As 2018 draws to a close, labouring minds and bodies begin to feel the shackles of routine slip towards more mild, unstructured days (perhaps with the bonus of dedicated digital deferral) and eyes start to wander locales in which to fully enjoy the breeze and sunlight. This stunning residence in a far away Gippsland village is such a place. With the scene set in ti-tree tunnels and bucolic vistas, this 1969 work of lesser known architect Joe Palliser has an gorgeous and evocative air. Modern design and simple aesthetics dovetail to create a sophisticated home with a euro-rural flavour, the kind of residence ripe to host some French drama, with Charlotte Rampling sulkily sipping wine in the kitchen over her haul of carrots from the patch outside. But we digress. Whatever takes your fancy; a weekender, a tree-change, a holiday home, a nice dream, this lovely listing will most certainly ignite the senses and recalibrate those not yet in holiday mode, dialling it all down towards a more reflective state.
Hello! And what a glorious potential arises before our very eyes this evening with a decommissioned house of worship. That said, the worship ain’t stopping anytime soon as the awesome, unmistakable lines of 1964 architect MCM design has us alternatively speaking in tongues and in bowed genuflection with every click. Unlike many out there, the idea of taking an old church building and converting it to a home has never appealed, but that’s generally due to such buildings in question presenting in the 19th century, neo-gothic tradition; one central nave, soaring gabled roof, walls constructed of either paper thin timber and/or bluestone iceboxes, in short an acoustic and heating nightmare. This design is, on the other hand, the perfect proposition of several medium spaces, sun-lit entry, incredible butterfly roofline and banks of windows just ripe to drill down and work it into a casa of pure Modernist joy. Throw in a sizable chunk of land with a natural courtyard within the L-shaped construction (just ripe for a pool we say) and you’ll be nothing but a ball of Baptist brand, foot-stomping hallelujahs in no time.
*With thanks to Secret Design Studio for unearthing this one.
Like a subject of Reg Mombassa’s Australian dreaming made manifest, this remarkable building awaits its fate to be handed down this Saturday. The sheer purity of clean squared forms – foundations, windows, steps, roof set on a verdant, flattened slope with a manicured canopy of frangipani and ferns tucked in one side imparts a kind of unreality to the entire scene, compelling one to keep glancing at in it small awe. This sculptural exterior belies a more familiar interior with the larger windows and regular spaces of any excellent Mid-Century beach side house, though the design is more complex than a simple rectangular floor plan with extras and considerations made for the aforementioned slope. An architect had a hand here and we query as we daydream if he/she will ever be named and known again………….
Is this a fire sale? We’ve seen this one before (and frankly, though the house is unchanged, the old photos are way better). It sold less than two years ago for well above the current asking price. Hmmmmmmm. So, for those who missed it the first time cop a look at this Kevin Borland beauty with some fantastic joinery, all original (though they pulled up the
olive mustard carpet) and ready for a new lucky so-and-so to snap it up.
Something a little more unusual today, well rather, two things. This double offer of adjoining 3 bedroom ‘dupli’ AKA ‘Torrens Courtyard Housing’ (c.1966) with the disappointing banality of ‘development’ rah-rah handing over their heads. We think these homes, the work of Netherlands-born Australian Modernist architect Dirk Bolt are really something special, with those beautiful walled courtyards and patios, striking street frontage and banks of entire and half wall windows, and which posses huge scope to utilise such gorgeous elements and renew their architectural beauty with a little interior help. A mindful and skilled practitioner could transform these tired buildings into one home or preferably a shared generational living set-up and/or any manner of collective housing arrangements, as per the philosophy of their architect as Canberra Modern explains:
“In designing group housing schemes, some in association with group centres, Bolt explored an interest in the urban as well as the built form. Bolt’s central planning themes in group housing were to provide a range of housing types and access to outdoor private space. His rationale was that in each development, providing a mix in the numbers of bedrooms, and hence of family structures and lifestyles, would help promote interaction between people of different ages and social groups. The other key principle was that each dwelling should offer the opportunity to move easily from living areas into private open space. So where gardens were not possible people had access to courtyards or broad terraces.”
