2 Bellaire Ct, Beaumaris VIC

In a landmark street and from a local legend as Baurmaris Modern gives us the rundown:

“10 acres of land was purchased by developer/builder Max Sachs in the early 1960’s – the land had been a chicken farm. Max shared his office in Brighton with architect, Harry Ernest and built many of Harry’s houses in Brighton and Caulfield. The flat roof houses in Bellaire court were designed by Max to have ‘interesting floor plans, courtyards, swimming pools and good site orientation as well as new building techniques’ . Max built all the houses on a concrete slab and incorporated ducted heating into the slabs. Max said, ‘Its hard to achieve a good floor plan under a tiled roof’. Max worked with an amazing Dutch brick layer, ‘he was the top of his class with exceptionally clean brick work, with deep raked out and square ironed mortar joints’.
The houses were built between 1963 and 1968.”

This immacualte and very intact residence is a true artifact of our Mondernist Australian heritage. Who here would like to live amoungst it all?

‘Dearie House’ 14 Cromer Rd, Beaumaris VIC

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.

89 Pellatt St, Beaumaris VIC

Seasoned campaigners may picture first wave 1940s-50s bohemia when they hear the word ‘Beaumaris’ and their versions of timber and fibro domestic experimenta, produced by intellectual, pre-tv nature kids, however even in the 1970s Beauie was still building the kind of beautifully conceived and constructed Modern-ethos homes we all love. This one, a project design by architect Francis C. Mason for Lewis Coote Homes certainly displays the later-era penchant for darker organic brickwork, deep-toned timbers and heft of form. But what we can also see within this design is the direct Modernist language of straight-lines (overlooking that gabled roof), northern orientation, deference to natural light , craftsmanship and flow of space. The only requirement to bring this back to 1970 glory would be a clear out of the Baroque decor and a clean up of the yard (c’mon! that pool deserves a summer).

For more Beaumaris fun – remember the annual Beaumaris Modern Open Day is but weeks away on Sunday, October 20th! For info on all the open homes and tickets – head over to their page here.

‘Holderness House’ 17 Nautilus St, Beaumaris VIC

A big SOS in the sky has been sent up by Baumaris Modern for an exceptional, unsullied gem whihc is on the market and in the crosshairs of developers with dollar signs in their eyes. This beautifully simple, perfectly orientated, super clean-lined residence designed by Beauie local (and notable architect) Charles Bricknell* was built c.1958 and absolutely deserves a second shot at life for a small family ,or couple, or single who loves guests. As Beaumaris Modern attest:

“Perfectly sited on the block, the large north facing living and dining room was flooded with warm winter sun with an outlook to a delightful private garden……… It is beautifully designed, with living areas facing north to a large garden. The house has a central core with bathrooms, laundry and kitchen. The three bedrooms face the front garden. The house features full height windows, timber panelling, original ‘Beco’ light fittings, a double sided open fireplace, hardwood floors in perfect condition (under the carpet) and a carefully considered floor plan.”

What say you Melbourne MCM househunters? 

*Join Victorian Modern on FB and find out more about the architect’s life and work here.

‘Funston House’ 34 Hardinge St, Beaumaris VIC

The air in this one is thick with memories, scents and the spirit of original Beaumaris bohemia. Bouncing off the curtains, beamed ceiling and wildly angular spaces one can almost hear the late night froth and thrash of ideas, barefoot guests, wine being poured and LPs turned. Such antipodean poetry the very germination and flourish of which, in the stifled anglo banality of 1950s Melbourne, must have been like a daisy in a city footpath crack – surprising, bright and vital.
We sadly fear the worst for this untouched host turned vestige of such indie, historical scenes as it paris off with its more standard built counterpart to be sold on the same day. What to say? Times marches on and the relics of small but important cultural instances are so often left scattered and forgotten in the thrum. *sigh*

‘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.

Another loss

Shattered we are this morning to see the report from Beaumaris, where one our absolute favourite, architect designed and immaculate houses we listed back in 2016 has been knocked over to make way for townhouses. See our original listing here.

 

To say nothing of those magnificent mature trees and landscaping.

All of the beautiful and lost artistry of joinery, tiles, fittings as well as the valuable timbers have not been retrieved.

All is rubbish. All is skipped and bound for the tip. And the more all damned we are for allowing a society to become so feckless and wasteful.

