23 Buchan Ave, Wangaratta VIC

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.

23 Garfield Street, Klemzig SA

Adelaide continues to hurl MCM treasures at our heads apace, with this estate trustees sale no ordinary real estate clearing. In fact this beauty is right up there in its design, almost touching on a little FLW 1930s glamour in the fortress-like detailing out front, and crisp squared interiors augmented by floor to ceiling glazing, straight as cream brick and all original joinery (including kitchen) all utterly unmolested. Though we might be tempted to move on the secuirty mesh doors and replace the gazebo out back with a pool and garden worthy of this residence’s un-the-radar chic, we’d leave a good 90% unchanged and timeless as it is today. 

‘Penjonan’ 1405 Maitland Vale Rd, Hillsborough NSW

For those whose MCM fantasies inhabit the rare but not impossible dreamscape of pastoral gentility and all the fob chains, checked shirts and R.M. Williams that entails – cast your eye over this beauty. Though so much of the rural Australia is fighting a desperate battle with drought or flood, it seems to have completely bypassed this patch of sun-dappled hectares – a paradise of lush paddocks, scenic hills, sweeping lawn and one of the more extraordinary late Modern (c.1979) homesteads in recent memory. First time for sale, designed by Newcastle architect Steve Busteed this duel-winged, brick, timber and cork floored beauty is in immaculate condition. And after all is said and done, there really is nothing better to pass the time on a Sunday evening than to click away and enjoy the latest instalment of country high – stylin’. Enjoy.

24 Gothic Ave, Stonyfell SA

It is with trepidation we post this for such an incredible, delicate, some might say – virgin – MCM home pared back to purity of design and materials, primarily light timber and that classic Adelaide stonework, deserves only the most controlled and considered hand. To our minds it is a case of protecting it as is with appropriate restorative finishes (perhaps a coat of paint – only where peeling already) and adding furnishings for the personal touch, hell – we’d even leave that lino for Lynch-esq creepy dance parties. 

**Update** Inquiries made by an on-the-ball Modernist Australian – thanks Ali! – suggests the agent is somewhat overlooking the inherent beauty of this home and pitching for a sale based purely on the land value. Typical. Fishing for philistines who mindlessly destroy impossible-to-replicate timber, stone and craftsmanship, not to mention gorgeous architecture for some godforsaken profit margin. GRRRR! C’mon gang! One of you please buy it and allay our fears that this too, could become one of the lost ones. 

‘Roder House’ 73 Dashwood Rd, Beaumont SA

The full buffet spread of history, preservation and great Australian Mid-Century mythology today on MA. With many thanks to Stuart Symons AKA Modernist Adelaide (follow now!) – a comrade in the Australian MCM scene, who recently held tours of this very home and has generously handed on all the delicious details to us. 
To wit – a glorious Modern residence commissioned by a couple from Adelaide’s legal glitterati – Judge John Roder (AM) and wife Denise Roder. Originally designed and built in 1957/58 under architect Pamela Opie – the very fact of being a women professional in the field, making her a trailblazer for her time. Extended by Opie again in 1962 and once more in 1969 when a water tank (an existing rural vestige dating from the 1920s) was converted to house Denise Roder’s father. The result? Committed recycling, atomic age chic and intergenerational living all converging into one wildly cool, circular pad. One further addition was also made by firm, Simpson & Simpson, carried out in 1972 with partner Marjorie Simpson (female architect again – hello!) a key player. 
According to legend the Roder’s – as regulars on the legal and political scene of 1960s and 70s South Australia – hosted many a soirée on the patio where discussion was deep, the cocktails chinked for hours and according to one witness statement, Don Dunstan himself (ultimate Mod Premier) was spied piffing oyster shells into the garden, careful to not let the seawater drips land on his safari suit – ooohh baby!
Fast forward 30 years to new owners purchasing this home in 2009 as a tired, deceased estate being marketed as (surprise, surprise) a knockdown. Many years of toil and finances followed, restoring flooring and electrics, the ripping out janky air-con units, reglazing and also navigating some unchangeable aspects such as the painted concrete brick and a brand new, not-so-mod kitchen. The new owners also set to adding some thrilling features like the gorgeous landscaping by Virginia Kennett and that to-die-for pool. 
The only question now is; who among us deserves to take on such a beauty? Which one of you has the respect of the present owners plus the pink shorts chutzpah of the originals to continue the tale of this most glamorous slice of Adelaide Modernism? We shall wait and see……