This housing is a prime example of the progressive experiment that was Canberra Modernism. They not only deserve to stay standing but are absolutely entitled to local protection and recognition, as their true inspirational plight and (we think) success in finding new ways of dwelling and community planning (which has been criminally ignored for the last 30 years) returns again with vengeance as the topic de jour across the entire design and political spectrum.
We’ve gotta give kudos where its due and that’s to Queensland – their MA game over the last few months has been strong. And for all the snazzy, Palm Springs do-ups and pedigree pads we’ve listed of late in the northern state, we’ve gotta admit this might be our favourite. A super modest, two bedroom home in regional QLD which gives itself over to its creators progressive intentions and sophisticated simplicity with a bit of era-specific zing that is just killing us (in a good way). We simply cannot get enough of that Japanese tree relief, timber and breeze brick frontage and even the bathroom and kitchen though, again, modest hold a particular flair uncommon to type. All in very nice condition, throw in that sub-300k price tag and we have a MCM Australian home ready for anyone.**
**We’d implore anyone keen out there to stay true to this individual vision and forchissake don’t smother it in white, grey, Bunnings kitchen and hyper polished floorboards in some cheap notion to flip. C’mon Australia, we’re better than that.
Here’s a grin-inducing slice of Florida on the bay. It might be the white and washed out blue, the palm trees, kidney pool and the painted masonry in gorgeous horizontals creating intervals with fencing which infuses it with specific Miami glam to our mind. It most certainly has something to do with that maritime-meets-Deco balustrade and front entry, cursive lettered iron-work and stunning circle feature above the single garage (Kennedy Nolan eat your heart out). Internally it continues in warm-climate-retiree theme with an explosion of white leather and lace (a dedication to decor we can thoroughly enjoy without endorsement) which cannot detract from the wonderfully clean modern spaces. All up she’s a real humdinger with sadly a price to match, so we dearly hope she can pull through as it would be hugely dispiriting to lose such a delightful evocation of waterside living.
Sit down gang, we’ve got something to show you and it is nothing less than a knee-buckling slice of pure Australian sublime. Not content with being a pristine example of exquisite 1960s indigenous architecture from one of the nation’s most beloved Modernist firms – that of Allen Jack + Cottier – this unassuming 3 +1 bedroom, c.1968 residence sits nestled and harmonious on a headland so naturally beautiful we cannot quite believe it’s real. Unreal or otherwise the only course of action is to admire it all, let the imagined rumble of the ocean, the smell of the timber and the very ebb of your soul astral project across your troubled plain and into this crowing glory of our breathtaking national bounty of both man and earth. Amen.
For those who know what they’re looking at it’s never difficult to spot beautiful MCM homes wherever they pop up. Take this classic residence in WA, in a suburb known for its Mid-Century offerings and from the get go we can tell it’s something a little special – that flat roof, carport, breeze block and massive windows forming its low-slung countenance instantly suggesting an architect’s hand (any thoughts of who it’s could be peeps? Perhaps a project design?) The interiors, though fancifully decked in chandeliers, high-gloss flooring, blanca schema and 80s bathrooms, cannot totally conceal the original flat beamed ceilings, brickwork and pragmatically modern spaces. Similarly the backyard which although accessorised in drab and dreck still screams bossa-nova, mid-60s glamour not least that the entire wall of windows looking onto the patio and poolside. Once again this is a ripper MCM project only needing the most superficial (and thus fun!) of refurbs and landscaping to bring it back to its rightful realm of swingin’ party pad. We can see the blow up swan in that pool already.
Behind this tired brick facade and overgrown garden sits a secretly sensational home of considered floor plan and sophisticated interiors, including that superb ‘sunroom’. The dearly departed owner clearly kept their home in wonderful, unmolested condition and it now sits ready – a near perfect southside pad (now the Espy is back up!) – ideally to be taken on by someone who’ll know to keep those light fittings exactly where they are.
