This one has undergone a freshen up (in fact the whole block has by the looks of an old listing) though it’s super heartening to see the retention of most of the era- specific joy which makes this a ripper Modern city-living option. Still resplendant with that relief brick pattern, crazy paving and mosaic tile inserts on the exterior, with timber joinery and floor to ceiling windows inside (though the meddling and white-out of that killer livingroom wall unit is somehwat infuriating) it is overall still celebratory and yet another timeless testament to simple, considered design.
Posthaste to the chiase gang, lest your knees buckle for this one, as the kids like to say, slays.
From the very outset the stunning timber and brick countenance with white window detail, to the interior skillion beamed living and considered expanses of glazing (bedecked with an awesome never-before seen chevron light fitting) is not only of an inconceivably spotless and original condition but is even furnished with a pared back simplicity which suggests a certain itegrity of the owner, all of which conspire to make this home easily the best Tassie contribution of the year thus far. As with the cream of the crop, we’ll let the photos mostly do the talking, but not without a warning that such unmolested originality must not fall into the hands of a self-styled renovator whose only concept of ‘improvement’ is to thickly apply white paint and cesar stone to any and any and all surfaces, as the the agent declares:
“it is unsullied by insensitive attempts at renovation and retains all of it’s cool, retro chic – characteristics that are so often sought out or emulated today, but rarely found.”
Indeed Kim*, we are all with you on that.
*Speaking of the agent we must make note here that the startling brilliance of this home is utterly matched by the learned and appreciative sales pitch by said agent, to which we give a solemn Orson Wells ovation – Brava!
Despite the not great orientation and a rather pedestrian back end we see a touch of Modern joy here (Carport, fireplace, dynamic roof line) which could be embraced and enticed out of is downtrodden shell. Certainly not a bad starting place for a creative MCM lover to carve out their own little fifedom in 10 mins from the Victoria Surfcoast, in a suburb underrated yet populated with such examples.
Ol’ mate Tom here is so excited to extoll the virtues of the nearby shopping centre (as we suppose the opening of yet another Chemist Warehouse, banal nail salon and enlarged Kmart full of trinketry is what makes life worth living) that he affords this home only the most perfunctory of attention. Not surprising. We however cannot get over the heightened Mid-Century gorgeousness of this, albeit rundown, all original building and its potential to become a home of distinct beauty and character. It requires grit, time, money and some expert advice (which may be gleaned from looking up our new Rolodex!) but in the end the rewards for preserving that lovely brick hearth, stunning double door entry, walls of windows and jaunty roofline would be worth it all and more. This home has lines and a look that cannot and will not be replicated today, let’s hope someone can recognise this and snap it up in time.
**Update** MCDA (now on our Rolodex) has come through with some design answers here – this is strongly suspected to be a c.1955 Age RVIA Small Homes Service plan (The T362- as pictured) by none other than Neil Clerehan himself. How great to see such example still knocking around in Queensland of all place!
Pull our your drool-cups, this one’s a ripper. Looking to be a 1950s example of lightly constructed Moden architecture with perhaps a later, harmoniously sympathetic extension of besser and timber ceilings, we hold no doubt someone was at the helm here who knew exaclty what they were doing. An outstanding residence with so many classic elements we’d see in such era of professionally and progressively deisgned home (though designed by whom, we are not sure) plus a few extras such as that butterfly rooflne, panel and pane fenestration and gorgeous bucolic situation, add this one to the wishlist.
Are you a big fan of pedigree Australian Modernism? Always dreamed of living in, even buying, a Boyd, Clerehan or a Gunn but just a bit short of the usual $1 million plus these historical homes command. Maybe you’re even a first home buyer with no Bank of Parents priority? Well, we know a place where you can own a beautiful example from this cohort for under $370k. Behold apartment five of the ‘Bauhaus’ a complex from the hand of Neil Everist with his consummate architectural nous on show. Making use of a difficult North road facing position he has managed to bring light, warmth and breeze within a gorgeously solid and private home setting, finding space for 2 bedrooms plus extra with seamless inside/outside aspect. The white paint. Yes, we see it. We know what it has done, the damage in our midst. We are investigating ways to work out if this could ever be corrected for this house (and for many many others)*. In the mean time let’s try and get past it and we suggest drawing joy from the Yves Klein Blue highlights and of course that floor plan instead. May the bunfight begin.
*A big announcement re MCM renovation and building is imminent, watch this space!
B&W images by Max Dupain
Pettit and Sevitt project homes of the 1960s and 70s are a staple here for us and its always a sight for sore eyes when those familair mission brown beams and white brick walls float up on a feed, this example however is a cut above the usual. ‘The Courtyard House’ was a design by Ken Woolley (but of course) for the company c.1965 and was compleated in 1966 as part of their second display village, one of ten domestic architecture dreams presented for consideration to the post war public as an indigenous, enlightened response to the needs of the emrgeing Australian lifestyle and climate. And as it did then, it wows us today with a considered inside/outside floorplan as the original village brochure attests:
“The house encloses the courtyard on two sides and brick walls enclose the other sides. Living, kitchen and bedrooms all face the courtyard, even the roof slopes towards it emphasising its relationship to all rooms”
This residence is textbook parade of P&S trademark elements which endure as the best Mid-Cenutry Modenrism always does – the beautiful painted masonry, tile and timber and thanks to only two dedicated owners it is in spendid condition, with elegant gardens of harmonious plant selection.
Photographed in the mid 60s by Max Dupain and part of the 2014 Sydney Living Museums Iconic Houses Tour, where Ken Woolley himself walked the admiring throngs through this home, discussing his design, himself moved by its marvellous condition.
