In the Beaumaris neighborhood of Victoria, Australia, sits a home built in 1961 by an unknown architect. With a split-level floor plan, a breezy layout and a very real threat of being torn down, it was soon rescued by a retro-loving family.
Answering The Call
Annie Price, a creative director in advertising, and Jamie Paterson, an IT project manager, found their home through an auction. Prior to attending the auction, the couple had promised one another that they would only purchase a home that was in need of simple cosmetic updates. That all changed when they overheard developers discussing the potentials of knocking down the house and rebuilding. They looked at the house again and decided that it needed to be saved.
“We made a bold offer under the asking price and it was accepted,” Annie says. “The house had too much unique character to see it bulldozed.”
For two years they worked diligently to restore the home for their family. They painstakingly sourced products and scrubbed away long-hidden finishes to create the midcentury home of their dreams to share with their daughter, Dottie, and their two dogs, Muttley and Pearl.
Mid Mod Rescue
The first step in their restoration process was to tear out every piece of remodeling that had been unsympathetically added to the home. Jamie tackled this massive task himself—he was determined to save every original feature and ensure that nothing reusable would be lost.
“We were both very much of the opinion that we wanted to stay as true as possible to the 1960s aesthetic,” Annie says. “So for us, it was about trying to reuse whatever we could, reinterpret the space, and source new old stock or complementary new materials.”
With this goal in mind, Annie and Jamie struggled to find the right team of professionals to work on their rescue project. Many tradesmen simply didn’t understand the couple’s desire to reuse materials and salvage original features. Eventually the couple chose to filter their list of contracted tradesmen—leaving only a few trusted vendors—and then completed much of the work themselves while living in the home.
While much of the home’s floor plan was kept as they discovered it, Annie and Jamie sacrificed a bathroom so as to create a large front deck. The space adds to the home’s indoor/outdoor sensibility and now, the family can see into both their front and back gardens from the main living area, making the home feel bright, airy and effortlessly connected to the outside.
Annie and Jamie were tireless in their efforts to retain as many of the home’s original details as they could—both inside and out. The exterior boasts split-face blocks that Annie describes as being laid out in a type of “Mondrian-like randomness, which transforms gray concrete into feature walls.”
They ignored a contractor’s idea to paint their Oregon beams white, instead bringing them back to life with hand-sanding and staining. The couple even retained the split-level home’s metal railings, which are a distinct Australian midcentury feature, as well as the original interior doors and stairs.
“We may never know what original features were lost, as the house suffered a nasty ’70s addition and [we were] without documentation of what the place resembled in its original prime,” Annie says.
A New Old Kitchen
At the time of purchase, the kitchen was one of the worst rooms in the house. Fake bricks and greasy, worn-out cabinets told the story of a poorly done renovation in the late 1970s or early ’80s.
Almost everything had to go, except for one small feature: The original citrus-hued round knobs. In a stroke of luck, they found backsplash tiles that were not only the appropriate hue, but also new old stock from the 1960s.
Annie and Jamie approached their home with a simple goal in mind: To create a home they would love, where they could showcase their treasured finds and serve their love of gathering vintage pieces.
Now, five years later, their home is brimming with a wealth of locally sourced midcentury treasures.
The couple has a knack for finding incredible steals, like a saucer chair on the side of the road and a $10 gummy-bear light that now resides in their daughter’s room.
“We’re particularly proud of the Hans-Agne Jakobsson veneer pendant light that we found at a church sale for $4,” Annie says. “There is a story behind everything and our search for treasures will never be over. Our decorating is dictated by what stuff ‘finds us.’”