For those of you still mopping up the lather from viewing Restoration Australia lastSunday night and the magical craftsmanship and decorative zing indicative of our Marvellous Migrant Modernism, then cast your eye back Melbourne way for another helping. ‘Light House’ (c.1967) was a commission for Polish émigré architect turned Studley Park fixture, Kurt Elsner for Samuel and Helen Light and like so many bagel belt offerings is in excellent original condition. A typical to type, flat-roofed, solid brick construction consisting a simple, expansive set of spaces, flourishes of carved timber motif and gorgeous personal touches such as the opaque screens for bathroom facilities, it would be not only a pleasure but a privilege to inhabit such an elegant and finely conceived residence. Let’s hope many others see it in the same way.
They call it A ‘fifedom’, with those 14 car garaging we prefer the term ‘Bond-villain lair’ but in either case enjoy Freaky Friday with a 1960s, hinterland property – a rather unusual, yet we believe successful, combo of sub-tropical rainforest views, low-sling Modern lines and Frank Lloyd Wright- esq fireplace.
Oh our stars! This is exactly the type of real estate offering which kick started Modernist Australia in the first place – incredible Mid-Century style, progressive, modest yet exhilarating design, jaw-dropping original interiors but also the pit-of-the-stomach fear that it’s in grave danger. Though its architect is as yet unknown (solved! See update 2 below) we don’t need a big name attached to know it commands saving and restoring. That parquetry, hardwood ceiling, mosaic kitchen tile and of course, that simply awe-inspiring suspended fireplace. These are all features which if to be rebuilt would cost an absolute fortune, yet here they are in lovely condition in an all round breathtaking residence. The lack of photos, floorplan, it’s location (one of the most deadly for original MCM homes in the country) and general encouragement of destruction from the agent (grrrr) sounds the alarm. People! Someone! Anyone! Please take over this home and treat it with the love and care which has seen it through thus far, for it is a gorgeous landmark and must be preserved!
Shout out to Steven Coverdale and his gang at MCDA for unearthing this one.
**Update** Thanks to Simon Reeves who has scratched up the existing plans (c.1957). Mr Reeves has commented elsewhere that in a heritage study some years ago he recommended this little section of Orion St would be worthy of protection as a heritage precinct.
Of course, they paid no heed to that.
**Update2** Current tenant Tim has contributed some pics and commentary on unseen aspects; “These photos are OK but it doesn’t get across how good this place is to live in. There are some fantastic design features in this place…………These concrete steps up from the garage are cantilevered. These stairs run up the side of a 90 degree pie shaped conical grotto, lined with volcanic rock. This area is always shaded and remains cool on the hottest days….”
Update 2 – Architect discovered to be one Mr P.P. Packer.
After all the heady offerings in both history and pricing of late, we though it due for a little palate cleanser. Something simple, something humble, in less illustrious location and with a logical level of attainability. This lovely 1960s home with crisp, low-slung lines and great Modern elements – including that jaunty breeze blocked carport/courtyard and floor to ceiling glazing, blue brick masonry and neat-o original condition – has so much going for it. It’s all ready and waiting for a little love and attention from the right peeps.
*Update* We’ve added a few earlier shots when last sold – if only to showcase that awesome feature fireplace spotted by an eagle-eyed reader – lamentably now disappeared.
Our personal connection to Barwon Heads, in fact this very stretch, is as complex as the estuary system it rests within, but one thing we have always known for sure it that this residence, a combination of location and pedigree Australian Modern design, is the best in town. And where most of ‘The Heads’ has been touched one way or another by the new century’s influx of wealth and vanity this place remains unchanged. You will find intact the moonah trees (sadly cleared off most sold holdings in the least 20 years), the huge block undivided and most of revealing of all this house – the work of Modernist Australian legend Neil Clerehan – virtually the same as when built*. How long this situation stays as is, is but a matter of time however we’d implore anyone with the finances to purchase in this most exclusive of enclaves to find this splendid home worthy of holding onto as it offers something more than most – a private, unassuming yet glorious celebration of the simple beauty of place.
*Massive kudos to Fletchers for highlighting first and foremost the architectural heritage of this residence, way above all other vapid selling points (& S.T.C.A) so regularly given priority by others in this sufin’ burg.
A surprise entry from WA today with this sensational 1950s (60s?) home by celebrated (and still practising) architect Ronald Jack ‘Gus’ Ferguson. Already a statement residence it has in recent years been topped with a (to our minds rather extraneous) extension. However in an effort to not incite argument, peace is all we desire today, we’ll leave that aside and instead focus on the original home which has been treated and refurbed with due respect – hooray!
PS – While we’re over in WA, remember to tune in tomorrow night to Aunty for the rebuilding of Iwan Iwanoff’s Paganin House!
A superb slice of Queensland Mid-Century Modern with a fine pedigree, a 1968 residence for highly respected (and often MA featured) architect John Dalton. Sitting splendid, its original design untouched by extension or renovation, this is an enticing and rather stately home just all ready for a brissy-based Modernist to move into.
