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The Most Memorable Midcentury Homes Of 2021

Mid-Century Modern

If there’s one thing that really gets our readers clicking, it’s a beautiful mid-century home. And for good reason! These homes built in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s have inspired generations of artists, architects, designers and creatives with their timeless designs.

We’re lucky to feature many beautiful mid-century homes each year – here are some of the best from 2021!

29th December, 2021

The Alistair Knox designed home of Sean Fennessy and Jess Lillico.  Illum Wikkelsø ‘IW3’ Rocking Chair from Nord. Custom dining table by Fomu. Razor back dining chairs by Henning Kjærnulf from CCSS. Pendant from The Society Inc. Artwork by Zoe GreySequoia Pouf by Space Copenhagen from FredericiaDrop Lamp from CCSS. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Custom dining table by Fomu. Razor back dining chairs from CCSS. Pendant from The Society Inc. Artwork by Paul Williams. White goods by Fisher & Paykel. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

The exterior of the Alistair Knox designed home. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

A Photographer + Art Director’s Alistair Knox Home

Photographer Sean Fennessy and art director/stylist Jess Lillico are a dynamic creative couple, and their recently renovated Alistair Knox home in Warrandyte has been the ultimate passion project for this prolific duo.

Sean and Jess purchased this circa 1969 Warrandyte property, nicknamed The Fisher House, as their family home in 2019. Together with architect Adriana Hanna, they’ve sensitively updated the brick and timber interiors, creating a heart-warming home full of textured, robust materials. It’s a beauty!

Read the full story here

the Eltham home of Lucienne and Sebastian Van Sebille. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork by Thierry Porter. Pop and ScottDreamer Couch. Rollin’ Stone Coffee Table by Odditi (formerly Lobo Workshop). Armchair sourced by Curated Spaces. Hay Matin Lamp from Open Room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Paper lantern by Pop and Scott. Vase by a ceramist at Montsalvat. Flowers from the local green grocer. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental in Eltham!

Lucienne and Sebastian Van Sebille thought the glowing reviews of this suburb (located 20 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD) must be exaggerated, but after moving here in mid 2020, they can confirm it’s truly as magical as they say!

The couple’s rental property is an Alistair Knox-designed 1970s house that remains as solid and beautiful as the day it was built.

After 10 years living in Thornbury and Coburg, the True North chef and trade manager at Pop and Scott are relishing their new life among the trees, while getting to know the longstanding locals (alpacas, horses, donkeys and kookaburras among them!).

Read the full story here

A Truly Sympathetic Mid-Century Home Renovation

This 1960 Ivanhoe East house, originally designed by architects Hipwell, Weight & Mason, was close to perfection upon its completion. Subsequent ‘90s renovations unfortunately compromised its design integrity, leading to a recent interior restoration by Pop Architecture.

Looking to the original house plans for inspiration, Pop Architecture enhanced the home’s spirit by removing superfluous details and introducing subtle modern materials. The home’s leafy outlook to the Yarra River was also reinstated, once again serving as the its intended focal point.

Read the full story here.

Photo – Sam Riles for Gritty Pretty.

Lighting from Cult Design. Table from Freedom. Vintage chairs. Tiling from Tile Scheme. Joinery by All Smart Kitchens. Joinery painted in Dulux Deep Mooring. Splashback painted Dulux Spiced Nutmeg. Walls painted Dulux Fair Bianca. Concrete slab bench by Slabs by Design. Photo – Sam Riles for Gritty Pretty.

Photo – Sam Riles for Gritty Pretty.

A Sophisticated Midcentury Home In The Trees

There’s a relaxed, Californian feel to the family home of James and Liana Shaw-Taylor – a tribute to the home’s mid-century architecture, and leafy surrounds in Wahroonga, on Sydney’s Upper-North Shore.

Working with interior designers Tom Mark Henry, the couple have maintained the original modernist spirit of the home, but in a contemporary manner inspired by nature and their own eclectic tastes.

