“Our suburb, Beaumaris, was once owned by the Dunlop Rubber Company, which in the early post-WWII years planned it as a modernist worker’s paradise, with arched avenues in concentric rings circling their factory by Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay,” Annie says. When global rubber prices fell, the plan came to a halt, but land was suddenly freed up. According to Annie, this became a testing ground for some of Australia’s burgeoning modernist architects, and they suspect that someone inspired by these original intentions built their home.

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.

Of the many midcentury components they sourced, vintage lighting in particular was an important component to successfully attaining the midcentury aesthetic.

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.

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.
“Due to local housing energy efficiency regulations, we replaced all windows with double glazing, but we chose hardwood timber frames and stained them to match the teak and Oregon timbers,” Annie says. “While the windows were the single biggest expense of the renovation, they have provided great year-round insulation for our climate.”

“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.”

Annie and Jamie are not new to the joys of living in a midcentury home. Prior to the restoration of their current home, they shared “a 1950s cream brick in a neighboring suburb,” and before that they each had homes from earlier periods. When they realized that their collections of midcentury furnishings didn’t really fit those homes, Annie and Jamie knew they had decided on their personal style.

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.

Original Details

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.

The backsplash tiles were sourced from a Melbourne shop that had found the tiles with their original paper backing disintegrated. New mesh was added to the tile sheets and they were installed in the kitchen.
Rather than sacrificing the modern convenience of a dishwasher, the couple chose to disguise it with a teak veneer skin—lovingly referring to as a “mod-con.”

“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.

The remaining bathroom features original details, like the red-hued version of the kitchen knobs.

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.

Creating Home

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 share childhood memories of teak, laminate and vinyl surrounds, and we love the unique contrast of modernism against the Australian bush,” Annie says.

“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.’”