20 November 2017
Lucy Feagins via domain.com.au
Who: Milliner Carla Murley, her husband Troy, and their young children Ruby and Oscar
Where: Beaumaris, Victoria
What: Sympathetically updated mid-century home
The Beaumaris home of the Murleys encapsulates many of the best attributes of mid-century design. Photo: Eve Wilson
The Beaumaris home of Carla Murley, her husband Troy, and their children Ruby and Oscar perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture. It’s a relaxed, robust home, honest in its materiality, with a strong connection to the outdoors.
The Murley family moved here in November 2013. At the time, it was a small 1950s house on a corner block, slightly run down but full of potential. “The bones of this little mid-century house were perfect. The existing house only needed minimal updating to bring it up to scratch,” Carla Murley says.
The original house was built in 1958 using a “small homes service” plan published in The Age and modified slightly by a local builder.
Milliner Carla Murley and her young kids Ruby and Oscar. Photo: Eve Wilson
In the early 1960s, it was extended to include a studio for the original owner, who was a graphic designer. “It was the owner’s studio that sold the house to us, the brick floor sealed the deal,” Murley says.
The couple was keen to preserve the mid-century character of the house, while adding a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family.
A year after moving in, they extended either end of the existing house, creating a central courtyard. This gave them an extra bedroom and bathroom, and a home studio for Carla Murley’s millinery business, Murley & Co.
The home perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture. Photo: Eve Wilson
Having created a courtyard visible from almost every room, landscaping became a top priority for the Murleys once the renovations were complete. Luckily, the family inherited a treasure trove of mid-century plants from a local development site.
“I rang the developer initially and asked if he had any plans to keep the many mature agave americanas on his development block, which was just up the road from us – some were over 50 years old!” Murley recalls. “He just laughed at me and said, ‘take what you want’.” The couple spent three weekends removing and replanting the lot.
Furnished with an eclectic mix of mid-century treasures and vintage finds in every room, there’s a lot to love about this bright and breezy, relaxed family home.
The couple added a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family. Photo: Eve Wilson
With its original red brick floor, optimal orientation for sunlight and airflow, and strong connection to the garden, it’s a home that perfectly encapsulates so many of the best attributes of mid-century design, thoughtfully updated for contemporary family living.
The Design Files guide to brick
Wait long enough and every design trend comes around for a second (and third, and fourth) moment in the spotlight. Now, the humble brick is having a renaissance.
- Bricks are a robust, low-maintenance material that requires no sealing or finishing for most applications.
- Anywhere you might typically consider tiles, bricks are an option.
- Bricks retain heat in winter and keep the house cool in summer.
- If you’re not sure about the colour of a brick wall, consider painting it a neutral colour (we’re loving white painted brick). Be sure to prime bricks before painting.
- Mortar can have a big impact on the look. A safe option is a colour as close as possible to the bricks (mortar can be colour-matched).