Australian Homes

Tim Ross and Michelle Glew-Ross

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 4th February 2015

Comedian, mid century design enthusiast and all round awesome guy Tim Ross makes another appearance here today, as we share the beautiful 1950’s home he shares in Sydney with wife Michelle Glew-Ross, and gorgeous kids Bugsy (three years) and Bobby (just turned one).  It’s a GEM.

ALSO – we made another VIDEO! (Be sure to scroll down to the very bottom and watch it!)

 

OK this is a bit sneaky. Long term readers might recall we have actually shared a story about this very same Sydney home a LONG time ago… but.. well, it was well before we did things ‘properly’. BY that I mean, way back in 2011 when I first met Tim, this website was a very modest little operation and we didn’t have the resources to work with professional photographers. A LOT has changed since then!

We’ve also gotten to know Tim a lot better in the last few years, and have been swept up in his complete passion for all things mid-century, which is infectious!  He has always encouraged and supported all our features on mid-century homes – in fact it was Tim’s introduction which resulted in our story about Robin Boyd’s Walsh st House in Melbourne, last year.

ANYWAY. Clearly, we decided this one was worth another look! The beautiful 1950’s home Tim shares with wife Michelle Glew-Ross and Bugsy (three year) and Bobby (one) is the stuff dreams are made of.  Aesthetically impressive, yet refreshingly relaxed, the Ross family home is a testament to the timelessness of modernist architecture.  It’s the kind of property that could easily have been knocked down, had it fallen into the wrong hands. Luckily, this house found it’s perfect match, and it’s a love affair that is still going strong, ten years on!

Tim purchased this house in 2005. ‘At the time, nobody else wanted it’ he says. Over the years, he and Michelle have restored and updated certain rooms, undertaking most of the design work and planning themselves. ‘Much to the horror of professionals I admire, I’ve trusted our own instincts with most of the changes we’ve made’ says Tim. Much of the home has been restored to its original 1959 condition, and in recent years, the garden and pool area has also been landscaped. One big consideration was working out the most sensitive way to incorporate a pool fence – in the end, frameless glass panels were used to minimise visual impact, whilst crazy stone paving was salvaged from elsewhere in the garden, and reused to build up walls around the pool and carport.

The house was originally built in 1959 for the Atherton family, and designed by their friend Bill Baker. ‘Bill was an architect and a Qantas Pilot – a multitasker like John Travolta’ Tim explains! ’On his trips to LA he was inspired by West Coast Modernism, and this house is a certainly a nod to those places he saw and admired at that time’.

The Athertons had one son, Geoff, and the home was originally built as a two bedroom house. As Geoff grew, the family extended and built a larger room for him, which is now the master bedroom. Then, in the 1960s, the Atherton family won a bit of money in the lottery and added the pool!  The original owner, Margot, is now in her 80s, and pops in occasionally.

When you chat to Tim about his passion for mid century everything, it quickly becomes clear that this is an obsession that has been bubbling since childhood. Tim’s father is an antiques dealer, which instilled in him a great respect for the provenance of things. He’s always been drawn to furniture and objects with a sense of nostalgia about them, even before he lived in a modernist house.

‘When I was a kid we had a book of Australian painters, it had a John Coburn painting on the front and it always stuck in my mind’ says Tim.  So, when he stumbled across a large John Coburn tapestry a few years ago, Tim just couldn’t let it go. This treasured piece now hangs in his bedroom.

Like so many design enthusiasts, Tim also has a thing for chairs. ‘We have a bunch of chairs that keep on giving, the green womb chair in its tatty ’60s covering has had everything chucked at it (literally) but still looks great, and is the comfiest seat in the house’ says Tim.  A more recent favourite find is the Safari chair in Bobby’s room, picked up at the Tyabb Packing House in Victoria, where Tim’s Dad still has a little stall. ‘I rolled it up and put in my bag and brought it back to Sydney as a gift for Michelle – I love it in Bobby’s room’ says Tim.

As Tim explains in the short video (!!) below, though he enjoyed this house for many years before starting a family, the home has taken on a new meaning since the arrival of Bugsy and Bobby.  ‘I think watching our boys grow up here is the most amazing thing’ says Tim. ‘Bugsy dragging me outside to have a swim, or watching the two of them laughing together in Bugsy’s room as the sun streams in is really special’.

Tim’s a funny guy.  Of course, after years of TV and radio, he has a voice that is weirdly familiar… but beyond this, he’s just the kinda guy who speaks to you as if he’s known you for 20  years.  It’s actually quite amazing.  Perhaps it’s because when he gets chatting about his home, Tim is speaking very much from the heart.  He’ll engage anyone in a lengthy chat about the curve of a particular piece of furniture, or some other minute architectural detail, and yet, at the same time, he’s a straight shooter… totally no-nonsense!

