1960 Australia time capsule house

mid-century-house-exteriorTour-a-Time-CapsuleWe love it when we hear from readers Down Under, it’s so interesting to see their retro architecture, which Pam thinks is just a wee bit different than that in the U.S, although she says she can’t exactly put her finger on “how”. Thanks to reader Min, who pointed us to this 1960 time capsule home in Mooloolababa, Australia, listed for sale by Tim Burrough, with photos courtesy Nic Simmons from Surroundplan. This butterfly-roofed beauty is single-owner house, and it has certainly seen some wear and tear, but we love patina — and we ADORE the poodle wall panel in the bathroom, the vintage wallpaper, the porphyry stone fireplace and the fact that this house is close to the beach.

mid-century-butterfly-roofSince the home is located near the ocean, it was constructed to take advantage of cool sea breezes. The central part of the home is a pie-shaped breezeway with two sets of double doors and windows that all open to maximize airflow.

The onsite auction for the property is Dec. 1. More information from the listing:

Price: Auction — Contact Agent
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1
Deceased estate — must be sold before Christmas
Lifestyle – Proudly built and lived in by one owner since 1960. This home is different and delightful with so much to offer. You will need plenty of energy as there is lots to do but you will benefit. Stay with the theme of the home to create a retro renovation and your effort will be rewarded handsomely. A unique home with impressive timber floors and a craftsman’s work of art in the porphyry stone fireplace. High ceilings throughout the home’s functional design. The internal breezeway gathers the sea breezes to create a wonderful casual living space and study.

Accommodation – The inviting main living area integrates with a well placed kitchen and the east facing picture window is a feature. In the early days this enjoyed superb sea views, since grown out but the breeze remains, as does the location a few hundred meters from Alexandra Headland beach. All three bedrooms are of very generous proportions and the bathroom has original charm. Red cedar, double hung windows throughout is such a bonus. A patio out front and large covered verandah at the rear offer ideal outdoor living options for all conditions.


Features – The original car accommodation underneath has been secured to create a large workshop and separate storage area. Adjoining this is a huge 8.500 gallon concrete rainwater tank that is integral to the home and in perfect order. There is side access and level yard area front and rear creating several logical options to create car accommodation. Land area is 708m2. This is so much more than you expect to see in a renovation option in Mooloolaba, with boundless potential and a wonderful place to live. Don’t miss this opportunity as no price is ruled out with the timing of the sale now on a strict time frame

retro-pink-poodle-bathroomThis adorable pink bathroom sports a pink pedestal sink, pink tiled-in tub and some kitschy poodles on the wall panel (?) on the other side of the shower. The natural light provided by the clerestory windows brightens the space while maintaining privacy.

retro-wood-ceilingWho wouldn’t want to spend some time lounging in this living room, admiring the lovely view, stone fireplace, and wood beam ceilings.

ballerina wallpaper

Vintage wallpaper featuring twirling ballerinas!

With a little TLC, this fabulous house could be brought back to its former 1960s glory.

For more information regarding this property contact property consultant Tim Burrough, who was very helpful with this story — thanks!  A huge thanks, too, to photographer Nic Simmons from Surroundplan for allowing us to feature this unique mid century gem.

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:?


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. gsciencechick says

    I was wondering what is the yellow hall-type space, and it’s the breezeway. Love it! Plus, it seems like a great location.

  2. Jennifer Kepesh says

    Thanks for sharing this with us! I agree, the decor seems a little different than a U.S. home of the same era, but really close.

    Suggestion: The breezeway is wedge-shaped, not pie-shaped.

  3. Janice says

    Love this house! What a great project with outstanding potential. I would HAVE to have all the furniture, too! Someone is going to get a bargain on this house and I hope they do what the realtor suggests, retro renovate!

  4. Mary Elizabeth says

    Wonderful house. My favorites are the breezeway, the kitchen with the pass-through to the dining area and the pink bathroom. Is that faded burgundy Cusheen on the kitchen table top and island?

    Some things I noticed were the wall art, the marvelous built-in storage in the ballerina bedroom, dining area, etc. and the electric outlet on the island and a switch for something (maybe lighting above?). An outlet on the island is very unusual for the time, I think. Is that tile on one side of the island to match the backsplash? Nice and crisp looking

    Yes the furniture is a bit unusual, combining modern and traditional (antique?) pieces, but I love that idea. And are all the ceilings that aren’t wood panels painted green? That’s very unusual here in the “correct” hemisphere where people aren’t hanging upside down in space. Just teasing our mates Down Under.

