It’s all a bit topsy turvy when the room in best condition in a house is the bathroom, but this certainly no ordinary place with more than it’s fair share of mad hatter vibes (must be that wall paper). Though needing a little love there is a world of potential to harness – including stonework, built in furniture, carport and main room configuration, overgrown garden and Easter Island face wood burner (haven’t we seen you before old friend?).
A subtle street presence. Cared and lived in, in a manner which itself demands our admiration for such negligible wear and tear, whilst still evoking instant welcome, warmth and ease. An epic front door. Solid, unyielding brickwork and tiles. A stylishly daring kitchen. Windows everywhere letting the light flood in. Talismans of cultured European owners. A no-nonsense floor plan. A backyard just aching for a tiny zhush of festoon lights (or maybe a pool?) to make it sublime. Everything one comes to expect from a certified Caulfield North classic. *sigh*
Its always super exciting to post up the opportunity to live in a bona fide amazeballs Mid-Century home, this one right on the river with an immaculate timber and painted brick schema and a distinct Japanese design influence, without the million dollar price tag. That’s rental living for you, in this case you get the very best of the west, without having mining magnate on your CV. Diggit!
Hold the phone! An awe-inspiring, chest-bursting residence from the hand of notable, Hungarian emigre architect Frank Kolos (just the fellow to be celebrated with his colleagues in the recent exhibition from the Sydney Museum ‘The Moderns’) has popped up for sale. And could there be a greater testament to the ideas and execution on Mid-Century Modern design than this? Around 60 years old and as fresh, attractive and responsive to today’s needs as any contemporary build going on (and, lets face it a hellava lot more beautiful than most). How many other examples in the field of design – appliances, cars, clothing or tech could stand up to that comparison. Yep, not many. Of course another plus with a 60 year old home is the 60 year old garden to go with it – that stunning sweep of a drive leading us up to this beauty, nestled amid towering trees. We dare anyone to look at this a not see it as a work of art, and we will be questioning mankind en masse should it not be standing this time next year – Sydneysiders, a sure one for heritage protection no?
This, like yesterday’s ripper in the exclusive Sydney ‘burbs, could be the living dead. No classic Mid-Century design and external appeal, no cutie-pie kitchen, no stunning copper-detailed fireplace, no demurely simple colour scheme and no walls of windows opening onto serene sweeping gardens can save such a place on over 1000 square metres in this developer Sodom and Gomorrah. Indeed it would take something truely biblical to walk this one through such a valley of destructive darkness.
We are head over heels for the low-key elegance to be found here. No rah-rah, no flash, no bling or imposingly huge residence. Just a lovely restrained, Japanese influenced set of spaces, walls and garden. Absolute lifestyle catnip for those of us who long for the days when being cool was measured with a boho yardstick – each line a marker of what you read, what you made, the times you had, the friends and family you fostered and the peaceful, humble environment you based it in – a far cry from the bloated worship of stuff, selfies and excess taking over every suburb. We’d truly save this one if we could.
Just 6 kms north of the Cup Day chaos sits this rectangular, 2 storey residence which has been setting an entirely other collectives’ heart on fire. Particularly striking due its intact presentation and wild retro detailing (a rarity from a suburb infilled with conservative clinker bricked, tiled roofed, postwar 3 bedders) and its easy ability to retain this glorious look whilst allowing a few adjustments for supreme family living makes this one a kitty in the pigeons. No doubt another high stakes race will be on here, as well as down the road in Flemington, this coming Saturday afternoon.
Built in 1960 by notable local notable architect Bob Warren and it has been subject to some poorly executed meddling over the years, however in 2005 it was properly handed over to another Canberra architectural legend Enrico Taglietti for a large restoration/renovation project. The finished article is a super updated residence though, especially from the street, still proudly proclaims its Mid-Century Modern roots.
A super chic restyle of another townhouse in Seidler’s Campbell Housing complex (remember earlier in August?). This one comes complete with a positively gushing spiel by MCM fan agent, which only adds to the al round pleasure of this prospect.
Moving away from preservation fights today and into more weekend vibes with an excited peek into the party season. And what better way to ring in the sunshine/Xmas/NYE/Whateverwhatever but on the many peaks of this white masonry Matterhorn? Those dynamic split-level, pool centred spaces perched snug as a bug atop an unbeatable waterfront block (jetty included) with privacy + views to knock the socks off any punter. They’ve even left you the vintage B&O sound system so you can immediately kick out the smooth summer jams, set up the cocktail bar and let the good times roll.
