A fairly modest, suburban home reveals itself to possess wonderful lines and a steadfast progressive design directly from the 1960s. Fereday Homes is a new one for us and a burl on the ‘Googs isn’t giving it up – so who of you knows the score? We’d imagine judging by this example that Fereday Homes is an architect led-project housing group not unlike Merchant Builders of Victoria? In any case, this solid residence in great condition and with the burgeoning promise of a sensational native garden is a truly great pick up for those so inclined and in the vicinity,
A rather astounding find in WA. An early (for Australia) and most certainly architect conceived foray into Modernist theory of design and construction. With a boldly experimental construction on a large sloped site featuring double story walls of glazing over the lower living area, step-up split level open kitchen/dining zone and then following up the metal detailed staircase and balcony to mezzanine sleeping quarters bringing to our minds more than a passing reminder of Boyd’s own Walsh Street home – with perhaps even that same rosy carpet (?!). In close to total original condition, seemingly empty and never before sold we can only marvel at the possible history and Modernist Australian narrative contained in this property. We dearly hope it can all be revealed before the mechanism of the market decides to move in and erase any trace of it.
To those cynics out there who claim that this ‘fad’ of Mid-Century Modernist design is only for the wealthy, who deride it as a cycling ‘trend’ for bored housewives-cum-influencers or snooty architecture nerds with effortless incomes – we say pooh pooh! In the spirit of considered design for the masses as it shimmered and spread across all corners of our country at the time, here is a classic example of not only the beautiful internationalist aesthetic but also unrivaled affordability. Hats off to those clued in cool-cats who know what they have with this one, and have sought to celebrate it with a pared-back and retrained refresh (even if it’s not even noticed by the agent!). A simple stunner to see in your weekend.
An original beaut updated with a rather demure makeover which nonetheless fails the hide the swing within (oh those stairs and bathroom cabinets!). With an enviable price range and room to spare we could see a bold and beautiful transformation here, breathing in a little more spark and fizz deserving of such an example of Mid-Century progressive design. Get stuck in people.
Already in a successful partnership building the Australian modern project home legacy that is ‘Pettit & Sevitt’, architect Ken Woolley and the Petitt’s then collaborated for one very personal vision – the family home. Displaying many traits of the architect, as seen in their set house plans (though obviously opting for varnished pine over mission brown stained internal timbers) this very large and primo positioned home looks to have undergone a few updates in recent years, though nothing which couldn’t be stripped back (is that render?) and brought more in line, elementally, with the unsurpassed pure Sydney gorgeousness of its native environs.
From the land of the Queen and on this ceremonial weekend birthday, we present a ground-up, sleeves-up renovation rescue calling for grit, cash and vision. A hybrid of Mid-Century and Queenslander traits where the enclosed sleepout with louvered windows overlooks a breeze-blocked pool and cabana set up this residence has much going for it (asbestos extension aside) including parquetry flooring, the bathroom tile, an open breezy plan and of course the aforementioned pool and gardens. Many of you will click on this one and shudder at the work, the materials or question the design value but we feel there is significant and integral Australian charm here and is worth a crack at least.
Not being locals we suspect that the delightful sounding Tea Tree Gully is perhaps a little less desirable than certain other locales in Adelaide, reflected in the price tag of this lovely Modern (c.1963) residence. Constructed in solid brick, expanses of glazing and lovely accents in knotty pine and stone this seems like a great pick up, comfy as is but ripe for a little, considered refresh too.
Two certainties are apparent here:
- This home is one of magical Mid-Century Modern expression, even if we only glance at 2 images. That streetface alone; a skillion roofed, geometric configuration of textures – brick, stone, windows, and panel, is enough to get us salivating. Timber interiors, clever living/sleeping zoning and that to-die-for mature garden all contributing to excel the heart-rate.
- This home is on deathwatch. It is being sold off in concert with 117 next door (a rather lovely clinker brick residence of a sensible size, acceptable condition and similarly breathtaking gardens) seemingly at the mercy of fiscal gluttons who’s only metric of worth (self or otherwise) is the sum of bedrooms and portion of marble one may squeeze onto 2/3rd of an acre. Ew.
Can someone, anyone step in? Is there any money left in Sydders not hoarded by the aesthetically and spiritually stunted? So many events of late have made us so very unsure and less optimistic of such hopes. Let’s put it to the universe that we may be proven wrong.
