We’d like to make note that this house we list tonight would not be standing without the diligence of architectural historian Simon Reeves. We have celebrated his work before, namely here and here, but this is a new nova-glowing testament to the hard wins our ground commanders achieve for the Modernist Australian landscape. For it is one thing to crow and show house listings on a blog or a Facebook page. It barely burns a calorie to tap out emoticons or a small bit of praise in a comments section, with one eye on the Oscars. But to research; to read endless desiccated words and locate missing, redacted or burnt in the fireplace histories, condense them, making lucid argument for saving such places and then stride into direct conflict where emotions and financial stakes are running high and present that argument? That takes work, skill and a dedication most of us could barely muster.
With what outcome? Well, in this victorious instance, only this incredible, never before sold residence (by architect Charles Weight c.1954) of intrinsic value with heritage protection (despite what the sales pitch suggests herein). A saved house, now valued by a growing audience and destined to become moreso as time marches on. In short, the most elegant spoils of war we could ever lay eyes on.
What was formerly a Frankston fear zone has come full circle and is deservedly desired. And why not? Look what we have here; absolute bay beach frontage with a remarkable and original architect designed mid 60s pad complete with wrought iron name out front, crazy paving, timber detailing, planter sections, flow-on living spaces and feature room division in the form of copper fireplace. We’d hope that whomever this lucky buyer is they hold onto and work with these beautiful legacy elements, eschewing the prescribed decor of mainstream, Block-esq ostentation – tinted glass, arctic white paint on every surface, endless wet-area marble, grey on beige with perhaps some metallics thrown in. Nah, this one deserves far better.
Riffing off the commercial offering of our last Boyd, here is a lil’ sweetheart and local touchstone for another suburban crowd. Virtually unchanged since it took up business decades ago, ol’ Spic n’ Span seems to be folding (oh dear!) and leaving that gorgeous shopfront of angled roofline and endless glazing to the mercy of a new owner. With even the most pedestrian locations becoming enclaves of coffee guzzling, athlesuire wearing, professional classers, Belmont is primed for the influx and this cult corner commercial building would indeed transform a magically cavernous cafe/meeting spot. At the very least, lets hope it survives in close to original form and isn’t knocked aside for some hideous apartment/retail development or remodelled into a gag-inducing mess a la Notts Electrical a few suburbs over.
A gleeful finish to the festival of Boyd, with his corner shop ‘igloos’ (c.1953) also up for sale. Business or pleasure, take your pick. Heritage listed (hooray!) they are not only a wonderfully experimental blip within the wider Boyd legacy, but are now part of a quintessentially suburban experience; a local and loved landmark with its various incarnations a showreel of the face of modern Australian living – once a supermarket then bottle-o then yoga studio, presently units, next to be an IT hub or electric car charge station perhaps? These pre-cast curves are all yours to write the next chapter.
The Boyd festival continues and today we see a more familiar residence; ‘Baker House’ (c.1966), perhaps one of the most visited Boyds in the country due to its recent history as party/wedding venue. Like yesterday’s Blott House it’s in a similar situation; it too has been on and off the market for some time and needs a very specific candidate to live and/or use this heritage listed home/s with a full Modernist Australian heart. Indeed, could this landmark be more Australian? Set in the dust and spiked green of the Baccus Marsh bushland this structure of cairn, thatched ceilings, mathematical equality and progressive ideals remains a permanent a retreat from the outside world, whilst fulling embracing our indigenous landscape. A breathtaking Boyd in the bush and whatsmore it’s presently available to rent on air BnB. Sample, try or (maybe) buy. What are you waiting for?
We’ve known for some time about the availability of ‘The Blott House’ (c.1955) a 100% Boyd pedigree stunner, restored to marvellous Modern glory with the caveat that the owners, who have done so much to repair and protect this historic residence, are only interested in a buyer who understand and respects it in kind. The Robin Boyd Foundation (join today!) have been letting fans quietly know for some time but now it looks to be hitting the wider public. This is one of two remarkable homes by Boyd for sale at present the second being Baker House (we’ll do a re-listing for that tomorrow) along with his wacky, polar-scape offices also currently for sale in Ashwood. We stress that if you love these slices of local MCM genius enough for a little gander IRL but are unable to produce the scratch to purchase that you contact the Boyd Foundation for a (possible) tour, rather than put on your fake moustache and pose to buy, arranging an inspection via the agent – nobody like a tyre-kicker. A general open house is fair game though (we think). Alternatively if you’d rather just adore from afar then get clicking (that’s why we’re here) and sigh away the morning………
ps- Thanks to Georgia for the heads up!
