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7 modernist homes for sale that are still full of Mid Century charm

Article by Property Press

This selection of modernist homes for sale in New Zealand have retained their signature style and stood the test of time.

Mid Century Design was an important movement from the late 30s to the 60s with a distinctive aesthetic which was showcased in everything from furniture to graphics, but was particularly influential in architecture.

Proponents such as Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes which would become iconic statements, with an emphasis on functionality of spaces, maximum light, clean lines, extensive windows opening the house to the surrounds and highlighting the connection with outside spaces and vistas.

In New Zealand, architects such as the Group Architects translated this aesthetic, designing homes with an emphasis on open plan spaces, banks of windows flooding rooms with light, and practical concrete, timber and stone materials and finishes. Retro modernist furniture is very on trend at the moment and homes of this era have stood the test of time, proving to be spaces well-designed for contemporary lifestyles.

Here’s our selection of modernist homes that have retained their signature style.

1. Inner-city pad

This cool pad in Freemans Bay is part of a visionary development in the 1970s showcasing solutions to inner-city design, which included the iconic Star apartments. The concrete block construction is as on-trend now as it was back then and décor updates have been sensitively done within the original footprint.

The open-plan living flows to a sunny courtyard which connects to a large common lawn area shared by 11 others in this block – a revolutionary idea at the time that developers would do well to emulate today.

There’s nothing to be done here except kick back and enjoy the delights of living in a little piece of mid-century magic.

2. Unique opportunity

This elegant Titirangi home nestled in a bush clearing offers the perfect chance for modernist lovers to get their hands on something really special. The kitchen and bathrooms need updating, but that’s just a chance to put your stamp on your new home.

There’s so much style on offer here — check out the feature stone wall in the living area, timber ceilings and floors, Japanese-style screens and details, mosaic work and the sleek lines of the exterior.

What’s not to love? A rare opportunity to enhance a home that’s already unique.

3. Award winner

This Remuera modernist home is a fine example of why this style of architecture never dates and keeps up with the times. Built from cedar and using of natural timber features throughout the interior, it is an exercise in clever design.

Clean lines, open spaces, lots of windows letting in natural light and great flow outdoors all make it ideal for modern families. The upstairs master with lounge area flowing to a deck is a delight.

Designed by architect Rix-Trott for his family home, you can see why it was awarded a NZ Institute of Architects’ medal in 1947.

4. Group Architects original

Concrete block walls? Tick. Timber built-ins and detailing? Tick. Wide sliding windows? Tick. This little gem in Orakei will have the hearts of modernist fans aflutter.

Designed by the seminal Group Architects (Wilson and Juriss) in the mid-1960s and in original condition, this townhouse is an object lesson in why this style was so ahead of its time.

The airy living area opens to a courtyard, and is just waiting for your collection of retro furniture to complete the picture.


5. Classic modernist style

Wow! This Titirangi beauty designed by architect Bill Chick is a classic of Mid Century Modern design. The dramatic double height windows in the entry foyer set the tone, and things just get better from there.

The spacious living area with stone fireplace and feature curved American maple panelling is flooded with light from a bank of windows that open to the balcony.

Multiple living spaces, bedrooms with original timber built-ins and windows that frame views over the beautiful bush-clad site make this home a statement in style. One of a kind.

6. Mid-century heart

Although the original 1950s Grey Lynn home has been raised the upper floor still has the signature style of architect Bill Chick.

The open plan living area has floor to ceiling windows on three sides which bathe the room in sun and light and open to a balcony.

The home has been cleverly extended to offer extra bedroom space while still preserving its mid-century heart.

7. Making history

Here’s a chance to become a part of modernist history-making. When the 18-storey Jellicoe Towers apartment building was built in Wellington in 1966 it paved a brave new way of inner-city living.

Designed by architect Allan Wild and featuring expansive glass windows it was the defining building of its time — and it’s still perfectly on trend.

The generous living spaces on both floors of the apartment have banks of floor to ceiling windows which frame the spectacular views. This really is like living in a modernist eagle’s eyrie.

Words by: Sarah Beresford.

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