‘Solar House’ 32 Rosco Dve, Templestowe VIC

By the end of the 1970s suburban housing with technological advancement was changing-up into fifth gear with the promise of brilliant and unforeseen leaps in computer innovation and material fabrication. Landmark homes stepped to and built this residence which pointed to a progressive and hopeful move into sustainable and elegant living with mainstream allure. This home in particular (c.1979) amassing many accolades confirming such, including Herald-Housing Industry Association Award 1979 and the 1980 Gas & Fuel Corporation Energy Management Awards.
Then the blows came, when the nobility of meaningful design and environmental considerations in the volume housing sector was unceremoniously slaughtered on the 80s altar of arch-capitalist avarice, excess and a cultural slide into white colonial veneration culminating in the proliferation of neo-Victorian brick veneer, double fronted hot boxes, augmented with iron lacework, picture windows and painted in the seemingly only sanctioned colour triad of cream, maroon and bottle green. Gah! It would be amusing, if it didn’t so heavily contribute to thousands of acres of insipidity mediocrity, a professional approach of profit focused anti-design and a ‘just bung a reverse cycle in the wall’ solution mindset to temperature regulation in estate housing, which in turn now bites us all back in the form of ever worsening climate change and power bills. 
But we digress.
This home stands as it always did, in lovely condition and timeless and accomplished in its idealism. And perhaps still exists as a sentinel, so we now finally can take up where it left off.

39-45 Wills St, Kew VIC

Nothing in the world is more certain than this one being razed very soon. A c.1957 architect designed residence, conceived by who-knows which architect (though we’d suspect there’s only a handful it could be) and built in the heyday of bohemian Studley Park, it now resides with its beautiful trees in quiet, palliative stasis. But too soon the dozers will roar over it all, tearing it away from this world and most likely putting in its place (as they have next door) some thumping mish-mash of Nu-Georgian marketability. Adieu, gracious one, you shall always be here in the digital ether, with us.  

4 Torres St, Red Hill ACT

Hey capital cats; what’s the go here? We are smitten by this imposing residence of Hollywood-esq Hills drama including a bold butterfly roofline, double story stone feature wall, classic timber and glazing and a curious addition out back- a Modern Canberra c.70s self-contained unit. But the question stands; what’s the inside story? With no floorplan, no architectural history, no internal images of the principal (earlier) residence and no inspections allowed (!), bold is the soul to shells out for a hilltop acre and home, as beautiful as even this one might be, with out stepping foot within. Thrillseekers and those with fertile, excitable imaginations we leave this one up to you!

546 Churchill Ave, Sandy Bay TAS

For all those left indignant by the previous Iwanoff, here’s something a bit more original now (despite the recurring colonised kitchen). A mystery residence (c.1965) in fancy-lands Hobart town with more than a little beautiful timberwork and bulkhead lighting all over (always a weakness for us & the recent revelation of ‘warm white’ fluorescent tubes? Gamechanger).

‘Booth House’ 59 Oban Rd, City Beach WA

Though, to our minds, not exuding either the early, simple elegance of his 1960s projects, nor the wild, dynastic richness of some later landmarks this 1970’s commission by Iwan Iwanoff (extended by the man again in 1973) is still acceptable with its low-slung, Palm Springsy vibes, albeit blanded way out. The feature pool area and those towering pines out front, a layer of extra delicious icing on a pleasant MCM cake. 

23 Morland Ave, Stonyfell SA

A superfine & super refined residence in the Adelaide holding up a tradition of South Australian listings we have come to know and envy:

– classic, higher-end MCM lines and design
– incredible craftsmanship, with feature stonework deserving a special mention
– great proportions on a more-than-roomy block
– Excellent close to original condition (albeit with a little whitening)
– the kicker: an insanely reasonable price range.

It’s all there kids, ready and waiting for you.

‘Porter House’ 30 Koornong Cres, North Warrandyte VIC

OMFG.

A bold and early contender for MA house of the year (hell, maybe find the decade) is this unparalleled, mint original (check that stove FFS!), Yarra-side beauty, presenting as though you’re handed the keys direct from the builder. The (obviously) hippest people to ever inhabit the The ‘Dyte – Kath and John Porter – commissioned this residence in the early 60s from architectural firm Hipwell Weight & Ross, and it was all completed by 1965. These single owners have maintained this incredibly stunning, Modernist home of timber and brick to such an impeccable standard over the last 54 years, that we are simultaneously swearing and gasping for breath. We simply cannot go on. We must hand it to you, while we attempt regain our composure.

3 Gidgee Ave, Templestowe Lower VIC

Just imagine taking a mellow Sunday arvo, carving through the barren streets of a new housing estate of the edge of any metro or regional place to view the house and land packages. See yourself walking through the display villages, the rows of insipid porticos, double garages, eaveless pitched rooflines and after-thought landscaping only to find yourself becoming, as Vonnegut might say, unstuck in time and landing face-to-face with this offering instead –  ‘The Aquarius /V444′  project home by architect Peter Vaalburg *. A beautiful concept of generous proportions, framed by expansive timber beams, floor to ceiling windows creating a tranquil living environment of flowing spaces, internal courtyards and perfectly positioned bedrooms. The reality of that fantasy sits here, 50 years on, still resplendent in its timeless design and condition (though that granite kitchen bench top must be banished) and we’ve featured a couple of these examples before – most notably this one Yea in a similarly respectable condition. The attraction of the plan and build is undeniable, yet (as well all know) there is nothing close to this in the mainstream volume housing market as it stands today. This sad fact alone is all the more reason to hold onto this beauty as it exists, to champion all that we seemed to have lost in this sector and give us something aim for, one day, again.

