Merging Midcentury Charm with Modern Living


Nestled on the coast of New South Wales, Australia, a family home on a farm boasts breathtaking views towards Cambewarra Mountain. Despite its idyllic location, the early 1980s house that came with the property was far from matching its stunning surroundings. In desperate need of modernization, the house had good bones and incredible views, providing a solid foundation for transformation.

The architects at Benedict Design Architecture and Interiors were brought on board to rejuvenate this family home. They had a clear vision from the owners who had purchased the property years before, drawn to its picturesque views and pastoral land, home to their cattle and sheep.

The challenge was to transform the home within its existing footprint. The major plan change involved converting the attached garage into a master bedroom suite and home office, while constructing a separate structure for the vehicles.

The goal was to enhance the connection between the living spaces, improve natural light, and open up views to the yard and landscape. A mudroom was added for practicality, and a cosmetic makeover was essential to bring the house into the 21st century and make it family-friendly.

Midcentury architecture, celebrated for its open planning, large spans of glazing, and indoor-outdoor connectivity, significantly influenced the redesign. “Advancements in science and manufacturing were directly reflected in a new wave of housing,” the architects noted, emphasizing the era’s experimental designs and exposed structures.

The biggest challenge was to shed the home’s outdated 80s vibe without extensive floorplan changes or a total façade rebuild. The dull material palette included a brown tile roof, speckled brown brick façade, and beige carpets.

Now, the heart of the home is the newly revamped living, dining, and kitchen area. It features a central fireplace as an arresting focal point and a textured wall flowing from the front porch to the back deck. Vaulted ceilings and large skylights flood the dining and kitchen area with light, creating a welcoming and spacious ambiance.

For those interested in midcentury homes or elements, the architects advise focusing on horizontal aspects like the roof, beams, and windows. “These all combine to create a low lying relaxed appearance,” they explain, highlighting the importance of space around the home to connect it to the outdoors.

Photos by Mitchell Fong