For those who live for the never ending horizon and rumble of a surfside locale but err towards a more coffee-toned, 70s aesthetic this architecturally designed ripper may be for you. Breezy as you please-y and garnering appeal on an elemental level – those straight-as lines, north/south orientation, cedar beams / panelling and glazing (plus a smidge of seagrass wallpaper) this immaculately intact residence is asking a lot, but offers a lot in return too.
Playing catchup with our listings backlog and sorry to advise but this one has just been snared, rightly so with such elegant architectural lines*, potential for restoration and ample yardage it’s all a bit too enticing for $500k. Once again we have another example of wonderfully conceived and built Modernist domesticity popping up in an unassuming regional suburb.
Admittedly it’s got some heavy ‘Behind the Candelabra’ vibes in place of core Modernist ethos but hey it’s Freaky Friday we’re still on holidays so lets go there. This sprawling, waterfront palace of excess has so much happening we are not sure where to begin – is it the structure itself? A Lucasfilm village of rounded forms and trapezium second story composed of blanc mansonry and mansard-ish slate eaves or perhaps the Italianate, no-expense-spared Futurist flair touching everything from that twirly balustrade (achieving so much that Wagner’s McMansions attempt) to the fixed bed heads, the cascading disco light fittings, sunken lounge, timber interiors and marvellous curved kitchen. We’re also curious as to its history and speculate that perhaps it’s a castle that a near extinct fish built. No matter, for whatever the story this one is guaranteed to slip anyone into Friday evening mode – so pump the Chaka Khan, don the white suit and get that party started.
One last offering from South West Vic. before we swing away and another farm spread this one huge in both scale and pedigree. A 1975 commission by the legendary Charles Duncan at the behest of a client whom (like many down in squattocracy row) has direct Scottish ancestry and street address of the same name. This compound of hefty masonry horizontals paired with dark timber displays Duncan’s distinctive and deeply organic sensibility. Throw in some great split level livings areas, planters and typically 70s wild tile and its one very swingin’ (or is that highland flingin’?) rancho on the Shipwreak Coast.
If the crashing waves, salt and scrub isn’t really your summer jam, then a south west turn from our latest beach shack will lead you into the lush forest and sweeping pastures of the greater Otways and this wonderfully homey property tucked into a special corner. Unlike your typical farm residence – a pedestrian brick veneer or 19th century Country Style homestead the owners here have carved out a thoughtfully designed, beautifully crafted and lovingly cared for homestead with late Modern architectural flair and the cosiest spaces around – cool in high summer and super toasty in winter when this neck of the woods really comes into its own. One for those whose tractor and dairy dreams run alongside their design ones.
The text book. The template. The Class A in our taxonomy of The Australian Mid-Century Beach House; this beautiful, basic home of board, timber and large sections of glass speaks volumes about a certain set of priorities (hint- it’s not fancy appliances and butler’s pantries). In peak summer break and with the new year ticking over many of us attempt to rediscover what is important and act accordingly making time for family, friends, self, quiet, fun and nature. No other architecture to our mind compliments this recalibration of values and provides the perfect environment in which to achieve it.
Our first freaky Friday for 2019 which is not so much freaky but rather insanely freakin’ sublime. Unearthered by Modernist Australian Nicholas (on a recent summer stroll) it’s not even for sale (2015 it was, 2 years too late we are) but in the case of such a heart palpitating residence we’ll break our usual conventions and list it up for adoration and collective analysis on who exactly could be behind this, because we know it must be someone notable. Bearing some McGlashan Everist hallmarks not least in those clifton grey bricks, raw timber, cork and courtyard configuration, though it may as easily be from a Canberra based heavy hitter such as Theo Bishoff – who is to say? Dear experts out there we solemnly put the provenance question to you. In the meantime we’ll simply click and sigh deeply at the stunningly pared back, pristine yet unconventional spaces (and that to-die-for floating staircase) and hope with all our hearts its lucky owners know what they have on their hands.
