Update: Through a glass darkly: the strangest house in my suburb

In February last year, I wrote about a house in my suburb in Melbourne, Australia, that seemed incongruous with its surroundings. The street is full of period homes: Victorian cottages, lovingly restored to reflect the tastes of a bygone age. You can read more about the house here.

This was what it looked like then:Glasshouse4

As the months went on, I grew to like the little glass house, as I called it, strange though it seemed in its setting. I would often see a young man hard at work on it, early evenings and weekends. It seemed like a labour of love: someone’s dream home, slowly taking shape. A fabulous ball-like light fitting was put above the stairwell, and the kitchen fit-out almost completed.

But late last year, all work stopped. In the months since then…nothing.

It looks like the house has been deserted, and I can only surmise that the young man ran out of money, his dreams dashed, at least for the moment. Yesterday, I took this photo of it.House-revisited

We are soon to move far away from this suburb, so I don’t expect I will ever find out what happened to the little glass house. But perhaps one day I will visit, just to see.

Through a glass, darkly: the strangest house in my suburb

Glasshouse4I’ve been watching with great interest as this house has risen out of a very small block in my Melbourne suburb of Northcote. All the other houses in the street are period styles, mostly Victorian and mostly renovated. I suspect most have a heritage overlay and have to keep their frontage in line with the original style.

Glasshouse 5

So this new glass house looks bizarre in the street. I actually quite like it—for a raised location with coastal or city or botanical garden or river views. But this street is in a dip. The only views are of the road and the neighbours’ houses. Also, the houses are all close together in this street: if you lived in the glass house, you would have to keep your blinds closed day and night, unless you wanted everyone to be able to look in on you. Then again, perhaps it will be a Big Brother-like experiment.

It’s surprising that the council approved the plans—usually people in streets of renovated Victorian houses seem to want everyone else to adhere to their style too and would have complained when given the opportunity.

On the other hand, shouldn’t you be able to build whatever you like on your own property? And what’s wrong with being a little (or a lot) different to others? It reminds me of this wonderful piece of needlework a friend made for me:


I’d be interested in readers’ opinions. Do you think this house is exciting and innovative, or just wrong? You be the judge.