The wild permutations of this swirling world are creating schisms in the fabric of our reality. One could easily slip through a finely worn section, back to 1967 and make a home here – a textbook example of a Graeme Gunn designed Merchant Builder’s home which has never seen another owner from those who built it that year. Pristine in its purist, Australian Modern design, without a single superfluous angle, line or space and made of neutral earthbound tile, timber and brick this home provides elemental solace and spiritual succor for these, our heady times.
After that delectable European fare yesterday, let’s go back to the cake shop for another hit. This one in what we’d also deem a hotspot of MMMM – AKA postwar, emigre, domestic architecture, with the name here giving it away off the bat. ‘Zimmerman House’ (c.1967)* is yet again a breathtaking work of era and culturally specific Modern luxe; flawless cream brick, tile and stonework, bespoke joinery, wide breezy living spaces and full-length glazing answering so beautifully to the desires of today’s high-steppers but possessing the exuberant and daring details seemingly long gone. Another which needs a respectful hand, who also knows a great party house when they see one.
*Designed by Sol Sapir who, like Alistair Knox, is one of our great, Mid-Century,’un-papered’ architects with an outstanding built legacy.
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.
Ah the sheer bargain basementry of regional Australia. Where you can snag a builder’s own, huge, c.1967 McGlashan Everist residence set on 7 acres with sweeping vistas of Mt. Langi Ghiran as you bob about in the central pool. Friends, lob-ins and/or the mother-in-law can seek a days or weeks or months restful repose in the bonus-round 2nd house – a collection of ply lined and fully kitted out domes by the dam, with its own charms and alternative lifestyle ambitions. And all this for around the $900k mark. Not a bad little basecamp from which to sample the majestic Pyrenees reds and rock climbing (preferably not in that order). Get your mates together for the ultimate, private Airbnb/ wedding venue/ bush escape by a pair of lauded Mid-Century Modern masters today!
This stunning and unmolested Sibbel Builder’s residence was just made for rainy, Melbourne days. Preferably while wearing an arran knit, corduroy flares, with Court and Spark playing on the turntable. Get yer glorious, crunchy 70s on, in full effect people.
The geographical impossibility of us snapping up this home, resplendent with such glorious details, design and condition makes us quietly weep. Dovetailing with his dismay is the sales pitch which limply suggests some kind of refurb ‘to taste’ (now what would that be exactly? Ripping out the bespoke cabinetry and chucking in some Bunnings janky particle board? Render the flawless blond brickwork? Slather every surface in ice-white paint and high gloss tile like some kind of Metricon interior package’ option #16′? We shudder at the thought) and moreso encourages those, who in the interests of nothing more than personal financial gain would knock it down and replace it with who-knows-what kind of godawful townhousery. In any case, we make the plea as usual – can someone please snag this before it falls to the mindless minions?
Though much of the beach shacks we post here are very modest, sometimes the classic Mid-Century beach house was a little more ambitious, built for any number of cousins, grandparents and drop-ins cycling through the seasons. This unbeatable residence is a case in point. A walk from the beach, surf club and the best dinner on the entire Surf Coast, it lies swaddled in bushland and reverberates that eternal nostalgia and promise of Summer. So much joy and recognition sparking off every surface and open plan space here, including the awesome iron balustraded deck, carport underneath (housing either a station wagon or ping pong table), main living with expanses of window, tiled fireplace (do. not. touch.it!) or that sweet as Jan & Marcia bathroom. All in all, it conspires to pull heartstrings and purse strings in order to make such an unparalleled and uniquely Australian lifestyle, a permanent option.
We’ve listed a multitude of Alistair Knox homes over the years. From the super grand to the beach-side modest, from the ultra renovated to even a tract of project homes (and plans) this residence however is really humming our tune. Less rocky and more straight-up brick and timber it remains so graciously untouched as to (fingers crossed) have bypassed the high-water mark of the render era and may indeed, because of its integral organic beauty, be cherished again for its gorgeous spaces, textures and vibe. And though getting up there in price we know being able to replicate this now would cost several million that is, if you could even source the materials and rustle up the seamless craftsmanship (doubtful). So go for it gang, check with the bank and take advantage of those spiralling interest rates, we anticipate a righteous flurry for this one.
When we walked the blossoming spring streets at Beaumaris Modern Open Day one weekend ago (next year everyone – just do it!), little did we know one of the stunning examples for perusal would soon be hitting the market. ‘Dearie House’ designed by architect Kevin Knight c.1953, thankfully survived as a local classic for decades unchanged by the same family and now been sensitively renovated by its second owners. With the hand of architect Matthew Green (who now runs his own shop, OMG Architects) this humble and delicate MCM home of stone and timber has been reborn with a fittingly scaled addition of a kitchen, master bedroom, living spaces and stunning landscaping (and pool!) to finish. It is the respectful dovetailing of form, 60 years apart, which we encourage and foster here (most specifically in our MA Rolodex) as it reiterates that the design principals and choice of materials utilised within a Modernist progressive mindset remain steadfast and timeless. Having set foot here not 2 weeks ago, we cannot fully impart how beautiful this home is, though the excellent photography (kudos agents) offer a slight indication of its allure. Get on it peeps and join the enclave down Beauie way, they’d always love another one of us.
It’s been a while since we’ve been graced you all with a Sibble Built home. For those uninitiated, the Dutch-born, Sibbel brothers Martin and Herman (aided by one of their daughters) and officially known as Sibbel Builders (1964-1975), created an entire legacy of highly crafted and designed residences across Melbourne. Their trademark of beautiful timber joinery, thoughtful design, and deference to the natural environment of each site, in the best Modernist traditions, has enthralled many over the last 40 years. Sadly the last few homes by Sibbel Builders we’ve seen have been run-down then knocked down, however, this absolute ripper stands proud and true as the day it was built (albeit with some minor changes). Handsomely positioned on a difficult sloping block, this spotless example is a classic, late-era Australian, Modern house of earthly comfort and light which is made all the more culturally pointed that (once again) it took immigrants to clarify and confirm just how beautiful that can be. Click and Enjoy.