Let us now retreat back down to Melbourne and into the world of European delicacies with two very fine examples of Marvelous Migrant Melbourne Modern (MMMM) today. Starting with this gorgeous and untouched beauty and first one built (c.1963) in this noted road of the matzo heartland that is Caulfield North. Everything in right place, like time hasn’t moved a second – the breathtaking terrazzo, custom joinery by Dario Zoureff (natch), pink bathroom, breeze block, golden wallpaper, parquetry. We mean – sheesh – the front door here holds more craftsmanship in its ornately carved frame than most volume knock-ups have in their entire construction, hell, an entire estate! It bears repeating that this kind of detail and creative boldness is simply not done these days, we have not the materials, nor the finely skilled artisans on call like these families employed back then and it pains us to think such manifest magic could be simply skipped by the next spiv who rolls along with dollar signs in their eyes and polystyrene board in their veins. Nope, it will not do. Someone buy this and save it. Preferably today. Please and thank you.
A favourite MCM subset of ours, and rather little known, is the regional Australian success who knew a thing or two about progressive design, had the finances and the connections to create something special to revel in his achievements. ‘Pronger House’ is such an example. Commissioned by local window and joinery manufacturer, Viv Pronger. this striking home in Gympie, bearing trademarks of his own industry, still holds the essence of progress and dynamism which made this local family a prominent fixture. Compleated c.1961* and albeit having undergone some not so sympathetic changes, the word on the ground is that it’s still choc-a-block with unusual and gorgeous Modernist swing which lends itself easily to a complete refurb – celebrating past glory and pumping it back into the future once more. Get out on that patio kids!
* Architects: Prangley and Crofts
There’s something delightfully palate-cleansing (after such recently rich fare), to look over this elegant, original 1950s (?) apartment. This is not your usual 60s unit block cutie-pie either- but a very considered design, arrangement of space, walls and full-length windows with simplicity at the fore. And we’d dearly love to know the architect responsible.
Ah the sheer bargain basementry of regional Australia. Where you can snag a builder’s own, huge, c.1967 McGlashan Everist residence set on 7 acres with sweeping vistas of Mt. Langi Ghiran as you bob about in the central pool. Friends, lob-ins and/or the mother-in-law can seek a days or weeks or months restful repose in the bonus-round 2nd house – a collection of ply lined and fully kitted out domes by the dam, with its own charms and alternative lifestyle ambitions. And all this for around the $900k mark. Not a bad little basecamp from which to sample the majestic Pyrenees reds and rock climbing (preferably not in that order). Get your mates together for the ultimate, private Airbnb/ wedding venue/ bush escape by a pair of lauded Mid-Century Modern masters today!
This stunning and unmolested Sibbel Builder’s residence was just made for rainy, Melbourne days. Preferably while wearing an arran knit, corduroy flares, with Court and Spark playing on the turntable. Get yer glorious, crunchy 70s on, in full effect people.
Sorry Queenslanders we’re trying to list some current MCM goodness for you, but in the meantime check out this incredible monolith we’ve been alerted to sadly little too late as it sold in July. We are equal parts in awe of its commanding street presence, internal features (timber, joinery, tile and double sided fireplace for starters) and worried about its future. All we can do is cross our fingers and hope it has landed in the right hands………..We post it here as testament to remarkable, local design and as a meagre form of digital preservation.
Though some agents, owners and renovators are starting to mistakenly conflate ‘Palm Springs’ domestic architecture with slapping white paint everywhere and planting a few succulents, this residence we feel strikes a pretty good and relatively considered tone. The old listing pictures attest to the care and sparkle these owners navigated, removing some nasty colonial touches (the usual offenders – kitchen, front door) and snazzing her up without going overboard. No doubt they will be handsomely rewarded for taking an already wonderful and mostly original home and getting it looking super-fly with contemporary flair and Mid-Century Modern pedigree rejoining forces very amicably.
