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!