Mar 21, 2012

Rescue Me Please: I'm 1930s Glam & Gorgeous

We are on a rescue mission again today. 
This time, 
a very elegant 1930s home in Toorak
is calling our attention.
She is a sort of Tudor Revival & sort of Hollywood Regency,
so let's have a look and see what we can do with her 
to return her to glamorous glory. 
Our girl has a name as befits one of character.
(Well you already know I adore the 
notion of names for houses
from an earlier post.)
Our girl is called "Darrawah".
She has the steep gables, narrow chimneys
 & many-paned windows of the English Tudor Revival style,
which was rather popular in the 1930s.
But without half-timbering on her walls to complete the look, 
we can't quite pop her into the Tudor box. 
Back to that character again.
She wants to be a starlet, of Old Hollywood style,
because there is a bit of Hollywood Regency happening 
in the kidney pool shape & external staircase. 
Now it's in the floor plan that we can 
see the gracious feminine 1930s curves
& the emphasis on entertaining. 
See the "enclosed terrace" & 
the sweeping shape of the steps to the pool?
Oh but the "enclosed terrace" is rather more of a conservatory!
Ah yes, we can have some fun with that. 
It reminds me of the conservatory 
we looked at last week
by Mim Design.
We'll just bring in some in glossy white pots 
of pink & blue hydrangeas
& masses of palms, 
with a bit of white wicker furniture.
A bit like this.
It'll be the perfect spot for pre-dinner cocktails.
Now any glamorous hostess from the 1930s era
knew how to make an entrance.
Which means having a rather elegant staircase.
Better see how Darrawah's look.
Ok, some work needed here.
The arched window is good. 
But I'm thinking we need a bit of curvaceousness... 
Like this. 
That's better. 
Richly stained timber floors,
wrought iron handrail,
carpet as rich as melted chocolate on the treads,
& a swirled scoop of vanilla icecream of a balustrade.
Darrawah's steps lead down from the conservatory terrace
to this rather lovely freeform swimming pool.
A bit perfect for pool parties. Glam ones. 
Looks like our kitchen was a remodel in, um, the 1980s?
Functional, yes.
But glamorous? Not quite.
I was thinking something more along these lines...
This is by the clever Kara Mann. 
It has the right kind of dramatic feel for our house, I think,
with those "look at me" legs.
Bedrooms were often more "boudoir" than utilitarian in the 1930s
Hollywood Regency style homes. 
So how does our main bedroom look at the moment?
Well I guess it's functional like the kitchen.
But it does have French doors onto a Juliette balcony,
so that gives me an idea or two...
Adding that romantic element of feminine luxe
would give our bedroom much more 1930s inspired glamour,
a bit like this bedroom at the Palazzo Margherita.
 So that's the kitchen, staircase & bedroom sorted.
How about the living areas?
There's a gorgeous porthole window in this room.
 And some charming doors + leadlight windows in this one. 
But I'm thinking a bit more contrast in the textures & colours 
wouldn't go astray.
Like adding a charcoal rug
on top of our newly darkened floorboards.
And some quirkily interesting lamps.
And we'll be needing a bar.
Of course.
A sexily dark & sultry one with brass trim preferably.
We need somewhere to keep the cognac. 
For when the local cricket team pop in.
As for the colour scheme, 
well apart from our base of charcoal, ivory & rich timber,
we can add a few touches of turquoise blue,
blush pink, palest mustard & lustrous pewter
in an ode to the era.
Lastly, what shall we wear to the house warming cocktail party?
The one to celebrate all our hard work. 
Jill Sander's 2012 collection 
has just the right note of 1930s sentimentality,
without being too slavish to history. 
 And the boys will need to be dapper as well. 
 Loving the return to double breasted suits!
(Have just talked my husband into buying one for upcoming winter.
So unbearably dapper. Especially with a bow tie & cufflinks.)
I'm getting distracted now....
Sadly, this grand starlet is being sold complete with plans
to demolish her & build 5 luxury apartments. 
But fingers crossed, 
somebody with imagination will buy her 
& restore her to the glamorously gorgeous 
1930s home she could be.

