13 Dunlop Ave, Kew VIC

“…deliver instant family appeal while its sensational 634sqm approx. north-facing private allotment is the perfect site to build a new home to your own design and specifications (STCA).”

At what point do we ask the hard questions of our society? This quest for wealth so obscene as to view anything as disposable. Where the true value of anything is measured purely by a commercially engineered, obsolescent continuum of status and accumulation. In other words – what the f*ck is wrong with people?

 

‘Green House’ 1 Aringa Ct, Heathmont VIC

Today a sublime combination of local history and inspirational renovation. In our 10 years at MA we’ve listed this home twice before and on both occasions thought it would be for the last time as earlier listing images and reports from the ground had indicated a run-down and almost dank property requiring real vision and yakka to bring it from the brink. Longtime family home of beloved cartoonist ‘W.E.G’ (there is no footy fan over a certain age who will not have a WEG poster hidden on some wall, somewhere) this is yet another architectural knockout from the fabulous Chancellor and Patrick (c.1962). A typical classic with its gabled roof, heavy FLW masonry and beautiful timber work. So now we report with glee that a visionary was found (or perhaps they found this home) and in the spirit of the Fitzpatrick House we listed last month, it too has just charged triumphantly through the banner ready to rumble in championship condition once more. And, not discounting the incredible toil undertaken here, it’s quite eye-opening what the simple placement of a pool fence can do right? Highest praise to the vendors and good luck to all who are throwing into the ring in for this one, it really is a heroic house.

‘Wood House’ 12-14 Tannock St, Balwyn North VIC

A piece of Melbourne history has just popped up playing its chances on the market. With thanks to Steven at MCDA for the info This 1940s Robin Boyd which was subsequently updated twice more by the architect at the owners behest, now stands on the precipice. Not helping its case in the slightest is it’s location in Balwyn North, essentially the Azkaban for Mid-Century homes, as we’ve lost count how many were built there in the first place and have been destroyed in the past decade, perhaps more Australian MCM history lost than any other suburb in the country. Let us not dwell on that right now, but rather luxuriate in the classic Boyd lightness of build and progressive design prioritising the site. Let us remember that this home was built in a time before television, before rock and roll, when everyone wore hats and gloves and was called Smith or Jones or Harris that is to say this is the future as born in the olden days.

16 Shannon Ct, Dingley Village VIC

The autumnal chill is set to settle in soon enough and when it does it’s unassuming, little homes like this one come into their own. A cosy conglomeration of timber, exposed brick and dark slate flooring warding off any chance of seasonal affective disorder with a flood of natural light from clerestory windows and (we think the very underrated) strategically positioned skylights. All in all one beautiful little refuge from the world and the elements.

4 Binney Court, Sandy Bay TAS

Though sitting stately in prime Hobart with an interior scheme of nana-luxe (chandeliers, demure colours, floral textiles) there is no denying the 1950s Modern origins of this impressive home. Those functionalist windows and squared exterior form would have be at the height of cutting edge back in the day and, like any well- considered Mid-Century build, carries through beautifully to now. You could leave this in immaculate condition as its single owners have done for the last 60 years, or perhaps pare it back sightly inside to bring its clean lines and wide vistas to the fore once more, the choice is yours.

16 Glenfine Ave, Hamlyn Heights VIC

The Geelong Relocation Starter Pack

1) New job at TAC, Worksafe, LiveTiles or Deakin Uni.

2) Enrollment forms for St Joeys, Kardinia or any educational institution with a preference for blazers.

3) Gift basket of Le Fournil Crossants, Siketa sausages, Baie Pino Gris and slab of Furphy.

4) Map noting location of Adventure Park, Fairy Park, Queens Park and Kardinia Park.

5) A total bargain, Mid-Century, family home with a big backyard and northern orientation just ripe for a sympathetic renovation in Hamlyn Heights.

12 Warili Rd, Frenchs Forest NSW

To know MCM homes, is to know street frontage is generally not the indicator of a residence as a whole, that said it’s interesting how a tiny bit of ‘updating’ can change the face of a home and not for the better. That pink (or is it faded red?) vertical beams at the entry and cream garage door – the main points of reference from the street – could dissuade even an ardent seeker of Modern architecture from going any further, which would be a crying shame because inside is another story. With magnificent, original timber surfaces, exposed brick, split levels and splashes of tiles (and the kitchen) this home is a sensationally intact and gorgeous residence, deserving to be kept as is with only minimal and sympathetic renovation required. Though sadly it is these later 70s examples which more often than not get the chop in the from of obscene overblown remodelling, if not outright demolition. Time will tell us soon enough.

