Today we have outrageously beautiful grounds hosting a gorgeous late 50s Modern home, the stuff of genteel holiday dreams. The floor plan with all living spaces and overall countenance pointed north clearly indicates this was built by true sun, sea and sand worshipers; progressives of a greater Melbourne rising out of wartime grey into post-war lightness and new ideas. We particularly wanted to show off the owner’s toil – peeling back what was once a chintz and floral soaked house (see the before shots) to a more minimal, contemporary abode. The removal of these layers of heavy peach, frill and bulkhead textiles and the replacement of that colonial kitchen (urg!) with a super beachy, painted timber version not only reflects the present owners styling savvy in creating a Hamptons dream with an indigenous Modernist base, but reveals just how timeless this 60 year old design really is. Those huge windows, that stone courtyard, the open-plan living all singing proudly as originally intended and calling us down to the tea-treed coast with its song.
What begins with that delicious yet all class minty timber, sandy stonework and gorgeous name badge our front, reveals itself to be an enormous and swingin’ family home of sensational northern orientation and the added character of copper relief mural (junks a gogo!) with a devine deck area and pool out back. Sure that kitchen has been colonised by really, it would take all of 1 week to revive this already near complete Mid-Century stunner into purist perfection. La-la-love it!
Not even a Rolex ad starring Daniel Craig smelling of cognac, cubans and cologne while Coltrane soars in the background could capture the high-end masculinity emanating from this honeytrap to end all honeytraps. Indeed it’s a very interesting angle to take with an interior revamp and a refreshing change from the usual skandi-white-handcrafted-plant-lady images filling Instagram feeds 24/7. Suffice to say this little studio pad (weekender? weeker? mistress? master?) is smack bang in Harry Seidler’s famous Aquarius Building which we have listed in various guises over the years, which only adds architectural heft to an already sophisticated take. The bespoke dark timber, chocolate tile, checked throw rugs and expressly Mid-Century Modern pieces all pointing to a certain clientele who dreams of Don Draper and/or blueblooded girls of independent means.This one is for the gentlemen out there.
All original, classic, 3 bedroom MCM home.
Solid brick build, in beautiful un-renovated condish.
Gobsmacking street aspect with sundrenched northern orientation.
Sweeping undeveloped gardens, on gentle slope.
Character inbuilt joinery,fireplace and bathroom wallpaper.
Asking price: something over $269k
Gently put down whatever you are holding, take a seat and breathe slowly as pure unadulterated mid-century magic floods your eyes and replenishes your soul.
We often hear/tell of hidden architectural gems dotting our entire country, sometimes the overlooked work of some architect or other, but this residence just popping up online today and initially marketed as ‘Art Deco’ (oh the dire state of our built heritage knowledge!) is quite insane. Igniting an online hyper buzz all afternoon about the what/when/where but as usual Simon Reeves comes into his own revealing that this is the one of few standing houses in Melbourne designed by Raymond Jones, a Geelong-born, late 1940s architecture student at Melbourne University who toiled under the illustrious tutelage of Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds, John Mockridge, and Frederick Romberg (doesn’t get much heavier than that). Taking a particular fancy to Boyd’s philosophy and works (in between gigs kicking goals for Collingwood and Melbourne Football Clubs) Jones started his architectural career at the firm now known as Yuncken Freeman, though not for long as he departed for Western Australia, never to return, in 1953. There he continued his magnificent creative output (and premiership footy for Sth Freo). The cherry on top? Raymond Jones (b. 1925) is alive and still boldly fights the Modernist fight for us all as he is quoted in Wiki:
“Jones is not impressed by a lot of modern architecture in Perth, saying he’s depressed by the “proliferation of ugliness”. “We are just not going forward at all, we are going backward”. He blames Perth’s ugly, impractical and unsustainable modern homes on the laziness and expediency of politicians, city planners and mass-marketed project homes. Mr Jones says he is a crusader for sensible, environmentally aware design.
Jones is still practicing as an architect as of 2011 and has no interest in quitting entirely any time soon, instead focusing on projects of interest”
This home, a commission in 1952 for a relative Jones, is the stuff of California dreams and Marvelous Modern Melbourne. It has pedigree, a confidence and completeness of design that is very rare for such an undocumented home. It has lit a fire in the heart of every casual (and not so casual) MCM fan in less than one day. It remains magnificently unaltered and based on all this should be in line for a heritage overlay. In lieu of that and in order to ensure it’s safe passage from one owner to the next, we Bat-Signal those MCM dreamers out there with the cash (and a respectful amount in comparison to most on the market right now might we dare say) to look no more – this is it. This is the one you have been waiting for.
We are in total in adoration of this one and we’re not quite sure why. Maybe it’s the hiding in plain sight pedigree (apparently a House and Garden ‘Home of The (as yet unconfirmed 1960s) Year’). Maybe it’s the beautiful, vast spaces of right angles and light flooding in from entire walls of windows. Maybe the joinery. Maybe that unassuming yet stunning inset fireplace. Maybe the intact terrazzo, timber ceilings, original wallpaper or the hint of free-flowing floor plan (though there is none posted to evaluate). Maybe it’s just the simple optimistic promise that in the right hands and with a light but considered touch this home could be a magical Mid-Century Modern oasis, even an award winner, once again.
An absolute embrace of the Palm-Springsy-Eichler-chic tradition will pay off handsomely for these owners over in WA- hooray! If anywhere in the country can pull off such a vibe it’s our very own west coast and putting in the work here, we can see just how stunning and suited to contemporary life this beautifully designed, light filled, 60 year-old, MCM residences can be. Keep it up gang, we’re loving seeing them filter through.