Is she worth saving? I think so. Do you?

Property : 45 bruce st toorak, melbourne
Agents & house images : kay & burton.


  1. I think it's worth saving too. The backyard and pool are fantastic! Great ideas Virginia!

    Love the Hostesses Unafraid ad! :)

    1. Isn't it too gorgeous? If only all our dilemmas were so easily solved with a can of soup! x

  2. What a fun post. I will definitely call you before I buy my next house ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Oh I had such fun putting it together too, Veronique! x

  3. OK, I am in complete awe of your imagination and talent. Such a well-conceived post, the entire thing shows what a labor of love it was. I enjoyed each & every photo...but the stair re-do...simply to D.I.E. for.

    1. Wow, thank you. Thrilled you enjoyed it. Yes, a staircase like that would definitely have a real impact on the hallway. x

  4. I absolutely adore what you have done to this place :) - it is gorgeous and the ideas you have come up with are brilliant. WOW Virginia you are one talented lady indeed.

    1. Eeeks, thank you Anya! Such generous words. x

  5. Wow was swept away. I loved the escape. just what I needed. Ta. G.x

  6. Gorgeous post - you've put in so much. I'm with you I would kill to have a project like that. I love all your ideas! Pop over to my blog when you have a spare minute & check out the new look!

  7. Bah, you don't need to ask me--of course!!! Sigh--stupid apartments. Girl has a lot of glamour in her yet.

  8. That would be so sad to see it knocked down for MORE apartments. Your ideas are so fabulous Virginia; I particularly love those for the conservatory. Do you think you have another move in you??? Annie x.

    1. Oh definitely Annie. I am getting twitchy much as I adore my current home, I can never stay still for very long, so watch this space! x

  9. What a fabulous all of your ideas - you are one talented lady!!

  10. What a beautiful post! You really did put some thought into this and this is why the world needs decorators! All that lovely material to work with and how this home could have been taken to a whole other level...shame but I think it may be destined for apartment city!!

    I really love the vintage and fashion images you chose for this post!
    Delightful read!!

    JWE xx

    1. Tragically, I think you may be right, but I'm hoping! After all, both the Art Deco & the Edwardian houses, that I previously did "rescue me posts" on, were purchased by couples who want to save not demolish, so perhaps there is a mood for change in Australia? x

    2. Someone saved the Art Deco house?! Really?!! Yipeee!!!!! That is such great news--oh please share such updates when you have them, Virginia.

    3. Yes, a good point Heather! I'll do exactly that because it is very encouraging - thank you for pointing out what I should have realised! x

  11. The others have said it all nailed it!

    Your "make over" is far more glamourous looking than any modern (code for cold, stark and boring) luxury apartment is likely to be. I vote to save her too.


  12. Do you think Virginia, I think this might be Joan Lindsay's old home? I may be wrong (would have to check my notes) but she was this end of Bruce Street.
    A lot of famous people have lived in this tiny Toorak street. It would be such a shame if these houses were torn down for modern apartment! Oh, I'd cry!
    Your posts are so fabulous. You should be an architecture journalist!
    Janelle McCulloch xx

    1. Thank you Janelle! Coming from you that is VERY high praise! And oh my goodness, could you check your notes? I couldn't find anything about the previous history of it when I hunted, but that would make it even more fabulous. The apartment plans have been approved by council...don't start me...x

  13. I'm in LOVE with the coffee table in the 7th pic (w/ the white couch). Do you know where I could get it or who the decorator was? I would pay to have that sucker shipped to the U.S.!

    1. Hi Amanda. Yes, I do know. It's made here in Melbourne by a fabulous local company called Zuster (and no, they are not sponsors of mine so I am unbiased - but I do specify a lot of their beautiful furniture because the quality is superb.)

      That table is part of the Stella range. Link is

      VB x


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