by Mal James & Gina Kantzas

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

20 Learnings in 20 years

Stan and Lynn – Fairbairn Road Toorak (2019)


We talk a lot about great sex at James Buy Sell.


So many of our clients talk a lot about great sex – some want a little and some want a lot and it’s not just in the bedroom – they want it in the bathroom, the kitchen and even outdoors.


And those that want it now, are often prepared to pay extra to get it.


Sex in a home is like sex on a first date – first impressions make the most impact.


A home with sex has;






But like all discussions on sex, it’s usually thought of as either good or bad.


Bad SEX, if there is such a thing, can be superficial – a bit of a one-night stand, you may regret it or can’t remember it after a while. Bad SEX is glitz and glam finishes poorly built, presentation tricks, marketing noise – titillating yeah, but often nothing more than shallow intermezzos in dinner party conversations, 3 months after settlement.


Butlers pantries, spas, marble bench tops, gold taps can also represent short term relationships as well – like dating an 80’s Mock Georgian in Balwyn North – seemed like a good idea at the time, but what were you thinking.


Good Sex, however, has a style yes, but that style has Substance;


Style Substance




Stan and Lynn have a deep, passionate and ongoing affair (in their marriage) and wanted this with their home – one that will last.


They want SEX for years or SEX & Y.


Style pf Substance






Fairbairn’s Style Substance has impeccable provenance.


Jack Merlo Design into Drew Cole Architects into Holland Builders – they are all Toorak power creators when it comes to longer term SEXY.


And so, to positions of which we know there are many.


A view, a street, a village feel – is usually the X-factor in a home of SEX.


However, despite being Toorak, Fairbairn’s X-factor was not position – the X was the new floor plan ……….and light and proportions and space.


The drama created through space, light and flow begins with a contrast in your emotions on approach that changes the split after-second you enter the home – it was and will remain – Emotional.


Your senses are heightened with the feeling of size, on dimensions that simply should not give off that sense – how did they create such a grand master bedroom within the confines a tight double fronter?


The way the home opened up to the main living areas – indoor and outdoor – leading down a step or two into a living area, that simply should not be as good as it is. In fact, Lynn gushed over her favourite spot being here because, not only does she have views and connection to all the living spaces and backyard and trees – but the light reflects different colours and shapes over the course of the day, to give this space varying atmospheres. 


Check out before and after …………………. Stan encapsulated the issue of size in a home so well ….. “Even if it is illusory, space encourages sanity”


Whilst Fairbairn had some potential bad SEX about it – tight block, slope, close neighbour, tight parking and railway line – it has some real good SEXY about it as well.


The Substance, the Emotion created, the X-factor is real, read the rating, it was balanced, it wasn’t a snow job – hey, we only scored the offering 550/1000.

blank blank

Our public rating at time of purchase.


Sometimes all things don’t have to be perfect because the quality of partial aspects of the offering are so darn good!


……… What looks superficially to be a poor offering, which it was at its last buy/sell in 2016, has been transformed very skilfully (thought craftsmanship) into an internal space that belies its size, location and neighbours.


Now, don’t get me wrong the street is perfectly ok for what it offers, and we have bought in this street before (investment) – nicely priced blocks, good park and close to all things Toorak – it’s just that its at the southern end next the railway – granted in a cutting – but you will feel its vibrations from time to time. So, are you sensitive to these things? – No – great!


Also, to its south is a neighbour squashed into a tiny irregular block – but you don’t really notice it and the important point of access to light is unimpeded to the north.


From the front, Fairbairn is compact looking, as is the car space – I suggest you try the parking, don’t be shy – before you purchase. However, the transport and amenity of the area is such, that a single car could be ok – even for a family… moped anyone?!


Ok enough of the shortcomings – the absolute winners for this home are; where you will do all the living, inside and indoors/outdoors at the rear. What the builder here has achieved is a borderline miracle and it shows off a vast array of development skills.


The feeling of space, connection, light from a difficult footprint is genius – that Master bedroom feels like something out of a penthouse in size and class and the opening of the wall in the lounge to remove the corridor effect – bravo – well done.


The level change is noticeable, but not scary under 3 gin and tonics or under 60 years of age (balance) – little children it won’t really worry.


Onto the lower living area which has a real feel of indoor and outdoor – really love this – I assume lightweight construction has allowed the openings to be so wide and the glass placement really exaggerates what could have been a pokey area – this should be a textbook case for all architectural students.


Upstairs works nicely – not ignoring it – just I can’t talk forever about this home.

In conclusion, a home with external compromises but renovated by a genius and in life genius is rare and hard to find – present company excepted.


So, what is the difference between bad SEX and good SEXY.


Style Substance






Bad SEX can be marketing, noise, finishes, presentation tricks, appliances – they all make you feel good, but they don’t last. On resale that SEX won’t be there for the next person to pay for, when buying off you.


As an aside where can you have really bad sex almost all of the time? Almost any high rise off the plan marketing department.


Good SEXY – the stuff that keeps you coming back for more and more (over a lifetime even) is flow, light, space, form, proportions, and position to name a few. Quality of thought and build can also be very SEXY.


Fairbairn has beauty and brains.


Fairbairn’s good SEXY parts were so good, so exceptional, that they outweighed the bad SEX aspects. So good were the good bits, that Stan and Lynn battled price and multiple other process difficulties to purchase it.


Our learnings on Fairbairn was that SEX wasn’t all or nothing. There is bad sex and good SEXY in all of us and in all homes. SEXY perhaps doesn’t have to be perfection, but in our opinion, it still has to be long term.


What is really SEXY ongoing (besides trust, loyalty and ethics in the process) is space, light, form, proportions, position and flow in the form – it’s when you can really feel the home.


If it feels SEXY profoundly in your soul now, then it may well be that way for the next buyer when you sell. If its shallow and doesn’t strike a zone deep inside you then Mmmmm…. not so sure it will last.


Buying Agent: James Buy Sell


Architects/Designers/Builders: Jack Merlo Design, Drew Cole Architects, Hollands Builders


Selling Agent: Oliver Booth and Anthony Grimwade


Postscript: HOT After Party: We were invited to an incredible Ottolenghi pizza (page 150 we think) and other scrumptious food prepared by Lynn and Stan – it was an afternoon to remember, one of genuine connection and friendship in a very SEXY home with two very SEXY people and their beautiful children.


And good on them for a bit of pandemic bravery, in letting us publish this.


Life can still be fun!