*For The Age RVIA Architects Housing Service Competition of 1969. Many thanks again to Steven Coverdale for the historical images. 

3 Fourth Ave, Lane Cove NSW

Hold onto your secateurs kids, for this residence may be simply splendid but that garden? Hoo boy! Held for 60 years and clearly beloved  – evident in the kitchen and bathroom still as sparkling as they day they were built (trust us, that’s an incredible rarity) this one ticks many a Mod box and it’s only then you step out back for the knock out punch  – and endless, gentle slope of palms, ferns, monstera, lawn and stone terracing. Garden party animals, eat your heart out.

‘Simpson House’ 13 Alwyn St, Croydon VIC

Maybe the market is cooling or perhaps this is a locally perceived no-go zone (friends, it’s Croydon, let us not split undue hairs here)? In any case this striking Mid-Century ripper with bedrooms and yard to spare seems like a bit of a bargain. We’ve left out the kitchen pic (an 80s foray – easily corrected) and the concrete block needs the spam pink blasted off, but otherwise it’s lookin’ pretty fine. Acres of glazing, freestanding brick fireplace with feature copper flue, beams, bulkhead bathroom lighting, low-slung carport entry…it’s all too good and primed to get even better – in the right hands.

*Update* Wonderful architectural historian Simon Reeves has given us the lowdown on this one – marvellous migrant modern Melbourne strikes once more!
“This house was designed by unsung Dutch emigre Gerrit Hartland…… At the time, Hartland was employed in Gregory Simpson’s office, and he designed this house for the boss’s unmarried sister, Miss Kathleen Simpson. Circa 1965.”

19 Clarence Ave, Klemzig SA

A very special house tonight from one our favourite suburbs to which we’ve never been – Klemzig, South Australia. This late 50s pioneer has withstood the trials of time and development due to its dedicated and passionate owner who has lovingly cared for this residence since the late 60s. The time has come for it to pass into someone else’s hands and it is desperately vulnerable to the developer’s roving eye. We cross our fingers and post it here in order to prevent such a dire outcome. As Don, the present owner explains;

“The house was built in 1958 when Clarence Avenue was created as the result of the subdivision of a huge property. While most of the new houses that were built in the street in 1958 were traditional in style, our No.19 was way-out, daring, avante garde for the era…..(with) its unusually attractive setting diagonally across the block and its unusually attractive entrance hall with its glassy window wall looking into the living room.
We bought the house in 1968 and have been owners for 51 years. The large front garden has been carefully maintained and enhanced over the years.
The site is quite unique, as it’s a corner block, adjoining a lovely small park on one side and a cul-de-sac on another. It has a double garage with exit directly out onto the cul-desac and direct entry into the living room – almost unheard of in 1958 in Klemzig.
We have restored the house to its classic mid-century appearance, as we regard it as treasure of a property. While we realise that a developer may buy the property, our hope is that the successful buyer will be someone who values the property for the special character that it has, and enhances it even further.”

Hear hear.

23 Hopes Rise, Frankston South VIC

A bit of Franga fabulous today capturing that rectangular, upstairs/downstairs of many a beachcomber-esq, sea-side house design but with the bonus of a bangin’ nostalgia trip for all those 70s kids out there –  timber walls, floating staircase, shag carpeting (yes, even in the kitchen) and stonework. With a beautiful line outside and awesome details inside and potential for so much in the garden, we need this to go to someone who knows what they’re doing not just any ol’ punter who’ll blindly slather it in white paint for a flip and certainly not someone who’ll destroy it for some polystyrene clad townhousery. C’mon gang – this is the affordable Mid-Century dream for one of you.

17 D’Aguilar Rd, The Gap QLD

Brisvegans get ready to rumble, we’ve got the scoop on this unqualified killer never before seen on the market – Yowzer! A 1955 residence by architect Graham Peterson of firm Briggs, Peterson and Burnett. All kudos and high-fives go to the original owners (inheritors?) for taking to task what Googlymaps suggests was a tired (though thoroughly incredible) home and polishing it up to dreamboat status (gangplank entry included!) without going overboard. No total white out, no extraneous extensions, no milk-date trendiness or misplaced intentions – just the stunning purity of the original design, the materials and environment shining though every inch. We’d be hard pressed to find any recent residence in Queensland of such wonderful architecture coupled with presentation itself a lesson in balancing skillful restraint and glorious celebration. Bravo to all, we predict a bun-fight for the rights as next owner (kicking off right now!) shall be a handsome reward. 

59 Arabana St, Aranda ACT

Back to palate-cleansing purity with this gorgeous, c.1968 Canberra home by hall-of-famer Daryl Jackson. Like the timelessness of its beautiful bushland environs, this home has barely changed in 50 years but for a small (and overall sympathetic) kitchen update. And really, why would it need to? This offering of all-Australian Modernism with elemental harmony at its core is as practical to the needs of contemporary living as it is beautiful behold in the contemporary eye. Wholly divine in low-key warmth and simplicity.