Australian Homes

Tim Ross and family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 29th June 2011

The beautiful mid-century home of Tim Ross and family.  Love that vintage turquoise Womb Chair (design Eero Saarinen, 1948).  All photos – Lucy Feagins.

Loungeroom details – top right is one of Tim’s favourite pieces, an Arne Vodder sideboard with coloured drawers – ‘my own 30th birthday present to myself’ he says.

Dining area – LOVE the Eames shell chairs in mismatched colours!  So perfect.

You may have seen this STUNNING mid-century home before, because it belongs to someone a bit famous.   Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross, his gorgeous wife Michelle and their very new bub Bugsy live here!

This mid-century marvel was built in 1959, and it sure was lucky to find Tim in 2005 (he is only the third person to own the home)!  SO many modernist homes in Australia end up being demolished or re-configured beyond any recognition (devastating!), but Tim is a self confessed architecture nerd, and has been extremely passionate about restoring his beloved pad in keeping with it’s original design.  Much of the home is in original condition – sadly the bathrooms had already undergone unsympathetic renovations when Tim purchased the property, so Tim replaced these.  Carpet from the 1980’s was removed and the original boards polished.   Tim chose big splashes of colour for internal doors and cupboard doors – incredible!  Love the bright red and yellow – the perfect 50’s finish!

It’s so clear within moments of chatting to Tim just how much joy his home brings him.   ‘As weird as it sounds’ he says, ‘the house actually smiles at you’.  Isn’t that such a beautiful idea? And so true!  Tim and Michelle seem to live such an inspired life here – ‘I love it in winter when we light the fire outside or we cook and listen to old records. The lounge room has so much light we find ourselves drawn to it daily.  The house is a great piece of international Modernism plonked in a suburb better known for it’s sandstone houses.  It has been important for me to maintain it’s rough edges. I want it to feel like a house that is 60 years old, it’s part of it’s charm.’ Ahhh, now that’s true home-love!

Tim’s passion for all things mid-century clearly extends to his choice of furniture and interior details.  He’s is an avid junk shop fiend – favourite pieces include the Arne Vodder sideboard with the coloured drawers in the loungeroom, a wonky old featherston chair, the Finn Juhl chair in the lounge room… and ‘watching Michelle curl up in the old Womb Chair to feed Bugsy is rather sweet’ he says!  Tim is a collector of MANY things – ‘cameras, old records, phones, teapots… I love all of them’ he says.  ‘I have some German tea pots and cups that were leftover stock from a homewares store that my parents ran in the late 1960’s, they are rather special to me.  I love the stories behind what we collect’.

Whilst Michelle and Tim did share a joke during my visit about being pretty much at furniture capacity(!), Tim admits he always has an eye out for new finds!  Favourite fossicking spots include Retro On Regent St, Vampt, Koskela and Spence & Lyda in Surry Hills, Recycling Works Annandale and in Melbourne The Junk Company and Found Objects in St Kilda (sadly now closed).  Tim says he’s also picked up lots of smaller things at The Rozelle Markets, and he keeps a keen eye on Shapiro’s mid century auctions and HFOC (Home Furniture on Consignment) is good too… (‘all those people who can’t help but redecorate all the time getting rid of stuff on the cheap’).

Tim’s Dad has an antique stall at the Tyabb Packing House in Victoria too, which Tim says he ransacks every time he visits, picking up cameras, old photos, postcards and posters. ‘The amount of stock he has is really quite incredible’ says Tim… ‘he’s 75 and quite insane but he just loves old things and their stories – mmm I wonder where I got my collecting bug from??!’

I must say a HUGE thankyou to Tim and Michelle for sharing their very special home with us, and for their patience and their trust.  Michelle was LITERALLY due to have Bugsy at any moment during the week I visited!  When Tim left for work, I was convinced it might be me taking her to the hospital!  Also, probably because I take so long to photograph a house… (like, 3 hours) Michelle and Tim left me alone in the end to let myself out!?  Amazing.  Thankyou so much Tim and Michelle!

Kitchen, a 1980’s renovation left pretty much intact – ‘All I did was replace plastic handles with steel ones’ says Tim.

View from hallway back towards loungeroom

MAN modernist homes are real hard to photograph because there are big bright WINDOWS everywhere you look!  Anyway, loungeroom reverse, you get the idea!

