Ok so today’s Melbourne Home is certainly in a league of it’s own – not to mention an era of it’s own! This incredible 1970’s stone house, overlooking a nature reserve in Melbourne’s Doncaster is such a truly unique building… it’s a little different from the homes we usually feature, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to photograph and share this amazing place!
Illustrator / graphic designer Melissa Webb is currently the custodian, passionate caretaker and DIY stylist of this incredible home, on behalf of her Mother, Lois Webb, who now lives in aged care. Lois bought the house around 13 years ago – Melissa says her Mum was an artist and ‘enjoyed eccentric and beautiful things – so this house really hit the mark!’
The origins of the house are a little sketchy. Melissa says the story goes that it was originally built by a stone mason (figures!), who apparently spent seven years constructing it. The original building plans are dated 1979. Melissa says it would be fantastic if anyone could shed any extra light on the origins of the house – if someone out there magically has any more info she would love to hear from you! (As far as we know it was built for a ‘Mr Cern’, she says).
The really exceptional feature of this house is, of course, the materials used to build it – in particular the incredible variety of stone used in the interior surfaces. Melissa says what she loves most about the home is that it was clearly built as a labour of love – ‘the materials used have been chosen and placed so carefully with an artistic eye, and an obvious desire to build something special’ she says. There are black, grey, pink, cream and green marble walls and floors, sandstone and travertine walls and even featured sections of stone that contain unique fossils. There is also an INDOOR WATER FEATURE – echoing the sound of trickling water throughout the house! I kid you not.
This very special home has recently undergone a few minor renovations – Melissa took on this challenge late last year, and has since been clearing out and restoring each corner of the house with gusto! ‘We tamed and replanted the garden, which had become an unruly jungle, re-carpeted the whole house, fixed barge boards and roofing and generally spruced it up’ she says. Melissa and her family also replaced all the lighting in the house, except for the grand chandelier in the from room. ‘The light fittings had suffered from some novelty problem solving through the years!’ Melissa says.
But the most exciting challenge for Melissa has been hunting for furnishings and decorative pieces to dress up the house, to create an atmosphere to complement it’s quirky character and breathe a little life into the place. ‘Everything had to be found with virtually no money, so ebay, op shops and gumtree have become my best friends’ says Melissa. ‘This last bit has been tremendous fun and I wish I could continue doing it!’
Unfortunately, as you may have guessed if you’ve read this far, Melissa and her family sadly are not able to hold on to this spectacular 70’s masterpiece much longer, and it will soon be on the market. Melissa is committed to finding a new owner who will love this home for it’s quirky character and hopefully retain it’s original features… fingers crossed! (Enquiries – email Melissa direct).
MASSIVE thanks to Melissa for sharing this truly one-of-a-kind Melbourne home with us today! Thanks also to Sean Fennessy for the stunning pics, and Marni Kornhauser for last minute styling assistance (so grateful!) and Safari Living for kindly loaning us a few colourful pieces to help to make these pictures pop!