96 Speight St, Thornbury VIC

The promise of yesterday’s rundown Sydney listing reveals itself in full bloom today in Melbourne. A home which has received the full MCM make-over from owners with a deft hand and clear vision who have now sent it marching, chest out, onto the market. Mid-Century nerds and norm-cores alike are swooning. Banks are being called. And a 60 year old home is assured a future (we hope) as its pristine, 60s beauty radiates out over the inner northern suburbs of the Victorian capital. A rather rare gem for those parts indeed.

17 Wolfe Rd, East Ryde NSW

A brief chat today about real estate photography. We have any number of listings lined up for you, but darn it if we didn’t override them all for this property for only one reason – the images. This home is certainly a darling and unmistakably mid-century retro with some worthy aspects such as the timber paneling, kitchen joinery, anodized wall sconces and angled roof line, however what ultimately drives the desire here, in a savy move by the agents, is the use of photography which transforms this wreak into a dreamscape of contemplative, millennial wanderings. The masterful photos makes it easy for anyone see this as a beautiful home. The peeled paint, stained walls and dank carpet are not negatives but rather aching, suburban poetry set to entice the mind of the sympathetic buyer, banishing all thoughts of exhaustive labor and piling tradie bills. Perception is the reality. And this is the treatment all well conceived and built homes of a certain disrepair deserve (hell, we could really use this level of photography for the immaculate MCM homes on the market right now too). In essence (and with or without cynicism) it is this promotion of a building’s innate beauty and promise which brings more than just developers to the party but those who may put in the work to awaken good design, craftsmanship and materials (which would otherwise be skipped – in another example of our pitiful wastefulness) once more. Bravo people.

‘Martha’s Garden’ 107 Aldgate Valley Rd, Aldgate SA

Singular. The word gets bandied, not least by us, but when a home was designed, built, lived and worked in for the last 60 years by one person – then that is the correct term. Thelma Fisher a noted artist whose work pops up on any number of collector and auction house sites, was that person. Her life, her creative output and her desires feeding directly into the architecture of this gorgeous home and incredible rolling 2 acres of hillside gardens. Bearing the hallmarks of earlier Australian Modernism and reportedly built in the 40s (2 bedrooms – but of course!), this home of flowing spaces and immense walls of framed windows melds with the European trees and landscaping emitting a very distinct character: Australian yet with strong a Northern Hemisphere dreaming, a kind of mid-cenutry fairyland complete with of honey-stone house, dappled paths leading to a pond edged by tree ferns. A true life’s opus from a genuine artist.

1 Windouran Dve, Mitcham VIC

What we have today is a textbook example of the avaricious wastefulness that taints our real estate and housing market. We absolutely plead the case for medium density housing, intricately planned for and architecturally designed, in all middle ring suburbs if our metro centers are going to continue to be livable. However, let us not confuse that pressing necessity with locating a flawlessly constructed family home which has stood the test of modern times and seek to destroy it in some scorched earth, wealth creation scheme AKA ‘development potential’. This house is obviously the work of an (as yet nameless) architect with a progressively commanding foresight which makes this 45 year old(?) home seem all at once new and classic. It is constructed with a timeless materials which capture high- end taste makers again and again; limed timber ceilings, clifton grey brickwork, earthy tile, spaces of simple and natural elegance. It also looks to be in incredible condition (kudos to the owners) however we fear that this will still not be enough and the damning white line with measurements will be the focus here concluding with this residence (which would take literally millions of dollars to reproduce these days) ending up as dust in some shiny, white townhouse construction site.

24 Diana Ave, Burleigh Heads QLD

It wouldn’t take much to turn this fairly pedestrian house (on the inside) into a home of sleek, Internationalist style dynamism set in a jungle haze of palm fronds and creepers. Those stairs man *sigh*. This truly has the bones for a photo-spread you’d find in an air-freighted, architectural publication focusing on South America; a place of complex, European discourse and a steamy, exotic environment, the likely home to some Brazilian novelist or notable Columbian philosopher (though we may have just been watching too much ‘Narcos’ recently). And so the ultimate question: who in QLD has the vision and and financial reserves to make this heady dream a reality?

139 Gloucester Ave, Belair SA

We are once again in Adelaide where the homes are classic, their condition is unmolested and the prices are in the realm of possibility. This one, already perfect in so many ways, commands only the most sympathetic of renovations so as not to detract from the nostalgic charm which emanates from room, to courtyard, to garage, to terraced backyard in one constant, delightful flow.

1 Currawong Ct, Upper Ferntree Gully VIC

Starkly reminiscent of the NorCal, redwood, hippy movement is this absolute killer property at the base of Melbourne’s Dandenongs. And what’s more, unlike many moldering homes up that way, this one remains in remarkably pristine condition and displays distinctly Modernist intentions with a skilful yet simple material palette, skylight and bulkhead lighting, split levels and absolute northern orientation. We fear this exactly the kind of home which should be preserved as is with minimal refreshing, but is a prime victim to the hubris of insta-fueled ‘interior designers’ who despise the stunning natural expression of the gorgeous wood, for a hideous slather of arctic white paint over every interior surface. Please – in this case – we pray it’ ain’t so.

