Home » An Under-The-Radar, Modernist Masterpiece In The Dandenongs

An Under-The-Radar, Modernist Masterpiece In The Dandenongs

by Mark Dylan


Little is known about the history of this incredible modernist home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges owned by White Salt Photography founder Janine Harris, Sam Harris, and their children Luca (10) and Juno (5).

When the couple purchased the property in 2014, they were told it was built in the late 1960s (although previous real estate listings say ‘70s) by an owner-builder over 10 years (!) and designed by his architect son. Janine and Sam were immediately taken with its unique features – warm timber panelling, exposed brick, and a remarkable indoor garden and pond. 

‘The house was filled with light from the setting sun, and the views were breathtaking. We instantly fell in love with the design and saw potential to make this place the house of our dreams,’ says Janine. 

The living areas are the heart of the home and remain in near-original condition. The front door opens directly onto this space, which is subtly separated by the fireplace, lush indoor garden, and split levels similar to the 1969 Featherston House. There’s even a turtle (named Minty!) and gold fish in the indoor pond!

A kitchen renovation was completed by Smith & Smith in 2015, followed by more extensive alterations designed by Ashlee Bennett from Haus of Hanem in 2018. This project involved the installation of steel windows and doors that better frame the surrounding leafy landscape; the replacement of all flooring including sympathetic terrazzo tiles; and a complete overhaul of the bathroom. Concrete steppers were also added to the garden for a more contemporary feel.

Other additions such as solar panels and underfloor heating have made the property more sustainable and comfortable.

Janine calls the property the perfect house for four. Eight years on, she’s also never tired of property’s outlook across the trees. ‘The living room has views over St Kilda and the bay, which is magical at sunset and nighttime, looking at the city lights.’

We’d love to know more about the history of this one-of-a-kind home. If any readers have any intel, we’re all ears! 





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