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A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

Homes

Architect Ernest Fooks designed some of Melbourne’s outstanding mid-century homes, mostly located across the City of Glen Eira.

The circa 1961-1963 Caulfield North home of Ilana Moses (owner of fashion retail business Grace), and her husband Lenny Moses, is one of the most distinguished. The family purchased the property in 2019, working with Inarc Architects to restore the near-original interiors, and add a contemporary extension. 

Renovations have retained the soul and spirit of the home, which is all about celebration and glamour!

7th December, 2022

Joinery painted in reduced strength Dulux Frontier. Curved banquette built by Camm Upholstery. Vaticano Marble from Corsi and Nicolai. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Ilana Moses inside her luxurious home entry. Mixed marble floor designed by Inarc Architects. B&B Italia Camaleonda Sofa From Space Furniture. Custom-height J Wade Beam’s Console by Brueton. ‘Reverso’ wall partitions by Draga and Aurel. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

A pathway leads through the garden to the front door. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Joinery painted in reduced strength Dulux Frontier. Curved banquette built by Camm Upholstery. Vaticano Marble from Corsi and Nicolai. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Angelo Lelli dining light from 1st Dibs. Fatty Dining Table by Emmemobili. Chairs are from Space Furniture. Vintage poster from in New York. Artwork by Minnie Pwerle. Vase from Grace.

 

Kitchen appliances from VZUG and Sub Zero & Wolf. Handles from Urban Outfitters.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

The dramatic kitchen features a blend of deep greens and sea blue tones. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Angelo Lelli dining light from 1st DibsFatty Dining Table by Emmemobili. Chairs are from Space Furniture. Vase from Grace. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Handmade vintage bar cabinet that once belonged to Ilana’s grandparents. Wallpaper from Arte. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Handmade vintage bar cabinet that once belonged to Ilana’s grandparents. Wallpaper from Arte. Angelo Lelli dining light from 1st DibsFatty Dining Table by Emmemobili. Chairs are from Space Furniture. Vase from Grace. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

‘I have always loved the Tommaso Barbi ginkgo lamps and so when I saw this one at Smith Street Bazaar I grabbed it. I am still trying to convince Lenny that it’s amazing!’ Ilana says. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Striking marble encases the fireplace in the living room. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Ginkgo Lamps by Tommaso Barbi. Drone-painted artworks by Katsu from The Wall in NYC. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

‘When building our home we wanted to retain as many of the original features as possible,’ Ilana says. ‘Our stairs and banister as well as the Murano chandelier are both original to the home when it was built in ’63. Paintings on left by Jedda Daisy Culley from Jerico Contemporary. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

‘A while after moving in we enlisted Simone Haag to help with additional furniture we needed,’ Ilana says. ‘The entry chair is called Solace by Lost Profile Studio. It’s playful yet serious and I love it. I have always been obsessed with J Wade Beam’s T Console by Brueton so we ordered a custom height for the entry.’ Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Inside the main beautiful bedroom. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

A chic dressing room corner! Chair selected by Simone Haag from 1st Dibs. Colé Wise Haua Mirror from Artemest. Meltingpot made from recycled plastic by Dirk Vander Kooij. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

The bedroom features high-gloss green joinery throughout the space, which is the perfect backdrop for ‘little objects’ that Ilana has collected over the years, including Loewe’s leather elephants from Grace and a Coco Capitan book picked up in Paris. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

‘The main bedroom is very serene with earthy tones, with lots more walnut that continues through the space and all the joinery handles are original from the home,’ Ilana says. Lampe De Marseille by Le Corbusier. Bed linen from Frette and Hale Mercantile. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

The striking en suite. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 7th December 2022

We felt that to tear down a historical home would be a shame, especially given there was so much goodness to work with.’ – Ilana Moses

After years of searching for a property to buy, Ilana Moses, founder and owner of fashion boutique Grace, and her family discovered this original home in Caulfield North designed by Austrian-trained architect Ernest Fooks.

‘We were fatigued from the search, but the house, which hadn’t been lived in for years, just felt right,’ says Ilana. ‘It was as if the home found us.’

The house was designed in the early 1960s as the first of multiple modernist homes on the one street. It is a large, split-level, brick dwelling with a flat roof that shows the emerging influence of Japanese architecture in Fooks’ work at the time.

Ilana and her husband Lenny Moses (along with their 14 year-old twins Will and Lexi) purchased the home in original condition, vowing to preserve it for future generations. ‘We felt that to tear down a historical home would be a shame, especially given there was so much goodness to work with,’ says Ilana. 

Instead, the family worked with Inarc Architects and Visioneer builders to retain as much of the existing home as possible, while adding a contemporary extension. Simone Haag was also engaged to curate additional furniture selections.

Ilana describes the essence of this home as ‘understated glamour’— a quality that’s clearly demonstrated throughout both the new and old parts of the home. Richly veined green stone, banquette seating, mixed marble tiles, and brass accents represent a modern take on the original home’s detailed joinery and decoration.

Ilana ‘really dislikes’ white walls, so these were avoided as much as possible. Venetian plaster in a soft lilac colour adds subtle texture to the kitchen, contrasted with Dulux Frontier (at a reduced strength) on the joinery. Various wallpapers also feature in the study, power room, entryway and dining room in a further nod to the home’s ’60s bones.

The overall feel of this home is one of celebration, enhanced by layers of brave texture and colour – and punctuated by multiple entertaining areas, including a generous dining space and bar, lush garden, and pool. 

‘I just love the way it feels all year round,’ says Ilana. ‘Whether it’s pouring outside or the sun is shining, being in the home makes us happy.’ 

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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