Nicola Trotman | 30 January 2013

Late 1950s International Style Bellevue Hill restored beauty

Four of the recently renovated apartments in the  Bellevue Hill 1950s block Baxter – complete with retro kitchens and period-style bathrooms – have sold prior to its February launch.

Located at 85 Drumalbyn Road, the most expensive two-bedroom apartment sale to data has been $985,000.

The other three sold apartments ranged from $695,000 and $900,000.

The remaining five two-bedroom apartments and one studio are available from $755,000 to $785,000.

Deemed to be a good example of the International Style with Abstract Modern style influences, Mondell Property Group bought the 1950s retro apartment complex in late 2011 for $4.4 million.


The developers spent $350,000 plus on refurbishing the 10 apartments under the watchful interior design by SJB designers.

It was architect LT Rayney who purchased the block of land in 1957 as a personal investment and then constructed the residential flat building in 1958.

Laurence Rayner had graduated in architecture from the Technical University of Budapest in 1934. His father had been a master builder and his uncle an architect.

While his architectural education did not focus on the emerging Bauhaus movement, Rayner reportedly admired Hungarian contemporaries who came to Sydney, including Emery Balint and George Molnar.

Anticipating the start of WWII, Rayner emigrated to Australia in 1939 and worked with Cyril Ruwald in Sydney with some initial projects including pubs for Tooth's Breweries.

In 2005, the Woollahra Council commissioned an assessment of the building to assess whether the building had potential heritage significance.

The assessment was completed by restoration architect Clive Lucas, who said the building had some local heritage significance but no state heritage significance. 

“The building is an interesting example of modernist design; however it is not of sufficient significance to warrant listing on the Woollahra LEP,” said Lucas.

Chris Russell from Mondell Property Group says he expects the remaining apartments to sell at the weekend launch.

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