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 larger than life example of Marvellous Migrant Melbourne Modern, though this time it’s across town in the MCM death valley of Balwyn North. The usual checkboxes here; noted architect of Jewish extraction Ben Alexander, commissioned by similarly observant post-war business success story, G Szalmuk (whom upon a quick Googs seems to have been a very generous fellow with several schools and medical centres around Melbourne bearing this name) and with interior craftwork by the MMMM regular Dario Zoureff. All of this said, there is really only one word to describe this breathtaking 1970 home of large proportions and joyfully elaborate interiors: BOSS.
Hefty yet super sleek, this slice of Marvellous Migrant Melbourne Modernism (MMMM) drawn from a blessedly bottomless well of superbly maintained, imposing residences which initially (if not still) house their commissioning owners, were built with a level of investment and craftsmanship unseen in the country before or since. Perhaps in proud resolve to their new country and survival in the face of annihilation, this particular example (like so many in the area) was built for European diaspora Marek and Guta Procel and designed by dynamic post-war architect couple (and holocaust escapees) Joshua and Mary Pila, in 1967. Over ten years ago it was taken over by interior designer Caroline Gibbes who proceeded to ever-so lightly update the home, promoting the gorgeous timber work (a legacy of local go-to craftsman Dario Zoureff) (oh that entry!) and keeping the parquetry, terrazzo, metallic wallpaper, updating the kitchen in total harmony with the age and sensibility of the home. The end result is that this residence has since been sold again with no meddling from any lesser vision. A success in refurbishment which continues to shimmer with total sophistication and ease of living.
With thanks to our Rolodex experts; Simon at Built Heritage & Steven of Mid Cenutry Domestic Architecture for all the historical tidbits.
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.
An at-risk bayside beauty with dedicated owners intent to handover to anyone so worthy and sadly (but typically) for Brighton, it has nil heritage protection *sigh*. Completed in 1958 by unsung architect Walter Mason, from all accounts a rather progressive Mid-Century man round the way (indeed Trinity Court is recognised historically as an estate of such housing), this modest home unsullied by time and newer-tastes retains a litany of glee provoking aspects; sunny yellow kitchen/ cobalt bathroom tiles, cream brick with crazy paving accents and stone feature chimney, floor to ceiling glazing everywhere, sunken lounge and (our personal fav) a blistering cocktail cabinet and wall joinery by cabinet maker Dario Zoureff – ooh la la! What is not to adore about this place? Calling all bayside cool kids – there really ain’t nothing finer, get on it right now lest some unholy wealth creator with a bulldozer gets there first FFS!