January 29, 2023

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We Do Fine Home

A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

After years of searching for a property to buy, Ilana Moses, founder and owner of fashion boutique Grace, and her family discovered this original home in Caulfield North designed by Austrian-trained architect Ernest Fooks.

‘We were fatigued from the search, but the house, which hadn’t been lived in for years, just felt right,’ says Ilana. ‘It was as if the home found us.’

The house was designed in the early 1960s as the first of multiple modernist homes on the one street. It is a large, split-level, brick dwelling with a flat roof that shows the emerging influence of Japanese architecture in Fooks’ work at the time.

Ilana and her husband Lenny Moses (along with their 14 year-old twins Will and Lexi) purchased the home in original condition, vowing to preserve it for future generations. ‘We felt that to tear down a historical home would be a shame, especially given there was so much goodness to work with,’ says Ilana. 

Instead, the family worked with Inarc Architects and Visioneer builders to retain as much of the existing home as possible, while adding a contemporary extension. Simone Haag was also engaged to curate additional furniture selections.

Ilana describes the essence of this home as ‘understated glamour’— a quality that’s clearly demonstrated throughout both the new and old parts of the home. Richly veined green stone, banquette seating, mixed marble tiles, and brass accents represent a modern take on the original home’s detailed joinery and decoration.

Ilana ‘really dislikes’ white walls, so these were avoided as much as possible. Venetian plaster in a soft lilac colour adds subtle texture to the kitchen, contrasted with Dulux Frontier (at a reduced strength) on the joinery. Various wallpapers also feature in the study, power room, entryway and dining room in a further nod to the home’s ’60s bones.

The overall feel of this home is one of celebration, enhanced by layers of brave texture and colour – and punctuated by multiple entertaining areas, including a generous dining space and bar, lush garden, and pool. 

‘I just love the way it feels all year round,’ says Ilana. ‘Whether it’s pouring outside or the sun is shining, being in the home makes us happy.’