**Update** We have since been contacted by a relative in the know, and now can claim this home as the c.1957 work of architect Kevin J Curtin noted in this particular NSW Modernist heritage study as:
“….a prolific church architect, responsible for over 50 new Catholic churches and chapels, and over 200 schools.68 His St Bernard’s Catholic Church in Ramsgate Street, Botany, exemplifies the new approach….”
A commission for one of his colleagues, a Mr B. Bailey, it is clear this residence has more than a little Modernist significance and as a domestic work by an architect well versed in large public buildings goes some way to explain its dynamic, ‘landmark’ quality. For further reading see this feature article in ‘Our Home’ from May 1958.
Almost exactly 2 years ago we listed this Iwanoff beauty and here we go again because we’d never shirk the opportunity to show it off for those who may have missed it the first time. Very nicely refurbed and impeccably furnished it reaffirms the timelessness of classic Australian Modernist architecture in presenting as the kind of home which could have been built last year, rather than 50s years ago in 1969.
For more Iwanoff goodness, check the upcoming Iwanoff photography exhibition in our news spot.
Ah 1960s Warnambool. A land of Tag Walter designed wonders, where pleasantries were exchanged over a hot pot of tea, a choice of neenish or maids of honour tarts and all repression was dutifully swallowed and pasted over with brittle smiles. One can only imagine the sharp minds of housewives bereft of meaningful discourse, offering in replacement juicy gossip and breathtaking backhanded compliments within the walls of that sensational kitchen and array pastel hued, floral carpeted rooms. This residence remains a veritable museum piece; the pinnacle of a now historically and specifically female, anglo domestic ideal now staked out in cultural landmarks such as the ghost of Dame Edna. And indeed this home presents as such a fine, unmolested example of the era as to warrant a heritage overlay, though not the interiors – where we think the true cultural landscape is exhibited. Lest we forget.
A damn fine second Sydney School example now, an offering from one of the headmasters therof – a 1963 Russell Jack designed, award winning home in near mint condish, which (from all feet on-ground reports) is sooooo extra-extra, more than the newer sale pics convey. Not surprising. Apparently the client, Supreme Court Justice Jacobs, desired a tranquil retreat from his day-on-the-bench-grind, with a certain degree of sophistication. This goal achieved with aplomb by the architect utilising his trademark raw materials anchoring this residence directly to the earth yet constructed with the considered and sleek Modernist spatial configuration, including internal courtyard. Ooooh yes.
Sunday school time, Sydney School to be exact, and hold onto your yoga mats kids because this one is a pure oasis of nature-centred design (though the architect and year of build are not yet confirmed) perched within a bushland eden. There is a lot to ooh and ahh about here but for us it’s all about that living zone completed with cylindrical brick fireplace, tile and expanses of windows dripping with light and warmth. Cosy up or cool down, this one embodies the organic eudemonia of place via its design, which most soy slinging, wholefood serving, wellness retreats could only dream to emulate.
**Update** This beautiful house has had a few admiring visitors who have kindly informed us that this is the work of notable Seaforth firm Robertson & Hindmarsh built circa 1959!
The air in this one is thick with memories, scents and the spirit of original Beaumaris bohemia. Bouncing off the curtains, beamed ceiling and wildly angular spaces one can almost hear the late night froth and thrash of ideas, barefoot guests, wine being poured and LPs turned. Such antipodean poetry the very germination and flourish of which, in the stifled anglo banality of 1950s Melbourne, must have been like a daisy in a city footpath crack – surprising, bright and vital.
We sadly fear the worst for this untouched host turned vestige of such indie, historical scenes as it paris off with its more standard built counterpart to be sold on the same day. What to say? Times marches on and the relics of small but important cultural instances are so often left scattered and forgotten in the thrum. *sigh*
Many of you were enthralled by ‘Clayton House’ in Melbourne a few days ago; its smooth, fuss-free expanses of brick, timber ceilings and walls of windows exuding a calm and considered set of Modernist spaces in which to reside. Well, for a lot less cash and a larger regional move we see its echo in this sensational one acre patch in Wangaratta. This (c.1980) late Modern, architect designed home of generous and free-flowing rooms with some of the most pristine cork, tile and timber we’ve ever laid eyes on is sitting empty and waiting as a result of an estate finalisation. We are presently to receive the full details from the agent, but obviously you’re getting a lot of high-steppin’ home for not much outlay if decentralisation is something you can manage. Simply beautiful.
A listing history lesson today detailing the colourful yet little known Post-War development of Surfers Paradise as primo holiday destination and Googie-motel wonderland for a brief shining moment before a new slew of ‘developers’ saw fit to rid itself of such joy.