Our throats constrict from a wave of nostalgia which, at every click of this listing, pounds and tumbles us through memories of places, weather and moments now gone. This little holiday home in a small coastal town is the unrivalled epitome of pure Australian downtime. Though stunningly spartan it holds the essentials for play, relaxation, gatherings and contemplative stillness with the scent of sea, wind and sunlight a major player. All set to go with a solid table for long dinners and afternoons of Uno battles between cousins, a long living room with vast picture windows leading out to lawn with chairs acting as sentinel posts for all-day conversations whilst observing the endless comings and goings. The sleeping and utility rooms are meditatively bare though the entirety is augmented with heart pinging, evocative detail; silver saucer cupboard pulls, gorgeous track shelving unit and a wonderful bathroom, so pedestrian in its time which would now cost a fortune to replicate today. All in all this is pure Australian beach shack perfection and if the systems of the universe were to program our eternal home in The Good Place, we suspect it’s resemblance to this little seaside building would be uncanny.
*With thanks to thelocalmodernist for spotting this one.
Hairdresser to the stars. It’s the type of owner one suspects would have always employed a fashionably progressive architect to build a swingin’ 60s pad as indeed Mr. Theo Raymond did, commissioning Donald Spencer to conjure this sensation in1962 which he subsequently resided in – past the breeze block, behind that beaten copper door and surrounded by terrazzo – until the age 99. Up for sale a couple of years back with all hopes for a handover to a suitably appreciative owner, Raymond’s residence luckily fell into excellent hands and has since undergone a precious renewal keeping most and celebrating all which makes this such a wonderful, now historic, local residence. As the owner states:
“The heart and soul of the house was and always will be Theo’s but I have been fortunate enough to be the custodian of it and tried my best to renovate it in a mindful way that captures him and the house itself.”
To our mind this thoughtful custodianship has born new fruit of the most flavoursome MCM kind and is ready for a new set of owners to pick it, enjoy this original vision, sparkling snazz and contemporary update without any more ado.
An earthly treat today. In the middle of the chinz and gilded stronghold of Glen Iris sits this breathtaking residence of organic textures, neutral tones and bushblock vibes – all trademarks of the brothers Sibbel, a Victorian-via-Holland partnership of two brothers whose built legacy of Modern project homes mostly spanning the 60s to 70s we’ll list whenever one pops up, such is their timeless appeal, enduring practicality and stunningly tranquil ambiance. This example is of relatively grand proportions and is presented in incredibly mint condition with the materials and design as the alpha and omega – no need of adornment in the slightest. Sadly in the past we have seen other Sibbel homes which are no longer with us, however we believe the appeal of this one is of such powerful and visceral indigenous beauty, it will be enough to keep it standing and solid through the decades to come.
We don’t hold out much hope for this to remain standing as is, this corner beauty of sculptural exterior and rudimentary innards. Kinda like Iwanoff died with a felafel in his hand. Though we wish that a certain subset of Brisvegans – those of smart brain, collective nous, financial means and creative inclination could transform it into possibly the coolest set of apartments in town. Carn peeps – just do it!
We’ve been dancing around this one for weeks trying to figure out the right tone in which to deliver this remarkable listing. A benchmark in Melbourne, indeed Australian, Modernist history: the first residential commission for architectural legend Peter McIntyre (c.1950-55), one of our first post-war homes to gain a heritage listing (in 1991) and an outright gobsmaking landmark not least because of that boldly pitched roof of soaring windows, including some experimental cantilever construction, created at the behest of the clients who desired a view which did not include the ocean of tiled roofs which engulfed the landscape.
Now, with such glorious history, prodigious design, miraculous build and formal recognition in mind, how to we reconcile it with the litany of refurbishment offenses to which it has since been subjected? Do we take a light-hearted ‘there’s-no-accounting-for-taste’ attitude and pray that the next custodian can peel back the layers of grey daubed paint, baroquery and downlights which litter all surfaces? Do we dive into headlong into culture wars over the dictated ‘must-haves’ of inspirational, anti-design dead-eyes citing media-rooms as a primary offender (a conversion to this home we simply didn’t have the stomach to display in our write up – check the agent link if you dare)? Do we celebrate the possibility that this variety of heavy handed refurbishment which pays no heed to a building’s original intent, ambiance or materials is on its way out (hey, maybe a housing bust really is on the cards!)? Or do we just sigh, shake our heads and utter ‘We just can’t even’?
