Finally, in an area with the twin reputation of having the grandest Mid-Century modern homes in Victoria with the fastest rate of destroying and replacing them with hideous, overblown mansions by all-money-no-tastemakers, finally comes this joyful confirmation of the importance of architectural legacy. Taking a gorgeous1960s home of fine joinery (Dario Zoureff strikes again!), plentiful proportions, and clean lines and polishing it up to a contemporary sheen – this is a singular, glam-infused, dynamite party house. And whatsmore its being sold on its genuine and groundbreaking architectural pedigree, the sales angle alone is rare for such an area, even for a building as well turned out as this. Now, if this could just happen with all the other similarly beautiful original MCM residences in Brighton, they may just save their gold-plated souls yet.
Some ripper aspects to this endangered Brighton beaut – the landscaping, bbq configuration complete with copper hood, internal timber detailing, northern orientation and epic design comprising walls of glazing and masonry but the one feature that truly elevates this home is the internal courtyard. Letting in light and providing an architectural focus to an entire floor plan, internal courtyards are guaranteed to add a certain Modernist je ne sais quoi to any residence and are one of those precious items on many a MCM home wish-list which rarely gets a tick.
**Update** thanks to Simon Reeves – this home was from the architectural offices of Bernard Evans, military man, Mayor of Melbourne (for 2 terms) architect and head of one of the the biggest architectural firms in Mid-Century Victoria. Now that, my friends is a list of accomplishments!
About as iconically pared back Modernist for the Victorian capital as a Johnson in New Caanan, a Koenig in Los Angeles or a Mies in Chicago is this pinnacle residence by Guilford Bell (c.1972). By all accounts one the architect’s most accomplished and favourite commissions, amid a lifetime of notable work. It may be such a complete and astounding expression of Bell’s ideology and practice because his clients, William and Elaine Seccull, apparently gave over complete trust of the project to the architect, proving that it’s an unfettered genius who reaches the highest heights. The architectural merit of this home at a state level is explained in the Victorian Heritage Database Report as follows;
“His (Bell’s) distinctive oeuvre combines modernist minimalism with traditional symmetrical and axial arrangements, and middle-eastern inspired courtyard planning. The Seccull House is possibly the most thorough and one of the most impressive examples of his works. Architecturally and aesthetically the Seccull House is an extraordinary work. It incorporates a series of restrained but powerful minimal gestures to create a layered environment of streamlined simplicity, and classical repose.”
The fact that it remains amazingly intact and has received relatively sympathetic updating over it’s 45 years, adds yet another layer of wow to woo to the beholder. Straight to the dream folder with this one.
This elegant, yet informal family residence was designed and built in 1966 by its owners, Peter and Pat Shaw. An admirable couple of intellectual and cultural rigour – true Mid-Century Modernists of Melbourne – they have left this home to their children who in turn seek a deserving custodian who will respect the its progressive past and take it into the future. To the right owner not only comes this wonderful home, in a classic bayside locale, but possibly some of the remarkable bespoke furniture within, also built by Peter Shaw. To wit:The house is on a large block surrounded by native garden, with large fully functional shed/studio. Plenty of potential to extend up and/or out on both house and shed/studio.
Lovely north eastern aspect with deep eaves and cross-ventilation throughout provide high environmental sustainability
Cream brick with flat roof and exposed timber beams.
Floor to ceiling windows flood the living areas with natural light.
Open plan kitchen living area, sewing/music nook, separate lounge and dining room
Four bedrooms, all with generous built-in robes
Two bathrooms, separate laundry
Kitchen with electric glass cooktop, wall oven, plenty of bench and cupboard space and spacious meals area
Deep built-in cupboards in lounge, sewing/music nook and hallway
All rooms and cupboards have floor to ceiling Tasmanian blackwood doors
Cork tiling throughout and good quality carpet in the lounge
Reverse cycle air-conditioning and hydronic heating
Outdoor dining area in established native garden
2000 litre rainwater tank
10 minute walk to Brighton beach, 8 minute walk to train station for a 25-minute journey into the Melbourne CBD, 5 minute walk to the Were Street shops.
**Update** This home is now in the hands of local agents, check the listing!
As any salesman loves to utter – there’s something for everyone in Brighton, SA today. And what a delightful proposition for the modernist in the market including a checklist of original materials in beautiful order – stonework, breeze blocks, timber panelling, crazy paving and floor to ceiling windows. For the more retro-inclined there is a turquoise bathroom and 60s bedrooms just waiting to be relished again. For the purist there is a simple layout of living/sleeping quarters, flowing spaces and spot on orientation; living to the north in winter and breezeways to the south in sizzling South Australian summer. For the mod green thumb (and yes thats a thing) there is a basic framework awaiting a plan and planting to fully complete the total MCM picture. This one is a dead-set darling and certainly deserving of someone who recognises it as such. Please consider.