It always pays to letter drop.
When agent Marcus Lloyd-Jones of Modern House (the only Mid-Century Modern real estate agency in the country) had his offer taken up to appraise this home (after popping a flyer in the letterbox) little did he know he was to stumble across one of the most exquisitely secret residences in Sydney.
Owned since 1974 by the Payton family, English immigrants with over 5 generations famous within antique and fine musical instrument business, they have lived within and cherished this home for over 45 years. The home’s origins lie some ten years earlier when it was built in 1962-63 as a commission by Peter Swan. Swan had offices in Pitt Street, though his business was in commercial architecture, this residence is the only private residence known thus far to be designed by him.
The commissioning client was the Welch Family, of also another noted family business this time in construction, Welch Bros, which worked with other noted architects at the time, though their reasons for employing Swan to design their family casa is unclear. However, all of this wonderful (and until now undocumented) history doesn’t really convey the sheer stun this home will inflict upon viewing. The cascade of expletives and gasps will commence with the street view, the low-slung carport and hints of stone, a tempting invitation to anyone versed in MCM residential architecture. Inside the house reveals itself slowly but surely and it is here you can sense the incredible use of materials including; Tassie Blackwood paneling, stone fireplace, full-height glazing and the outstanding design with total north facing living, garden lightwells, pool-centred courtyard and split levels.
The entire residence an individual expression of Modern architecture at the time, with clear comparisons to some of our most beloved and well-known names such as Walter Burley-Griffin, Bruce Rickard or Neville Gruzman. This home is up there with the greats, its recent discovery enthralling and immaculate, all original presentation we hope magical enough to attract a deserving custodian of integrity, if not also some form of heritage recognition.
View the property listing on Modern House here, and original MA article here.
Run by Patricia Callan and Pete Bakacs, Modernist Australia is the passion-project/website dedicated to raising the profile of mid-century design and modernist principles in Australia. For more eye-candy, visit modernistaustralia.com.