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 In Lifestyle

The History of Modernist Homes in Melbourne

Interiors were defined by open floor plans, often split-level, with lots of floor to ceiling windows and sliding-glass doors designed to bring the outdoors in. These elements, while radical in the day, now form the foundations for contemporary housing design.

Crazy paving, sunken lounges, timber panelling and stonemasonry walls. Over the past few decades, style-savvy owners of Melbourne houses built around the 1950s-70s have been ripping out or hiding these classic mid-century modernist features in a quest to make their homes more, well, ‘modern’.

In recent years however, there has been a massive rise in the popularity of original modernist architecture, and many buyers are now on the look-out for properties with precisely these characteristics.

The bulk of Melbourne’s mid-century modernist homes sprang up in the bayside and bushier outer suburbs where block-sizes were large and the houses could be oriented to the north. Beaumaris, Brighton, Mt Eliza and Balwyn are areas where you can still see classic examples by some of the leading architects of the day including Robin Boyd, Guilford Bell and David Godsell.

The hallmarks of mid-century modernist style include clean, simple lines with flat, single-angle or ‘butterfly-wing’ roofs. Interiors were defined by open floor plans, often split-level, with lots of floor to ceiling windows and sliding-glass doors designed to bring the outdoors in. These elements, while radical in the day, now form the foundations for contemporary housing design.

Architects and landscape designers also worked closely together and outdoor installations such as boulders, crazy paving pathways and rock-gardens were incorporated into the initial plans. Inspired by Palm Springs ‘desert modernism’, swimming pools, palm trees and giant cacti were also big features.

Perhaps try and get your hands on original plans, you just might uncover a floored-over sunken lounge or discover a stonemasonry wall hidden by plasterboard.

If your house was originally built in the 1950s-70s, and even if it has gone through many renovations, it’s worth checking out its architectural heritage. Perhaps try and get your hands on original plans – your council may be able to help you there. You just might uncover a floored-over sunken lounge or discover a stonemasonry wall hidden by plasterboard.

Marshall White agents are experts in identifying particular architectural elements and advising how highlighting these can add value to your property. A beautifully renovated home that pays homage to its modernist origins, but with a cool, contemporary edge, offers the best of both worlds.

Should you require advice on any aspect of selling your property, contact our Marshall White Sales Team for assistance. For more information contact us on (03) 9822 9999.

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