‘Bridgford House’ 242 Beach Rd, Black Rock VIC

When checking a constant stream of MCM Australian Homes as they pop up on the market we can sometimes get a little complacent about just how innovative and in-tune with our emerging lifestyle many of these designs were, but nothing brings it back into sharp focus quite like one from an undisputed master. ‘Bridgford House’ was Robin Boyd’s most expensive commission to date when undertaken in 1954, at the behest of wealthy boatie Charles (& wife Phyllis) Bridgford. Sitting on a corner allotment this is only its second time on the market and (thanks Steven Coverdale for the historical pics and info) we can note the current owners have undertaken a beautifully skilful revival with a contemporary architect –  oh so light and delicate, in keeping with the truest sensibilities of Boyd’s early domestic catalogue. It is also with a recurring knot of sadness at the loss of Boyd so young, that we pour over every room with the sheer cleverness of his craft on view; the inbuilt cabinetry, dividing kitchen shelving, that wild indoor to outdoor dining table, groundbreaking walls of glazing, those stunning bedrooms – not hanging their attractiveness on large footage but rather on utility, light, formation and the unadorned beauty of raw materials – honestly we could look at this house all day and find something startling and elegant to gush over every time. The one recurring minor note to this tune is the question fate and future, for this prized residence sits in a now very ‘aspirational’ area where those with money far in excess of their cognitive skills race to build ever more bloated monuments to vapid consumerism and self-loathing and this home has no protection, heritage or otherwise, of any kind. It could be that in the wrong hands this home is dust by Christmas 2018 and a McMansion by Easter 2020. We cannot allow this to happen. We all must find a new custodian of this uniquely beautiful and notable residence ASAP!

**Update** It is with elated exhalation that the news has filtered through that this residence, more worthy than most preservation, as been saved via private sale! A news report details (that in itself a positive sign if the passion for MCM within our community) the new custodians to a local architecture and hospitality power couple  –  a combination no better suited we think to assume ownership of this fine home and assure it’s passage through the coming years.

“The piece of modernist history….. sold to Melbourne University architecture lecturer Catherine Duggan and her hospitality tycoon partner Maz Salt. Mr Salt owns some of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants including Belleville, Section 8, Ferdyduke and The B. East…….They plan to live at the home with their children, and Mr Salt said they were “looking forward to a long residency.”

Real estate agents take note – there is a market for properties in these high-inspirational suburbs which extends far beyond mere land and development potential. It would bode well for you all to recognise and cultivate this burgeoning market sector, for we all know a developer sees through a narrow lens of profit margins with a set spend limit, whereas those people of means (most often those for whom curiosity, creativity and adopting early are the foundation of their success) when enraptured by the beauty of Mid-Century Modern architecture will move heaven and earth to get what they want. 

3 Whitton Ct, Black Rock VIC

Time to get tasteful in the well healed bayside burg of Black Rock. A sleek and mostly original beauty with a glorious aspect and pool area. Special mention here to that main bedroom where everything from the due-north wall of windows to those timber bed lights is simply dreamy.

5 Tandara Ct, Black Rock VIC

It’s ones like these, full of lovely space, light and of simple, practical design which we worry about. Hidden, unassuming, in some charming suburban court and clearly in need of some renovation we know how the story ends – mostly in a flurry of poorly thought out fast fashion, herd-driven choices, poxy workmanship and simply no integrity to work within the original aesthetics. Maybe not. Maybe this time it will be different. We shall see.

1/57 Bluff Rd, Black Rock VIC

Medium density living need not be all hulking, neo-Georgian ‘villas’ taking up every square inch of their block with no outside spaces. And utilising proper orientation, large-scale windows and a clear design vision they can be unobtrusive and all you’d ever need. This cutie-pie has been updated but thankfully because of it’s superb MCM design there really isn’t much to do. More of this and less concrete battlements and the NIMBY crew might come round to the idea that 6 million people can’t all live on quarter acre blocks in a city – not matter how ‘blue ribbon’ they claim their ‘burb to be.