Modern Love


33 Camelot Court, Carlingford.  Guide $1.3-$1.4M – 5 beds, A rumpus room and a ‘games room’ – or rather space for bunch of 12 year olds to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Potential is my super power and in this house and many modern houses currently for sale, I see an easy adaption to 21st Century family life.  These houses were built for families but also built for their location and environment.   Not simply plonked on a block of land, the orientation of the sun is taken into account, hence these houses have the sun, the warmth and the low-cost of maintenance that comes with these building decisions.

While many home renovations tear down walls to open spaces, these modern homes have that open layout, many just need an updated kitchen and new colour scheme.  Too easy.

So look at the plans, see the open spaces, the high ceilings, and large windows and think of your colour schemes and get a designer in.


44 Sylvan Ave, East Lindfield.     Guide Over $1.9M   –  5 Beds – Built in the 1970s this bushland north shore modern wins window and staircase award of the week.  The house has cleverly organised all its major windows north, even rooms on lower levels have strategic north windows.  Very clever considering the house’s orientation is North to street/ South backyard.



This house has all the extra elements that make it a perfect family home.  The swimming pool is large, fenced and heated.  The lawn is ready for tip cricket.



Not stopping here.. there are more modern treasures this week…

Greenwich, 58 Ronald Ave.  Guide over $2.35M.    4 beds and room for the au-pair (says the agent).  If you love triangles this is your home.  Triangle house on a triangle shaped block.



It really is a week for staircases and spectacular windows

For a suburb close to trains and the CBD this part of Greenwich is wonderfully green.   Which is really the point of buying a house over an apartment.  For the same price you could have a small apartment with water views, or a large light and green filled house close to transport and a lively area and no strata issues.

Next,   Here’s a question.  Which one of the following two photos would you use for the lead image?

The outside?  or


The inside?


Before I tell you, which one is more distinctive? unique? and could tempt a buyer looking for not-the-average home?   Click through link to see the lead image.

Roseville, 6 Kings Avenue – guide $2.180M  –  4 beds and 4 car spaces.  Weird price and weird amount of car spaces.  Could they be used for something else?

I’d love to see more of this unique house built over a creek but there are only 5 images one of which are the floor plans.  The other two images are a dull workstation of a kitchen and a slither of the bathroom.   Hello agent, show me more please because the house is a bit different.



Finally, and this is the favourite for the week,

10A Beechworth Road , Pymble.   Guide over $2.75M.  5 beds, salt water pool, driveway with turning circle.

It’s a step back in time to a friend’s family home where the mum liked to paint and the dad was ‘in business’ but they frequently travelled to Asian countries that are called different names now.



Every pebble, rock and brick can tell a story.   I’d get rid of the topiary and go a bit more native. Easier too.


The land size is huge, 2500 sqm, not clear how much is sub-tropical spider forest and what is lawn.

I’ve always wanted my own gates.  Hope they are automatic or we would just have arguments sitting in the car, while it rains in that sudden heavy Sydney way, about whose turn to open the gates.


The kitchen is great, I love the windows and outlook but not right.  I love the copper extractor and the tiles behind look authentic, but it’s just missing a cohesive idea.  Might need a bit of greenery?


Just in case you need more,  here are some from the short list

Turramurra, 18 Holmes Street

Turramurra Holmes.jpg

20 Saiala Rd, Killara

siala .jpg

33 Jeanette Street, Ryde  (watch out for the hipsters hanging ’round the house)


And last

7 Elizabeth Street, Avalon



Mosman – It’s hard to be Modern

Everyone wants you if you are Federation

5 St Elmo Street, Mosman


Pretty, isn’t it.   Strange paintings on the dining rooms wall but one can get a decorator or is that an ‘interior stylist’ now?


It must be hard being Mid-Century in Mosman.  Just not fitting in like everyone else.

There are two mid-century modern homes in Mosman listed for sale.  Both have sales blurbs stressing the value of ‘upgrading’, ‘potential to develop’ and ‘renovate and capitalise’.

1A Methuan Mosman – Domain range over $2M *


The house is nothing inside.  After 50 years of living in the same house I would be exhausted too.   Yes, it is a blank canvas but don’t assume I don’t like the house to start with.  There are so much assumptions in sales pitches with agents that all these old houses are there just to be rebuilt from scratch.


17a Awaba St Mosman – Domain range $2.25 to $2.5M


Photography of this house is from the ‘can’t be stuffed’ agency.   Either they don’t want to sell (forced to sell or someone’s miffed at the settlement of the will) for some reason no-one is following orders in the ‘how-to-sell’ brochure.

The blurb is trying so hard to make you forget about the actual house.  Because ‘it’s not worthy of  the location’.

