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For Sale: A Modernist-Inspired Melbourne Home Designed Around A Circular Courtyard

This unique Hawthorn home been expertly designed to wrap around a courtyard garden with an established tree in its centre.

Hollyoake House won the Victorian Architecture Medal in 2000, but the owner says its steel and timber frame, with floor-to-ceiling glass panels, remind her of modernist designs built in the 50s, sharing plenty of similarities to some of Melbourne’s architectural gems.

The two-bedroom home has just been listed for sale, and the recent renovations have made sure it’s ready for the next custodians!

Christina Karras
Supported by the Vendor

The unconventional floorplan of 54A Connell Street, Hawthorn, wraps around a circular courtyard.

The steel structure and glass panels are reminiscent of modernist-style architecture.

The dining space leads to one of the bedrooms, hidden behind a built-in wardrobe.

Every room looks out to the sculptural tree in the courtyard.

The house has been restored to showcase many of its original fixtures and fittings.

The view from the kitchen.



The main living area.

The openable windows combined with the water retained by the central tree helps provide an evaporative air cooling system in summer.

The owner says one of her favourite things to do is soak in the bath with the doors open to view the magic courtyard at night.

While the current owner Annie has used the second bedroom as ‘a reading nook and yoga studio,’ she says it would also be great for a couple or a small family too.

A new garden by Eckersley Garden Architecture welcomes you to the home.

Christina Karras
10th of October 2023

Architect and artist Annie McIntyre first saw Hollyoake House in The Age ‘over 20 years ago’, when it won the Victorian Architecture Medal.

‘Seven years later, I moved to Hawthorn and used to walk around trying to find Hollyoake House. After I found it, one day in 2016 a sale board went up and I bought it a week later.’

Annie was immediately taken with the Hawthorn home’s modernist-inspired design, featuring a series of light-filled rooms that open onto a circular courtyard with an established tree. Its unique structure and expansive glass panels reminded her of the River House in Kew where she grew up.

‘The 1950s experimental steel cantilever River House was designed by my architect parents, Peter and Dione McIntyre,’ Annie adds. ‘Both Hollyoake and the River House are steel framed and set among trees, creating interiors filled with light, space and nature.’

54A Connell Street‘s square, open floorplan means every room looks out into the courtyard, which also provides a passive cooling system in summer when the windows are opened. Oversized doors separate the two bedrooms, study nook and bathroom from the central garden, while built-in storage helps make the most of the unique spaces.

Before moving into Hollyoake, Annie further enhanced the striking design with some careful renovations.

Eckersley Garden Architecture designed the new streetscape to feature a new eucalyptus garden with floating timber steps leading to the front door; Richmond Lighting helped with new atmospheric lighting; and Annie ‘fully restored the interior and exterior finishes’ to their original condition.

‘Living in the house feels like an urban sanctuary,’ she notes. ‘Dappled light comes into the east facing bedroom in the morning and the west facing dining room in the evening. You also see the moon tracking over the night sky.’

Her other favourite features include the home’s privacy, and its proximity to Glenferrie Road’s cafes, bookstore, cinema, and the inner-city parklands around the Yarra River.

But with her parents now in their 90s, Annie has listed the two-bedroom house for sale in order to move back to River House and spend time with family.

‘I will miss the unique architectural design. The home is restful and joyful — it’s made me realise that good architecture has a positive impact on your wellbeing.’

‘I have all the old magazines and plans of Hollyoake House ready for the new custodians to look after it in its next chapter, whatever that may be.’

54A Connell Street, Hawthorn, is listed for sale with Jellis Craig and will go to auction on 2pm Saturday October 21.

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