Dining table

Dining details

Bugsy’s room!  SO cute.  I wonder if it is this tidy and gorgeous since the little fella arrived?!

Gorgeous details in Bugsy’s room!  Old cameras and print from Tim’s Dad who has an antique stall at the Tyabb Packing House.

New Bathroom

Bathroom details
Master bedroom details.  The painting in the bedroom is from the Junk Company in Melbourne.  ‘No idea who the artist is, but it’s a cracker. I love the guys at that shop. They helped us find 100 old chairs for our wedding at the Boyd Baker House’ Says Tim! (I love those Junk Company guys too!).
Eames ‘Hang It All’ in the master bedroom (Good luck finding a vintage one – you can buy one new from Living Edge though!)

Gorgeous industrial / nautical details in the guest room

Mid-century workstation (I should know who this is by… sorry!) in the guest room

The best view of the house – looking back from the pool.  Agghhh I die.  Beautiful.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 29th June 2011

45 comments

  • Alison 3 years ago

    Aagghhh… i die, too. So beautiful, so clever. So jealous, because I want a womb chair for feeding in!
    Is it wrong to say that i was surprised someone ‘a little bit famous’ has such great and meticulous taste? Sorry if I underestimated famous people, Tim and Michelle – your passion is evident and house is divine.

  • Cathg1g2 3 years ago

    It all came together with the last shot!
    Oh memories of the 70s at my friend’s Gigi’s house…

  • Madeline 3 years ago

    This house is absolute perfection.

  • Jane Hall 3 years ago

    Unbelievably cool, Rosso, no wonder you were cranky that I painted my shelves from ‘Industria’. Please don’t hate me! I bow down. My meagre mid-century collection is crying out to come and live at your place. As for the pool…why must you have it all?
    Thanks Lucy, this is my favourite place you’ve ever shared with us.
    Jane Hall. aka ‘Salvation Jane’. X

  • Pippa 3 years ago

    Love this post Lucy and love this home all it’s mid century trappings, thanks Tim, Michelle and bubs for sharing.

    A small request would be for more Australian Mid Century furniture, not just Featherston, cause who can afford that? but Fler, Parker and Danish Deluxe, it’s our design aesthetic not OS that needs appreciating as well!
    Thanks Pippa.

  • Barbara Fisher 3 years ago

    Oh god. The only word I have is….swoon……

  • Kirra 3 years ago

    Brilliant! I want the back garden and the multi-coloured coffee table!

  • mariana 3 years ago

    agghhh I die!!
    wanting it all in a big way!
    absolutely stunning home.
    thank you all for sharing.

  • Diane 3 years ago

    Oooh, I so want to live here!

  • Madeleine 3 years ago

    How I wish I had a ‘house that smiles’ at me. Sigh…all I’m getting at the moment is a big ol’ stink eye!
    Beautiful photos too Lucy! gorgeous x

  • Donna 3 years ago

    What a gorgeous house! The last pic of the house looking back to the pool made me gasp…major house envy!! Love it love it love it.

  • Linnea 3 years ago

    I want to go back to Sydney …. beautiful house.

  • Penny (Oh My Green) 3 years ago

    Ooh it’s beautiful! And that sideboard is pretty much the awesomest 30th birthday gift to yourself I’ve heard of. Nice one.

  • Ashley 3 years ago

    Too beautiful for words! What an amazing collection of furniture and object, but still homely.

  • julie 3 years ago

    Such a beautiful home, I remember seeing some pics in a mag awhile back now but so lovely to see it again. How could you ever move!! We are currently searching for an older home with a little bit of mid century influence but the pickings are mighty slim in our area. I think we will have to do with a beachy seventies home instead.

  • Judy Jetson 3 years ago

    Absolutely stunning, especially the photo from the outside! It destroys me that people do modern renovations on houses like this, but Rosso and his wife have done a wonderful job, well done!!

  • I want to be bugsey!!

  • Pip 3 years ago

    Tim’s house is rad! Of course!

