A genius, northern orientated floor plan (which allows for midnight snacks in a private terrace for the grownups) is but one of many aspects which makes this heart palpitating home by William Workman so effortlessly stunning and sophisticated, that you’d best be able to hold your own once you breeze in that front door. We are not worthy.
This morning is was a Beachcomber in Avalon Beach, stlll going strong though in need of repair and love. Tonight is the ‘after’ version on the down the coastline where not only has this example of Nino Sydney’s iconic design been transformed beautifully – showing what is possible in a very sympathetic and pared back renovation, but whatsmore turned the building (easily too) into a business base, food production and apartment combination – a first for us here! Now you can have your home, office and make your salami/florentines/canapés too! Will wonders never cease.
The one thing which separates this fixer-upper of the Mid-Century Modernist genus (and what a specific genus it is – a completely unsullied Beachcomber!) is the sales spiel. Any other day we’d see the agent ignoring the history, architectural significance, elemental beauty and renovation potential of this c.1966 Nino Sydney classic in favour for tiresome bants about S.T.C.A or plans for your own ‘luxury abode’, but not these guys. So three cheers for Blake Property hip hip hooray! Now we just need someone to come in, make these renovation proposals a reality and the fairytale will be complete. C’mon Sydders, step to!*
*Remember gang, once you’ve snapped up this rare and sensational slice of Australian Modenrism, you can always check our Rolodex for a list of architects and other creatives to guide you in the world of sympathetic renovation, refurbs and building!
Here’s the score – we’ve been alerted to this, a slice of classic, Sydney Mid-Century Modern domesticity (architect as yet unknown**) – in grave danger. We hear/tell that the market audience for this property so far has consisted of self-styled renovators armed with plenty of cash and a diploma from the infamous Channel Nine School of Design who, as such, don’t ‘do’ architecture and certainly don’t know concrete block. They cannot appreciate nor recognise a material expressly chosen for its earthly countenance, its raw beauty or the warm (yes, we said warm) embrace of its stability when thoughtfully utlised and paired with similarly natural timbers and walls of glass. Concrete block for these buyers is something dad’s mate used to knock up a shed in the 70s. It’s a bedroom in a juvenile complex. It’s something which must be done away with, most likely and simply by the crime-trend we call rendering. Well, we declare, as is our mantra, this home is not for rendering. This residence cries out for someone who knows this to be the truth and will leave well enough alone to be relished au naturel, as its intelligent and creative designer intended. Send it on people, hook someone in for we all know, by any metric, it will be worth more in the future if you do.
Many thanks to Instagrammer (and Modernist Australian) @95bianchi for the extra pics and the heads up!
**Update** We have been contacted by the daughter of the original owners who dearly would like this to fall into respectiful hands. She has also advised the architects – Schmaehling and Partners – Year – 1962 and a PDF outlining its design origins with a remarkable elevation drawing to boot! Check it out here.
Yet another unforeseen and breathtaking example of early, Post-War Australian Modern, this home has incredibly remained unmolested by anything or anyone for the last 60 years. We’re going to assume the owner was a indie stalwart, a bush-seeker, a soul steered not by concerns prestige nor the trappings of the material, but rather progressive ideals of design, the purity of elemental nature and the serenity of considered spaces. We’d dearly love it, if there is anyone left in Sydders with such a mindset (and also the funds – a most impossible combination), to take on this place and continue on, as it has done for over half a century.
**Update** We have received word from the daughter of the owners and builders of this residence, a rather progressive couple – as we had guessed – who employed noted architecture firm Robertson and Hindmarsh (active from 1953-1977 – and thus essential Australian Modernists) to build the family home in 1960. Upon vacating the home, was the discovery made of several Sunset magazines, perhaps used a resource to advise on creating a Modern home on similarly hilly California terrain – bless!
As the real estate riches continue to rain down from all corners of the country, we thought we’d start the week right with this sublime slice of Sydney School residential architecture. An (̶a̶s̶ ̶y̶e̶t̶ ̶u̶n̶n̶a̶m̶e̶d̶)̶ architect’s own home built c.1968 and lived within from ’71 to this very day. This top-to-toe slayer comes to us in pristine condition – a nuts & berries dreamscape in raw brick and beams, with the brilliant Australian light (and views!) permeating through entire space via walls of glass and all topped with era-typical soaring cathedral ceilings and that fireplace/sunken lounge combo taking righteous centre stage. Please and thankyou.
