‘Nissen House’ 56 Cloris Ave, Beaumaris VIC

Sweeping the socials in the last day or so is this unmitigated triumph of preservation and restoration, totally worthy of celebration. The vision of local Beaumaris resident architect Barnard Hanmer for a Dr & Mrs Nissen who commissioned this dynamic home of daring split levels, soaring voids, built in furniture, planters and sensational ‘Besalite’ brickwork in the late 1950s and was completed in 1961. Rare and progressive back then, it made the pages of House and Garden magazine in 1963 who stated:

“Split level designing, open planning and high ceilings give unusual architectural interest to the home of Dr and Mrs Nissen in Beaumaris. Architect B.K Hamner designed a house that is distinctly apart from run-of-mill planning because that the way their clients wanted it.”

 And now in full restored and expanded bloom at the hands of appreciative and knowledgable owners, it once again makes waves having appeared in the recent Beaumaris Modern Book which featured some of the best MCM homes (still standing) the suburb has to offer. We cannot stress how much of a success this home is – already of esteemed architectural brilliance it has run the valley of developer death and come out not only saved but victorious at the other side and is now selling in a market much more receptive to such glorious Modernist dwellings (with no small thanks to readers like yourselves and owners like these). This residence is a showcase one for us Mod folk to enjoy as an excellent example of Australian architecture and for those yet uninitiated, to clearly see why we love it so. 

*Thanks to MCDA for the vintage image and Home Beautiful quote.

6 Ophir Ave, Ventnor VIC

Following the coast round to Victoria we spy another shining gem of a beach home that, although in a relatively modest patch of sand and paddock, resonates with the simplicity of pure Modern. Maybe it’s the white (in this case actually most appropriate), the Mondrian-y red door and right angled spaces which elevates this home from classic beachside upstairs/downstairs beauty into a more sophisticated realm with echoes of the European International style. Not sure If we can clearly picture Mies-y clean bowling Hazza Seilder while Wally Gropius yells ‘howzat!’ in a spot of beach cricket out front, but if there’s one location for such an alternative timeline this could be it.

35 Barbara St, Port Elliot SA

In such a (thankfully) egalitarian society as ours it’s against our general tenor and legalities to have private ownership of natural assets such as rivers or beachfront, so when straight up access comes with a property it can be enthralling. And nothing speaks to the untamed beauty of our island nation more than the salted scrubland beaches of the southern half. The whipped wind, the Bight air zooming directly north from Antartica, the brilliant sunlight reflecting from clouds and foam, these are immeasurable in value. Add to this premise a home, nestled in the dunes of sensational 70s exposed brick and timber construction, dripping with delights like as raked straw ceilings and original fittings in a very assured sense of style then well really….. you can have it all. 


2015 Point Nepean Rd, Tootgarook VIC

As broached in our previous listing, here we find yet another example of smaller, 1960s unit block though this time it’s the ‘after’ shot. Modernist Australian Steph purchased this little 3 unit block on the drive to the Mornington Peninsula a good 2 decades ago, before the monster of the Australian real estate market had really awakened. She has kindly sent through a shot of it at the time, and though some of us could envisage a disciplined and formal architectural transformation amid the ti-tree here, the present owners instead went for vibrant colour and celebration of our beach-shack aesthetic, with Mirka-esq joie de vie permeating the decor and studio as any artist might see fit. Fun-times abound and though we’re not sure quite how long for, lets hope at least for a little longer.

1-4/72 Sladen St, Hamlyn Heights VIC

A current example of an entire MCM unit block for purchase, a situation which comes up with surprising regularity in the regions (and are generally still cheaper than a 2 bedroom house in the city). More often than not they are a variation of this recurring, 1960s design of minimal and pragmatic accomodations, when peoples’ needs were a smidge more humble. This lovely little set, though obviously in need of an intensive overhaul still shines with Mid-Century charm and what’s more it has sensational northern orientation. The possibilities for active minds are endless – from transforming it into one large home compound or multi- generational living, perhaps a large residence with a little Airbnb income on the side or maybe just the coolest retro, short-term accomodations in the City of Dreams.*

*Check our next listing in Tootgarook for one possible pathway. 

2 Wandeet Plc, Sandy Bay TAS

Kitchen bench top and black tile aside, this elegant eyrie is a picture of sleek Modern lines and era specific features in Hobart’s most fancy suburb, hence the price tag. Though no architects are mentioned we firmly believe there must be a name one behind this, it’s too thoughtfully laid out and grownup to be a mere Mid-Century collection of housing trends. No, this one has sophistication in spades and we’d hazard a guess one feel very urbane when simply pulling up in that carport. Very nice indeed. 

**Update** Owner, Debra has contacted us with a possible architect and a touch of Australian art celebrity!
“We think the architect was Harry Oldmeadow who did a lot of great residential work in Hobart in the 60s.
My parents bought the place in 1967 – I think it was built in 64 and the family have owned it ever since.
Also it was the Hobart home of artist Lloyd Rees – his paint splashes are still on the wall of his old studio.”

