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.

1/92 McCarrs Creek Rd, Church Point NSW

For those down sizing (or up sizing in the heated Sydney Real Estate game) this treetop, top-floor apartment from Stan – the man – Symonds has been sitting around for a bit, thought we’re not sure why – it is a cracker. With all the joys of 1960s apartment life  – the 2 roomy bedrooms, bathroom with space for a euro laundry and all encompassing balcony to savor that where-else-but-Sydney urban tree canopy this pad of pads throws out a little MCM wow with stone feature wall, walls of glazing, sensational rooftop gangway all of course due to that swinging Symonds flair. If we were really monopoly minded (and minted) we’d say start here and buy up block over time, though this top one is surely already the pick of the bunch.

34 Paringa Ave, Newnham TAS

Are you getting around Lonny, inspired by our recent set of sympathetic renos and looking for a project to carry out similar? Well pull out some pocket change (best offer over 229k!) and get crackin – this is the one for you. Solid and already mint on the outside though requiring a little wet area love on the inside (that’s your dirty mind, not ours) this beaut has the set up and delightful aspects; fireplace, timber inserts, views and fenestration to appreciate them, to create a splendid MCM fifedom of your very own.

‘Fitzpatrick House’ 3 Parsons St, Croydon VIC

A little early for the miracle of Easter Sunday, but why can’t we celebrate the rising of the dead too huh? We recall this particular residence back in an ‘offline’ patch and thought it was a goner. For sure it’s a bona fide Chancellor and Patrick – those solid brick supports, gabled roof and horizontal stretches of timber and windows indicate no other, however in its previous for sale listing in 2014 it was on the brink – looking very rundown and in that neck of the woods more likely to meet its end making way for some low-level townhouse development. But no! Praise be on this blessed weekend we see it has not only survived and was brought back to best by saviours who at this stage remain anonymous. So here we are for your consideration; a gorgeous, solid af Mid-Century home (c.1959) by legendary practitioners whose main following resides in the fancypants sandbelt. A home renovated with real respect to the past and an eye to the the future. A home in the trees with the best of Melbourne vistas. A residence which, considering its provenance, condition, architectural idiosyncratic flair (oh that FLW-esq fireplace!) and position in the middle east is apparently not asking an insane amount. All said and done – a little something to really to rejoice in.

‘Tomich House’ City Beach WA

Hooray for Iwanoff! The master pops up yet again, this time in the form of his lesser known, but typically hog-wild commission in white – ‘Tomich House’ (c.1971). Though we are crying out for even a small peep at the interiors, we’ll have to make do with externals presenting us with a landed castle spacecraft of time-slipped Mayan aliens. Wowee!  Presently the home of Fashion doyen Liz Davenport (maybe the reason for lack on inside shots?) it was bought upon first stepping foot inside, like so many other brilliant examples of Mid-Century mastery, just one walk through and it had to be theirs.Similarly she explains it’s easy cleanability – what skill to create a statement residence all together practical enough to not require a cleaner yet bold enough to turn every passing head. We can only imagine the kind of fever-dream awaits one lucky new owner inside, and wish them happy travels in their own satisfyingly standout Iwanoff craft.

12-14 Stephenson St, Lara VIC

We have been so inundated with homes right now that there have been a few absolute corkers we’ve have neglected to put up upon first sighting, this was one. Sold over the weekend it had our heart leaping out of our throats when spotted weeks ago, though the location was a little surprising. Seems Lara (AKA Dunt) has a few serious gems hidden amid it’s rural outpost-cum-nusprawl paddocks after all and this is very intriguing –  not some merge, retro-tinged cutiepie but rather a split level, north orientated, zoned living residence of sophisticated lines, interesting material choices and clearly the work of a very progressive, mid-60s architect – but who could that be? Well, now we’ll maybe not know. Let’s just hope it sails on under the radar and isn’t subjected to too much over-zealous DIY action,  it is far more deserving than that.

**UPDATE**
And what a serendipitously insane confluence of design, location and desire has led to this home being snapped up by some serious devotees of Post War Japanese and MCM architecture, who live and work locally and now having secured this beauty have funds left to embark on a sympathetic, architect-led renovation! Huzzah no better outcome could we have wished for. Take it away Tyrone:

“We had been looking for an ½-1 acre of land to build a Japanese modernist style (think Tange or Kurokawa) as my wife is Japanese, and we have an absolute love of Japanese Metabolism (1959-1975) and mid-century modern Australian styles……Unfortunately, good land with views of the YouYangs (where I work) is fast being gobbled up in Lara for building of oversized McMansions and faux-colonial monstrosities…………We were alerted a few days before the auction by a friend who knew our desire………..We fell in love with it straightaway, but the price of development land (essentially it is 4 modern lots) made us sceptical we would prevail….however, we persisted ……..we were only serious bidder ..….leaving funds for it’s sensitive restoration and alteration to suit our needs….We could not believe its style for Lara, and speaking to the 88yo owner’s son, it was originally built  in the late 60’s by a prominent Melbourne Architect whose name he could not recall (the son believes he can give us the original plans and documents)……Once we get all these with settlement I would be more than happy to share the Architect details and some more history on the house……….”