Already taking in water glimpses, this quaint bungalow, positioned on level land, presents an opportunity for building up or redevelopment to further the views and create a home which is worthy of the location.


They could have mentioned the stupendous extractor  – or


The room of nothing except furniture backed up against the wall – or


The well-maintained brown tile patio.  The grout has been cleaned very well with a gurney.


These modern houses are just uncomfortable in Mosman, like a pair of acid wash denim or trinkets from Bali, they are just ‘not-very-Mosman’.    Here at Sydney Family Homes we know that Mid-Century Modern is a trend about to become hip again, maybe even in Mosman, so get in there and show Mosman what she is missing out on.

* Domain range = Although no dollar price is indicated a price range can be found by using the ‘Price’ in the filtering system.  Agents have to enter a guide price range when listing a property.

All images courtesy of Domain.  All opinions and conclusions are my own.  Any experiences or extra information on any of these houses would be welcomed. 

The South – but not as you know it

Go to The South often?   Like deep Shire South?  It’s like the North, in fact, its very like the North but much cheaper.  Waterways, creeks, bush, beaches and even train stations.

Last school holidays I discovered Hazelehurst Gallery in Gymea.   A combination of bequeathed art gallery, playground, hip cafe and craft group or as the recent SMH review called it ‘A garden party in Gymea’.     Culture, regional arty culture, does exist and so do some affordable interesting family homes.

30 Ruby Road, Gymea.  Auction.  Domain range to $1M *

Waterfront and waterview homes are more expensive, naturally, but this mid-century home is well located to the preschool and public school (like across the fence).


Not the most exciting house.  Plain mid-century and small.   This is posted here as an example of what people ignore.   A plain house that is ‘out of fashion’ can be the best entry to a tough market.   There are now design firms that specialise in helping modernise a mid-century home,  Secret Design Studio, offers a ‘Dr Retro House’ service.  Although based in Melbourne, the demand for consultations has prompted a new office in Sydney.

Here is the google location showing park on the south side and Primary school to the west.   Home is located in a cul-de-sac.


Nothing to Do – 65 Forest Road Miranda.    For Sale.  Domain range to $1.4M

5 bedrooms, 3 balconies and a spa.   Close to shops, schools and a Westfield there is nothing to do in this house.  In another part of Sydney this house would be way more than $1.4.


If you want more in Miranda you could try this palm-tree-laden confusion at 63 Matson Crescent  – price estimate is $1.9- $2.1M


12 Glen Road Oatley.   Auction guide $1.6-1.7M.   A new home with a MCM (mid-century modern) influence I only have one objection.  The two car garage could be brought forward to a car-port and a more living space could be added.  Otherwise Oatley has one of the best family parks in Sydney


The Best for lusty last.

14 Boronia Parade, Lugarno.  Designed by Ancher, Mortlock & Murray in the early 1960s, the leading image was of the water view, which is spectacular, but avoided any sense of a superb house behind it.

14 Boronia P Lugarno view

Hello House.

14 Boronia P Lugarno

Built in the early 1960s this formed part of the early ‘Sydney School’ style of architecture.  If this house was in Castlecrag or Northbridge it would be over $3M.   Here in Lugarno the auction guide is $1.8 plus.

14 Boronia P Lugarno Stair

14 Boronia P Lugarno Lounge

14 Boronia P lugarno Pool

14 Boronia P Lugarno plans


For Auction with price range of $1.8-$1.9M.  I’m off to buy my lotto ticket for this one.

* Domain range = Although no dollar price is indicated a price range can be found by using the ‘Price’ in the filtering system.  Agents have to enter a guide price range when listing a property.


All images courtesy of Domain.  All opinions and conclusions are my own.  Any experiences or extra information on any of these houses would be welcomed. 

Hunters Hill – Ceiling Love


66 Barons Crescent, Hunters Hill.  For Sale via Mc Grath guide $2,000,000

Can’t stop staring at the Ceilings.

I’m a complete convert to this mid-century modern house thing.   With small kids running through the house and bumping into doors and furniture a MCM house has less chance of them crashing into a wall or door because there are less walls.

Over to this house in Hunters Hill.  There are two sides to HH, the peninsular bit and the other side.   This the cheaper side but you still get the Hunters Hill postcode.   The Hill is known for grand sandstone mansions and waterside homes, a MCM house, like this is probably ignored, and that’s a good thing for a wise buyer like you.  Agent says a local family had it built in the 70s.

The house has been rented and has been staged for selling which is another advantage for two reasons.   If you need to re-paint, update or renovate anything before moving in you won’t have issues with access to the property because of current owners or tenants.   Secondly, most of this house has been left blank.  Apart from the ceilings, the character and style of the original house has been stripped out.  Get in a good designer, one sympathetic to this style and give some style back.