There is an overlooked stash of rather lovely Mod homes in the great north east of Metro Melbourne, and what was once ‘just out there somewhere’ is now becoming a snapped up locale for developers and home buyers alike. This one is on the more modest side compared to some sprawling 70s mansions in the area, but nonetheless holds the potential for a gorgeous family home, though given it’s poor condition we doubt it may end well for this low-slung beauty, we wait and see……..
Just what we need this morning (/s); A seemingly enticing, 5 bedroom residence. Likely from original hands, held tight the last 50+ years (reports suggest a deceased estate). The work of quintessential, Queensland Modernist architects Hayes & Scott whom, if anyone saw Rosso’s MCM love letter on The ABC last year, were also responsible for the much adored Jacobi House (c.1957) and what? It is now being sold off by commercial agents, the breed for whom architectural and social integrity only stretches as far as flogging land and ‘development potential’ to investors will allow (read: nada). Is it even zoned ‘commercial’ FFS? Suffice to say there are no interior shots. No floor plan. Only a cursory mention of living in this house, let alone living well by considered design. So here we are once more; a building of possible state significance and built heritage being discarded in favour of yet another plot of insipid, franchise landfill stores and individual offshore account fattening. Unacceptable.
*Thanks to brismod for bringing this one to attention.
A much loved family home, hand built by the owners 55 years ago and remaining with them until now is up for sale. We thanks Modernist Australian Alison for letting us know about this little DIY gem in what looks to be a magical part of Southern NSW (oh that eucalypt canopy!). I dare say the elderly owners who now must part with their beloved home would like to see a new generation (or 3) take the reigns and continue on the tradition of breezy living, bbqs and morning cups of tea with the warbling maggies.
*Meditating to slow heart rate*
Peter Hall, architect (previously employed to salvage the Sydney Opera House project after Utzon/government drama.)
*Grabs and inhales into paper bag*
Built for Supreme Court Judge and wife, with a keen interest in social and environmental matters.
*Inhales and exhales into paper bag*
Pure mid-70s (1974), bush led aesthetic and uncomplicated design. Light. Warmth. Flow.
*Throws away paper bag, looks for valium*
Barely changed since built; cork, brick, stone and timber survive in natural, unadorned bliss.
*Can’t find valiums, “WHERE IS THE DE-FIB MACHINE?!”*
Being sold by a graciously informed and respectful agent, seeking the same in a buyer.
For anyone who loves their Modernism with a crisp Internationaist and historical bent then cast your eyes to Das Kapital. This classic, post-war residence purpose built to house senior European diplomats in the Canberra enclave traditionally set aside for such VIPs, and designed by one from the old country (anyone know the German architect behind this beauty?) is an immaculately crafted and unusual offering. One can only imagine those stunning fireplaces staging schnapps soaked, midnight debate about the status of the Stasi, the Wall and Franz Beckenbauer. It would be a massive loss to see this one demolished or sliced into an unrecognisable mess – so who could use it best? The Greens? The ABC? A new Australian Institute for Eurovision Performance Excellence? We open the floor for all suggestions………
Though its been hit with a couple of updates this wonderful, architect designed, 1957 home brings the MCM joy by the truckload, with scope to bring it back to a more original vision without too much fuss. And what’s more the sales spiel is pitch perfect – bravo Louise and Amy! Such recognition and praise of a worthy home will go a long way to aid its survival in this heated market of a decidedly ‘development’ focused suburb.
Attention Sydney peeps! You know how your workplace is always trying to be down with the kids, talkin’ ‘flexibility’, ‘remote offices’ and ‘tele commuting availability’? Well it’s time they ponied up. This sunlit sweetie pie, lovingly refurbed and with ’50s features that melt even the most hardened of hearts (like those confetti bathroom tiles weeeee!) awaits you. Throw in some stunning ‘Gong beaches and you’ve got that ‘Great Australian Lifestyle'(TM) we all are supposed to be living. Dot it!
