History lesson
Belle Magazine Australia|February - March 2022
A hybrid of English Domestic Revival and French Provincial styles, this heritage home has been given a classic update without forsaking its 1930s charm.
CARLI PHILIPS

Grainy photography and faded pages do nothing to dispel the beauty of this grand Melbourne home in Toorak, clips of its pictorial debut in the 1934 issue of Australian Home Beautiful now a treasured possession of its owners. Built in the early 1930s, its then vendor was a Frenchman who made Australia home in the interwar years and wanted a residence where he could display his imported furniture. Built by respected architects Arthur and Hugh L. Peck, its architectural hybrid merges English Domestic Revival style with French Provincial accents. Thanks to owners past – entrepreneurs who brought artists to Australia to perform – the house has played host to international musicians, Hollywood actors and theatre types.

Its colourful history boasts a veritable who’s who of entertainers enjoying its communal spaces: The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, not to mention local legends of the art world such as Rupert Bunny, Albert Tucker, the Boyds, Clifton Pugh and Robert Dickerson.

For the last 18 years, the owners have delighted in the home’s heritage charm, but while the house worked well, it was in need of an update. The couple enlisted architect Russell Casper of Casper Architecture & Design and interior designer Adelaide Bragg of Adelaide Bragg & Associates who had worked on their family beach house some years earlier. Russell and Adelaide had never worked together but the collaboration turned out to be a fruitful one that has since led to other joint projects. The brief was to improve and refresh the functionality and decoration within the existing footprint and introduce new joinery and furnishings in tune with their traditional European taste.

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