The geographical impossibility of us snapping up this home, resplendent with such glorious details, design and condition makes us quietly weep. Dovetailing with his dismay is the sales pitch which limply suggests some kind of refurb ‘to taste’ (now what would that be exactly? Ripping out the bespoke cabinetry and chucking in some Bunnings janky particle board? Render the flawless blond brickwork? Slather every surface in ice-white paint and high gloss tile like some kind of Metricon interior package’ option #16′? We shudder at the thought) and moreso encourages those, who in the interests of nothing more than personal financial gain would knock it down and replace it with who-knows-what kind of godawful townhousery. In any case, we make the plea as usual – can someone please snag this before it falls to the mindless minions?
Mainlanders, we’d stress before checking this listing closer you affix yourself to your positions – rope, cable ties or perhaps nail through the feet will come in handy handy to combat your instant questioning of everything you hold dear about your present life, housing stock, affordability and access to nature, for this residence will force those questions upon you whether you are prepared or not. And any firmly held fears about taking up in a small, northern Tassie hamlet; a dour malaise, the conservatism, the sheer inability to get anything other than fish n’ chips on a Friday night might very well be pushed aside once this beautiful set-up enters the fray. Architect designed (surely?), stunning timber and stone work, split level studio space, immaculate condition, positoned under achingly blue skies with plenty of gardens, Tamar views and all well under $500k.
It may be time to reassess.
Though much of the beach shacks we post here are very modest, sometimes the classic Mid-Century beach house was a little more ambitious, built for any number of cousins, grandparents and drop-ins cycling through the seasons. This unbeatable residence is a case in point. A walk from the beach, surf club and the best dinner on the entire Surf Coast, it lies swaddled in bushland and reverberates that eternal nostalgia and promise of Summer. So much joy and recognition sparking off every surface and open plan space here, including the awesome iron balustraded deck, carport underneath (housing either a station wagon or ping pong table), main living with expanses of window, tiled fireplace (do. not. touch.it!) or that sweet as Jan & Marcia bathroom. All in all, it conspires to pull heartstrings and purse strings in order to make such an unparalleled and uniquely Australian lifestyle, a permanent option.
A genius, northern orientated floor plan (which allows for midnight snacks in a private terrace for the grownups) is but one of many aspects which makes this heart palpitating home by William Workman so effortlessly stunning and sophisticated, that you’d best be able to hold your own once you breeze in that front door. We are not worthy.
We’ve listed a multitude of Alistair Knox homes over the years. From the super grand to the beach-side modest, from the ultra renovated to even a tract of project homes (and plans) this residence however is really humming our tune. Less rocky and more straight-up brick and timber it remains so graciously untouched as to (fingers crossed) have bypassed the high-water mark of the render era and may indeed, because of its integral organic beauty, be cherished again for its gorgeous spaces, textures and vibe. And though getting up there in price we know being able to replicate this now would cost several million that is, if you could even source the materials and rustle up the seamless craftsmanship (doubtful). So go for it gang, check with the bank and take advantage of those spiralling interest rates, we anticipate a righteous flurry for this one.
This morning is was a Beachcomber in Avalon Beach, stlll going strong though in need of repair and love. Tonight is the ‘after’ version on the down the coastline where not only has this example of Nino Sydney’s iconic design been transformed beautifully – showing what is possible in a very sympathetic and pared back renovation, but whatsmore turned the building (easily too) into a business base, food production and apartment combination – a first for us here! Now you can have your home, office and make your salami/florentines/canapés too! Will wonders never cease.
The one thing which separates this fixer-upper of the Mid-Century Modernist genus (and what a specific genus it is – a completely unsullied Beachcomber!) is the sales spiel. Any other day we’d see the agent ignoring the history, architectural significance, elemental beauty and renovation potential of this c.1966 Nino Sydney classic in favour for tiresome bants about S.T.C.A or plans for your own ‘luxury abode’, but not these guys. So three cheers for Blake Property hip hip hooray! Now we just need someone to come in, make these renovation proposals a reality and the fairytale will be complete. C’mon Sydders, step to!*
*Remember gang, once you’ve snapped up this rare and sensational slice of Australian Modenrism, you can always check our Rolodex for a list of architects and other creatives to guide you in the world of sympathetic renovation, refurbs and building!