What’s missing here is greenery.  The view outside to the pool finishes with an ugly fence. Get in a gardener and start discussing greening it up.


Kitchen in a box.  Keep the stove.


Flagstones.  Sorry temporarily distracted.  The view back into these two living areas is perfect for summer family life.  I can see what those kids are up to just by sitting here al fresco with my prosecco.



The shade cloth is probably a great idea but plan on updating to a permanent structure or a retractable system.

More greenery needed.


Hello pool fence.  North facing backyard so lots of sun on the pool.  Would suggest a shaded area or a Basil Bangs beach umbrella ?


I don’t need a street frontage to impress other people.  Fence it and live behind it.  More room for living.

Floor plan shows bedrooms placed on either side of the house.  Keep the child with worst nightmares or bedwetting problem close to the main room and guest or others on the other side.


66 Barons

Location map.  House is on edge of Lane Cove River and the river version of the Bondi to Bronte walk.   Schools nearby include Hunters Hills High so you can choose a state school if you are inclined.


All images courtesy of Domain.  All opinions and conclusions are my own.  Any experiences or extra information on any of these houses would be welcomed. 

Five Modern homes to Save

Mid-Century modern homes are often over-looked for being funny looking, old fashioned and maybe a bit small. We think this is a trend about to explode. With the ABC’s Streets of Your Town doco to be shown in October (hosted by Tim Rosso) we are about to understand the value of these well designed homes.

Here are five family homes in Sydney worth considering

Number one  118 Dartford Road, Thornleigh

Built by an Australian landscape architect (no name provided). Thornleigh is the location suburb of the film, Don’s Party.  A Northern suburb of rocks, bush and sloping land; modern split-level houses slide into the landscape well.  Cruel, or maybe surreal, this house last sold in 1991 for $105,000.


Number Two:  37 Drysdale Place, Kareela.

Opposite side of Sydney, The Shire, but similar topography.  Kareela is another suburb crowded with untouched mid-century homes.   I love when you see cream berber wool carpet, suites of parker furniture and copper relief paintings in situ

Last sold in 1978 for $69,000.


Number Three: 29 Loquat Valley Road, Bayview

Provenance : Michael Dysart 1970

Tiki Time.  Up to the Northern Beaches,  Bayview blocks are long and sloping. A north aspect like this with views down to Pittwater is what makes these houses warm and liveable.  Not sure about the TV in the main bedroom.

Missing from the original set of photos are outside shots but an easy Google search found and old listing.  Quirky box-like house.  Needs the right landscaping and outside paint.

Price estimate is $1.4 – 1.5 M.  Similar property in Bayview went for $1.6M

Number Four:   11 Hampshire Avenue, West Pymble

Tiny but cute 3 bedroom in West Pymble.  Good land size, right orientation.  Agent all but says knock-down and re-build.

As Steven Coverdale from the facebook group ‘Mid-Century Domestic Architecture Australia says about this house

T70 is a compact three bedroom design, or as most people will note, a direct copy of Architect Nino Sydney’s ‘Beachcomber’ project home for Lend Lease Homes. The ‘budget’ aspect is obvious when you compare the two designs. But fair enough. It’s still a terrific modernist design.

The poor thing isn’t long for the world.

Original Plans for this model house from Department of Housing.

T70 Dept Housing.jpg
via Steven Coverdale/ Mid-Century Domestic Architecture

Number Five:  35 Barton Crescent, North Wahroonga

A masterbuilt 1975 mansion (in 1975 terms) Five bedrooms, four bathrooms, spiral staircase, billiard room with tree and pool.   Recently sold in Jan 2015 for $1.4M.  Could do with an interior designer specialising in mid-century as current furniture is a complete distraction.

From a buyers point-of-view a house that is badly furnished can help lower the price.  Buyers are completely visual and those of us that see the potential can take advantage.



Room of the Week belongs to this 1975 North Wahroonga House

A house with a dance floor under cathedral arches of pale brick gets the Room of The Week Award. If the Von Trapp family have their staircase this family could practice Godspell with interpretive dance routines or Mum could host Tango-at-home lessons



All images courtesy of Domain.  All opinions and conclusions are my own.  Any experiences or extra information on any of these houses would be welcomed. 


Blacktown – The Unexpected

2 Girra Road, Blacktown.   Totally unexpected to see this classy, well-kept modern but modest home in Blacktown.  Are we stepping back in time to an era of affordability?   The cottage, the lawn, the trees, this is just so adorable.

Checking Google satellite the neighbours have a pool, in fact, several do so take that box of cupcakes round to meet everyone.








For a small space it offers a lot.  3 Bedrooms, sitting room (or media room) a linen cupboard, a separate studio and outside toilet and a generous car port (could fit a tarago).  Just shows you a small house can achieve much.