‘Brindley House’ 273 Edinburgh Rd, Castlecrag NSW

Back to business this morning, serious business. Not wanting to get you excited but we are confident it will be one of the best homes MA will post in for 2019. Situated (where else?) but the NSW spiritual home of Modernism, Castlecrag, with its architectural history noted in the local newsletter alongside the men’s shed and tennis club open days (hey preservation battlers – there’s an idea) and appearing in government commissioned heritage reports, architect John M. Brindley devised and built this residence as his own in 1955. New owners took over in the mid 60s, added a little extension to the front and that, dear friends, is that. As such this sale seems to be an estate wind up and the home is undoubtedly a little tired and wanting some love (yep there’s a pool under that ‘decking’ out front.) Subsequently the campaign is a rather limp affair with unforgivable photography requiring us to resort to video stills to convey the magic. 
Now, the term ‘Palm Springs’ is as exhausted and abused as we, the voting public, are in this federal election campaign however here it is applicable and if your Mid-Century desires run toward elegant, low-slung homes of glass and white walls and sensible living/sleeping wing division and you’re a sucker for a lush lawns, feature palm trees, poolside crazy paved patios, service courtyards and winding long drives leading to carports then this dear readers, is one for you. Furthermore if you can afford all the extras of higher-end living including wine cellars and bajillion dollar views and this highland-toffy address, yet have the integrity against the stereotype of talk-back listening, developer donating, opera-house advertising, Sirius demolishing, anti-intellectual praising, cashed-up Sydney philistine then get up there and get your paws on a contract. We shouldn’t have to make such a case, this gorgeous segment of waterside MCM divinity should be heritage listed but we’re as usual it’s suspected not and it will be up to one of us to swoop to the rescue. And though the expense is large (impossible for most) the personal reward for doing so is immeasurable. Protect this house and the process save a sliver of your architectural soul.

114-116 Exeter Rd, Croydon North VIC

We can’t quite believe there’s yet another lil’ A-frame looker in our midst, but here we are. Though externally it’s passable and nothing that some better pool fencing, landscaping and a coat of paint couldn’t instantly improve (pool is A1 of course), it is inside where the true joy shines through; wonderful timber ceiling and walls, solid parquetry, not overly white washed walls and that beautiful little, boho galley kitchen (tip: keep the fluorescent bulkhead lighting – warm white fluro tubes are a thing & a revelation). Positioned on the hill to take in the north and with a very sensible (and rather large) floorplan, this A-frame is way more considered and  year round livable proposition, not simply a dream weekender. That said, this part of Melbourne soared to incredulous heights in the real estate boom and is now slowly is deflating before our very eyes, we are still worried that this little patch ain’t long for the world. Still too many spivs still in the Dandy foothills. 


‘Oxlade House’ 2 Ridgehaven Dve, Bellevue Heights SA

Another 11th hours sale! You have less than 30 mins. to get in and snap up this freakin’ c.1970, wonderland of Modern-meets-Scorsese-set in the suburbs of Adelaide. And what sensational 70s awesomeness has been idling under our radar here?! Those impossibly wide, mid-west ranch exteriors, the Brady Bunch split levels, architectural timbered ceilings, original pendant lights, wall reliefs & built in planters and a to-die-for cocktails-in-chiffon frocks pool area and all in seemingly immaculate condition. Though we may be a little late on promoting the possible purchase, there is always time for a little dirty rock n’ disco-infused daydreaming……..

1A Lewis St, Kingsville VIC

Before the priced out youngen’s started their inevitable migration over the Watergate and burbs like Seddon, Kingsville and Footscray were still the domain of the original working and migrant population, we’d staked ourselves a little slice of inner west and this home was one of two Mid-Century touchstones we held dear. In a region verily untouched by postwar freestanding homes we’d consistently monitor on the driveby and in tandem – this large abode not just across the road and the little green fella. And may we declare that the owners of this rather unassuming residence were a beacon to us in terms of preserving such a local rarity. Not least with that button-bright green paint job but when we saw they had installed ti-tree fencing we lost our minds with delight – these were obviously people who know what they have and how to make it work. Finally getting a peep inside we can see the Mid-Century joy continues and is celebrated over and over with a wonderfully pared back but full retro flavour throughout. All in all – a perennial charmer, still evoking the grins. 

3 Keraboite Crt, ‘Kerboite Gully’ Mount Eliza VIC

An unrivalled bushland bonanza of no ordinary origins here but rather a c.1975/76, mint condish Merchant Builders/Graeme Gunn colab within their planned mini-estate of Keraboit Gully. You can read the full intent in the original sales brochure here. But below is a taster

The Concept. We don’t think of Keraboite Gully simply as “a development”. We think of it as a planned community of individual houses, where every detail- will contribute to an overall sense of harmony. Our principle aim is to make the most of the natural environment, and. to offer an attractive and workable alternative to the monotony of conventional development.”

