What aspects of a home inspire my architect? Post-war 1945-1965

Wesley Spencer

Mid-century homes take me back to my childhood, watching, ‘I Dream of Jeannie’. 

These homes represent a celebration of returning to normalcy, embracing industry and technology, and identifying the home as a sanctuary for R&R. 

Building on the inter-war style, I would say the home is now better seen as a machine for living. Houses were produced to perform well and provide a comfortable environment for the whole family.

Pitched roofs, brick veneer walls and large full-height windows became the norm.

While heavily laboured, functionally superfluous aesthetic details were no longer seen as a priority, there are still avenues for individualisation, and you see this in the details. I love seeing the effort put into individualising a home and the decisions the architect makes, which tell a much larger story. What fascinates me about this style is that, while it is largely undervalued (unlike the furniture of its time), many properties have remained intact and largely untouched by modernisation.

Unlike earlier styles, Post War homes were designed to completion, including much of the furniture, which has since been removed; so, most people won’t be able to fully appreciate mid-century homes in all their glory. This is a holistic style.

This style looks very sober on the surface, unassuming…

but plays with expectations using proportion…


and disjunction; heavy objects supported by flimsy feet, too much plush in a room, followed by all hard in the next…

The lack of proportion between rooms and doors that don’t correspond with the space they lead to.

These houses are not about grandeur or status, but rather about amenity, utility … and a bit of fun.

These are pictures I took of the Liljestrand House in Honolulu. The house was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff and built in 1952.

I saw our building site today and the house is just going to be so wonderful. It’s so beautiful, I’m very thankful for your talent. I can picture myself in front of my French fire next to some curvy concrete.

Shannon, South Yarra
Architecturally designed home Melbourne

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