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A Truly Fabulous 1970s Home, Untouched Since It Was Built

Interiors

We all know the seventies have been back in the interiors trend cycle for a while. But what’s better retro gold inspo than an ACTUAL 1970s gem?!

The Lawrence Road Residence in Mount Waverley was the home of engineer Ted Mason and his wife Denise since they built it in 1976. And it hasn’t changed since! They lived amongst this feast of shag pile carpet, teak furniture and emerald green accents for 40 years.

After Ted and Denise sadly both passed away a few years ago, their grand-daughter (stylist Cassie Smith) returned to the home to document the family treasure and its objectively impeccable design. It’s like a shrine to seventies style!

26th March, 2021

The Mount Waverley home of Ted and Denise Mason hasn’t remained in the same condition since it was built in 1976. Their granddaughter, stylist Cassie Smith, lovingly documented the family home. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Shag pile rugs, teak furniture and emerald green accents make up the entire interior palette. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Everything remains in completely pristine condition. Even the ornaments! Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

The Mason’s next-door neighbour, Ron Pounder, built the house from Ted’s designs! Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Cabinetry is a main feature of the home, with one storage wall holding 22 beautifully crafted cupboards! Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Some wow-factor Featherston dining chairs! Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

‘Everything was green! Green tiles, a green lounge suite, green vinyl stools and dining chairs, green table lamps, green curtains, even the green Duralex glasses that we’d drink Pa’s famous banana smoothies from,’ says Cassie. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

The geometric printed fabric curtains are a quintessential retro touch! Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Light plays on the joinery in the study. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

The to-scale house Ted built himself of his final design. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

The only thing Cassie added ahead of the shoot was some lush green velvet bedding from Kip&Co. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

‘It’s such a minor feature of the house but I love the recessed arch vanity in the master bedroom. I think it’s just so elegant and timeless,’ says Cassie. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Bathroom details. Photo – Lillie Thompson. Styling – Cassie Smith.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 26th March 2021

‘Nothing has been updated since it was built. Just about every book, ornament, piece of furniture and light fitting had been there since 1976.’ – Cassie Smith

This is an unconventional interiors story for us. Mostly because nothing has been changed since this Mount Waverley house was built in 1976. But that’s what makes it so epic!

The home of Ted and Denise Mason has been lovingly documented by their granddaughter, stylist Cassie Smith, who remembers spending years here drinking banana smoothies and making furniture in her grandfather’s workshop out the back.

Ted – a civil and mechanical engineer who built everything from cars to submarines – designed everything himself, acting as architect, draftsman, interior designer and landscaper on the project. ‘He even built a to-scale model of the project, which still exists!’ laughs Cassie. ‘Just about every book, ornament, piece of furniture and light fitting had been there since 1976.’

Shag pile carpet, macrame plant hangers, and rattan from floor to ceiling greet visitors from the threshold while brass details, curved archways, designer light-fittings and iconic mid-century Australian furniture unfold as they move through the house. Classic vintage pieces like Featherston dining chairs, lounge suites by Fler and Aristoc, and Stylecraft armchairs galvanise its retro status.

Every element of the house had been painstakingly documented by Ted. ‘In his folders were handwritten lists of every paint colour and wood stain that was used throughout the house,’ Cassie says. ‘He even kept the brochure for the mouldings and vinyl colour samples for some of the furniture they had custom made.’

The rich textures and deep jewel tones (hello crimson and emerald green accents!) are complemented by green vinyl dining chairs, gold-flecked lino and geometric-patterned curtains – all perfectly intact. Ted’s impeccable eye for detail is on show in every room – the red tiles in the bedroom are even colour matched to the doorhandles!

The only thing Cassie added ahead of this shoot was some lush green velvet bedding from Kip&Co (‘which was probably not too far off what they might have had in the 70s!’) – plus some ornamental plants that were popular at the time.

This untouched gem totally suspended in time gives new meaning to the phrase ‘forever home’!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net