How utterly familiar in intention and spirit this is to anyone taken by contemporary architect-led developments of higher ideals* (over simple return for financial investment) in this day and age. How trailblazing and yet sadly so cast by the wayside these concepts have been for the last 40 years!
Owner, Richard, has done a considered job of keeping this marvellous example of late Modern project housing intact with the a modest kitchen update merely reinforcing how such an aged residence remains timeless and seamless with its elemental materials and deference to the environment. We’d like to assume the new owners take on and embrace the similar spirit and immerse themselves fully in this home’s shining success in tranquil, comfortable and elemental bushland living.

*And if great architectural/development groups reading this want to branch out into regional Victoria to continue this particular bushland, lower density housing legacy – we’re on board – just sayin’.

50 Condover St, North Balgowlah NSW

The second Pettit & Sevitt to close out the day, this one a tad smaller than the first, yet even more original in its interiors, with nary an alteration made since first built in 1968. Not a surprise really since it has been one person’s, singularly cherished home the entire time, only now is it facing a new future. Fingers crossed this one too snags the caring owner and subsequent tending it so acutely deserves.

Example two. C.1968. P&S design number -TBA.

PS – For more Pettit and Sevitt chit chat, restoration help and owner pride – check out the ‘Pettit and Sevitt Owners and Friends Club’ on social media, from the good people at Secret Design Studio……..

9 Hill St, Austinmer NSW

Hark! Those of the Pettit & Sevitt project home persuasion today we bring you not one but two large, hillside, split level family ramblers. Each all original (apart from a little guff & fluff – easily removed). Both a little tired yet busting with potential for a full restoration by some loving hand. And both of them, by the looks, needing to be sold as estate wind-ups. We say – jump in! For we can just feel it in our bones that the more ‘the average Australian’ paints gorgeous timber white, renders raw brick into aluminium grey and replaces every inch of our native earthy, mid-century homes with a high-gloss shopping mall aesthetic, the more these faithful, original wonders rise in value and grace. 

Example one. C.1972. P&S design number -TBA.

50 Helena St, Mount Martha VIC

An A1 class, beach house today in the tradition of the great, indigenous fibro and timber designs holding out in certain ti-tree enclaves, this one looking all the more prosperous with just the right amount of contemporary zhuxh to appeal to more than just us. Nothing to do here but move in for the holidays with your Uno cards, easter eggs and a good book, leaving the laptop behind. 

4A Wootoona Tce, St Georges SA

In our unceasing assessment of the lengthening parade of listing candidates, certain residences stand out with a tenour of such force it produces a rush to the mind, beat to the heart and fingers rapping with immediacy on the keyboard. This place is certainly one. Spotted just this evening on the essential South Australian MCM page thelocalmodernist, we drop all to bring it to you, like now. And you’ll see why. The drool-inducing spaces constructed with a feather-light 1960s convention of smooth brick, walls of glazing, bespoke joinery and (if you’re gonna get Kondo about it) acid level sparks of joy everywhere including but not limited to; ceiling tile, light fittings, crazy paving, carport, luscious sprawling gardens and that bathroom – reverberating across the nation with dreamfile inspo. And though not placed in the regular SA price range (which is generally between wtf!-inexpensive thru to still-achievable-bang-for-buck) we think it’s worth every penny. But let us not hope that some shyster developer thinks so too……

23 Windmill St, Tarragindi QLD

Cute as a button with a street name to match, we are a little surprised this one hasn’t been snapped up yet. Such a lovely little Mid-Century home, of splendid presentation and with plenty of scope to move in, improve it a tad or maybe not at all. 

21 Balook St, Lauderdale TAS

One owner. Pristine condition and more than your usual 1950s cottage going on here – some architectural chops on show for sure. And that kitchen? Wowee. So please peruse and enjoy another, less usual, Tassie treasure and start the week off right.

588 Macquarie Dve, Eleebana NSW

This may be a posterity post as local knowledge suggests waterside homes in this patch command a lot and the agent blurb doesn’t exactly fill us with a sense of security. Nonetheless we are sure you all, as we can, see the magical 60s pad this home once was and could be (with come deeply considered updates) again. Surely there must be a one or two cashed up Sydney refugees who have the means and nouse?

Cheers to Alistair at Secret Design Studio for spotting this one. 

57 Amy Street, West Moonah TAS

There’s a number of these little weatherboard groovers on the market in Tasmania right now but Amy is the most jaunty. Who can say no to that skillion roof, beautiful living with fireplace, Fonzie flat/rumpus downstairs, terraced garden beddery and all that retro joy of that kitchen lino and perfect ironwork pulling you in the front door like a fish on a hook. We know this little charmer is going to hit those who long for a bargain c.1960 pad with million dollar views, straight in the heart.