To wit – a penthouse apartment in the heritage listed (huzzah!) ‘Kinkabool’ (c.1959) designed by architect John Morton of firm Lund Hutton Newell Black & Paulsen. This rarity in its preservation success, is one of the few recognised landmarks of Mid-Century Modern apartment living scattered across the country, a contemporary to the ‘Torbreck’ in Brisbane, ‘Domain Park’ in Melbourne and ‘Arlington’ in Sydney. ‘Kinkabool’ was built in a time of acceleration for Surfers Paradise with the once sleepy wave spot catching the eye of many a suited and sunburnt entrepreneur, who then sought to make their own fortune with various and colourful attempts of built glamour and sparkle. Constructed four years after the rise of the very first Gold Coast motel, the legendary the El Dorado (demolished in the 80s) and two years after the dazzling Chevron (demolished 1987) only the ‘Kinkabool’ has presided over changing hands and times, the glitter, the grime, the downturn and development for the duration. It remains still intact, a lone sentinel of its era.
The present sellers would love to see the wonderful Mid-Century legacy of their now departed grandparents taken on and cherished by a new sun-seeker, perhaps someone who loves a bit of sand and shimmer and who knows the value of a protected penthouse when they see one.
Though falling out of our self-imposed boundary for Mid-Century (c.1984), it is clear this commission for the Clayton family by architect David Edelman (recently departed – vale) carries with it the spirit of some of the best MCM homes we can cite in this country. Indeed those swathes of Clifton-ish grey/brown brick, timber ceiling, terracotta flooring, as well as that beautiful bushland situation in the middle of Melbourne suburbia brings to mind the work of Gunn, Everist and any number of this architect’s professional, Modernist forebears – we would never say no to this one.
Such a spark of joy alights our belly when we see a classic, though rundown, architecturally designed residence accompanied by encouragement from the agent to look up The Thunderbirds as a cultural anchor – especially in Perth of all places – yay! That said this home is still far from safe with the land size alone enough to condemn it but it would be a real tragedy to let this one go without a fight. It shows such solid signs of architectural provenance, with a sophistication of design far beyond just any old builder in Perth in 1963. And it lends itself to the most elegant Mid Mod of refurbs, under the right hand of course. West Australians, get there ASAP and check it.
This handsome house in Dandy has all the promise of a sensational family/party pad with some bold and beautiful interior features – bedroom joinery, skillion roofline, tiled indoor pool and that breathtaking timber ceiling downstairs. Like so many others the fate of this home to remain standing and retain these wonderful aspects of its past, embraced in perhaps a make-over of due respect is, at this stage, anyone’s guess.
That jaunty, buttery street face, complete with sweeping entry walk beckons all those who wistfully aspire to a suburban dreamscape. Where the searingly acute beauty of the Australian beach hamlet is entwined with 60s shapes, the lush gardens and worship of the light and offers up a slice of family paradise for those so seduced. A price-tag, the only a chest sagging thump back to reality, in the story of this Mid-Century delight.
Every now and then we are able to post up a residence which transcends our little world of listings and design chat and stands within a greater avenue of historical document, today we have a standout. ‘McNicoll House’ was a commission by Major General R.R.McNicoll for firm Grounds, Romberg and Boyd however this transpired in the very years in which Roy Grounds walked away with the National Galley of Victoria commission and this most famous of partnerships dissolved (1962). Suffice to say that while that drama played out on St. Kilda Rd on the other side of the Botanical Gardens this home initially begun by Grounds and concluded by Boyd, was conceived and constructed (c.1963). And it shows in that soaring heft of form that this encapsulates an architectural spirit more indicative of a Grounds design than Boyd. The main entry point is a private and unassuming drive in from Gordon Grove, whilst from the secondary road access of Caroline St. rises the bold, double story intervals of glass and block wall. A renovation in 2007 has kept the original timber and brick finishes internally, whilst adding a pool and some ‘contemporised’ flair, along with natural form landscaping by Caroline Blackman.
This local landmark has been home to three families and the current vendor seeks similar to assume gracious custodianship of this remarkable building.
We ourselves have been very lucky to receive some extra information about this residence, not least in a letter (posted here) from Robin Boyd to the owner dated April 1960, which not only captures the pragmatic and stunningly Australian casualness of Boyd but also offers a rare glimpse of his incredible design mind, in his own words.
We welcome you all to look, read and soak up this slice of Modernist Australian history at your leisure, and if you have the means then perhaps take it a little further……..
*B&W images curtesy of MCDA.