When Katie Brannaghan and husband Ian purchased this home in April 2017, they were met with slight shock at how much work needed to be done on the property. The previous owners were hoarders, so a large scale clean was necessary – but as these surface works were undertaken, Katie realised how many 90s and early 2000s renovations had altered the mid-century space. She explains ‘we wanted it to look similar to what it would have originally looked like, back in circa 73.’
The incredible home was originally designed by Karl Fender, who, incredibly, was only 23 years old when he took on this job for an eccentric local. (Things worked out pretty well for the architect wonderkid… he’s now one half of the iconic firm Fender Katsalidis!). Katie tried to research the property, but was met with dead ends, until ‘one day I was posting about it on Instagram, and tagged Karl in one of the pictures, and to my delight he responded!’ Katie invited Karl to come and visit, who brought along his original hand-drawn plans and plenty of stories. Katie highlights ‘much to our relief and joy, he was very happy with what we’d done to the house.’
The Karl-approved renovations are extensive, and have brought the house back to life, by gently drawing upon the past. 90s tiles were retro-updated with 70s style terrazzo around the pool, and original-era-appropriate green carpet was introduced, that guests now assume is original!
Beyond these aesthetic features, the kitchen was a space that required a massive overhaul, not least because it was about to fall through the floor. Katie explains ‘it was a death trap!’ Other essential renovations included getting rid of asbestos, replacing termite riddled floors and walls, introducing hydronic heating and cooling system, rendering the pool, installing solar panels, landscaping, building a woodshed, and bringing in a septic tank. Phew!
Inside, the renovations look forward by looking back. Katie highlights ‘it feels like you could have stepped back into the 70s when you walk through the door.’ The original wood-paneled walls and high ceilings create a mid-century ambience, while the six bedroom home offers incredible views from every angle through the giant glass windows. Katie describes ‘when Karl design it, so much thought went into where the light streams in.’ As the home sprawls, it also offers plenty of nooks and crannies to feel cosy and homely across the large space.
The family have now moved back to the city for ease of commuting to work, but still love spending weekends down the coast here. The property is listed on airbnb – but get in quick, as it isn’t available very often! It’s such a special place for the family they only rent it out a few times a year. Which seems fitting, seeing as Karl Fender himself told Katie and Ian ‘I’m so glad this house found you.’