Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Retro House

A couple of weekends ago, Jason and I went to inspect a retro 1970s open house. Don't fret, we're not moving or anything, it was just out of curiosity because these kind of homes don't often crop up on our side of town.

retro 1970s house

It was quite grand and it was like we stepped back into 1976, baby!

image from here

I could totally see myself in a lairy patio dress, attending to my imaginary guests, topping up champagne cocktails and pulling devils on horsebacks out of the oven, with The Girl from Ipanema playing gently in the background.

You too?

This was the dining room off the kitchen. Check out the curvy kitchen bench tops. You can also glimpse the view from the windows.

It is high up in the suburb of Upper Mount Gravatt, backing onto bushland, and has the most spectacular panorama from the house. It was designed by Gold Coast architect Russel Gibbons according to the real estate agent. Not that that means much to me but I guess it is still good to know.

Open plan living room with original built-in cabinetry.
It truly was designed with the panorama in mind, because from nearly every room in the main living area there is a view as the backdrop. There was an interesting L-shaped enclosed atrium (for want of a better word) with large sliding windows, where you could soak up the magnificent views to Moreton Bay.

Original retro kitchen

What I liked most about the house was that it had largely been left untouched. Everything seemed to be original which is so rare these day, however it was extremely tired looking. 

I could see this house being restored  to its former mid-century glory, with a few modern injections though.

Our eldest two boys loved the house. The winner for them was the laundry chute and two sets of  internal stairs. Easy to please.

Floor plan

Jason looked at the house and groaned about the amount of work and paint it would need. I looked at it and thought I could live here if it we had a spare million and more patio dresses.

Apparently, the house next door had sold for $1.3 million and was being extensively renovated. The real-estate agent was optimistically expecting a similar amount for this home when it goes to auction.

Jason said if we had a million dollars or more to spend on a house, he would hope that he wouldn't have to renovate it. And I responded, fair enough.

Whoever buys it will get themselves a fabulous blank canvas mid-century home. And with a bit of money and TLC, it will be spectacular. 

Let's just hope whoever buys it doesn't render it and can enjoy its 1970'ness, baby!

*all house photos courtesy of here


  1. Looks like it could be a really cool house. Reminded me of my childhood with all the wood paneling. Thankfully we didn't have a curvy bench! ;-)

  2. How magnificent!!! I wish they had more of these houses around .... particularly in my area! I have renovated it already.
    p.s. I'm having a little giveaway over at mine if you have time to pop over.

  3. I like it but I'd be a bit worried about those wavy benchtops mid hangover. Although you could be saved by the patio dress I suppose.

  4. The laundry chute would have been the deal clincher for me too!

  5. Patio dresses needed for sure and fancy aprons for house duties. A feather duster and hair full of hairspray to complete the look. Yeah baby for sure.

  6. It's fabulous!! I agree with Jason though, if I bought a house for a million smackers i'd want it renovated! Xx

  7. I've come back. I wonder if you could build a house like that today and it not look hideous?

    I'm trying to work out why that house is so appealing, but also trying to work out what makes it distinctly 70s ... as opposed to one of those spec houses that are built now which also have flatroofs, but no retro-flare.

    And how huge is the kitchen? I love it. Wavy-ness and all.

    The colour of the bricks? The stonework near the front door? The breeze bricks on the front fence?

  8. Hard to believe a house at Mt Gravatt can be worth a milion isn't it? Le sigh!

  9. The views and windows are spectacular. I can imagine that this house was the envy of the neighbourhood in it's hey day. Thanks for sharing. x

  10. Kitty, I know what you mean!
    MMMC, you could probably build something very nice indeed with the right design. What makes this place exceptional is that it was designed to capture the panorama. When you visit it, you realise how well the architect succeeded with his design. The photos really do no justice.

  11. Love a laundry chute. And love that it has been untouched - hope the new owners treat it well.

  12. Back again.

    We had a laundry chute in our house when I was growing up. We could jump from the kids bathroom, down a floor to the laundry sink if we wanted ... so long as there were no clothes blocking the swingdoor at the bottom. Otherwise you'd get trapped.

  13. Those places always have the best views in the neighborhood - because they are the only place where you cannot see them when looking out!

  14. I was expecting a comment from you, Tom. I said to Jason, "I wonder what that stone mason Tom will have to say about this place?"

    You must've heard me. x

  15. That kitchen bench is WILD- do you think the lady of the house choose that out of a catalogue or just had a cutting edge design mind? The panorama looks amazing but those ceilings just seem, well, so low. I've lived in queenslanders since childhood so less than 10 foot kind of feels claustrophobic.

  16. As in Frank Lloyd Wirghts designs, this architect was all about the sight lines. Love the house.. With the right furniture it would be fabulous.....minus that fireplace insert.

  17. I just want to know, was Carmel on the patio with her swanky dress grooving to the beat of Herb Alpert???

  18. I'd just like to award you 97 points for the use of the word 'lairy.' This shoots you right to the top of the leaderboard, and the band is going to strike up a wee tune now to mark this momentuous day.

  19. OMG we purchased most of the original contents of this house. Isn't it awesome. It is massive. Did you get down into the other garage on the side. It goes on forever. The family were lovely.They have actually done a bit of work to it, judging from your pictures. The upstairs was carpeted, heavy shag baby!I notice you don't have a pic of the incredible fireplace. I hope they did not remove this as I loved it! So strange seeing it again here on your blog.

  20. Take that back I can see the fireplace.ha I loved how it was in the centre of the room. The furniture was quite ornate in most of the house, lots of gold and twirley metal and 70's glam kitsch. There were chandeliers that hung from either side of the fireplace.

  21. I used to live in O'Grady st Upper Mount Gravatt!!! Now let me cast my mind back to if I ever drove past that house… Nope - to busy walking to uni at the time. Mmm - you sure you wouldn't have been wearing a brightly coloured Kaftan???

  22. Ange, definitely a kaftan for around the pool. xx

    Katherine - how amazing that you bought all the furniture in the house! I could picture the glam kitsch. They still had Danish style lighting in the front stairwell and there was shag pile carpet in one of the bedrooms too. The main living area and the kitchen floors were recently polished. It was a great house. xx

  23. I would love views like that! I must agree with Jason in that if I spent that money, I would want to kick back and enjoy it. Great song choice & food selection for the house - they'd work perfectly!

  24. Hi, I just found your blog and wanted to let you know that I am a new follower! :) love your blog!Erin


  25. From your photos it looks like the house really takes advantage of the gorgeous view.

  26. I want a lairy patio frock and I want it now.

    Mr FF could wear a matching tie, perhaps by say Leonard of Paris?

    It's like the house in Ang Lee's the Icestrom. Sans key party.

  27. If it happens (or has happened) in Brisbane - The boathouse knows.

    Now FF did you mean Ice Storm?

    Have you been on the 'bubbled goon' again?

  28. I love the house, the windows and the feel of shag rug between my toes.

  29. absoloutely divine. it's incredible. such a treasure that i'd love to get my hands on! good for you for taking a peek, if only for the inspiration!


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