Upon initial glance this house, on an undeniably gorgeous spread with jewelled pool out back, looks like a bit of alright. No floorplan but some nice timber panelling here, cork there, very interesting bedrooms and slate decking – certainly overwrought with the ballet-leg furniture and heavy cabinetry though nothing a little do-over couldn’t improve.
But it isn’t until Simon Reeves lends his sharp mind to the picture (a fellow whose detection skills would beat out the Famous Five and the Hardy Boys put together) that we understand we are at a crime scene. For before this home was this home it was a c.1953, architect designed slice of hard core, Gropius boxed, International Modernism. So European, so sophisticated it compared to nothing in this country but perhaps classic Seidler (and built a mere 3 years after Rose Seidler House). But don’t listen to us – look at the pics. It’s as if an unreal chunk of manifest ideology floated over from interwar Berlin and landed in the windswept paddocks of goldfields Victoria but thereafter some well-meaning bonnet brigade decided it was too worldly for little ‘ol Bendigo and ordered it into Holly Hobbie submission, to quote Marcellus Wallace “to go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.” A pitched roof, replacing the flat one, joinery additions here and there and a complete British colonisation of the furnishings with only those plucky bathroom tiles holding fast despite the immediately adjacent decor bastardry.
So what now? Most likely a new buyer will continue to live and enjoy this residence in its current predicament. But what we’re really calling for, in finest spaghetti western tradition, is the arrival in town of ‘The Stranger/Saviour’. A man, woman or family in black (turtlenecks) carrying their existential book collection, their Coltrane LPS, fat bank account and above all their purest devotion to iconic Modernism with a determination to strip off the faux ye-olde and return it to this residence to the world. A house restoration and ‘reveal’ to beat out all others. Send out the telegrams people and/or pick up the Bat Phone – this is the opportunity of a lifetime.