42 Adelaide St, Magill SA

Down at heel to the extreme, this expansive and impeccably laid out 5 bedder of classically Modernist features with sprawling runaway grounds holds massive potential but only to those of the most dedicated and hardworking stripe. We don’t hold much hope and the agents have already written it off, but all is not lost just yet. We’ll wait it out and see.

10 Aldersyde Ct, Ocean Grove VIC

There is nothing which celebrates the luck and beauty of the Australian lifestyle quite like a bushland spread 3 minutes from the surf. And the value of such homes on the Bellarine though inherently priceless to the spirit are also certainly creeping up there in the bank, though compared to the major cities this place offers so much more for the moola. One acre filled with towering gums (and the occasional strolling echidna), the enjoyably scruffy tennis court (OG is proudly not Portsea), the end-of-court pocket where it is located, the tradies-grade garage housing a few boards, the car, perhaps a ping pong table/home brew set-up and of course that solid yet elegant Merchant Builders home* of brick, slate, ply ceilings, expansive glazing, feature fireplace and purist floor plan. This home which has undergone a little contemporary zooshing blessedly highlighting the best of this 40 year old solar passive design and materials (no render- no worries!) now ticks so many boxes it will tick some you never knew you had. Go get it!

*The architect behind this particular design was Sydney Schooler Terry Dorrough.

6 Wilaroo Ave, Beaumont SA

Did you know Sergio Mendes is playing the Opera House tomorrow night? If you can’t catch him there maybe he’ll stop by here on the way because if this 1956, undeniable killer of Mid-Century design* and swinging sophistication isn’t the perfect intimate venue for the Bossa Nova icon then we don’t know what is. Seriously, we are dying again and again over much here (well, maybe not the pool fence – c’mon guys if you can’t do glass then that  stunning, original iron balustrading should give you some artistic direction!), even the ceiling tiles would stay. For we could think of no greater privilege than to carefully refresh this bona fide baby, bring it back into full flight and reap the reward of inhabiting a Slim Aarons photoshoot for the rest of our lives.

*Architect? anyone?

‘Kolt House’ 42 Fairway Rd, Doncaster VIC

Sweeping onto the scene (with thanks to house hunter par excellence Graeme) is this commanding residence with a boldness and richness of features befitting its location. It also is getting a great rap from the agents who, though ‘woke’ as they seem to MCM appreciation, still claim that most homes in the 60s and 70s ‘severely lacked design variety’. Au contraire fellas – one only needs to look at your own aerial shot to see the juxtaposition of an entire court of promising looking flat roofed wonders such as this one, juxtaposed with the eaveless, gardenless, caesar-stoned, high-gloss white, poorly orientated, badly insulated, anti-designed ‘villas’ being excreted on block after demoralising block behind it. But we digress. This gorgeous home boasts not only wonderful expansive living (no floor plan though?***) and floor to ceiling glazing to make the most of such breezy spaces but also some serious wow-factor timber, stonework and spiral staircase with atrium and greenery which cries for an Eleanor LaGore number performed thereon stat! The Robin Boyd claim? We’re looking into it.* For as sensationally late 60s and architecturally devised as this building is – it also seems to have a heft of material not quite in line for Mr Boyd (though we could be perfectly wrong about that.) And really, when you’re living it up in such a pad who’s going to worry about it?

*Many thanks Simon Reeves (architectural detective) who has indeed revealed this house not to be on any record as a Robin Boyd creation, though nonetheless is an architectural commission – architect unnamed (see below) (c.1969) for one Mr Joshua Kolt, dental surgeon.

**Architect finally named! This home is the work of John F Tipping Architects, whose work we have well and truely profiled before!

***Thanks also to the indomitable Deborah who reminded us that the plan for this house are in the earlier listing. 

16 McGuinness Cres, Lenah Valley TAS

Our lady Lenah coming through once more with this gorgeous 4-bedder which has seen a simple, sympathetic update and decking to take in those outrageous Hobart views. A tad more planting in the garden (though those stepping stone are a promising start) and she’ll be a Mid-Century forever home for one lucky family.

15 Tyrone St, Werribee VIC

Between the tracks and the highway and in one of The ‘Bee’s little known pockets of 60s residences, sits this sweetie. Like its fellow westie in Lara a few days back, this home of simple astute lines, courtyard aspect and nice spaces seems incongruous with the more typical offerings of lower-end housing tracts from the 80s onward for which (rightly or wrongly) this town is known and even more culturally and design opposed with the expansionist sea of resource guzzling McMansions creeping steadily from the northeast. In any case, this residence of simple joy forges on and perhaps is just waiting to be picked up by someone who knows exactly what they like, no matter where they stumble across it.