12 Island View Cres, Encounter Bay SA

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.

‘Raymond House’ 19 Euree St, Kenmore QLD

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.

48 Sunhill Rd, Glen Iris VIC

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.

539 Vulture St East, East Brisbane QLD

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!

‘Stargazer House’ 1/2 Taurus St, Balwyn North VIC

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. 

‘Sonoran Haus’ 36 Reed St, Ashmore QLD

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.

239 Peats Ferry Rd, Hornsby NSW

We do love our freaky Fridays, when we can sip a knock-off cocktail and click thru a little individual joie de vivre, such as this unapologetic dream of structure and forms, colour and textures. This sample of joy fits our bill and then some. No judgement here, it’s aaaaaalllllllllll good.

8 Ford Ave, Torrens Park SA

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.

‘Ryttner House’ 9 Bickhams Crt, St Kilda East VIC

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.

202 Markham St, Armidale NSW

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.”

 

4 Remony Ave, Highton VIC

We’re getting down to personal brass tacks with this one, as we saw it IRL over the weekend and within a few hours had the plans laid out in our minds to escort this wonderful, rambling, architect designed family home (in a locale renowned for such) into its next best life. We dare say quite a few of us MCM tragics do this on a regular basis huh? To wit – the bones and indeed the build is already there; those ceilings and windows soar, the brickwork was without a single crack, the wood (though needing a little sand and re-coat in the bedrooms) was resplendent and the kitchen is bigger than it looks. It has perfect northern orientation, central heating and indoor/outdoor living at its core. So, if budget permits and you are able to fend off the creep of developers who’d see this slice of pure suburban, regional history broken down into insipid townhouses here is the MA tip list:

– Utilise that ‘master bedroom’ as a second living/rumpus.
– Block off the laundry door into the living and knock through a connection into a bigger kitchen with direct access to the carport.
– Sympathetic reno of the kitchen with squared island bench to sit an look out the windows whilst sharing a vino with the cook.
– Crazy pave the entire area between the kitchen and bedroom wing – outdoor living at its best (strings of festoon lights go here)
– In-ground pool outside the new rumpus, with a single fence diving the yard north/south from the rumpus room line.
– Super sympathetic refurb/redo of the sleeping wing – retaining the timber and enhancing with lovely, era specific flourishes eg: terrazzo tile in the bathrooms (and kitchen)
– Leave most of the greenery (the aggies can go though – weeds that they are) to keep the stunning, secret garden feel alive, especially those towering trees which are at least 50 years old.
– Address the asbestos roof in time, it’s not a deal breaker.

Phew! That’s a start anyways. Good thing we’re not in the race for this though we cross our fingies that maybe one or two of you, our dear readers, are.

 

 

4 Theodore Ct, Toorak VIC

Blow us down with yet another surprise listing kids. A pedigree home from a pedigree berg treated with a respectful (if rather flamboyant) hand that we could only wish for some other residences we have listed in the vicinity. An exceptional work by Anatol Kagan starting at the very front; a concave rotund, almost Groundsian, first level of rhythmic segmented fenestration (yep, we can talk fancy when we choose) sitting astride a swingin’ batcave carport leading into three levels of sleeping, dining, working and pianoing with a mix of pure 1950s, bespoke elegance and some extra-extra additions like a hydronic heating, rooftop terrace and that kitchen appliance list (hew boy!). Though remodelled in parts it remains as solid and true as we could hope for in these precarious times for even our most valuable MCM homes and on that note we’re still not sure of its history nor heritage status (other than it’s build date of 1959) though we’d assume it is earmarked in at least one or two council evaluations (paging Simon Reeves!). That said and formalities aside, there is no doubt this is a bona fide landmark within Toorak’s strong Modernist built legacy and we wish only the best for the present owners and custodians-to-be.

27 Bellevue Dve, Bellevue Heights SA

For us, the magic of today’s offering is all in that dynamic roofline and street presentation (including that superb landscaping), a retro-futurist slice of housing so pixel perfect it could be the test slide for a new Incredibles movie. For many others it could be the internal renovation which does away with the toil and and fraught choices of taking on an older, untouched MCM home for an easy dive straight into lifestyle, whilst still keeping the flavours and quirk of the original (those stairs – wee!). Whatever your take, this one is bound to cast a wide net and bag a load of MCM thrill-seekers at varying levels of obsession.

69 Yeramba St, Turramurra NSW

From retro ramblers in WA >  Melbourne Bayside pedigree > today, though we puff along a rapidly spinning wheel of homes to list, we are kept exhilarated and astounded by the breadth and variation found in our Australian Modern taxonomy and today we make a pit stop once again to one of our favorite junctures: The Sydney School. This sun dappled, eucalypt-scented hideout in the bush ‘burb heartland is the work of the MCM luminary Don Gazzard (c.1964) will be slaying all in the isles for its originality preserved, brilliant yet self-effacing design and deference to the natural world above all else. Such an earthy focus within elegant design is a particularly enticing balm for those burned out by the slog, speed and unending din of our current world. Surrender to the stillness here.

