‘Uglow House’ 79 Buena Vista Dve, Montmorency VIC

In this, the 100th year anniversary of Robin Boyd’s birth and within the festivities taking place all this year (check out the Gillison Open House this Sunday for the next day out) we are lucky enough today to list one of the legend’s residential gems.
Its been some time between Boyd drinks here at MA but we are ever gladdened to see with every new estate listing the prominence of the godfather of Australian Modern is being celebrated and his ideas for design now a selling point. And this home in Monty is a cracker, a classic 50s (c.1956) example of Boyd’s work, with a typically groundbreaking design of open flowing spaces (in the years we must remember, when most of Australia was still living in19th century cottages with lean-to sculleries), a starling use of limited materials on hand: exposed beams and panel ceilings, entire walls of glazing and of course unbeatable solar passive orientation (when will this ever be the norm huh?!). Originally built with a modest 2 bedrooms and a den, it has been subject to change over the years, but overall remains in much loved and well-preserved condition. As with other great Boyd homes, this building is not only a private residence on a beautiful bushland block but a revered spot of Melbourne and Australian design history and with any luck it will be the charge of a new custodian who takes pride in celebrating that. 

47 Astley St, Montmorency VIC

A more unassuming little home today, though nonetheless lovely and progressive for it’s time (c.1962) it sits on huge bayside land and hence is at dire risk of being destroyed. We understand the owners desire to post it here to find someone with the bucks to cherish it as they have and we’re never gonna give up or let down (see what we did there) anyone who feels that way about their MCM pride and joy. So c’mon gang – this is one golden home with a beautiful native garden – all ready to roll for you.

17 Margaret Ave, Montmorency VIC

 

A glorious rebirth to get the weekend pumping for you all. Though we privately prefer our nuts and berries, Alistair Knox homes to stay nutty (read: Keep that brick and that ceiling guys!) we totally understand the move to a slicker look and really with a swirling discussion right now of celebrating Modernism and promoting its allure to those uninitiated, this home may possibly do more for the MCM cause than some unintelligible and instantly filled away council paper on the subject. By employing an accomplished architect who ‘gets it’, keeping the design integrity of Knox’s original, Modernist vision with little adjustment to the main floor plan, promoting some of the gorgeous internal timber and beamed ceilings as a feature, banishing the faux-colonial kitchen and then splashing out on all the zhush (not least some spectacular landscaping) to send those with the cash into a frenzy, these owners have achieved a good balance of preservation, celebration and exultation to be admired and cited as one way to get the message out there.

 

30 Astley St, Montmorency VIC

Monty’s never gonna let you down with the likes of this. An absolute ripper. Straight and clean as they come*, in an Australian native palette of red/brown tones and opposing textures, dialling up the cosy. Oh, and big props also to the agents for espousing the virtues of slate flooring, flawless timber and brick, instead of dismissing their inherent beauty in favour of a cheap whitewash – we wish wish there were more of you to go round!

*Architects – Herman and Martin Sibbel

1 & 2, 11 Hughes St, Montmorency VIC

Uneasy, very uneasy is how we feel. We should be overjoyed at the discovery of 2 houses side by side, a tangible and sensational progression of Australian Modernism has appeared in our midst. We could wonder at the front home’s history, as its architectural elements suggest a notable progressive talent and it’s present furnishings and unmolested condition draw a sentimental sigh with every glance.We might nod approvingly at the timber craftsmanship and casual light filled homeliness of the back house or wonder what the pool and surrounding gardens may hold. But all we can do is feel dread to the pit of our stomachs, knowing full well that these delightful and potentially renewed homes are marked and more likely than not, come spring, they’ll not be with us. Take it in, this is our built heritage, something being lost a little every day.

** Update, We have discovered the heritage overlay report for house number 1 and as suspected was a groundbreaking post-war project carried out by architect William Woodburn and his wife in 1948-9 to be their the family home. It remained in the family until 1983. It’s conception and use of new and unusual materials for the era, including mudbrick, drew praise from Robin Boyd and makes this a significant property for the City of Banyule. Does this mean the agent’s blithe suggestions of demolition and redevelopment would face hurdles? Is this something the selling parties want swept under the rug? Or sadly, like so many local heritage reports, does this add up to nothing in the face of any forthright and friends-in-town-hall developer?**

Listing