The incredible mid-century WA home of Mark and Christine Baxter and Family, designed by legendary architect Iwan Iwanoff! The Parker dining table extends to three metres and seats up to 12 for their family get-togethers. The dining chairs are Chiswell, the rug is a Versace pattern, the Italian-designed pendant above is an original fixture and on the table are three Fuga bowls by Sven Palmqvist. Far right, one Mark’s favourite chairs in green – the rare Featherston Cone chair 1955, bought for $25 from a garage sale around the corner. (OMG!!) The artworks on the wall are – left, ‘Carousel of Love’ by Cedric Baxter, top right – Bryant McDiven 1968; bottom centre – a Stormie Mills commission piece painted on back of a drawer, and bottom right – a painting by Alan Baker. The console in the dining room features (from left) a sculpture cut from a steel girder by Albert Wilson 1974, a Gregory Bonasera piece in black; a white porcelain piece by a WA ceramicist, a Becky Blair work called ‘Night Vision’, an Oiva Toikka Raven, a black and white vase by Paloma Picasso for Villeroy & Boch, a figure sculpture bought for $5 at swap meet. Photo – Angelita Bonetti, Styling / Production – Anna Flanders.
Painting on console, Night Vision by Becky Blair. An Oiva Toikka Raven (‘bought cheaply at an antique auction because the auctioneer had no idea of its value!’ says Mark). Black and white vase by Paloma Picasso for Villeroy & Boch, a figure sculpture bought for $5 at swap meet. Photo – Angelita Bonetti, Styling / Production – Anna Flanders.
The formal living room – a homage to Mark’s chair collection! Clockwise from back left – the Elda chair in leather and fibreglass by Joe Colombo 1963, the Rondo chair designed by Gordon Andrews 1956 (famous for being used in Star Wars the movie, while the designer is also famous for designing the Australian currency, says Mark!), Contour Featherston upholstered chairs. The coffee table was designed by a local WA craftsman in Walliston in the 1970’s. Photo – Angelita Bonetti, Styling / Production – Anna Flanders.
Incredible original decorative brickwork in the TV room. Plycraft recliner with matching footstool. The artwork above is by Mark’s father, Cedric Baxter and was gifted to his wife Christine by his father as it is her favourite work. The Danish standard lamp was found through the Quokka pages, and the occasional table has an inlay depiction of indigenous Australians and was a unique find in Old Wares in East Fremantle. On the table are a Gambone vase (tall), a Unu vase by Marc Pascal and an Asian tribal head piece of horses. Photo – Angelita Bonetti, Styling / Production – Anna Flanders.
Mark Baxter in his front doorway. The door is designed specifically for the house – each Ivan Iwanoff house had an individually door designed by the architect. The cabinetry and shelving separates the entrance and the tv room, and stores pieces from Bertil Vallien’s Artist Collection on the top level. Photo – Angelita Bonetti, Styling / Production – Anna Flanders.
Today we have another seriously incredible mid-century home in WA to share, courtesy of our amazing Perth-based team, Anna Flanders and Angelita Bonetti, who we work with closely to ensure TDF gets its fair share of WA homes! AMAZING work ladies!
This very special family home belongs to design enthusiasts and avid collectors Mark and Christine Baxter and their thirteen year old daughter Aisha, who bought the property in November 1999. ‘I’m not sure if it was wonderful luck or destiny’ says Mark of their good fortune in finding this unique modernist home, designed in 1969 by revered Bulgarian architect Iwan Iwanoff, who was responsible for a number of incredible homes in Perth at that time. ‘We had been wandering the area, looking for a larger home to start a family, and happened upon this house. We drove past it early in the morning and loved it, and when we arrived for the opening later in the day, we bought it within 15 minutes’.
After moving in, Mark and Christine initially had plans to make some minor changes. ‘We planned to remove a raised section between the breakfast bar and kitchen, to gain more bench space, and remove the overhead cupboards’ says Mark. However, after living in the house for several months it quickly became apparent why Iwanoff had designed the kitchen in the way that he had. ‘What was I thinking!?’ says Mark!
In fact, after living in the house for several months it became more than apparent to Mark and Christine just how clever Iwanoff was. In 1969, Iwanoff designed the house with air flow vent panels that open in both the front and back. This, along with the open layout of the home allows for constant air flow which keeps the house cool in summer. The house also utilises ceilings made of ‘Stramit’ panels, a pressed fibre material. ‘In 1969 these were used only for commercial sound proofing, but Iwanoff used them as a decorative ceiling finish, as well as efficient insulation – all this in 1969!’ says Mark.
Now retired, Mark is (clearly!) an avid collector of all manner of beautiful things, including Australian furniture/chairs, 60 – 70’s art, Scandinavian glass, stylised bulls and horses, kokeshi dolls and many other objects as you see here! ‘The house is the perfect gallery to display my collection’ says Mark. ‘The only drawback is I run out of wall space to hang my paintings, because of the open plan design of the house!’.
Born into a highly creative family, it seems Mark was always destined for a life surrounded by art and design. ‘My father is an artist/cartoonist, my mother is a dressmaker and incredible cook’ explains Mark. ‘I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s surrounded by Featherston chairs, art, sculpture and pottery. My father drove interesting cars like a Renault Dauphine to the iconic Holden Monaro. I believe that the period between 1955 -1975 produced the most stylish architecture, cars and art’.
Inspired by his creative surroundings and family life, Mark’s collecting started in his early years – he would scour second hand / antique stores every weekend, and rummage thru Swapmeets and garage sales. Then came the dedicated ‘Quokka‘ publication (an online trading post similar to Craig’s List), and these days Mark is a regular browser of eBay and Gumtree. ‘I must admit I have slowed down a lot – I’ve run out of room and the cupboards are full to the brim! Most of my time is now spent sourcing items for other people’ he says.
Unsurprisingly for a collector of this caibre (!), Mark has too many favourite pieces to list succinctly! His chair collection is particularly treasured, and includes his much loved Featherston cone chair, fortuitously found at a garage sale he was passing one Sunday morning. He’s also very fond of the Kral Australia plywood and chrome chairs in the TV room, and matching sofa, found as three separate elements over several years, and united by Mark, now a complete set! (Mark is currently restoring the sofa, its not pictured here).
Mark is also a passionate art collector, with an extensive art and sculpture collection. His early George Kosturkov sculptures are greatly treasured, significant, he says, because Kosturkov and architect Iwan Iwanoff were great mates. ‘I bought my house from the original owner who was also one of Iwanoff’s Bulgarian friends, and in fact the electrician on all his homes’ says Mark. It’s stories like this that keep Iwanoff’s memory alive in WA, and continue to inspire mid century architecture enthusiasts Australia-wide. Much like Renee Coleman, whose Iwan Iwanoff home we featured back in July, through living in this beautiful, efficiently designed family home, Mark has developed a deep affection for the complex design elements at play here, and the rich history of Iwanoff’s work. It’s great to see Iwanoff’s legacy so perfectly preserved here, and layered with the Baxter’s own incredible collection of mid century furniture and design – it couldn’t be in better hands!
HUGE THANKS to Mark, Christina and Aisha for sharing their amazing home with us today!