Our big takeaway from 2018? That although the earlier incarnations of Mid-Century domesticity will always have their fierce admirers – a 1950s Boyd cottage here, an early 60s apartment complex there – there is currently a massive wave of love crashing over the terracotta tile, exposed brick and timber bathrooms of the most purely Australian, later Modern homes. We knew the socials would (and always did) fire up the most for beautiful expressions in these generally hefty listings of an unabashed earthy and indigenous aesthetic. The Sibbels, Knoxes, Merchant Builders and Sydney Schoolers all having a moment and fanning out in desire far beyond the usual roll call of architectural and design nerds. Maybe it’s the the last babies of the 70s retreating into their first home memories; the softness of sound absorbing carpet, living spaces of both light and shade and the economic stillness of natural climate regulation. Who knows? However, our gut points to it being just the start and that we’ll see it build even more this year – in decor, design and appreciation all round, and if that means an end to mindless render, white-outs and down lights then let’s celebrate and set the first drop with this absolute stunner from the acres of outer Perth.
Hello 2019! And while the lucky ones can get out and enjoy the smaller, quieter or more remote places in our lives we’re teaming with the theme and staying out of town for the next little while too. Today we find ourselves in the home of crater lakes and Dave Graney, the staunch little boarder town of Mount Gambier which has always punched above its Mid-Century weight (you can start at The Blue Lake Motel and work your way in) and this example of a classic AV Jennings project home ‘Glenbrook/Caprice’ by architect John Campbell (c.1963)* has all your Atomic Ranch aspirations at hand, including that sensational entry and room to spare out back. The price tag too – like most of our regional fare – is sweet relief.
Let’s stay outta town with this regional Queensland surprise package. Frankly speaking regional Qld is most often the haunt of more down-at heel, dishevelled or eccentric Mid-Century offerings however this sensational spread a stones throw from Tomato Island (we had to get that in somehow) is a bona fide pedigree. In almost unreal condition for its age and boastful of its 1966 architectural roots (though not sure of the creative hand behind it) this family home of simple but superb design has a proud and beautifully kept legacy. This is most clearly seen in those intelligent interiors, gorgeous bespoke joinery, clean light fittings, accomplished build and the fact that (like the best of MCM) it responds to the needs of contemporary living immediately with only very minor, superficial changes in order, if at all. And like its regional brethren you get all this joy, history and spacious living for a mere $330k – dark rum cocktails all round!
A Christmas miracle confluence of premier Victorian beach town and preeminent Victorian architect, this residence was Guilford Bell‘s second commission for the Seccull family, completed a mere year after their city home was finished. Now, those of you with pachyderm memories and/or super serfs at the foot of the Australian Modern gods will remember when we showcased the first Seccull House 2 years ago. This formiddible statement of theoretical breadth and unfettered vision clearly impressed Mr and Mrs Seccull enough for them immediately request a holiday house in the then boho and surfer dream town of Lorne. This auspicious combo of patronage, prestige and place leads to this 1973 listing which should have many weak at the knees. A configuration in two parts: the bedroom wing – a comfortingly steadfast block of repeating windows, rooms and balconies – a design which had roots in the 1930s Internationalist circles, but which thereafter become 20th Century design shorthand utilised in everything from motels to offices to retails strips across the globe. And in an adjoining twist, but very typical of Bell’s (especially later) work, the living dining pagoda-esq pavilion topped with an incredible timber-lined ceiling and exapnisve decking affording all the breathtaking Otway coast views. To die to die! Of course it’s had its share of updating (some bits most successful than others) but for the most part it remains close to the original in form and it would be a hard heart indeed who wouldn’t give their eye teeth for the chance of inhabiting such a home of such provenance and location.
Historical photos curtesy of Simon Reeves at Victoria Modern – many thanks Mr Reeves!
