Originally, Jim bought his Moonbria studio below in the 1980s, sight unseen on a recommendation of a real estate agent friend at the pub. He knew the building, having done a regular paper round past it as a boy. He lived downstairs for six years, using it for city living while having a main residence away from town. He bought the apartment above – again sight unseen – and briefly considered adding a private stairway between the two. While Jim today fulfills the role of the resident handyman, after having let downstairs to his friends he decided to sell it, and plans for a stairway were set aside.
Today the smaller apartments are relatively affordable within the broader market. One factor is that, due to its heritage status, it is not open to a developer to renovate the entire building, so this possibility is not factored into the price of units on sale. What does Moonbria say to today’s multi-residential projects? As more apartments and units are built in inner Melbourne, there is also a dissatisfaction that too many are too small or do not ‘fit’ into their own space, and that this results from capital return displacing other factors in design. Too many rooms without windows or too much space devoted to narrow entry corridors. Moonbria shows an existing example from Melbourne’s own past on how multi-residential projects can be approached, and that the quality of a small residence (40 Sqm Or 1 Imperial Square in Roy Grounds currency) is in its design, not simply its size.
The ‘Moonbria’ building is tucked away between Malvern and Toorak Roads on Mathoura Road, Toorak.
Thanks to Jim Occleshaw for inviting us into his home.
A big shout out to James Stephens & James Geer for visiting Jim @ his home in Moonbria.
All images by James Geer courtesy of Assemble Papers.