**Update** Well, well, would you believe this is the home of none other than noted Sydney architect Allan ‘Barry’ Holt – Australian born and studied who was elected an ARAIA in 1959, and whom by the late 1960s was in partnership in downtown Sydney with Peter Swan – yep the very same Peter Swan whose incredible residence for the Welch family we listed here last week! What a dynamic duo they were and – as they say in the classics – Deirdre Chambers, what a coincidence!
*Updated brought to you by Simon Reeves, of Built Heritage. Contact him via our Rolodex for all your pressing architectural history investigations.
It always pays to letter drop.
When agent Marcus Lloyd-Jones of Modern House (the only Mid-Century Modern real estate agency in the country) had his offer taken up to appraise this home (after popping a flyer in the letterbox) little did he know he was to stumble across one of the most exquisitely secret residences in Sydney. Owned since 1974 by the Payton family, English immigrants with over 5 generations famous within antique and fine musical instrument business, they have lived within and cherished this home for over 45 years. The home’s origins lie some ten years earlier when it was built in 1962-63 as a commission by Peter Swan. Swan had offices in Pitt Street, though his business was in commerical architecture, this residence is the only private residence known thus far to be designed by him. The commissioning client was the Welch Family, of also another noted family business this time in construction, Welch Bros, which worked with other noted architects at the time, though their reasons for employing Swan to design their family casa is unclear.
However, all of this wonderful (and until now undocumented) history doesn’t really convey the sheer stun this home will inflict upon viewing. The cascade of expletives and gasps will commence with the street view, the low-slung carport and hints of stone, a tempting invitation to anyone versed in MCM residential architecture. Inside the house reveals itself slowly but surely and it is here, click by click, you can sense the incredible use of materials including; Tassie Blackwood paneling, stone fireplace, full-height glazing and the outstanding design with total north facing living, garden lightwells, pool-centred courtyard and split levels. The entire residence an individual expression of Modern architecture at the time, with clear comparisons to some of our most beloved and well-known names such as Walter Burley-Griffin, Bruce Rickard or Neville Gruzman.
This home is up there with the greats, its recent discovery enthralling and its immaculate, all original presentation we hope magical enough to attract a deserving custodian of integrity, if not also some form of heritage recognition.
**Update** The indefatigable Simon Reeves, whose unparalelled achitectural detective services you may precure on our MA Rolodex, has filled us in on not one, but several known Peter Swan residential commissions in locales such as Fairfield, Northbridge, Castlecove and especially Castlecrag, which included his own in The Barbette (but of course!).
For all the fish-in-a-barrell snidery directed at a certain subset of idle well-to-do women, with bottomless bank accounts, golden-haired children and 200k Insta followers* we’ll actually be really disappointed if this doesn’t fall into such hands. We believe this little home-husk, synchronised in nature and of stunning potential could do a lot worse than to be taken up by such, to return triumphant on the cover of some house mag in 18 months time as an aspirational dreamscape of considered, Tapestry-tinged, material celebrating refurbishment**, bedecked with all the tasteful, sustainable and material loveliness that goes along with that.
*A local has suggested a mistake here in our cultural assessment of place; despite the pricetag, the locale of Coaster Retreat isn’t really the prevserve of the steroeptyical glam-insta-Northern-Beaches-mummy we hear/tell about, purely because its relatively rugged environemnt including no access other than boat, no cars and no shops. More a place for lovers of nature and hermit level quiet, rather than the gabbling ‘influencers’. We stand corrected.
**Read: NO WHITE PAINT!
Architect’s (own home); Jack Farrington of Stafford Moor & Farrington
c.1969 build, seemingly untouched since.
OMG OMG OMG.
Mint condition. Incredible design.
OMG OMG OMG OMG.
Tiles. Carpet. Kitchen.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.
Gorgeous acres, pool, trees.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
OMG OMG OMG OMG……..
An immediate eye-catcher, upon closer inspection this residence reveals itself to be an astounding, low-whistle stunner. A veritable statement in seventies sophistication and sleekness, courtesy of its European architect, Polish-born Nado Milat (our first listing by this notable practitioner who was also an illustrator and muralist), this is an incredibly intact example of late-era Modern domestic design and is almost intimidating in its New-Hollywood magnate vibes (wine cellar and aupair quarters – but of course). We usually don’t bother to recommend you view an agent’s listing video – there is only so much repetition of stills, insipid muzak and drone shots one can take, however in this instance you really must see it all to appreciate every single and stunning aspect of this astonishing home. Oh our shining stars!