Click the address link to connect with the original listing on Domain for more information.



West Pymble – People not included


35 Todman Avenue, West Pymble

What do you think of this trend to have people and dogs in real estate photos?   In a lifestyle magazine or website, it is expected, the story is about the people who designed or live there.  Moving this idea over to real estate is confusing.  I’m trying to imagine me living there and these stooges are interrupting.

Anyhoo, onto the house..  Just so exciting to see a 1960 Pettit and Sevitt home.   Or is it?

Presenting iconic “Pettit and Sevitt” style architecture

The blurb is confusing.  Is it ‘in the style of’ or is it an original?   Its like saying an Eames chair or an Eames style chair from Matt Blatt.


Just absorb all these details, the staircase, the fire place, the levels.



There is no close up of the kitchen which is at the far end.


Put another log on the fire.




Not quite a bedroom.  Could be a family room or playroom.


North facing pool perfection.  Frustration will set in with all the leaves falling in but put that on the kids list of jobs to do.



There was no front image in the set so I found this image from last year.


Thoughts ?


Blakehurst – Party out of Bounds


215 Stuart St, Blakehurst –


Just wait..  get to the interior shots


Are you impressed by the waterfront picture?  Wait, this is not about it being a waterfront house.   I’ll just leave all the interior shots for you to enjoy.   You just need to know it was built in 1962 and is currently for sale.







The best description of this house is here at Modernist Australia

Thanks to Sarah at Pink Flamingo for alerting me to this party house.





Cheltenham – Mod Oz Glory

19 Norma Cres pool

19 Norma Crescent, Cheltenham.    This house is giving me such angst.  It’s so cool, so perfectly of the moment modern.  If it was a couple he would wear Fletcher Jones and she would wear Prue Acton and the kids would all wear corduroy.

For a perfect commentary on the architectural importance I recommend reading this entry on Modern House.  Also worth comparing the furniture and photography of the previous listing.   More Marimekko, Missoni and Bitossi involved.

No, the real angst is nothing to do with the house, nothing to do with the un-fenced pool (yet again) but could one live in Cheltenham?

19 Norma dining

19 Norma fireplace

19 Norma kitchen


19 Norma Cres tv room

19 Norma den

19 Norma bdroom

19 Norma bathroom

19 Norma patio

19 Norma Cres pool side

19 Norma plans




KILLARA – Culture Luvvies (SOLD)

Presenting 1 Truscott Place, Killara NSW 2070 –  5 Beds, 1 spiral staircase and lots of tropical foliage.


Owned by one family I suspect they are ageing pre-boomers with culture running through their veins.   They embraced the open plan living before everyone and definitely travelled through Asia before Lonely Planet was even written.  You’ve got to admire a home with  travels souvenirs from countries now renamed and old posters from the Nimrod.

I would buy this house just to inhabit their lifestyle.

However, would have to put in a pool fence immediately.  Can’t tell you how many pools I visit with no fences.    However it would be awesome to install a slide from the top balcony into the pool.


Can you imagine the conversations around this fireplace?  I wonder if they had an election party in 1972?



Most florid quote from the blurb

With National Park as a neighbour you can ensure that the peace and tranquility along with the sweet songs of the local inhabitants will create an intimate connection with the outdoors and will enrich your lives for years to come.

The rosella’s will wake you in the morning, the bats eat your fruit at night and the possum’s will shake and rattle your roof.   The North Shore is great for that ‘intimate connection’ between nature and your home.


Fall straight from room to pool.  Where do they come up with those TV screen shots?

Note the Nimrod poster (I’d ask for this as a gift with purchase)


Stove-a-rama.  You can’t have enough hot plates.  The eat-in bench would have a pleasant morning view.

Bedrooms not well featured.  There is a tendency in this era to have small rooms with lots of built-ins.

As much as this is a perfect mid-century house with all the right tick button it is unfortunately in ‘the zone’ for Killara High School,  former school to underwear scion, Elle MacPherson, but now a hot spot for nerdy kids.  You will be battling zoners for this piece of modern lifestyle.


Truscott sat copy

Google Satellite image.  Lots of national park on doorway..  I would look at the car access as I’m not sure where the car entrance it located.

Truscott Drive

Google to work.  Work is set as Martin Place.  The train would take 50 mins.  Car leaving at 7:30am would take 26 – 30 mins.

Killara is 16 kilometres from the CBD

On the recent liveability index published by Domain.  All all about the trees.

84. Killara

The onetime home of famed architect Harry Seidler is the second most liveable suburb on the upper north shore. Killara is very well rated for its telecommunications coverage, culture, tree cover, train access, low crime rate and topographic variation. It receives average scores for just about everything else except buses with the stops quite spaced out.

So if you really love it, you’ve got to fight with the zoners.