‘Abrahams House’ 372 Beach Rd, Beaumaris VIC

And here we find ourselves again, at the residence continually eddying in the simmering centre that is the heritage V developer cauldron of Bayside Melbourne. We have listed this absolutely sensational residence of pedigree and prominence at least twice before. Twice before thinking its time was nigh and twice before making the call for a true Modern warrior to set to work within the beautiful lines and materials created here in 1961 by architect (and leading firm partner), Arthur Russell. It transpired the last buyer was not so – putting forward a sub-divison plan which (to our minds thankfully) failed, leaving this home surviving yet another round of the Modernist wars. With this development ‘loss’ in mind, the growing band of Mid-Century Modern enthusiasts growing exponentially and a rich vein of creative couples families and solo masters available to marvellous Melbourne; we again put out the call for a deserving buyer. We’re posting some pics from its first sale years ago to whet the appetites and fire the synapses of those who know true Modernist beauty (and location) when they see it. Sure it is tired. Sure it needs love and care. But it is a grand, unbending survivor which should finally receive the recognition and restoration it deserves and which is so brutally denied to many others in the ‘hood.

Xmas Wishlist #1 : Beaumaris Modern book

The rise of Beaumaris Modern, the preservation/celebration community residing in primo bayside Melbourne, has been a heartening development in the recognition and fight to secure our Australian Mid-Century Modern legacy. In just a couple of years this passionate gang of go-getters have evolved from appreciation website to local activists to open house & festival organisers extraordinaire. We’d urge anyone across the country who see their own patch being deformed by poor planning, negligible heritage assessments, unchecked ‘development’ and ignorant (and/or venal) councillors would do well to contact the leaders at Beaumaris Modern for a pep talk, direction of how and where to take the MCM fight and also when to spare negativity for more inclusive celebration (flies, honey etc).
The next stage of their increasing footprint is in-print with the timely arrival (for all your Christmas needs) of ‘Beaumaris Modern’ an absolute stunner of a publication. This lovely and sizeable book is a walk through some of the best residences in the Victorian crucible of MCM talent, and man-o-man what homes! A collection of cherished residences from the likes of Robin Boyd, Mockridge Stahl & Mitchell, Martin Sachs and David Godsell with in depth descriptions from BM lead, Fiona Austin, with contributions by Alison Alexander, Built Heritage oracle Simon Reeves and impeccable photography by Jack Shelton and Derek Swalwell, all delivered in the confines of sleek, hardcover, Modern graphica.

You can peruse and purchase a simply limitless number of flickable tomes about MCM design from overseas from UK Brutalist public housing to Fire Island Modern to Case Study Houses but it sure is nice to have comparably beautiful publications about our very own backyard and design heroes. As Molly says; do yourself (or the archi nerd in your life) a favour and check it out.

‘Beaumaris Modern’ will be released on the 1st December and is available for pre-order now.

‘Grant House’ 14 Pasadena Ave, Beaumaris, VIC

As we comfort ourselves with the news that one of Melbourne’s most original and worthy MCM homes has been saved via purchase on the open market, we sadly have to sound the sirens yet again. Just across the way from Boyd’s Bridgford House, sits this home by yet another long standing luminary Peter McIntyre, a commission for a Mr Alan and Barbara Grant c.1956. Made manifest by the true Modernist spirit and circumstances of its time, this residence was a one of McIntyre’s experimental responses to shortages of materials and expanding postwar housing demand. Its simple layout of living and sleeping zones coupled with renegade construction techniques of flexible, non-load bearing walls topped with a marvelous bow-truss ceiling had the needs of low-cost, mass-production potential in mind whilst thoroughly speaking to the new, casualised Australian way of life. The essentially original and tidy condition of this home is almost unreal for the suburb and it’s strikes the heart with a hard pang to know, once again, there is nothing planning-wise in place for this home to protect it from the bulldozer. Indeed word on the street is (at present) only developers have shown an interest in this wonderful, historical property with all of the worst intentions that implies. So we make the call. There is so much this home could be whilst remaining intact. There is room for a freshen up, a sympathetic refurb and possibly even extension with the right professionals at the helm. Anything is on the table to keep this home upright with integrity intact. Such a testament to our build heritage and its architect, one of the last MCM legends we still have with us, is worth considering. Share this one far and wide people.