Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Drive By Houses - Sir Roy Grounds Hill Street House

Do you peer nosily into front gardens and windows as you drive by, hoping for a glimpse perhaps of the inside, maybe even a piece of art or a section of curtain?  I do.  

We pass some interesting houses on the way to work, a trip of short cuts, rat runs and roundabouts, trying to beat the cars queued at the obvious intersections.    

This house in Hill Street Toorak was designed by Sir Roy Grounds for himself in 1952.  Reaction to the house was mixed but it still won the Architectural Medal in 1954.    Grounds is an icon of Australian 20th century architecture, responsible for works including the Water Wall at the National Gallery of Victoria.   He formed a partnership in the early 1950s with two other significant architects: Robin Boyd and Frederick Romberg. 

The house was rediscovered by a cardiologist in 2003 who lovingly restored it to its current intact condition.  The walls were relined with ash, and the joinery is consistent throughout (this is important given so much of the house can be seen from other rooms).    The Knoll chairs work wonderfully in this room.   

(images from Dedece.com)

This elevation shows the unusual nature of the house - a circular courtyard in a square structure. 

The courtyard has black bamboo:

Here is a shot of the exterior and the dining area: 

This is a close up of the lined circular wall:

And the living area, with just the perfect furniture.  

The house is now owned by Georgia Danos, who owns Grace Boutique in Hawksburn (see below).  It has changed a bit but the light, symmetry and the harmonious structure have remained. 


brismod said...

Wow. Fortunately, it was rediscovered by people who appreciated it. Up here, so many award winning modernist homes have disappeared in favour for the unit complex or, dare I say it, the Tuscan villa.

Debra said...

Thankfully someone cared enough to put her back into shape! I am a huge night-time voyeur. Later this week I will leave for the south shore of MA for a little respite. Each night I take a little drive to admire my favorite homes. Perhaps a glimpse of the charming interiors.

Mise said...

What an admirably simple structure. The interior has quite a masculine look, doesn't it? And all beautifully careful and consistent. The black bamboo is a wonderful touch.

Monika said...

What an amazing house! I love the mid-century vibe.

Laura said...

I am terribly nosy when it comes to beautiful houses, but I tend to stay an appropriate distance away. I fear that if I was anywhere near this place I would rudely barge in for a look around! You are so right about that furniture being perfect for the room...even that poor zebra skin looks just like a very tired animal taking a nap rather than a tanned hide!

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Jane,
I am the biggest culprit for peeping into other peoples houses !! This hobby is best done in the winter, when it's darker in the mornings and evenings and people have their lights on !! Oh, I know all of the finer points of peering into other peoples houses !!
The house that you've shown is amazing, and how ahead of it's time it was. Sleek and modern but still with a lot of warmth from the wood. XXXX

Ange said...

Love it - but think I like it better now ;-) I'm terrible. I never notice houses but I'm with Anita ...DOWN WITH THE TUSCAN VILLA outside of Tuscany!!

Engracia said...

I love looking into other peoples' homes, that why I walk around the 'hood, not for the exercise, but the perve. This also means I often attend open houses just to satisfy my curiosity!!!I'm actually getting a bit of a reputation I think, I see the look of "oh no here she is again" form the agents :).
Love this house certainly peek worthy.

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