‘Well I’d be bullsh*tting if I didn’t say our aesthetic is unashamedly mid century modern’ says Tim, when asked to describe his home’s unique aesthetic.  ‘Mind you, over the years Michelle has certainly made her mark on the place, it is a little less masculine and has, well… cushions’  he says, by way of explanation!  ‘Our home is full of things that we find appealing, that strike a chord with us or that are simply beautiful. There is no doubt that our tastes have changed over time, these days the space is certainly leaning towards a more organic, handcrafted modernist vibe. That is also a result of ten years in a house, and a shifting in the way you live.’

SO GRATEFUL to Tim and Michelle for having us (twice!) and sharing their very special home! An excellent reminder of just how beautiful, functional and timeless modernist homes can be. More than fifty years after it was built, this place is still rocking it.

Tim Ross and Michelle Glew-Ross

A FILM BY PARIS THOMSON / SIRAP, PRODUCED BY THE DESIGN FILES


by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 4th February 2015

65 comments

  • Jenny Mothoneos 2 years ago

    Exceptional. Love the soundtrack

  • Sarah 2 years ago

    I never get sick of seeing this house! Loving the video’s too!!

  • Steph 2 years ago

    100% Awesome!! :-)

  • Frankie 2 years ago

    I liked Tim Ross’ article on opp shopping and I LOVE his home! The videos are my new favourite part of The Design Files, it adds so much to the beautiful photography and writing. Yay!

  • sarah 2 years ago

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Lucy & team (& Ross family) for revisiting this superb home! If only more people were as respectful to such amazing designs. Seeing more of this home has truly made my day!

  • Anna 2 years ago

    Such a beautifully restored house and lovely to see the evolution of it into a family home since your 2011 feature. love the film too!

  • carolinej 2 years ago

    Perfection.! and congratulations on preserving such a iconic beauty. Would you mind telling me PLEASE where I can find those incredible umbrellas ??
    I have been searching forever for something 50s like this with no luck. Thankyou again for sharing such a beautiful home.

  • Penelope 2 years ago

    LOVE!

    What an amazing house and such a fabulous, engaging way of sharing it with us with the FILM! Congrats Lucy & Paris (and team!)- another winning TDF/SIRAP production.

  • Cle-ann 2 years ago

    Fantastic – love it !!

  • Jen 2 years ago

    Great people, awesome house. And beautiful, smart kids. Trifecta.

  • Indra 2 years ago

    ridiculously cool.

  • Dave Bickmore 2 years ago

    I bet this house is happy to have found Tim. . .

  • kate 2 years ago

    Beautiful, beautiful house!

  • Jenni 2 years ago

    D I V I N E. The stunning house and all who live in it. Thanks for documenting it so perfectly DF and Sirap.

  • Petrina Turner 2 years ago

    everything… everything… this beautiful home is only made more so by Tim and Michelle who appreciate it for everything it is… thank you for sharing this 1950s treasure, the photo’s and film… and how does one ever “stumble” upon such an amazing John Coburn tapestry… keeping eyes peeled…

  • Bec 2 years ago

    OH.MY.GOD!

  • Tanya 2 years ago

    This is perfection – gorgeous photos and the video adds just that little bit more – love love love.

  • A really beautiful home and an excellent video!!!!!!!

  • Lauren 2 years ago

    Such a lovely family home for them. And the video addition is so great too. Love hearing the owners little story to go along with the beautiful images.

  • Kimbalee 2 years ago

    I never tire of seeing Tim’s home. Mid century at it’s best, living in the now. Love, love, love it! Great video too. thank you x

  • Jo 2 years ago

    Be still my beating heart

  • Love this interior. Very inspiring, calm and so well designed. Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with harmony!

  • SM 2 years ago

    Felt a little disappointed when I first saw your post this morning, having only recently re-read your article from 2011. But you were right – it was so worth your second visit. The photography is gorgeous, the house simply perfect & the video a lovely added bonus. Your work just gets better & better Lucy.

  • sim 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful home (again!)
    Tim and Michelle, you have a wonderful appreciation of beauty :-)

  • Mel 2 years ago

    Love this house! Love the film!

  • Gina 2 years ago

    What a beautiful family home. Love the video too! Thank you for sharing.

  • trudy baker 2 years ago

    a house that sings to you….that a house i like.

  • Jodi York 2 years ago

    One of my fav posts yet Lucy!! Just love everything about the feel and how much integrity it shows to it’s architectural era! Seriously want one like this when we grow too big for 112!
    xxx

  • michelle 2 years ago

    I remember seeing this home the first time around and loving Tim’s dedication to modernist beauty. Such a pleasure to revisit and see how that rich simplicity nourishes his family. The film was delightful too. Thanks for a lovely post. :)

  • Amber Creswell Bell 2 years ago

    I love this video so much! If this compels just one more person to preserve and embrace a modernist home instead of knocking one down – we can all die happy. By perfect, I mean PERFECT xx

  • Sue 2 years ago

    Agree with Rosso – nothing more stressful than the thought of these stunning houses getting knocked down. Saw this one advertised his morning in Kew, Mebourne as a potential knockdown – it’s so lovely! http://www.domain.com.au/property/for-sale/house/vic/kew/?adid=2011741288&sp=14

  • Danielle 2 years ago

    Wow – such an amazing dream of a building filled with wonderful finds – I clearly remember it from the first time you featured it and it is great to see it again! Can tell this home is so loved by the Ross family. Also really enjoyed seeing the video, definately gives more insight & adds another dimension to the article! Thank-you!

