The Flip n’ Fail

Every so often we allow ourselves the indulgence of savaging the current state of Mid-Century homes and the obsession of mass-class renovation within this ‘flip’ market. While sellers’ aspirations may now be forced to move down a gear (who ever knows the future?) one thing we do know is the parade of irksome examples in which bespoke originality, warmth of materials and bursting potential is wilfully destroyed in place of ‘consumer-driven’ neutrality and feckless banality continues unabated. 
We suppose on some level we should be happy that this Frankston home (of admittedly poor condition at time of sale 4 years ago) is still standing and structurally the same but we cannot help bemoan all the missed chances to make the interior a delightful expression of home and hearth using its original materials without resorting to a tiresome snowbound theme, wiping out all traces of inbuilt joinery and exposed brick (original light fittings not withstanding) and which in the process has changed a lovely Mid-Century residence into just another display house of overarching dullness. 



That said, that common garden variety ‘renovation’ isn’t nearly as offensive as this next abomination.

Imagine having the financial power (a lazy 3.5 mil in this case) to purchase a wildly designed, miraculously cantilevered waterside residence. Architecturally alluring and bold, built in the form a french curve with a swimming pool and entertaining at its heart, as listed here by us some years ago. 

Now imagine having no ability to conceive of refurbishment without ignorantly clinging to the most repellant hallmarks of commercially driven ostentation, pathetically confusing it for elegance. The result is here – a gangly mess of severe surfaces and depressing schema of metal, grey and ice contrived to appeal only to those with Patrick Bateman depths of sociopathy and other empty vessels for whom prescribed, high-gloss and over lit ‘luxury’ (but worthless liveability) is a deeply misguided yet viciously contested goal. And yes, they’ve filled in the pool.

This once lovely home of unlimited appeal and transcendent form now simply a cold mausoleum, a blockish monument to the worship and display of ‘capital’ at the expense of everything human, everything felt and heard and experienced.
We suspect a ‘make over’ provoking such visceral recoil purely from the online images feels like a house of clinical horrors in actuality and hence it comes as no surprise it’s been sitting on the market for quite while now. C’est la vie.


TEASER – In order to address this chronic problem in future and offer practical alternatives to this frozen pandemic, we’ll soon be launching a new aspect to Modernist Australia  – a companion and resource to locate the right practitioners and products to help anyone in their quest for sympathetic home renovation and refurbishment. Keep your peepers peeled people!

42 Castle Cct, Seaforth NSW

Though hexed by the snow fairies (those tiles- begone!) this is a killer party house of breezy living spaces wallpapered with to-die-for harbor views through floor-to-ceiling glazing, extending to magnificent decking and a swingin’ kidney-shaped pool making the most of the sloping block. Best of all is the original integrity of its classic MCM form still boldly apparent with that scene-stealing butterfly roof its crowning glory. So, sorry to sound a bit confused here, but can you tell us dear buyers/sellers in this bracket why such a magnificent and sprawling home on 2 levels, with 3 bedrooms and 4 car spots requires yet another storey? Are these perfect views not enough? Is this position not enough? Is anything ever enough?

7 Avona Cres, Seaforth NSW

For the underwhelmed, the fatigued, the spiritless looking for a spark to kick the heart back into gear – clap your sore peepers on this. For any maths-brained seagull it’s a french curve. For any real estate jackal it’s views, land and millions in a sale. For us it’s the ultimate in 1960s, jaw-dropping, party pad potential. Undeniable in orientation and light, its wild contours of brick, glazing and paving declare a boldness hard to locate in many contemporary builds and certainly never (in true 60’s form) with an economic 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom amenity. The mind begins to race with the jobs list required to bring this baby back to full and righteous glory – landscaping, exterior lighting, interiors (maybe taking that tv and split system away is start) though who really knows what inside holds? Let us hope it finds its path through the valley of real estate darkness and emerges on the other side in a year or two, victorious on the front cover of Vogue Living or Habitus as a magnificent blast from the past, reborn into the highlife once more.

62 Castle Cct, Seaforth NSW

There is nothing so pure in a realised vision of Mid-Century Modernism as the architects own home. This startling listing is just that. Unadulterated by any client’s mislaid pursuits of fashion or boastfulness, this home is the driven snow of Modernism in all it’s simple, spatial pleasure.
It’s can be a surprisingly difficult feat to maintain restraint in devising your own abode, but it was most likely made a little easier by the sweeping and incredibly Sydney bushland, waterfront locale. No amount of fancy bathrooms and excessive living areas could or should detract from the pristine environs in which this building resides – so why would you even go there? Why indeed. The floorplan of this 1968 masterwork reveals just how almost monastic and utilitarian this home is – a square of living, work and partitioned off sleeping quarters which ring the central plumbed rooms – kitchen bathroom, toilet within a skin of glass and timber with it’s sole purpose to breath the outside in. Pull up an armchair, breathe and dig that Zen.