Oct 23, 2012

Rescue Me Please :: I'm 1960s and (almost) ready to party...

Waiting, waiting, waiting to be rescued,
so the groovilicious party can begin.
Can we rescue this 1960s suburban modernist house,
which seems to have survived in a miraculous time warp,
and dress it up for contemporary living,
yet retaining the essence of its origins?
Let's see if we can...

Okay, let's put the building in context.
This is the front elevation,
and the word "tired'' is definitely springing to mind.
Plus there's just too much brown going on here.
It's earthy, but it's also sucking the life out of the scene.

There are fun elements though: wrought iron balcony,
cute wrought iron gate 
(super cute because one could simply walk through the open driveway,
but hey, I'm getting pedantic here...),
a fab sense of arrival, through the steps and linear direction,
and who doesn't love a good stripey garage door?
It stops the house taking itself too seriously.

Now I know cream bricks get a bad wrap,
I mean they did get used rather un-judiciously throughout the 1960s,
but they can look rather good.
 With a bit of contrast.
Just need a little imagination...

Yep, this is how to use cream or blonde bricks. 
This is Mac Robertson Girls' High School in Melbourne,
designed in 1934, Art Deco style, by the architect Norman Seabrook,
and it's a grand example of using contrasting red steel, charcoal brick & bright white
to make the cream bricks elegant and lively.

Alternatively, we could render the cream bricks in white,
a little like this Shakin Stevens House by Matt Gibson Architects,
which also exagerates the boxy facade,
which our house has. 

And by painting the window frames black,
against the white render, or against the cream brick,
we suddenly have some drama happening,
just as this house by Robert Mills Architects has.

After all, the 1960s were all about drama,
so a 1960s inspired silhouette needs that same punch of confidence.

Oh, and the 1960s were all about a good time too,
so we need to make sure our house is set up for parties. 

Now, let's have a look at the floor plan to see how the interior spaces are playing out. 
Can we have cocktail parties?
Um, yep.
Upstairs, with the sort of open plan living between the kitchen/ dining/ living
opening up to a couple of terraces.
That will work nicely for entertaining.

The downstairs "family" room has a bar - perhaps we need to call it another name?
Not sure I want my 13 year old mixing up gin and tonics by himself.
Maybe, the "den" instead?
And do you see the spiral staircase? Oh yum. Always a nice touch. 
Good for swashbuckling swordsman, but just generally a fun touch. 
No images on the agent's website of how our house's spiral stairs look, 
so I fear the worst,
but how about we give them a makeover to look a bit like this instead?

Sensual swathes of curving whiteness, 
with a seriously dark charcoal plush carpet which is heaven to dainty toes.
The dark charcoal, and little touches of black,
help to ground the wild excess of colour which we can splash about if 
we want to stay true to the 1960s theme.  

Here's our new colour scheme: dusted colours, mixed with masses of white 
to take advantage of our big windows.

That's an excess of colour & pattern in our house at the moment!
Purple chairs & sofa,
jade green curtains, avocado carpet and some psychedelic wallpaper.
(This is the time warp I was referring to earlier...).

Are you speechless yet?
Well, we could preserve it exactly as it is, as a museum piece.
But assuming we want to make it a little more appealing to current taste,
without losing this integrity of its origins,
how about we 
bring in some quieter, bronzed elements, rich timbers and lots of white like this...

And then add some brass and copper to notch up the glam a little...

And finally, bring in some rich colour in the upholstery and accessories...

Much more elegant, so far.
Now, how about the bedroom...

I rather adore that purple paisley (well sort-of) wallpaper.
I'd be keeping that.
And the parquetry block flooring is wonderful too: that can stay.
But we need to lose that hideous air conditioner,
install a more dramatic light and add some new curtains,
in possibly a silvery-lavender grey silk,
quite simple, but very generously full, and very highly slubbed to bring in some texture...

Which leaves the bathroom to ponder...

Oh, yes, that's original.
And I do rather adore the idea of a lavender or pink bath.
Rather outrageous, 
and certainly makes a change from the ubiquitous white.
Love those mosaic tiles, too, and the terrazzo floor.
But let's lose the old wired glass, 
which doesn't meet current safety standards anyway,
with some clear frameless glass, and get the tiles re-grouted in charcoal.
Again, it needs that charcoal or black to stop it being too pretty.

And perhaps some new tapware would be nice.

The lavender/pink/purple can repeat in little splashes of colour, 
with some jewel-toned glass bottles, perhaps,
and definitely a bit more black...

The back garden needs a bit of tlc...

and maybe a pool...

A pool with modernist, rectilinear lines.

So now our house is looking pretty inviting, 
much more sophisticated,
and definitely ready for that dinner party.

1960s inspired, of course. 

So, what do you think?
Is it worth rescuing, do you reckon?
Are we far enough from the era that we can see the value in it,
or is it still too close?

property location :: 11 bealiba rd, caulfield south, melbourne


  1. Love, adore, want!
    Hope it doesn't have an appointment with a bulldozer - def worth saving, but let's not make the reno's too o.t.t. (please)

    1. good point - couldn't agree more Kylie.

  2. Sold! Nothing could get further from my own house and that's why I love it, well after your makeover of course.

    1. along the lines of "the grass is always greener" me thinks!! xx

  3. Possibilities are endless. Could be amazing in the right hands, yours I think Virginia!

    1. Indeed, it's that sort of house with endless possibilities - it could be a thousand styles. xx

  4. No! That didn't just happen to me for the second time today! I wrote out a big ol' response and then closed the window instead of hitting "publish"! Will you still love me when they move me off to the loony bin, V?

    So here is what I was thinking: that you are so talented, it never ceases to amaze me, mainly. You just nail it! And that I was proud of myself because my first thought about the exterior was "paint the bricks white, the trim and stairs black and the walkways dark gray". I also would open up the back and put the pool directly off what used to be the dining area because you have made me crush on that so much.

    Whew! Caught up! And one last thing, you might want to check your Blue Fruit mailbox at the end of next week...I don't know why...

    1. somehow I don't think they will be putting you in the loony bin anytime soon, Heather!!

      very exciting prospect about the mailbox...what fun... whatever will you have dreamt up this time?? xx

  5. I think they need to let you loose in there! I think you could turn that into a stunning home.

    1. thank you Joy! It would be a fun project, wouldn't it? xx

  6. Ok, you're good, you're the perfect architect to remodel this house.
    And, that last dress, wow!! Must save it right now.
    Have a nice Wednesday!

    1. Hi Tereza, hope all is well. Thank you for the vote of confidence - coming from you it's fine praise indeed. And the dress...such a classic. xx

  7. I love 1960s designs and decor! You would do wonders with it.

    p.s. Sally Draper was mixing cocktails for Don and Betty when she was, what, 6 or 7 years old?! LOL Only on Mad Men!

    1. well at 13, then, Alistair should be fine! What a hoot, and how times have changed since the crazy 60s. xx

  8. OOH, loving this place... so 60's and definitely worth the effort of a revamp! I'd keep the pink bathtub too! and throw smatterings of lilac and grey throughout and absolutely needs pool (ala The Party), and a huge windy solid staircase. It look amazing! :)


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