  • tess 2 years ago

    That is how everyone should feel about their home… always in love! Loved the film :)

  • nicole 2 years ago

    LOVE this post Lucy,
    any idea where the bed in Bugsy’s room is from? It is so gorgeous.
    Thanks

  • Jenn 2 years ago

    Luv this house and Tims attitude to keeping this treasure rather than knocking it down. Its awesome :-)

  • KathW 2 years ago

    Wow, I never knew John Coburn did tapestries. It’s beautiful. Lovely home.

  • Jill 2 years ago

    Fantastic home! Love the video… great to see the homeowners & how they interact with their home – adds a very important element to the story! Thanks for sharing

  • Tara Murdoch Moore 2 years ago

    LOVE this! I’m so happy you revisited Tim and Michelle’s house Lucy, it’s simply incredible and the video rocks! xTara

  • Fi Richardson 2 years ago

    Superb – ticks all the boxes. Fab pics, film, house and owners. Great job Lucy and team.

  • jan 2 years ago

    Niiiiiice

  • Madeleine 2 years ago

    Who would get sick of seeing this special family home?! Such a great feature Lucy! I love following Modernista on insta, he’s a cracker! Loved Paris’s short film and Tim’s snappy camera stare on the balcony. Funny! x

  • mel 2 years ago

    Good on you for revisiting, this home gives me heart flutters! Nothing better than a well designed home that has the respect of the new owners. And I love the bit about how the original owner still visits from time to time:)

  • Amber P 2 years ago

    Thank you!!!

  • Al Dobson 2 years ago

    Onya Rosso. Great pad!

  • the moo lab 2 years ago

    Yep, love that house for sure, I’d never get sick of it either……

  • Suzie 2 years ago

    Perfection!!

  • Courtney 2 years ago

    PERFECTION. Loved it all…right down to the little gecko being encouraged to move elsewhere :) Awesome choice of backing music!

  • Philippa 2 years ago

    I love the ‘more organic, handcrafted modernist vibe’! I’m nicking that!
    So nice to see this home again!

  • The Yellow Dance Spot 2 years ago

    Best. House. EVER!!!

  • Cathg1g2 2 years ago

    I too have loved watching this home over the years and thank you for update and sweet video.
    Thank you Sue for link, I will be checking out that place in Kew and it would not get knocked down if I got the winning bid!

  • Alli Scarborough 2 years ago

    I never get sick of seeing this house either. I too am absolutely obsessed with modernist design, I live in a modernist home and I constantly get comments from people who visit about how unusual and wonderful it is. I agree that living in a modernist home becomes a passion that borders on obsession. We need more people like Tim that are advocates for homes of this era, love, love this house!

  • Anya 2 years ago

    I’m dying over that John Coburn tapestry! This house has so much warmth and character and you can just see the love that has been poured into it. The execution of everything is just magic. Loved the video too!

  • Cleo 2 years ago

    A stunning house well documented by the talented team at TDF once again. The attention to detail is always second to none within these clips, looking forward to seeing what’s next to come Paris & Lucy!

  • Lisa 2 years ago

    Love the video. Any chance of finding out from Tim where he got the Coburn artwork framed please?

  • Barbara 2 years ago

    AAAAAhhhhhgggg!!! What is not to love about this. Perfect.

  • Concrete Swan 2 years ago

    Great to revisit this beautiful home and see the subtle changes over the past few years.
    Loved the video which really brings this home to life. Well done !!
    Have to say the pool umbrellas are STUNNING!
    Can I please get information on where in the USA the umbrellas are from? They look like the ones I have seen pictured at the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs.

  • erin 2 years ago

    LOVE the video. Very cool!

  • Cate Maddy 2 years ago

    love this house and the video adds a personal touch

  • Anna 2 years ago

    How cute are those kids!

  • Jake 1 year ago

    Great film!

  • Susie R 1 year ago

    “Its like living in a sculpture” – love it! The house is just gorgeous and Tim and Michelle have really done it justice with their superb, relaxed styling. Thanks for the article, it made me smile… lots :)

  • June 1 year ago

    What a great family house, they sure have made it a home. Does anyone know where the lion & zebra cushions are from on Bugsys bed?

  • Mikael 1 year ago

    Nice. Does anyone know where the rug or something similar to suggest?

  • Julia 1 year ago

    Beautiful home! Just wondering what colour the navy is in the little boys room! Thanks

  • Nicki 11 months ago

    Love this house! Can you tell me what color the blue is in the little boy bedroom?

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