A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.

The Entrance…kinda

 

Okay, so it’s been … three months. Or thereabouts. Not great form. I apologise. I apologise also for such a lazy-ass post. But I had to get something on the screen, man. And this is the best I could do when contending with all the things that take up the days. Like hangover recoveries, eating hummus out of the container ’cause there are no crackers in my apartment, pissing off neighbours by playing music too loudly and watching Reservoir Dogs. Et cetera.

 

I wanted to bring you a sunsoaked vision of one of the less-than-amazing suburbs near where I grew up, The Entrance. My brilliant sister summed up the area pretty well: “I’m pretty sure The Entrance is where the rainbow ice cream flavour was invented.” That and the lower back tattoo.

 

So, on this particular day, I dragged my mother and sister to this place in order to take some photographs. “But why?” My mother asked. Good question, mum. Always listen to your mother, folks.

 

The problem, as it turned out, was rather than boasting charming Australiana beach shacks and apartment blocks with excellent old fonts spelling out names like ‘Beachcomber’ like the ones you see in Manly, The Entrance (on NSW’s Central Coast, in case you don’t know) doesn’t really have much of architectural value. So you know. I snapped these. I wrote a bit. And I’ll be back with something better. But in the meantime, this post stands as a testament of some sort to the average Australian suburb with nothing to offer. Yeah, I knew I’d be able to spin something out of this.

 

Of course, while dragging half my family around, my DSLR ran out of battery. This is unsurprising as I can’t actually recall having charged it since I returned from Europe. In April. I then discovered my second best option – my phone – was in the car. After I stopped hyperventilating from the realisation that a) I’d been separated from my phone for a good ten minutes and b) I would continue to be separated from it for at least another fifteen, I borrowed my mum’s phone, took a couple more shots, grumbled words like “hole” and “waste of time”, then left. And now I bring the truly glorious results of that to you.

 

Seriously, though, this place is pretty cool. Especially if you like right angles. And dolphins.

 

14 Wolaroi Crescent, Tamarama

 

I don’t usually use a non-house shot as the lead but I mean…c’mon. It’s a helluva view. This place is on a particularly private little street in Tamarama, perched above the beach with jaw-dropping views from each level. And there be a number of levels.

 

Tamarama, as I’m sure you know, is one of Sydney’s most highly sought after beaches. It’s a jewel in the east’s crown. It and Bronte, which is right next door. As an aside, something I noticed when I was there to photograph this house is there is a disproportionately high amount of very attractive men there on Saturday mornings. I feel like that’s important to note.

 

 

It’s a classic ‘Sydney eastern beaches’ beach house, by which I mean it’s big, built to capitalise on the views, and perfect to party in. Glamorous, is what I’m getting at (I’ve veered away from calling it Glamorama but…oops, there I go). It was rebuilt a decade ago and is now designed in a vertical fashion with wide open spaces and expanses of glass. The vistas are the focal point, and the architecture complements that. White features heavily, which is ideal in a place built for the sun and sand.

 

It feels like summer when you walk in, basically, and that appeals to me as I hate winter and am desperately waiting for its end. It’s also on the market. If you buy it, please invite me to the housewarming. I’ll bring cheap wine. My usual.

 

 

 

I love this bathroom. The exposed brick was covered in the rest of the house but kept in the main en suite, which gives it a bit of an edgy Brooklyn feel…yep, that's a thing.

 

 

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

It’s been a while, kids. I unreservedly apologise.  But hey, I have a nice shiny new post for you on Kuala Lumpur, and that’s got to garner some excitement, right? Because KL, like most of Asia, is exciting, friends.

 

Now, this is a bit of a cheat post, since it’s more ‘stuff I saw in KL’ than ‘houses I saw in KL’, but it’s inspired by buildings and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to head out to the suburbs in search of residential inspiration (and wouldn’t have trusted a cab to get me there, anyway).  If you’re interested, the New York Times has this intriguing article into KL’s houses – tip: it’s more expensive than you might think to buy into.

 

 

 

KL is hot. Virtually always. Which is awesome. God damn, I love the heat. Sydney winter is cold. Please, stop being so cold. Please. It’s kind of Singapore’s scruffy sibling. It doesn’t like bathing quite so much, and it’s a bit rowdier. The national obsessions are clear – food and shopping. Architecture does, however, feature, especially in the city’s temples and mosques. In addition, it’s home to Petronas Towers. Not so much my kind of thing, but it deserves a mention.

 

Tabung Haji is my favourite ‘major’ building in the city – an Islamic Modernist structure that dominates the block it’s on and is plain interesting to look at.

 

Tabung Haji

 

Most of my shots were taken walking through one of the city’s ‘eat streets’ – Jalan Alor – and Chinatown (Petaling Street). What interested me more than the hawker stalls (my feeble stomach and love of hygiene do not translate into ‘avid street food fan’) were the apartment blocks looming on either side of them, and the layout of the restaurants tucked behind the carts.

 

Petaling Street.

 

Flashing lights on Petaling Street.

 

So far this year, you’ve had posts on Singapore, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Malaysia. I hope to continue The House Hunter’s world domination soon.

