Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece
Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

I am very fortunate that I get to see the inside of lots of mid-century and post war homes. But you know a home is really special when you can remember if really well from five years ago.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Five years ago today I attended the auction of Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks’ beautiful home when it sold for $2.41m at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Here are some photos from the original listing in 2013, and some auction videos. Like so many houses of this era it is fairly understated from the street, with the most impressive parts only visible to those lucky enough to see inside.  Despite being placed on the National Trust Heritage Register in 2002 by Noemi Fooks (smart move), the current owners proposed to demolish the existing kitchen and add a second storey, which the National Trust objected to back in February 2017.  Secret Design Studio has had no involvement with the owners or their plans to demolish the kitchen, or the new work. 

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

 

The issue appears that Fooks were a childless couple, and built their home as their forever home – Noemi lived to be 104!  So naturally they weren’t interested in resale value and the bedroom accommodation was fairly modest by contemporary standards. However they enjoyed entertaining on a grand scale, so the emphasis on the design was the free-flowing, generous, open plan living spaces, rather than bedroom accommodation.

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Blog post, Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant

Dr Ernest and Noemi Fooks home at 32 Howitt Road North Caulfield. Photos via Gary Peer and Associates, Caulfield North.

Here is a link to Gary Peer’s promotional video:

 

One of the stand-out features of this home was the beautifully considered and built details throughout.  While the real estate agent’s photos are good for getting an overall perspective of this property, there aren’t any detail photos. I snapped a few during an open for inspection, and I apologise for the quality.  When a house is crowded with people just prior to an auction it is hard to get a well composed photo with the right lighting.

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

Secret Design Studio is Melbourne's favourite mid-century modern design consultant.

Revisiting Dr Ernest Fooks’ mid-century modern masterpiece. Photo by Secret Design Studio

At this point in time I have no idea if the owners have been successful with their plans to extend, but I suspect that they have not.  If I hear anything to the contrary on the grapevine I will update this blog to reflect the current status.