A lovely little pad by a lesser celebrated, early Mod Melbourne architect, Norman Brendel. A cutting-edge-for-it’s-time (c.1960) complex of 18 flats with just a sprinkle of old-inner Melbourne Glamour (some extra plan images to be aded shortly, curtesy of the owner – thanks Eve!). upon first viewing this little home seems very compact, however when you look at that bedroom dimension, we all know they simply don’t make them like that anymore.
Blackwood, land of untouched bargains. Here is yet one more example chokers with the kind of time-frozen, squeal inducing character features not seen in just any ‘ol MCM home. Of course we have that glorious design with wall of windows, stone walls, crazy paving, thatched ceiling and original pendant lighting (natch) but we’re also thrown some sublime herringbone parquetry and seriously rad photo wallpaper frieze in the bedroom, inset joinery display cases, terraced garden oozing landscaping potential and pool complete with diving board. Oh man oh man! A light and strategic touch is required here people as there is just too much wild goodness sitting at the mercy of the endlessly encroaching bland.
A glorious rebirth to get the weekend pumping for you all. Though we privately prefer our nuts and berries, Alistair Knox homes to stay nutty (read: Keep that brick and that ceiling guys!) we totally understand the move to a slicker look and really with a swirling discussion right now of celebrating Modernism and promoting its allure to those uninitiated, this home may possibly do more for the MCM cause than some unintelligible and instantly filled away council paper on the subject. By employing an accomplished architect who ‘gets it’, keeping the design integrity of Knox’s original, Modernist vision with little adjustment to the main floor plan, promoting some of the gorgeous internal timber and beamed ceilings as a feature, banishing the faux-colonial kitchen and then splashing out on all the zhush (not least some spectacular landscaping) to send those with the cash into a frenzy, these owners have achieved a good balance of preservation, celebration and exultation to be admired and cited as one way to get the message out there.
Though hexed by the snow fairies (those tiles- begone!) this is a killer party house of breezy living spaces wallpapered with to-die-for harbor views through floor-to-ceiling glazing, extending to magnificent decking and a swingin’ kidney-shaped pool making the most of the sloping block. Best of all is the original integrity of its classic MCM form still boldly apparent with that scene-stealing butterfly roof its crowning glory. So, sorry to sound a bit confused here, but can you tell us dear buyers/sellers in this bracket why such a magnificent and sprawling home on 2 levels, with 3 bedrooms and 4 car spots requires yet another storey? Are these perfect views not enough? Is this position not enough? Is anything ever enough?
You know that bit in that movie? That not-too-distant-dystopian-adventure-drama where the band of heroes finally bush bash their way to the isolated retreat of the curmudgeon scientist who long ago turned his back on society in an act of prescient self preservation, to live quietly and work on that botanical cure which the gang have now come seeking to save the world from its own plutocrat-driven genetically modified demise? Well, here is the house. Holy moley! In the vein of some of the best off-the-grid, handmade Modern we’ve seen overseas comes a jawdropping life’s work in the hills of Adelaide. The agent claims to have never seen anything like it and we’ve got to admit, in 10 years of MA, neither have we. So for those who are pining for a hillside escape pod, their very own retro-futurist, totally Modernist, plant based compound of delight, time to crank up the fish and chip oil powered troopy, pack up the kids and furry friends and take a look.
What fresh heaven is this? Popping up on Mother’s Day is the mother of South Australian listings (well at least a rather commanding one with a price tag finally commensurate with the offering we think) sitting high on the hill and in incredible condition. Not sure of its provenance, nor year – 70s we guess – though that stuck-in-amber home office is giving off some heavy Parton-and-Tomlin-in-pussy-bow blouses-80s vibes, no matter. And we are also carried away with that exquisite joinery, especially around the windows – are they louvers above and below? Did we mention the pool and sauna combination? The beamed ceilings and flawless masonry? The sweeping drive leading up to a duel low rise skillion roofed front entry? We could go on but this one is best seen in the photos, get clicking kids.
Nonmaleficence. The first concept in the fine balance of medial ethics translates directly into updating any home of a certain age, build or character. The owners of this 2 bedroom Surf Coast beaut have successfully nailed it with a clear retention of original features, northern orientation and classic MCM materials in conjunction with a contemporary freshen up. This result is much harder to achieve than it looks and it’s difficult for even the most sensible heads caught in a refurb fever to not get carried away. Blessed are those who keep their minds focused and improvements to strategic minimum, for the rewards, as we see here, are great.
Though a little nondescript inside (though of course the photos aren’t helping) we’ve got some bones here (and killer street frontage already) which could be transformed into something special, and when you’re a breath away from some of the best coastline in the world, there’s plenty reason to snap this little barg up!
For those harbouring any wild combination of the following loves: skiiing, the romance of the Snowy High Country (which may or may not involve Tom Burlinson), rural boltholes, fresh air, besser brick, straight lines, floor to ceiling windows, seagrass matting, timber accented kitchens and joinery, 2 wood burners going full pelt in July, bold 70s red flooring, geometric patterned curtains, right angles and backyard incinerators – has ol’ mate Chippy got the place for you!
Almost an echo of Weetangera in materials and era (this one hails from 1968) this modestly (read: Adelaide) priced winner is not only a landmark build of clean brickwork, exposed beams and extensive glazing, but exceedingly foresighted with its zoned floor plan of living and bedrooms connected by a walkway and all with immediate access to private outdoor spaces. Just lovely.
(Everybody! Altogether now!)*
A long time ago when men built well.
There was a design of the free.
Well conceived homes,
were its untouched wealth,
And Modernism reigned supreme.
They say it was in Canberra.
This house in Weetangera.