Toorak and our love/hate relationship
Alistair McLean
Category: Real Estate

Posted: Saturday, 26 November 2011 10:52 AM


Despite what the good people of Brighton and their real estate agents may tell you, Toorak remains Melbourne’s premier suburb.  If one has a Toorak address then one has made it in Melbourne.  While this is all very nice for the families moving into Toorak, it is not so good for the many older houses in the suburb, many of which were built with a high level of design, craftsmanship and expense.  Most new residents of Toorak like to make their own mark on the suburb and will want either new, new near, or in the traditional, moneyed Toorak style to impress.


While there are many charming tree-lined streets in Toorak many homes, especially the newer ones, are hidden behind high brick walls for “security”, and have little relationship or interaction with pedestrian life, the neighbours or their immediate neighbours.  Despite the prestige associated with the suburb, Secret Design Studio believes that Toorak may be a lonely place to live, especially if you like to know your neighbours.


However for the mid-century modern home hunter Toorak can be a relative bargain suburb to purchase.  The reason for this is that this period of architecture is underappreciated in Toorak, especially as the homes are more modest in scale to contemporary standards, are usually timber, and require a bit of maintenance to get them back to being as good as new.


Many houses in Toorak of the 1960’s were built on smaller parcels of land, often in newer subdivisions, such as intimate cul-de-sacs, and not in the main, palatial avenues, such as Irving Road and similar.  Today these properties, that don’t follow the “Toorak style” are often sold for land value, with the house unappreciated and deemed worthless by the market.  For the mid-century modern lover these houses are like finding treasure, often with large areas of glazing facing onto well-established gardens.