We’ll let you decide today, dear reader.
*Much of the historical information and all the non listing images are attributed to Simon Reeves and his wonderful knowledge of this home in his group – Victorian Modern – join up for one of the most learned and amusing commentaries about our Modern heritage in the digital ether.
An architect’s (Les Nyerges) own home built on the late edge of Mid-Century (c.1978) as most would recognise but which nonetheless has the presentation, many elements and all the beauty of earlier Modernist style especially as it has now been embraced, refurbed and hyped in this burgeoning Queensland trend of Palm Springs Modern-esq. And really, why not? This stunner is a very successful extension of functional, elemental design with some crowd-pleasing chi-chi, situated in the perfect climate to really make it sparkle. Already the site of many a commercial shoot, this will surely send hearts afire with dreams of poolside parties with enough room and facilities (wine cellar ahoy!) to accomodate all envious guests.
Another very intact c.1950s original which has also been lovingly and expertly renovated – geeze there are some clever peeps about. This one includes a rather stunning pool area and (we think) the perfect contemporary duel-level plan of family on top and spillover guests/parties/teens/nana down below. Let’s not forget to mention the exquisite stonework, timber, kitchen and balustrade detailing all brought together in perfect presentation. Big props to these vendors, we think you’ll have a well-earned bun-fight on your hands over this wonderful treasure.
Woah, woah WOAH kids – the year is ending and the market is going hog-wild so naturally up pops another absolute killer. An already quintessential c.1962 home by Melbourne Mid-Century architect-about-town (and of European émigré stock) Harry Ernest, which has been lovingly lived in and renovated with aplomb by designer owner Roger Ward for the last 16 years. The end result being a revision splendid of new with utmost adoration for old that will rightfully send us all into cascades of oohs, ahhhs, rude words and quickpick purchases. Now having seen a couple of other magnificent (and high-end) do-ups in the area we must declare that homes in this Migrant Melbourne Modern belt possess the attributes of preserved and exceptional luxe, bespoke flair and venerable European edge which lend themselves perfectly to dedicated, daring and damn fun updates such as we see here. It’s all shag rugs, poolside cocktails and swingin’ times from here on out!**
With offer thanks and credit to MCDA (join up today gang) and its knowledgeable brains trust for some important details pertaining to the age of this home, the richness of the entire street (Holgar & Holgar being updated up the road too yay!) and the photos of the build from the owner (don’t tell Worksafe!). Check its very own Intsa page for more images and bravo to the owner and the agents for such a joyful celebration of Modernist Australia habitationi at it best!
**1970s copper fireplace outside? A masterstroke. Get ready to see that everywhere gang.
Staying regional and with a warm welcome to the first time listed, rural centre of Armidale. This lovely, modest home has been lovingly looked after and repaired by the present owners. Built in 1969 it stands the test of time and though the original flat roof copped a hailstorm in the 1990s and was replaced by previous owners with a gabled version, it remains a testament to those considered and skilled people who contributed to its design and construction, as owners Lyn and Erik attest:
“…..the house was built…. by Annette and Ray Chappell as owner/designer/builders using books of architects plans available at the time and contracting out the work, Ray doing some labouring. I think they had an accomplished draftsman because the proportions of the house are lovely to experience and are often commented on. Klaus Lenfer, a German immigrant did the unusual windows with airvents and fixed glass, which are safely able to keep the house cool in summer using cooled thermal mass of double concrete block walls. Barry Makepeace, an ex-Chiswell designer, designed and built the lovely kitchen. Considerable changes were made in 1972, including the parquetry flooring, the garage conversion with rose gum lining and the glassed entry etc…….We also had bespoke double glazed window sections made for the bathroom and laundry to replace windows designed permanently open, chilly at -10C in winter.”