‘Lydamere’ 11-13 Bradford Rd, Mount Martha VIC

We apologise in advance for the bait and switch, for although this is a legitimate listing and still wonderful home (with a few beach house extensions) and the main building remains intact, we cannot avert our eyes from the original; a veritable lesson in Mid-Century Australian, nay, international Modernism. Many thanks to Steven at MDCA for all the intel and historical images (more here), for what is a truly breathtaking example. This beach house designed by David Chancellor (of oft celebrated firm Chancellor & Patrick) in 1953. It was constructed for £2000 utilising a system of pre-fab panels hung on a timber frame sitting on a concrete base, with that beautiful stone hearth providing a focus in the living zones whilst separating the sleeping/bathing and cantilever beams stretching over the terrace. And.that.is.it. Stripping back amenity and form to just the elegant essentials, this home at 65 years of age is a pinnacle of Modern design. It could certainly hold its own with any small, domestic projects built in the US or Europe in the era and undertaking, we dare say, far greater material, financial and cultural constraints but additionally stands up today, with the original,1953 1-bedder comparable to anything being offered by the premier pre-fab, small homes and higher-end architects practising right now. And once more it returns us to the question: Where the hell did it all go so wrong? If this is what we were building in the early 1950s, then why are so many of our glorious beach ‘burbs slathered in stale brick veneer, tiled roofed, neocolonial mediocrity? We had it in the palm of our hands to build for our lifestyle, with a discipline of elemental sophistication, as built by world leaders of design and we turned our back on it for over 30 years – only to find ourselves repeatedly startled by seeing what we think of as ‘contemporary’ is actually more than 60 years old.

PS- Grab your diving mask & spearguns, gonna get us some crays!

110 Preston Point Rd, East Fremantle WA

Who knows what the story is here (we’d wager a deceased estate) but we’re pretty confident in any case it’s not long for this world. Although the agent rather strangely ping/pongs (but mostly pongs) between BUILD YOUR DREAM HOUSE hysteria and trifling recognition of all the 60s architecture now lost along this strip, we know in essence the type of buyer they want. The type that knocks down. The type who pays no heed to sensational roof lines, brickwork or design. Save for a savior, this listing is set for our electronic archive.

148 Kenmore Rd, Fig Tree Pocket QLD

Yet more alarm bells ringing country wide, today in Brisbane where a wonderful, never-before-sold residence from Modern era Queensland stalwart Donald Spencer is on the market. The most pressing concern is that next door (an updated yet also lovely home from the notable John Dalton) is also up for sale, making this proposition enticing to the developer class. But remaining determinedly optimistic we prefer to think this presents a perfect opportunity for not one but 2 sets of Brisvegans to step up and put their wallets where their appreciation (for their local domestic architecture) is.

‘Beddison Swift House’ 5 Crown Rd, Ivanhoe VIC

A rare and precious example in the Australian, specifically Melbourne, modern story has popped up for sale. A collaboration between our heavy hitters Neil Clerehan and Guilford Bell in the form of this domestic commission predicated on multi-generational living and seemingly in as pristine condition as when it was built in 1962. An under-the-radar home of exquisite joinery, considered spaces and magnificent build enveloped by the urban bushland. We listed it for lease last year and at this point we defer to our earlier comments, however gushing with praise, as we stand by them and nothing has changed.

“It is not very often you have the chance to move into such a revolutionary residence in faultless condition, indeed it would be more like inhabiting a sculpture from the cream of international Mid-Century Modern and like several other individual Clerehan or Bell designs may be the closest thing we have in this town akin to a Johnson or Mies van de Rohe.”

‘McCafferty Residence’ 39 Victoria Tce, Kings Beach QLD

We submit for your Friday perusal a sleek residence of late Modern lines and pure 70s glamour and if certain sub-sets of design can evoke a place and time as genres of music do then this baby is sweet Yacht Rock all the way. Hefty horizontals, sculptural interiors, expanses of glass, timber and tile may initially obscure the age reading here, its timelessness owing to that elemental architecture and textures but which, when new, would have made for a ultra sophisticated and high-end statement in living the good life in the heady days of big deals, fast cars, opium perfume and Alpine cigarettes. Ooh la la.

**Update**Our instincts we’re correct, this is not only the work of a recognised architectural practice, Michael Bryce and Associates, but winner of the Queensland RAIA House of the Year 1981! Many thanks to Jack Bryce for the update and the home’s true name. 

‘Grant House’ 14 Pasadena Ave, Beaumaris, VIC

As we comfort ourselves with the news that one of Melbourne’s most original and worthy MCM homes has been saved via purchase on the open market, we sadly have to sound the sirens yet again. Just across the way from Boyd’s Bridgford House, sits this home by yet another long standing luminary Peter McIntyre, a commission for a Mr Alan and Barbara Grant c.1956. Made manifest by the true Modernist spirit and circumstances of its time, this residence was a one of McIntyre’s experimental responses to shortages of materials and expanding postwar housing demand. Its simple layout of living and sleeping zones coupled with renegade construction techniques of flexible, non-load bearing walls topped with a marvelous bow-truss ceiling had the needs of low-cost, mass-production potential in mind whilst thoroughly speaking to the new, casualised Australian way of life. The essentially original and tidy condition of this home is almost unreal for the suburb and it’s strikes the heart with a hard pang to know, once again, there is nothing planning-wise in place for this home to protect it from the bulldozer. Indeed word on the street is (at present) only developers have shown an interest in this wonderful, historical property with all of the worst intentions that implies. So we make the call. There is so much this home could be whilst remaining intact. There is room for a freshen up, a sympathetic refurb and possibly even extension with the right professionals at the helm. Anything is on the table to keep this home upright with integrity intact. Such a testament to our build heritage and its architect, one of the last MCM legends we still have with us, is worth considering. Share this one far and wide people.