The second in our ‘name architect’ listings, make no mistake, is sitting on the precipice. Unlike the Russell Jack residence this morning which has been lovingly updated and sold promoting its obvious and winning architectural credentials this case (like so many others we’ve seen over the years) has interested parties choosing only to pander only to filthy development dollars and hence is down-playing, nay, concealing it’s architectural significance hoping that no one will notice. Well, newsflash, we notice*. MCM architecture throughout this land now has eyes on every corner and voices in every suburb and we refuse to let a significant CHANCELLOR AND PATRICK residence indeed the ARCHITECT’S OWN, go unnoticed. So here it is. Chancellor House II, designed by David Chancellor of Chancellor & Patrick Architects for himself and wife Phyllis Chancellor (c.1957). Burned to the ground in 1970 and rebuilt (the post floor plan images are of the original). A picturesque example from a firm which regularly reminds us of its brilliance up and down the Mornington Peninsula such as here and across Melbourne seen here and here. We have no need to go into the stunning aspects, materials, design and feel of this majestic residence nor why it manifests so much more inherent value than a white line and 1/2 an acre in the seventh ring of development hell. We could reel off historical tidbits such as this house was chosen as one of the ten most significant Australian houses and a finalist in the Architecture and Arts Awards 1958–1959. But what we really want to drive home to all those dullards who believe that janky townhouse speculators deserve first dibs on such precious Melbourne jewels, is that there are those who would pay to live and love it here – yes the millions – we have proven this in the recent Lind house fight. Protection, restoration and celebration are not the financial blow they are made out to be. In fact they make a suburb valuable and highly prized long after the polystyrene has rotten and non-code panels have caught fire on those dismal, quick-buck-non-designed townhouses. These homes are the sophistication and the chic that no glossy website will ever match. These recognised architectural pinnacles enhance life and meaning to those who live inside and around them. They teach us what can be achieved and how to go about it. And it is high time everyone learned that.
*Actually, it was Steven Coverdale, bless him, who found this one.
Today is all about pedigree; two homes from two names which never fail to raise excited eyebrows, each with their own merry band of die hard fans. Though in this instance the homes we present also show two very different situations each has found itself in.
First up – old school? nu school? Just give us some Sydney School in the form of this clearly adored and updated home of immense scale by Russell Jack. You may know him from such celebrated (and protected) domestic architecture as his own home, Jack House (c.1956) and one of our special *hearts* Carter house (c.1965). This residence from what we can ascertain, was built later again around 1971 and bears all the trademarks of late stage, high end, nature driven Sydney Modernism – cathedral hardwood ceilings, expansive pooled courtyards, cork and carpeted floors, white painted brick walls forming a aesthetically feudal, though not unfriendly, fortress of family living. Ringed of course by the obligatorily stunning bushland hills which make Sydney one of, if not the, most gorgeous cities in the world to reside in. High times for high flyers and dreamy sighs from the rest of us.
Anyone with half an intuitive mind need exert themselves only a little, mentally dissolving away the piles of stuff, the asian tinged decor, vertical blinds and mediocre 90s kitchen too see the wonderful MCM glory underneath. The owners in this case have thankfully kept it intact – check that bathroom tile, the original design, rooflines, garage and the kickarse fireplace so there would be nothing but fun in cosmetically bringing this cutie pie back from the 1990s into a 1960s future. As it’s under contract we can only cross our fingers that the new owners know what they have got here.
When it comes time for South Australia to step up to the plate, A-game is a given. There are simply far too many heart thumping jawdroppers of super high quality lazily hanging around those Adelaide Hills, not to mention furniture which will induce anyone to place a casual call to the agent, you know, just in case they’re offloading that too. And look! Here comes a couple more fresh out this week just in time for two up SA edition. Me o my o me oh my!
Not the most dynamic or groundbreaking design-wise this Mid-Century home nonetheless displays the Modernist dream as taken up by the masses in the form of open plan living, large windows with some lovely era-specific joinery to boot. Of course being Tassie, it’s a classic example of was Tassie does best; offering a lovely livable home on a particularly pretty and naturally hospitable spread, for a song.
Mount Clear, and its nearby sister Mount Helen, have always been a regular hunting ground for some choice MCM properties. We’re not quite sure what happened back then. Was it a collective of free thinking types who knew each other before moving out of Melbourne or The ‘Rat seeking the space and freedom of the bush? Was it a gradual cascade of idealistic personalities creating a lifestyle-led community for decades or simply a small window in time which now only a few elderly stalwarts call theirs? And who were the architects which populated these hills with sensational, beautifully made abodes more familiar to mid-century boho enclaves like Eltham or Kew? Whatever the history, it is a true comfort to see these homes still standing immaculate and offering the escapist, Modernist dream to those seekers out there.