Settle down children and we’ll tell you a story. A tale of our very first foray into the world of MCM before we really understood the term or the subject. Back in mists of the 1990s, while researching an art project we went hunting for the all-Australian fibro, pastel-toned, mid-century beach house of our childhood mind’s eye. A tour of the ti-treed lots of sleepy, mid-winter Anglesea was target numero uno, as we knew those hills to hold a trove of such homes. Film photos were taken (digital was a couple of years away), developed and cataloged away but some of these homes never, ever left our thoughts. And in the coming years with the coastal real estate market venturing into absurd new territory of aspiration and ownership we’d sometimes recall those buildings and sigh that they probably had fallen by the wayside. This house was one of them. Last seen last century, painted pale lemon, hiding in a thicket of dark trees on a large hilly block, those octagonal windows, entry patio and dynamic skillion roof-line were never going to be forgotten. Suffice to say we nearly fell off our chair when we we spotted it today, sparkling anew with an architect designed extension. It has not only survived as intact as we could probably hope for but thrives as a celebrated design reference still as practical and breezy beautiful as the day it was originally constructed 60 years ago. An endless summer is a true reality for a lucky few…………
Another in the basket of the doable, more than doable really, as this Lonnie lovely has striking Mid-1960s form (project home we dare say) which are nigh on impossible to reproduce with integrity, but is relatively unaltered inside. This leaves an opportunity for some clever busy bee to get to work and cajole this little home into something loyal to its lines and wonderful to behold.
At this stage and with thousands of listings under our belt we really shouldn’t be so surprised about the high calibre of architect designed gems sitting in little ‘ol Lara. Maybe it’s an argument proving that illogical prejudices of the geographically adjacent remain the most stubborn to shake loose. No matter, there’s nothing bad to say about about this baby – not with those clean lines, beamed ceilings, lovely (and rather luxurious for the time) layout topped with that rip-snorting kidney-shaped pool and expanse of garden out back. No siree, this one is a bona-fide beauty in a now burgeoning ‘burb with a price tag sitting steadfast in reality. Hooray!
We’ve been holding on for Tassie to show us something special for a while and we’re glad we waited, for this is gangbusters. A massive family home with a bunch of mainstream extras: retreat! man cave! huge land! With additional MCM fan boxes being ticked all over: sunken lounge! Beautiful timber joinery! Breeze block and stone! 1 storey high hills hoist! (?). In a rather tucked away part of the country, under a pristine expanse of sky Rickie Lee Jones herself would mention this wonderful residence is one of a kind and allows you to financially have your 5 bedroom house and eat your avo toast too. Weeeeeeee!
PS. This home also boasts it’s own insta page and names its architect (Tandy, Pryor & Rogers) and builder in the pitch – kudos to those responsible for such devotion!
Though perhaps not one for purists, this version of roomy family casa, beautifully appointed and speaking loud n’ clear in the 70s vernacular is something we can totally get on board with. The condition of this one is awe inspiring and with little details which make us die and die again (bulkhead lighting – where are you these days?) we think it’s a true regional prize. Step to kids.
Like the quietest person in the room finally speaking to reveal themselves as also the smartest, this elegant home flies utterly under the radar. The somewhat forgettable, coffee-toned street view belies wonderfully conceived interiors of a sophisticated design (that main ensuite yes!) and stunningly well maintained bespoke joinery simply everywhere, double points also for those gorgeous bathrooms and kitchen – all in insanely good condition for their age. The architect’s name is yet to be uttered (don’t pussy-foot Deb, just tell us!) but it’s sure to be a local luminary we’ll well know. Any hints kids?
Time to revisit a familiar residential profile. A shape we’ve spotted and listed in every berg, coast to coast from Goonellabah to Marino to Wye River and beyond. Answerable to a particularly beachy (and Beachcomber) calling, but also appearing far from any shoreline, this simple positioning of a single rectangular form for primary living mounted on a plinth of secondary useable space – perhaps carport or a laundry, ping pong or workroom – is an eternal expression of Mid-Century Australian residential design. Indeed it is rather glee-inducing to recognise such lofty, formal and even austere design beginnings in 1930s Bauhaus Europe, finding their way over here in an incalculable multitude of guises underpinned by the original yet ultimately evolving like a large, eccentric family tree by aspirations of a casual and unbuttoned antipodean lifestyle. And here we present today’s version. Though simple and appreciative of a sympathetic dalliance inside, the striking visual of the outside, not forgetting the lush gardens and rolling vistas, is promise enough. In short, this house is super cool and doesn’t even know it. Yet.