Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Melbourne prides itself in being the xenith of sophistication in Australia. Its residents generally regard Sydney as brash and materialistic, Adelaide as sleepy and Perth as beneath contempt.

Sadly for Melbourne's self-image as the centre of style and good taste, glaring exceptions have a tendency to pop up. We must remember Newton's* First Law of Interior Design: for every tasteful action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction of gaudy, screaming hideousness.

As a case in point, take this house in the satellite municipality of Hooper's Crossing. The residence is described as "palatial" and yet offers an opportunity for "possible redevelopment"... probably involving a bulldozer and some pent up aesthetic rage. Let us take a tour room by room.

Note the placement of the pedestal basins, right on the edge of a sudden change in floor level. If stubbed toes don't get you, falling over backwards while combing your hair and cracking your skull open on the floor will. Take that, houseguests who stay more than three days!

I'm guessing that the wrought iron railing in front of the window is to prevent Nonna from going through it when she comes tearing down the stairs and misses the turn. Which she will, since she's been temporarily blinded by the colour scheme.

Nothing says class like a chandelier over the dining table, a fancy lace tablecloth, and a TV in the corner so you can watch 'Dancing With The Stars' while eating your KFC Variety Bucket.

And for fancier occasions you can use the formal dining room. It has a bigger TV.

Apparently the house comes with its own thrift store. Everything on the table is only 50 cents!

The iron gates lend an old-fashioned, romantic air to the bed chamber, harking back to days of yore when maidens were locked in the bathroom to protect them from ravishment when barbarians invaded the castle. Now, of course, they are purely decorative... except when Dirty Uncle Dominic comes to visit.

It's good to see the family portraits on the table; Mama, Papa, the children, Nonna, and, er, Great Aunt Cleopatra. Notice that they are considerately arranged so that you can't see any of them no matter where you sit.

Seriously, you can never have too many chandeliers. Let no one tell you otherwise.

On the plus side, I've never seen a house that would be easier to convert into a bordello. Some red flocked wallpaper, a couple of "tasteful" nudes, and we're ready for business!

It's Price On Application, but go ahead... you know you want to.

*Obviously this is from fashion photographer Helmut Newton, rather than legendary physicist Sir Isaac Newton. By all accounts Sir Isaac had terrible taste in home furnishings.


Blogger TimT said...

The modest red-brick and concrete facade gives no hint as to the wonders and terrors that lie within. Bit disappointed they didn't appear to have any stone eagles at the gates, though, they're something of a feature down here.

8:48 AM  
Blogger TimT said...

I've been trying to find pics of another garish Melbourne house that Sillsbend posted a while ago, can't find it so far though.

As a Perthian you may be gratified to know that Melbourne was blasted, a few decades ago, as the 'featurist' capital of Australia, a city in which all the facades and showy surfaces were important, but which contained no depth or soul: a wannabee European city.

I don't think that's fair or true, but there are a few buildings in Melbourne, and a few architects willing to satisfy, that have provided us with a number of hideous examples of this featurist vice.

IMO the best Melbourne buildings are like the TARDIS, they're bigger on the inside than on the outside, revealing many hidden commpartments and surprises. It's a great city to explore.

9:51 AM  
Blogger MC Etcher said...

I really laughed out loud at this one. What a horrible house!

8:34 PM  
Blogger Laziest Girl said...

I think the black and white tiles EVERYWHERE are most alarming of all - generally they are not considered a hideous floor covering. Across Melbourne, interior designers are upping their medicinal intake of Gin and Tonics.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Don't worry, TimT - there's plenty of concrete and statuary arond the garden.

Laziest Girl, I'm a big fan of black and white tiles too, but here... it's way too much of a good thing. The whole place is a textbook example of how not to plan and build a house, like the Anti-Grand Designs. If Kevin McLeod saw this I'm pretty sure his head would explode.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Chubby Zebra said...

I think you're being a bit hard on the black and white tiles. Think of the lifesize chess and checkers you could play!

10:02 PM  

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