Custodianship and the mid-century modern home
Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW Designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959. Photo from Australian House and Garden July 1959, shortly after the home was built.

“Custodianship” is a concept that some (but not all) owners of mid-century modern homes appreciate. It is the idea that many homes change hands every 10 to 15 years, as households’ needs change, and that with any home you are only really a custodian until the next change of “custodianship”.

 

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW Designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959. Photo from the 2007 real estate listing when the current vendors purchased the home.

While most mid-century modern homes always need maintenance and renovations (as things do wear out) it is good to approach these issues with the idea of appreciating the original architecture, and style.  One of the worst things to do is the ego-renovation in the current transient fashion trend to put your own stamp on a house (I’m thinking of matt-black tapware, etc) so that when your house is sold the renovations are date-stamped to a particular year which is not in keeping with the rest of the house.  There are so many mid-century homes that have suffered from insensitive 1980’s renovation which are now at the stage of being replaced.

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW Designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959. 2018 photo from LJ Hooker Avnu listing.

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW Designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959.

Thanks to Steven Coverdale, who runs the Mid-Century Domestic Architecture page on Facebook for alerting me to the fact that one of the mid-century modern houses that I had scanned and featured on Secret Design Studio’s Instagram feed was now on the market and looking fantastic.  It is so good to see that this house has been through some careful custodians, who have completed renovations that are in keeping with the architecture. No daggy 1980’s renovations in this home – perhaps they were removed by the current custodians who have owned the home since 2007?

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW Designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the original house as featured in “Australian House and Garden” from July 1959 to the current real estate listing.

For ease of readability I have copied exactly the text from the 1959 article, which was written by staff reporter Barbara Watt.  It appears that some of the sentences have been abbreviated for publication.

“Four active youngsters in my home – I wouldn’t be able to cope!” – would be the cry of the owner of the average home – but Canadian born Mrs. J. Rush has everything under control and running smoothly in her child-happy house. For that’s the way her striking house has been designed to run! Architect Harold R. McCauley planned it so that every need of both children and parents were satisfied for economic and efficient family living.

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959, featured in Australian House and Garden magazine July 1959

 

The split-level house built at Killara, N.S.W has many unique features to which this efficiency can be attributed.

  • The four young children, Margo, Carla, Barry and Joanna each have their own bedroom – an ideal arrangement for homework and it gives them a private playroom to entertain their friends. Also as the children’s ages range from three to 12 years, they have quite different interests.  Carla, Barry and Joanna’s bedrooms are on the lowest level of the house, a few steps down from the living and dining room. A separate children’s bathroom is also on this level which leaves the upstairs bathroom free for the parents.  Each bedroom has a built-in wardrobe and opens onto a concrete terrace.
  • Corridor type kitchen with laundry beyond, enables washing to be supervised while meals are prepared. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are eaten at the counter of an island unit which runs lengthwise in the room. Swivel stools swing under counter when not in use. Another practical feature in the kitchen is the extension of black mottled linoleum floor tiles to the wall at the back of the snack counter. Surface is more easily cleaned than the painted rendered wall over which the tiles are placed.
    Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

    ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959, featured in Australian House and Garden magazine July 1959

  • The living and dining areas in the centre of the home have a high open-beamed ceiling which slopes with the roof pitch. These rooms are used by the whole family, and not, as in some houses where there are many children, shut off especially for adults only.  Children’s wear and tear doesn’t show on the patterned carpet which has a charcoal grey background and tiny white and yellow abstract motif. Popular corner in the living room is around the TV set at night when children, bathed and quiet, are served tea watching their favourite programme.

Textured surfaces give character.

A decorative feature worth noting is the number of textures used in this fascinating house of different levels.  In the living and dining areas, brick walls have been treated differently, one rendered and painted leaving the brick pattern showing. The several sandstone planters give a touch of sophistication and unusual dividers of white painted one quarter inch wire mesh with block of grey and white painted wood set into the wire give character.

In the living area, against a timber wall, cantilevered stairs with recessed carpet in treads to prevent noise, lead to the main bedroom, bathroom and Margo’s bedroom.  These three room form the only two storey part of the house and they also open onto a small cantilevered terrace.

Dining area, level with the kitchen and five steps from the living area, has a cocktail bar at one end. Over dining table is a hanging light fitment with three recessed globes. Natural light floods the room during the day through  the top part of the floor to ceiling glass panels which are un-curtained. Olive green and white alternatively placed curtains, give privacy to the bottom part.

Carport at rear of house has concrete floor which provides extra play space for the kiddies on rainy days.

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959, featured in Australian House and Garden magazine July 1959

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, designed by Harold R. McCauley for Mrs J. Rush circa 1959, featured in Australian House and Garden magazine July 1959

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

Current real-estate listing 2018 for ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, plans from LJ Hooker Avnu, Neutral Bay

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

Current real-estate listing 2018 for ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, photo from LJ Hooker Avnu, Neutral Bay

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

Current real-estate listing 2018 for ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, photo from LJ Hooker Avnu, Neutral Bay

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

Current real-estate listing 2018 for ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, photo from LJ Hooker Avnu, Neutral Bay

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

Current real-estate listing 2018 for ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, photo from LJ Hooker Avnu, Neutral Bay

Melbourne mid-century modern architect, Secret Design Studio, Dr Retro House Calls blog post "Custodianship and the mid-century modern home"

Current real-estate listing 2018 for ‘Rush House’ 145 Springdale Road East Killara NSW, photos from LJ Hooker Avnu, Neutral Bay

With the auction of this property on November 17th 2018 please visit the listing for inspection times:

https://www.domain.com.au/145-springdale-road-east-killara-nsw-2071-2014706983

To join Steven Coverdale’s “Mid-Century Domestic Architecture” facebook group please follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MidCenturyDomesticArchitecture/?ref=bookmarks

To follow Secret Design Studio on Instagram please follow this link:

https://www.instagram.com/secret_design_studio/