2b Tarrant Avenue, Bellevue Hill

 

Ahh, Bellevue Hill, one of Sydney’s stomping grounds for the elite. One of the things they do there is buy up sexy pieces of real estate, which is where 2b Tarrant Avenue comes into the frame. It’s currently on the market for offers around $5m. Much to my chagrin, I just discovered that Title Deeds got to this one first, but they don’t seem to go into a hell of a lot of detail, so let me add some colour for you (not that I was ever particularly good at sticking within the lines).

 

If you don’t know much about Bellevue Hill, the Fin helpfully wrote up a suburb profile and didn’t hide it behind a paywall – free win! To summarise: approximately 5km east of the CBD; rich, rich, rich; non-waterfront; serious architectural cred; bastion of moneyed up business players (Lachlan Murdoch). Houses can fetch over $20m. If you have $20m, please get in contact with me via the ‘contact’ tab so I can provide you with my phone number.

 

 

The living room – above – is my favourite part of the house, particularly as it has city views, opens out onto the pool area and has a swanky bar – check, check, check. Another place that fulfils my house party fantasies. It’s sheer Art Deco goodness (especially the checkered flooring).

 

 

Someone with exquisite taste in both liquor and design owns this house. They can join my social circle any time. Perfect crisp white block colour with a mirrored background opening up the space and well-chosen cultured New Yorker prints amongst the bottles of Veuve. I managed to photograph it without getting my reflection in the shot, too, so let’s not discount my role in all this, ha!

 

 

At first I thought it was older, but I’m taking a punt and placing this stately home in the mid-century age range, which suits the profile of the suburb as well as the Art Deco features of the house. The owners have placed an emphasis on internal design, and I’m envious of the ubiquity of the views; you can see Sydney Tower (isn’t it called Centre Point? When did they change the name?) and Deutsche Bank Place from the dressing room. The dressing room. I’d be happy to have a dressing room, let alone a dressing room with city vistas.

 

 

One of the children’s single bedrooms has an en suite – my childhood dream. It also has an excellent, honeycomb-like window frame that I fell hard for.

 

 

And so we come to the main bedroom, with the famed dressing room and an epically large en suite. The main is well put together and perfectly positioned for the views.

 

 

 

 

It’s a good-sized family home with an extensive ground floor. And it has trimmings – serious trimmings. The library is my favourite of these. It might be fairly compact, but it’s a library, and I’ll be damned if I don’t want one just like it when I grow up and marry a director of a hedge fund.

 

 

I’ve run out of my amazingly witty and insightful comments, so I’ll leave you to gaze at the photos. You’ll probably find, like I did, that one of the best aspects of this home is the care that’s been taken to accessorise it and give it that ‘hidden gem’ feel; every room has something in it that pops and pulls you in.

 

 

Love this shot. So summery, even though we're stuck in the throes of winter.

van Buuren House, Brussels, Belgium, and other Belgian buildings

Van Buuren House

 

Okay, it’s been a while… But I moved, and changed jobs, and have done other things, so my diligence with the blog has slid a little.  But at least you haven’t waited for naught, because Belgium has some serious architecture. Unfortunately, it’s not always open. I trekked it to Villa Empain, the Art Deco masterpiece I had planned to see, to find it closed. So I got my kicks elsewhere.

 

This is as much as I got to see of Villa Empain. Thanks for the 'Open every day* *Except Monday' sign, guys!

 

Thankfully, the van Buuren Museum was open – another place that puts Bruxelles’ design nous on display. The house’s exteriors characterise the Amsterdam school of architecture, while the interiors are pure Art Deco goodness (the dining room had me swooning). The house was bought by a banker and his wife in the 1920s, who dubbed it a ‘private memory house’ and put it on public display upon their passing in the ’70s. It has an accompanying Alice in Wonderland-esque garden, too, if that’s your kind of thing (incidentally, the owner’s name was Alice van Buuren…).

 

I, of course, lost the accompanying notes discussing the house, which is a shrine to modernist design and serious art collection (various works by the Masters were donated by the van Buurens to museums worldwide). But the pictures are what you’re keen to see, right?

 

 

 

The garden is a pretty serious creation. Part Art Deco rose garden, part English picturesque, it has a real life maze, which, as you can imagine, amused this child. It now covers about 1.2 ha worth of land. The rose garden (which was apparently used for garden parties. I’d like a rose garden for my parties, thanks) was established prior to the house being built, and was designed by Jules Buyssens.  The picturesque garden, meanwhile, is accented by Japanese maple trees, a Japanese wild lemon tree (‘thorns of Christ’), and a wild Chinese apple tree.

 

 

Rene Pechere (my, what a French name you have!) designed the maze in 1968. It was created to mark the occasion of the Israeli Ambassador’s departure.

 

Whereas Berlin was all post-communist urbanism smashed up against grand old pre-war structures, Brussels was defined by being straight-up pretty, like a miniature Paris. It had an alternative vibe, but a safe one, and one of its quirkiest features was the odd piece of colourful street art that’d pop up around the place. Some of my favourite residential spots from roaming around the city are below.

 

 

The pink house!