Now is the time for the next chapter and new owner to take the reigns of this exhbition level home. A new cusotdian to love it and keep it as it has been for the last 50 years, seeing through the next and enjoying every living moment its simple yet affecting design affords.
A suburban delight in cream brick, timber detail, cork flooring and extended formation of perky skillion roof. Naturally for the area it exists on the sharp edge of ‘development’ danger though in such beautiful original condition and magnificent retro appeal (complete with ‘girls’ bedroom recently vacated by Marica and Jan by the looks) we’d hope it can find a nice family to adore and continue on together, living a best life.
There is no pollyanna pretenses here, this home is not long for our world. And though it lends itself to a magnificent renovation, keeping much of the original charm and classic features (pool, raked ceilings, freestanding fireplace, layout), we are not kidding ourselves. We can’t even show you the sensational low-slung, glass/timber/stonework street aspect due to the dreaded land size map overaly (though if those townhouse plans are so good n’ dusted then why the land spruik huh HUH?!). Anyways, as keepers of the flame, we carry out our solemn duty and add it to the record.
In a grassy-plained, Victorian outpost closer to South Australia than Melbourne, someone with great pragmatism and sharp design eye built this wonderfully Modernist house for the local airport(strip?) manager. Now sitting empty it remains a testament to its integral architecture shining through with cleanliness, warmth and a tranquil simplicity. An unexpected regional joy.
Reading through the agents blurb we’re not too sure if this was the work of Thomas Tandy, or rather a local example comparable to his architecture, which is a roundabout way of saying this is an elegant slice of Mid-Century Modernist domesticity in the ‘hood. Though the images are a little obstructed by furnishings we are turning down the snark today and are simply happy to celebrate that this rather gorgeous little home of concrete brick and butterfly roofline which has been looked after, remains unextended and intact.
Sitting at the other end of the time-scale which we may invoke for Mid-Century and Modernist homes, though still in the same suburb as yesterday’s lovely timber residence, is this double story home of a deep 1970s aesthetic with unadorned materials such as timber and rough masonry at the fore. Straight spaces formed supported with timber beams, floor to ceiling glazing, skylights and fitted neutral carpet and tile completing this unfussy return to the elements and a simpler life. An aspiration indicative of this era’s architecture (and to many of us still now) and best paired with a brown fair isle knit, a maidenhair plant and homemade pottery.
We start this week with two variations of our Modernist Australian style spread in the same suburb. Firstly this pretty, timber-clad Mid-Century home with retro-jaunty lines just aching for a little love. Sitting on over an acre in the development belt means sub-division of this block is a lay down misère, though we’d hope this little cutie-pie has such appeal it’s worth keeping it up front.
Running with yesterday’s listing of an incredible church sell-off, here today we see a successful conversion of a similar public building. Though aesthetically it’s a bit 80s/90s for us there is no denying the joy of the retained original features integral to this 1970s former Council Chambers, including that jaw-dropping timber-ceilinged living room. Being a regional listing it is of course a great price. All-in-all a lot of great home for not huge outlay.
According to Wiki the foundation of the religion of Christian Science is “a radical form of philosophical idealism, believing that reality is purely spiritual and the material world an illusion” Well, for a people who don’t defer to the material environment, they’ve sure built themselves one of the most elegant Mid-Century Modern churches we’ve seen, let alone posted as a listing.
Joining some of the great local examples of MCM churches such as St Peters, Clayton by architect Ivan Anderson c.1966 or St Bernards, Coburg by Gregor Hirsch c.1955 which are closely followed and quietly celebrated by only the most hard-core of MCM observers, this too is sitting on the sharp edge of heritage, as the most endangered buildings we have in our midst. With parishioner drop off, shrinking maintenance budgets and clerical changes all conspiring, many once-filled pews and atriums now exist in limbo past their day-to-day usefulness, though still in the full bloom of architectural, esoteric wonder. It is a dilemma for our times, our councils and our creative minds to address and ensure that stunning landmarks as these are not simply resigned to being savagely altered out of existence, or worse knocked down for some vulgar commercial venture. This pair of soaring halls connected by internal courtyard, augmented by associated admin/living rooms, constructed in clean cream brick, expanses of timber and glazing is purely, on the merits of its materials (which echo that of an McGlashan Everist in architectural sweep) make it deserving of a new life and access for those who can work/perform/live with full appreciation of every aspect so designed. It would be diabolical to see even one centimeter of cheap plasterboard/foam cladding cover this beautiful interior or paint, new additional slap on buildings taint the outside. Like so many other places of worship we highly doubt such value has even punctured the radar of local council, let alone attained any kind of heritage protection. Once more it is up to us all to try for another end to this story, one of hope, beauty and appreciation. Here endith today’s lesson.
To our minds, one particular vision of Australian Modernism really comes into its own in these winter months, when the sun is low (and if in southern states, the chill and drear settles in for a stay) and that is the organic, early 70s, Sydney school informed Merchant Builders estate homes as designed by Graeme Gunn. We have regularly kept a spot open for these wonders (see our most recent from the Keraboite Gully Estate in Mount Eliza) with their appeal in recent years having finally and rightfully rocketing within the generation of us who perhaps spent their beginnings in similar surroundings. Today’s version within the notable ‘Winter Park Estate‘ is a lovely unmolested example from a design originally devised by Gunn in 1965 called the T3* here slighted changed up for the site. This fait accompli combination of progressive and stunningly simple design, raw earthborn materials offers nil to do but move in your indoor plants and LPs to complete the picture. Extra points here for the green limed kitchen (which has unlocked an entirely new level of interior possibilities!) timeless bathroom and flawless timber ceiling. An all round unmitigated delight.
*check out MCDA for all your MCM project homes facts and nomenclature!