd Foundation, offers us all a site-based insight into this project;

‘6 key houses from this award winning development will be open along with the residents shared Clubhouse All landscaped areas of the development open for exploration Exhibition panels showing Merchant Builders Chronology and exhibition catalogue on display Open Day insight catalogue provided to each attendee featuring essays from David Yencken.’

40 years on many of us pine for living options which offer such joys as rambling forests built for childhood adventures, community connection and natural bonds holding gorgeous, yet sustainable architecturally designed abodes. *Sigh* And though there is a new resurgence in architect led, community focused, residential developments such as Nightingale Housing it is truly a rare treat we get to look, inside and out, at a fully realised original.

For tickets check the Robin Boyd Foundation.

17 George St, Torrens Park SA

An absolutely magical c.1961 home in the stately hills of Adelaide though being on huge land (and a deceased estate) it’s being flogged for not much more than ‘development potential’. For shame South Australians! We expect as such from sin Sydney’s venal marketplace and likewise from the avarice afflicted sell-outs in the Victorian capital, but we thought you were different. You are supposed to eschew such tawdry unseemliness. You are supposed to be our bastion of wine and performance, of soaking in the sun at your own defined pace, your roots of propriety unblemished by the convict stain and integrity shining through in your dealings of commerce and art. Well, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?

3 Couch St, Timboon VIC

Another in regional cutie-pie, this time the milky pasturelands of Timboon. Lots of scope to make all your financially achievable retro-country dreams come true with the help of a few A1 op shops around the way.

27 Grove St, Kooringal NSW

A taste of Wagga wonderful this morn (we really need to get our feelers more round that way). This little winner has been lovingly and respectfully freshened up and owner Isabel has let us know this home was built in 1964 at the hand of respected architect Gordon Trafford Walker and whatsmore sent us through the original elevation and plan drawings. Yes, that curved dining nook is original. This is an example of why we dearly love a regional offering; though they are generally more humble in size and scope that city pads, they also offer bold flashes of personality and charm. A little country eccentricity in quiet, sleepy-time towns.

26 Bangor Dve, Frankston VIC

Thanks to Alison Alexander for turning up this mysterious and grand Frankston beauty. One quick burl on the Googs suggests that this sale may be something the vendor wants to pursue under the radar. The first listing for this property categorised as a ‘residential land sale’ has now been removed. The second listing on the RE.com misdirects with a plethora of incorrect info (yeah, this isn’t a 3 bedroom one bathroom house guys – you advertise it with a photo of an entire wall of bathroom cubicles for starters). There is no sales blurb, no agent (thought the photos claim one), no info on the architect, not much at all really. Over on Domain it has no listing per se (see the link at the bottom) but at least gives us the basics : “26 Bangor Drive, Frankston VIC 3199 is a House, with 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 3 parking spaces. It is on a block of land that is 2109 square metres.” And there, my friends is the heart of the deal – half an acre of primo land with views up the bay, worth millions. This might explain the abysmal photographs which, try as they may, still cannot conceal the gasping wonder of this MCM residence. The parquetry, clean lines, the levels and even that beautiful Norfolk Pine out front all signpost this as a home which does not deserve to be sold, demolished and carved up on the down-low. Spread the word.

3 Esk Ave, Mount Stuart TAS

This one with textured glass panels, stone fireplaces and simple white tones is the very picture of refined, old school, early Australian (c.1952) Modernism sitting timelessly on Mount Stuart. The work of Czech-born architect Frank Stary (migrant Mod strikes again!) this rambling (perhaps later extended?) ripper evokes the early twentieth century sensibilities with that distinct European flavour, a utilitarian starkness but not without a touch of paired back glam (our Danish nana born in 1911 would approve). And no environment in the country can compliment such euro evocation as the back hills of early spring Hobart, with the snow still dusting just above you, water before you and the clear blue sky striking from every window. Breath it in.

11 ‘Park View’ 5 Herbert St, St Kilda VIC

Sorry punters it’s sold, but we could not miss the chance to get this gorgeous apartment, inside and out, up on the front page, especially one by MCM Melbourne star Ernest Fooks. And it is startling in this modern day depression cycle of destroyed residences to see these little beauties not only punching through but, in this case, being treated like royalty ready to greet a new bunch of owners who, after equal measures of St Kilda spangle and darkness, love them more and more with each passing year.