Australian Homes

Sonia Post and Glenn Manison

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 24th February 2016

Sometimes, mid century homes aren’t all they’re cracked dup to be. For all the Harry Seidler masterpieces out there, there’s no shortage of bland, nondescript 50s and 60s homes, with very little design flair. Today’s fabulous family home in Elsternwick was one such house, until Sonia Post and Glenn Manison got their hands on it.

With an eye for design and a passion for mid century furniture and lighting, Sonia and Glenn have injected real personality into their orange brick 1960s house in Elsternwick.  They live here with Sonia’s young daughter Ivy.


We carry on a lot around here about the special charm of mid century homes. You know, houses with soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, and impeccable original 1950s features. Today’s house is not one of those homes. This fabulous family home in Elsternwick does technically qualify as ‘mid century modern’, having been built in 1968, but when Sonia Post and Glenn Manison purchased the place, it was, by their own account, devoid of any real mid century charm!

‘We tried and tried and tried to buy an amazing mid century architect designed house, but we couldn’t afford the good ones as they are so popular and way over our budget!’ recalls Sonia. ‘When we found this house we decided it was so plain and lacking in interesting features, maybe no-one else would like it and we could be in with a chance!’

In with a chance they were. The couple purchased the house at auction, convinced they could inject a little of the 1960’s ‘bling’ the place was missing.

‘The house was in a totally ramshackle state with leaking roof, smashed windows and doors – it had never been painted or maintained’ recalls Sonia. ‘At the auction we were bidding against a developer, I think everyone else thought it was super ugly – our friends included!’

Living room. Falcon Chair from Grandfather’s Axe, floor rug from Armadillo&Co, and vintage PH5 ceiling light. Pillow from Aelfie. Maryanne Moodie wall tapestry. Hat stand from Angelucci. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

In fact, it wasn’t all bad. Despite being run down and not particularly ‘fancy’, this home is huge by contemporary standards, with big, bright rooms and a generous garden front and back. Having so much space has allowed Sonia to base her design agency at home – with the assistance of friend and architect Grant Cheyne, the large double garage has been converted into a ‘Palm Springs’ style self contained studio for Sonia’s business, Design Democracy. ‘It’s great to have a separate studio space that staff and clients can come and go from’ she says, ‘this is my way of juggling Ivy with working full time, and feeling like I still see her even though I work really long hours’.

Sonia and Glenn credit architect Grant Cheyne for really bringing the Palm Springs theme to life here. ‘We would never have come up with his solutions ourselves, the garage studio transformation was fantastic, the pergolas he added on the front and back of the house look like they were always there, everything he suggested was in keeping with our personal style, and in keeping with the original house too, which was important to us’ Sonia says.

Of course, a big part of the appeal of this home is also Sonia and Glenn’s incredible collection of vintage furniture and lighting – they truly just have the most amazing STUFF! ‘We both have the same taste which is really lucky. Well, in most things… not all things!’ Sonia says! ‘We have lots of vintage things but I prefer not to be too strict and make the house a time capsule to all things 1960s, I am more interested when things mash together, and evolve naturally over time.’

Palm Springs style garden and Koo Koo Letterbox by Playso. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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