  5. Robin, NV says

    What a great house, love the living room and kitchen. The red countertops in the kitchen are adorable. I have a feeling the “breezeway” was originally an exterior space that was roofed-in at some point. The exterior siding on the walls is a giveaway. But what an interesting layout!

  6. Jay says

    Nice house! Love how they call the livingroom the lounge. The breezeway is nice but I wish it didn’t end in such a narrow point, the width of the door; makes me claustrophobic. The bedroom wing is odd in that you have to traverse the master room to access the bath and secondary bedrooms. I would want a hall entrance from the breezeway. Nice built-ins. Like how three small carpet mats were placed in front of each lounger to protect the carpet from wear.

    • Ross says

      I believe there is direct access from the breezeway to the bedroom hall, even though the plan shows none.

      If you look at the image of the breezeway, toward the front door, you can see the sliding door to the kitchen on the left. Then, on the right, is another slider. This is not shown on the plan, but would have to be into the bedroom hall.

  7. Mary Elizabeth says

    Mooloolah is such a cool name, I had to look it up to see where this community was. It’s not far from Brisbane on the east coast. But the coolest part about Mooloolah is that it is just a short “hop” (another bit of Aussie humor) from a place called “Coolum Beach.”

    Oh, and remember that if you buy this place, you can hop over to the beach (at Coolum or Mooloolah) or go sailing or fishing on Christmas holiday, when it is warm and sunny in Australia.

    • Kirk says

      Hi Mary Elizabeth – as a local resident (Sorry to be picky) its Mooloolaba, there is a town inland called Mooloolah, A very different place.

      I know the house, whilst its on a slightly busy road its a great location and if I could afford it i would buy it to do a sympathetic renovation.

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        So sorry to mix up the names, Kirk. They are all beautiful, probably aboriginal (?) words. We are so happy to share our mid-century modern mania with our brothers and sisters in Australia.

  8. stacia says

    If only I could buy this for a vacation home! Wonderfully quirky but functional and the perfect size.

    My husband and I honeymooned in Canada back in 1990 and bought several retro pieces at a fantastic vintage store in Calgary. (I still carry their business card in my wallet as a memento.) Canadian atomic design is also just a bit different from American design from the era, but very cool.

  9. Carole says

    I agree, it is the same, yet different, but different in a good way. Love the shape and the layout….It needs a little TLC, but big deal. Most of us have been there, done that, and have done it more than once. lol

    Hmmmm…..I wonder if hubby would like an adventure down under…..

  10. Susan says

    Whoever buys it will have an easier time renovating it as they are in Queensland. I seem to find the most amazing furniture at reasonable prices on ebay are in QLD. The stuff in Sydney can often rival high end new furniture shops.

  11. Shandra says

    The architecture is similar – but it’s more austere. No drapes. Minimal pictures on the wall. No nick nacks. It almost seems like a builders model – unlived in.

  12. David says

    Mooloolaba is in a pretty pricy part of Queensland known as the Sunshine Coast. I’ve friends who live about 10 minutes from there and I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number if times.

    Sad thing is I bet this beautiful home which is very evocative of the time it was built will be gone very shortly. The house market crash of 2007 has yet to hit Australia, so you can bet there will be a cookie cutter modern development on that site in under a year.

    Come on lotto win, I’ve just found my dream home and I need to save it from scoundrel developers.

  13. says

    This house really has a lot of potential – it appears that almost all of the original architectural elements have been preserved including the kitchen and crown molding in the bedrooms. On the ocean, too – someone’s going to have an awesome project on their hands. I hope it goes to someone interested in renovating it and not someone just interested in the lot.

  14. Pam & Gary says

    Myself and my partner bought this house at auction in December. We were both very excited about it and after only inspecting the day before the auction we knew we had to have this one!
    my partner has been renovating it since then. whilst we are recycling a lot of the original, i.e. doors/timber etc we are modernising and doing an extension. we will retain the Butterfly roof! We love the design and is a joy to work with.

  15. says

    Pam and Gary I would love to know if this butterfly house is the one I spent a family holiday in the early 70s. It was owned by Dr Cilento then. It was right on the beach at Mooloolaba. You just walked out the back yard through the sand dunes to the beach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *