Boyd, Rattle, Bangay: The influential names that sell houses


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Among the rollcall of influential names currently making waves in the Melbourne real estate market there are landscapers Paul Bangay and Jack Merlo, interior designers Hecker Guthrie and Andrew Parr and architects Robert Mills and Kennedy Nolan.

Belinda Anderson has been well placed to observe the public's growing interest in the big names of Australian modernism in the past few years. Over her 28 years in real estate the Jellis Craig agent has sold about 14 houses designed by Robin Boyd, experiencing first-hand the flurry of excitement they now trigger when they go on the market.

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"Even just the past five years there's been noticeable growth in the excitement around his name. It's just grown and grown," says Anderson. "Boyd has become a household name and every time we sell one of his properties it generates a lot of interest."

Robin Boyd is just one of the "names" that help sell a property - like his glass-walled Blott House in Chirnside Park that Anderson helped sell to two young Boyd aficionados last year - thanks to a ready-made audience of clued-up fans. But that exalted status isn't reserved for the modernists. Or, for that matter, for people no longer with us.

Among the rollcall of influential names currently making waves in the Melbourne real estate market there are landscapers Paul Bangay and Jack Merlo, interior designers Hecker Guthrie and Andrew Parr, architects Robert Mills and Kennedy Nolan.

"There's no doubt when you have brand names like (late interior designer) Stuart Rattle that they resonate with buyers," Ross Savas of Kay & Burton says.

"People like Andrew Parr, Paul Bangay and Jack Merlo - they're a great brand in themselves."

Savas cites lavish developments such as the Palais and the Manhattan, both in Toorak, where dream teams have been brought together to create the ultimate attention-grabbing real estate. "You've got to get the right team these days. Robert Mills architecture, Paul Bangay gardens ??? it's a powerful combination."

You might think agents would go screaming the names from the rooftops, but less is more when it comes to selling these star-studded properties, says Savas.

"It's mentioned, but everything we do is subtle ??? It's just as important not to overdo it."

Names from the past still resonate. An Edna Walling garden remains a selling point. A house designed by the late Wayne Gillespie with his distinctive classical-modern style will draw people out of the woodwork, creating buyers out of people who never expected to be moving.

"People might buy a Wayne Gillespie house and do a Rob Mills renovation on it," says Savas.

Design at the cutting edge is also producing its own stars. Room 11, Clare Cousins, Inarc, Robson Rak and Breathe architects are becoming significant names in the industry, says Rose Onans, contributing editor at The Local Project, an influential website showcasing the Australian design industry. Interior designers making waves include Flack Studio, Alexander & Co and Arent & Pyke.

The digital age has boosted the public's interest in architecture and design, says Onans. "The internet means people know these names, they're much more design literate ??? It's certainly changing the game for the better."

7 Walker Street, Northcote

7 Walker St, NorthcotePhoto: Nelson Alexander

$3.2 million-$3.4 million
4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car spaces

The green, green grass of home - that Tom Jones lyric could have written about this property, in a patch of the suburb known as Westgarth, and the work of Austin Maynard Architects and a loving green thumb. A true-inner city oasis, this is not so much a suburban backyard as it is a botanical wonder. The Gothic Revival facade is one of many special flourishes. Inside, a second living area is in a wing of its own, through an atrium walkway, angled to enjoy verdant garden views. The main bedroom is yet another sanctuary.

Auction: Noon, December 2
Agent:Nelson Alexander, Peter Stephens 0418 104 214

The story Boyd, Rattle, Bangay: The influential names that sell houses first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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