Inner East Review
Wednesday, 6 December 2023

Unique house on Richmond Hill combines modernist design with family comfort

JD
Updated March 22 2022 - 6:29pm, first published March 21 2022 - 5:00am

123 RICHMOND TERRACE, RICHMOND

3bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms, 1 garage

When the current owner and her two daughters first moved into 123 Richmond Terrace, at the tail end of the 1980s, the girls used to sit at their upstairs desks on a Saturday afternoon listening to the clink of bocce balls from over the back fence.

These days the bocce games are gone and the vegetable gardens and fruit trees are far fewer in the area, but Richmond Terrace remains an extraordinarily quiet and peaceful place to live.

Surrounded by churches and sitting right on top of Richmond Hill, this three-bedroom-plus-study modernist home makes a bold statement with its unique and commanding presence.

Designed by Edgard Pirrotta, of Morris & Pirrotta, in the late seventies for a graphic designer, its simple geometric shapes and unpainted blockwork reflect brutalist overtones that appeal to the architecturally inclined.

"I'm very fond of this house, I've become interested in architecture because of it," says vendor Jill Birrell, who is aware of a handful of similar brutalist-inspired houses around Melbourne, including another by Morris & Pirrotta in Brighton.

Birrell loves the rounded tower encasing the building's stairwell, which creates the sense of a fortified castle. She says the house is also softened by the curve of its concrete pillars and "the most beautiful" bannister.

"Everything these days is built in squares but nature isn't like that, it's full of curves."

Another of her favourite features is the original red-framing of the windows, which is highlighted against walls of glass and the grey Besser-block construction of the building.

"Apart from putting in a new kitchen and bathroom features, I've done everything I can to retain how the house was when it was built," Birrell says. "I feel I have a responsibility to preserve this unique building."

Upstairs two cleverly-designed front bedrooms, which share a bathroom, enjoy northern sun tree-filled views across to The Vaucluse, while the master suite has city views, walk-through robes and an ensuite.

On the ground floor a well-appointed kitchen with stone-topped benches, Miele dishwasher, gas cooktop and breakfast bar adjoins an open-plan living and dining area with conservatory-style windows.

A second powder room and laundry complete the front section of the house, its crisp design complemented with neat custom-designed cabinetry.

Overlooking the interior courtyard is a large, comfortable south-facing glass-fronted office created from the conversion of the former garage. The home now has a single garage with rear-lane access.

PRICE GUIDE: $3.1m to $3.3m

AGENT: Biggin & Scott ,Richmond. Call Julie Taylor on 0439 859 811

Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
Modernist mansion with city views
JD

Jenny Denton

Journalist