Monday, April 12, 2010

Drive by Houses - Gates to Hausmann

This house, just renovated, and for sale around the corner from me:

has an imposing set of gates leading to the white gravelled driveway. Driving by, I have always thought that the gates were perhaps a little too grand for this house.  There is a reason for that.

The gates do not really belong to this house. ...

They in fact originally sat at the entrance to this house:

Wombalano, built in 1884 to a design by James Twentyman for John Munro Bruce (father of Stanley Bruce, who became Prime Minister of Australia in 1923).   The Bruces sold the house to the Baillieu family at the beginning of the 20th century, who renamed it the more palatable Heathfield.  It was then sold to Sir Keith Murdoch who moved his family, including little Rupert Murdoch in 1933.  (Can you imagine Rupert Murdoch as a baby? I can't).  It was demolished in 1951, after use by the US Army during WW2 and as accomodation for nurses.    

(One day, wrist slashing though it may be, I will do a post on the many houses in the area, Just Like This One, which were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s in our mad rush to modernism.)

But really the surprise to this house, perhaps built originally as stables, is this amazing central room.

Quite Parisian.  In fact I am certain the owners of this house are either French, or have spent time in France.

The house reminds me of this little boite of perfection, in a Hausmanienne building in Paris.

Everything about this apartment is wondeful.   From the well chosen little tribal artefacts, to the incorporation of key modern pieces in a way which is casual rather than 'look at me'. 

(suprising Hans Wegner chairs)

(1950 Zora Starck painting, chairs by Francois Liguri)

to the curved hidden door in the hallway with th elight fitting which looks like a coven of mad white albatrosses have come to nest (in fact the light fitting, by Ingo Maurer, is called 'Bird's Nest');

to this magical magical ceiling - how wonderful to nap under this:

(Images (1) to (3)  Kay and Burton (4) Stonnington Historical Society (5)- (8) Cote Maison France)


Engracia said...

Oh I thought it was very Parisienne Salon in its appearance as well, pretty impressive house, those windows are to die for. So sad the original house was demolished especially given it's social and political connections.
Hope your weekend was lovely

brismod said...

Beautiful. Great art. Great furniture. I wish it was mine. My embarrassing bedside table is destined for the tip after reading this!!

Kristine said...

Beautiful gates. I know the house. Will pointed it out in the Melb Weekly and my response was, it's all garage and not much else. It does have the look of old stables, but unfortunately it's a modern take on a gatehouse. Still rather pretty though. Very Toorak.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

What a fabulous house! I wonder if the Bally poster came from my friend shelley at Gallerie Monmartre.

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

Oh I do love your little real estate snippets. What a shame the original house was deemed unsalvageable. It must have been very grand. But I like what has been done to the stables all the same.

Mise said...

I love the grand old gates, and the central room. You'd feel like a flowing work of art as you walked in there, your clothes lending the room its finishing touch of colour. You sure have great, individual houses round your parts, Jane.

Laura said...

Oh Jane the Hausmanienne is so perfect, especially that odd little corner! It's been far too long since I've been to Paris, these images are giving me that final push to book a trip...and I agree, Rupert Murdoch was likely never a child. I think he must have appeared, full formed, at the age of 35.

Devon said...

Can I come live in your neighborhood? It's gorgeous!

I'm somewhat devastated by the gates. The destruction of the house that once was makes me sad. As beautiful as its replacement is, there simply is nothing like an old, old house.

Millie said...

MOTH often moans that our flash new Letter Box is probably worth more than our house. I did go a little overboard. I'd be happy to buy the gates & leave this house, as pretty as it is.
Millie ^_^

elizabeth avedon said...

Very Interesting about the original house. I look forward to your posts about the many houses, now demolished, in the same area.

One of my Hobby Blogs said...

oh wow, I'm posting pics of PM Bruce's home in St Kilda Road tonight, I'll put a link to this post of his dad's home - they must have been a right royal rich bunch I'd say, silver spoon upbringing all the way it seems! lucky sods.

Sue said...

I was just reading your post about the houses and was wondering if you had any photos of the Heathfield House which later became the Ballieu home and after that became the Salvation Army William Booth Girl's home at all. My mother grew up in the SA home and I am trying to find more photos but have only located 2 of them so far. If could help it would be wonderful.

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