  • Kath Wilson 3 years ago

    Though I visit The Design Files almost daily, I have never commented on a home post. But I gasped at the first pic and held my breath for the remainder, only to let it out with “Jeeeez”. By the end of this post I was almost hyperventilating. Those windows, that stone, the hardwood, the white simplicity, the cabinetry, the lighting, the mid-century understatement… such a stylish relief from my thesis. Very gushworthy. Thank you for your home, for sharing it here, and for investing in its modernist potential with such finesse and sensitivity. Hope you have some kind of open day some day: I so wish I could visit it.

  • Sarah 3 years ago

    One if my all time faves, such a beautiful home. I love it a bit more every time I see it. Thanks Design Files!

  • Brismod 3 years ago

    Fabulous home. Really wonderful how they have restored their house and kept it intact. And the furniture and objects are to die. xx

  • Brismod 3 years ago

    for.

  • Simone 3 years ago

    Perfection! x

  • Paula Norman 3 years ago

    Lucy – thank you I adore it and the photos!! So uplifting. I saw in mag awhile ago but not the number of photos that you shot for us. Thanks to Tim and Michelle in allowing us to wallow in their world!!!

  • Allison Taylor 3 years ago

    Fantastic rear view. Some lovely pieces in this home and great blend of wood panelling and colour. The back view would sit well today in design terms for a modern rear extension.

  • Emily 3 years ago

    I love this house tour. It’s a bit gob-smackingly brilliant. Great taste!

  • Ray Garrod 3 years ago

    Wow, so beautifully put together…I want it! Love that modernist painting. Nice to see the modernist – retro pottery around the place too :)

  • Marian Wiltshire 3 years ago

    Love this house and all the details- although our new little hut is not very modernist in design (maybe scandinavian country) we have totally fallen in love with Australian mid-century furniture. We built our hut out of Tasmanian timbers (celery top pine cladding, tas oak flooring and myrtle trim) but were pleasantly surprised to find that alot of Australian furniture made by Fler and Myer Heritage in the 50’s and 60’s were made out of Tas myrtle and blackwood. We have furnished nearly our entire home with mid-century sideboards, and dressers, made of the most beautiful myrtle timber, via ebay, despite the Bass Strait! I love that our home doesn’t feel quite so new as all our furniture has been pre-loved.

  • debbie 3 years ago

    LOVE everything about it!

  • Christy 3 years ago

    Lucy, this has to be the most amazing house you’ve ever featured. Breathtaking.

  • Poppy 3 years ago

    Proof that 60’s houses should not be altered! (forgive me it might have been built earlier?) My appreciation for modernist houses started when I was a kid with the Brady Bunch house! The floorplans always include one big room that captures light … brilliant. Lucky Rosso and family!

  • Jessamy Alexander 3 years ago

    Thanks for the inspiration. And a little envy!

  • Jessamy Alexander 3 years ago

    Oh, and I also love the foliage in the last shot.

  • Margie 3 years ago

    I was dead after the first photo!! Blissful, authentic and happy – I love that someone thinks architecture can smile… I’m just not sure about those tiles in the bathroom… oops did I say that?? I don’t mean to be critical… just sayin’.

  • deborah 3 years ago

    ! heard they are renting it out to the jersey shore cast this summer

  • Paula 3 years ago

    Gorgeous and LOVE the restraint in the design!

  • Amanda Thorson 3 years ago

    love it, great colours…great restraint.

  • Amazing… I’m even more in love with the exterior. Love Pippa’s comment about Fler, Parker and Danish Deluxe – off to find out more about our design heritage.

  • Anna 3 years ago

    That bathroom just doesn’t work with the rest of the (lovely) house though…

  • Karen 2 years ago

    Just found these audio files of Tim Ross talking about living in this house with Historic Houses Trust Sydney:

    http://www.hht.net.au/discover/highlights/audio/symposium_australian_houses_of_the_1950s_and_60s

    Quite interesting, worth a listen.

  • Marianne 2 years ago

    Oh! Those dining chairs look almost exactly like ours. What a gorgeous house!

  • Brandie 2 years ago

    Awesome, Rosso…I heard you were into mod century furniture ages ago in some random magazine, and now it’s so wonderful to see you’ve pieced it all together so brilliantly in this 60s stunner.

    Still my beating heart…you’ve thoroughly inspired me to keep going with all my Tessa, fler and eases (although repro) pieces to pull them all together in a contemporary home with soul.

    They just don’t make em like the used to!

    Big ups
    Brandie
    :D

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