In a week of bona fide rippers behold the finale. A dynamic home which is not only sending the Modernist/dreamhouse crowd into raptures (and deservedly so) but one which has also awakened many of us to the existence of a trailblazing female architect; Suzanne Dance*. Graduating in 1965, Melbourne-based Dance has focused her architectural practice (as all the best do) on not just creating individual residences for clients but also dovetailing this with the wider philosophy of ‘urbanism’ – the consideration of the role of city buildings and planning in creating a rich and healthy community life as wiki states;
“Dance then applied the same concept to Melbourne stating that by 2030 buildings in the inner city should share boundary walls, small courtyards, eliminate lifts and share solar power and the ability to cross ventilate. These changes may provide similar population density to high-rise towers, without the environmental drawbacks.“
A visionary we should be listening to and heeding (RIP Fisherman’s Bend).
We could gush for hours about this property on the peninsula (we’ll let the pics do most of the talking this time) but suffice to say for such a home on 3.5 acres, we don’t think 1.9 mil is actually too bad a price. And though we are dismayed by the seemingly painted over concrete block (why oh why?!!), it remains as an awesome standout in this early stage of the year. Now people, let’s away to lotto shop
*For a bit more on Suzanne Dance join up to Victorian Modern on FB, as Simon Reeves has just posted a great little write-up about her life, work and awards.
We speculate that the heat of a 27 degree overnight low with a 36 degree chaser in this house means stripping down, a wet face washer and lying under the fan, such is the old Aussie nostalgia seeping from every nook and wall. A far cry from the Sydney school or Robin Boyd this one still makes the cut, for just as we hold beach shacks to be truly Modern in their open plan living and unfussy floor plan, so we find it here. And who doesn’t need the cheer of those blue stripes or want to see such an intact collection of classic post-war furniture (and furnishings) in their native habitat, before they are snapped up by some Brissy hipsters or dropped off at the local Vinnies.
‘Delight’ – great pleasure
‘Simple’ – easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.
‘Redevelop’ – construct new buildings in (an urban area), typically after demolishing the existing buildings.
‘McMansion’ – a large modern house that is considered ostentatious and lacking in architectural integrity.
‘Lucre’ – money, especially when regarded as sordid or distasteful or gained in a dishonourable way.
‘Buckley’s’ – (slang) means, ‘no chance in the world’ or about the same chance a snowball would have of keeping its cool in hell.
We toss the words ‘elegant’ and ‘beautiful’ fairly liberally around these parts, but if any residence we’ve shown lately deserves the description then this is it. A heart-thumping (c.1951?) slice of leafy green in the ye olde Modernist enclave of Wahroona (just around the way from Rose Seidler and Rippon House) this home of same ownership for 66 years needs a new lover. Word around the traps (thanks Steven Coverdale) is that this home does indeed have a heritage overlay (you know where you can shove your S.T.C.A thanks) but also due to a prior application it may be a little unresolved at council and so the threat of demolition still looms (nooooooooooooo!). We cannot allow this to happen and if people need to have their hand held and be schooled on the desirability of such a residence then of course we’ll do it but really, for this one, we shouldn’t have to.
*PS this home was designed by non-architect Dr David Rich, so there you go!
A rare and absolute stunner popped up in WA last week. A 1965 family residence built for Professor & Mrs M Webb and designed by notable local Lyndsay Waller who (along with architects Jeffrey Howlett and Don Bailey) was responsible for the most celebrated and now protected Modernist building in Perth – Council House which was completed a mere 2 years before Waller undertook this private commission. This is a home which has never changed hands until now and (like the Clerehan copy earlier this week) is also deserving of a heritage gong somewhere or other. Pedigree aside the pure, almost stark dynamism of its countenance belying it’s warm timber interiors, walls of masonry and glass, sun-dappled courtyards and 50 year old trees, must be worth something out west. Even in the land of shiny baubles and status castles, this one must remain amongst it all.
Perennial MA hall-of-famer and Brisbane legend John Van Den Broek delivers yet again with this gorgeous, 1969, rambler amid 2+ acres of luscious northern capital hinterland. And although the images of a suggested rebuild** are, we have to admit, pretty nice (it’s basically Nu Mod right?) we’ve got to ask; is it really necessary to knock such a beautiful old legacy down? Just because we can be beyond first world excessive and wasteful, should we be?
See here and here for some previous rippers by the great man.
**Update** Owner Ben has contacted us to advise they do not at all advocate knocking down this beautiful home, they have taken so much care of, but rather an extension;
“We’re big Neutra & Lloyd Wright fans and fell in love with it when we saw it a couple of years back………………the concept images featured are for a planned extension and renovation, not a re-build. Unlike the agent, we’d never advocate knocking it down:)”