The end result is equal parts playful and sophisticated, representing a modern take on the mid-century genre!

Read the full story here

Photo – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Nikole Ramsay for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home

Interior designer Léo Terrando discovered this Bells Beach home 10 years ago. He went on to rent the uniquely shaped 1970s house (believed to be the work of architect Kevin Borland), completing only light renovations over the past decade.

With more than 50 windows looking out to peaceful rolling hills and the ocean, this relaxed beachside home makes the most of its iconic setting. Together with his partner Jessica Watts, Léo is truly living his best life!

Read the full story here

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The End Of An Era For This Impeccably Styled Mid-Century Melbourne Rental

Late last year we brought you the family story of Holly Thompson and Stephanie Lane, owners of homewares and vintage furniture business Goodspace, who parent their respective daughters Lola (5) and Frida (6) under the one Melbourne roof.

The pair came across the Kew East rental property in 2019, and while it wasn’t quite right practically, they knew they had to have it.

Styling wise, Steph and Holly were inspired by the home’s mid-century features, including the green carpet installed in every room. ‘What could have been a styling obstacle we turned into something that has really worked for us,’ says Holly.

Read the full story here. 

Photo – courtesy of Danielle Geagea at Zsa Zsa Property.

Photo – courtesy of Danielle Geagea at Zsa Zsa Property.

Photo – courtesy of Danielle Geagea at Zsa Zsa Property.

A Modernist Mansion Fit For A ‘Contemporary Goddess’

Thanks to our good friends at Modernist Australia, we discovered the spectacular Golowin House (1959) by Iwan Iwanoff in Mount Lawley, Western Australia earlier this year – what a beauty!

Cherished and restored by passionate custodians who held onto it for the last 3 decades, the Golowin House was sold to new owners earlier this year. Whilst it was on the market, we were lucky to get this scoop!

The residence was a commission for Iwanoff’s preferred builder, the Russian-Jewish family, Golowin Builders, who carried out the construction in the best tradition of astonishing, old-world craftsmanship leaving not a crumble or crack to be seen over 60 years later!

As modern Australia’s Trish Callaghan says – ‘how can one walk up that split level entry, in party best, on a balmy Perth evening and not feel like a contemporary goddess?!’

See the original story here

The iconic Featherston House (1969) in Ivanhoe, originally designed by Robin Boyd for prolific designers Grant and Mary Featherston. Originally there were no balustrades on the lower platforms of the home – these were added over the years.  Bosko sofa by Jardan. Featherston Poli side table. Thonet chairs. Featherston Hob dining table. Featherston Expo 67 Talking Chairs. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

View of the house from the backyard.  The property goes down to the Darebin Creek and is adjacent to a reserve.  ‘There are no fences, so keeping weeds out of our native garden can be a challenge.  We’re working with the wonderful Sam Cox on a multi-year long term plan of all the outdoor areas.’ Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

‘The expanse of glass means you can really feel connected to the environment,’ says Vicky. ‘We improved the insulation of the house, which included replacing the windows with double glazing, while still retaining the original timber window framing.’ Thonet chairs. Featherston Hob dining table.  Flensted mobile. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Thonet chairs. Featherston Hob dining table.  Flensted mobile. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A New Era For Melbourne’s Iconic Featherston House, Designed By Robin Boyd

Julian Featherston grew up in the Featherston House – the iconic Robin Boyd home originally designed for his parents, Grant and Mary Featherston – but he never imagined he would one day renovate and make this his own family home. 

Today, Julian lives here with wife Vicky Featherston and two children, marking the fourth generation (including Grant and Mary’s parents who used to occupy an apartment on site) to live in the iconic house!

‘It was a series of decisions that were made by our family, including Mary, over a number of years that led to us updating/altering the house,’ Vicky says. ‘Our goal with updating the house was to achieve a balance between respecting the legacy of the house, while adapting it for our modern family and lifestyle.’ 

Revisit the original story here 

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

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