South Australia continueth the lesson in high-steppin’ elegance with this insanely intact home atop bush land hill acreage. Displaying the kind of restraint seen in the dietary patterns of WASP ladies-who-lunch (that is to say – a super human ability to say ‘no’ to all extras) has left this residence as sparkling and true as when it was built. There is no overblown luxe-overs, nor cheeseball attempts to be ‘classy’ with marble or stainless steel, for such gauche manoeuvres are not necessary when something is so refined from the outset. The gorgeous windows opening to a northern panorama, the simplicity of spaces and blond brick lending a extra purity to the Modern, no doubt architect led, design. And the fact that something this breathtaking and original is within financial reach for many is another stab of injustice to those unable to relocate to this ever-more desirable of spots. We click and we wish.
When we walked the blossoming spring streets at Beaumaris Modern Open Day one weekend ago (next year everyone – just do it!), little did we know one of the stunning examples for perusal would soon be hitting the market. ‘Dearie House’ designed by architect Kevin Knight c.1953, thankfully survived as a local classic for decades unchanged by the same family and now been sensitively renovated by its second owners. With the hand of architect Matthew Green (who now runs his own shop, OMG Architects) this humble and delicate MCM home of stone and timber has been reborn with a fittingly scaled addition of a kitchen, master bedroom, living spaces and stunning landscaping (and pool!) to finish. It is the respectful dovetailing of form, 60 years apart, which we encourage and foster here (most specifically in our MA Rolodex) as it reiterates that the design principals and choice of materials utilised within a Modernist progressive mindset remain steadfast and timeless. Having set foot here not 2 weeks ago, we cannot fully impart how beautiful this home is, though the excellent photography (kudos agents) offer a slight indication of its allure. Get on it peeps and join the enclave down Beauie way, they’d always love another one of us.
It’s hard to work out which and what has been altered quite when (though there is mention of 1971, we can’t be convinved those glass bricks appeared that early. However, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a landmark party pad to rival any of the nu-masions which now populate the beach suburbs of Perth with hella more character and style. Get up and get down.
Here’s the score – we’ve been alerted to this, a slice of classic, Sydney Mid-Century Modern domesticity (architect as yet unknown**) – in grave danger. We hear/tell that the market audience for this property so far has consisted of self-styled renovators armed with plenty of cash and a diploma from the infamous Channel Nine School of Design who, as such, don’t ‘do’ architecture and certainly don’t know concrete block. They cannot appreciate nor recognise a material expressly chosen for its earthly countenance, its raw beauty or the warm (yes, we said warm) embrace of its stability when thoughtfully utlised and paired with similarly natural timbers and walls of glass. Concrete block for these buyers is something dad’s mate used to knock up a shed in the 70s. It’s a bedroom in a juvenile complex. It’s something which must be done away with, most likely and simply by the crime-trend we call rendering. Well, we declare, as is our mantra, this home is not for rendering. This residence cries out for someone who knows this to be the truth and will leave well enough alone to be relished au naturel, as its intelligent and creative designer intended. Send it on people, hook someone in for we all know, by any metric, it will be worth more in the future if you do.
Many thanks to Instagrammer (and Modernist Australian) @95bianchi for the extra pics and the heads up!
**Update** We have been contacted by the daughter of the original owners who dearly would like this to fall into respectiful hands. She has also advised the architects – Schmaehling and Partners – Year – 1962 and a PDF outlining its design origins with a remarkable elevation drawing to boot!
Pam was up there as a most popular post-war, girls name. It became the common moniker of hippie chicks in the 60s, working mothers in the 80s and now Boomer grandmothers. Along with others of the era – your Karens, Lindas, Barbaras, Carols and Sandras we await its inevtiable return to newborn wrist tags, when the wheel of fashion turns once more. Fortunately for this home, built around same the time when all these girls where born, its ineherant beauty has already been has been realised agan, it is righfully celebrated and is now presented triumphantly for a new owner to appreciate. Time to don the togs and get by that pool, girls of all names.