Attn: Organisers of Port Fairy Folk Festival. When faced with accommodating your roster of high-profile talent – a reclusive fiddler from Sligo who converses with the ocean / an afro-cuban ensemble requesting an after-hours jam garden / the hottest Nashville alt-country wonderboy with girl problems and in need of 30 hours straight sleep – then look no further! This slightly gone-to seed, but remarkable split level wonder has everything and more! As the bracing southern ocean whirls out front, the heady 70s vibes flow within that mezzanine, dark timbers, painted brick and burnt orange kitchen offering soothing and warm respite for the most restless of creative minds and bodies.
Word of the day: “Geo lunch-cutting”
Meaning: (In a housing context) the inability to secure the affordable residence of dreams because you are socially and financially tied to a location over 800kms away from said residence.
In other words, you are some lucky buggers up there on the NSW south coast that’s for sure.
Holy Moley, Mary and geeze. This, for many of you dear readers, might actually be the one. Situated in the ever expanding Melbourne northside ripple close to all the good stuff yet on a large and impossibly beautiful landscaped patch, this never-before-sold treasure (like North Warrandyte before it) is in immaculate condition curtesy of its original owners. That’s right, never before sold (the gawdaful McMansions on either side tell the sad tale) and sublime in its integral design, layout and materials. And…..Pool! Once again this absolute gem is best seen in the pics to be sighed and sighed over again, so we’ll stop talking so you can keep clicking.
Ease into the (long)weekend with some Beachcomber brilliance. Sit on that unchanged balcony and work on your retiree game soaking up the rays and water views with the paper and nice cuppa your boon companions. Inside, the vestiges of time past stand firm including a beaut stone fireplace, that simple open floor plan, some snazzy breeze block walls and iron balustrading in one of the best examples of this design we’ve seen in a very long time.
Speculated to be designed by an engineer relative of the owner.
Impossibly original c.1963 family home.
Dare so much as breathe on this wrong, and we will come for you.
In the night.
*With thanks to Steven Coverdale for the heads up and the extra images.
Would could fill this spiel with endless car puns and racing analogies or we could admit defeat immediately and refer you all to the photos, because in all honesty, we can’t do this justice in acceptable from. Whatismore is mystery abounds; who was the architect? What is the floorplan? Who were the owners of this super-swingin’ entertainer- were they a subset of the high-rollin’ racecar fraternity? Between the brilliant and bold design, the brick/timber/tile aesthetic, the scenic 10 acres and the pure 70s casa party vibes we have too many frantic questions!
PS We highly recommend watching the video for this one – there is much more within than the stills can convey………
An earlier Modernist home from the similarly early hand of notable Canberra based architect William(Bill) Batt. Whilst finalising his qualifications with an internship at the South Australian Housing Trust in 1953, the soon to be architect was commissioned to build a family home by a young Mrs Carter (who had been forced from the same workplace due to her recent marriage – boo!). The result is this barely changed beauty resplendent with stunning retro details and bespoke furniture which, at time of completion, attracted its share onlookers and photo-takers, so unusual and progressive a design for the times it was. 65 years on and Mrs Carter’s time to sell up is now, the family would dearly love to pass this home to another owner to be cherished as it has been for already one lifetime, so let’s see if we can help them in this quest.
One frenzy over, another begins.
Charles Duncan’s work (always a firm fav with you all) has revealed itself once more with an absolute pearler new to market. According to Steven at MCDA the origin story tells of a family in 1966 with a limited budget but desiring eye for Modern architecture (sound familiar?) having watched with interest the build of Charles Duncan’s Williams House in Eaglemont (which we listed only last year). Though they assumed the architect wouldn’t bother with the small commission they had in mind, they approached him nonetheless. Fortunately he did take it on and here is the result; a (now) 3 bedroom home with the home office of dreams (added by Duncan again at some later date) in his trademark hefty forms, earthy materials and wonderful spaces in one of the best examples we’ve seen yet. With a parade of extra brownie points; excellent condition, large bushland garden, pool and the wonderful idiosyncratic details which make architect designed homes just that bit more magical; inbuilt child’s bunks, joinery and gorgeous minimal fireplace this one, in these dry summer conditions, is sure to start a wildfire.
As a heavy newsweek and heatwave conspire to drag us all under, let us break out and dip our toes in the lime green plush and wild glam of this freaky Friday ripper. By a miracle of circumstance, (though it must be said happily oft cited in these parts) we can enjoy all the untempered flamboyance of another era; the glitz and desire, the incredible bespoke joinery and the textile and decor choices only exhibited in the most bold of ‘contemporary’ homes these days, such freedom of expression now only seemingly assumed by those with the money, connections and/or self esteem to not give a damn about resale value or scoring a feature in middle-of-the-road house mags. Refreshing of the spirit and joyful to the gaze, turn up Missy and get ur freak on.
Next up, this lovely Pettit & Sevitt which was thoughtfully extended in 1984 by Anne Colville Architects, with a split level lounge added, among other nifty changes, ensuring that the smaller footprint typical to original P&S designs, was expanded to accommodate the needs of late twentieth century expectations of space, without compromising the signature cream and timber interiors. The present owners have continued to embrace this essential earthiness and now would dearly love a new owner to take over the reigns and continue on this way.
Despite the whatever photos, this rural agent does a bang up job of selling what we have here ‘interesting’ indeed! A formal Modernist design and concrete block construction, plopped into the dust of country Victoria. Take it from us it’s these in inexplicable and unsung, architecturally spot-on gems which give and give forever. Without a doubt this is one of the enduring hip pads of Wang and at a suitably country town price.