Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Casa Mara: Spanish Mission Classic; by Marina Jetnikoff

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Casa Mara: Spanish Mission Classic; by Marina Jetnikoff

Article excerpt


INSPIRED by 17th and 18th century Spanish religious buildings and reminiscent of colonial Mexico, Casa Mara in Campbell Street was built in 1935.

Architecturally it follows the precepts of the Spanish Mission style made popular through the influence of American mass culture.

The style was developed by early 20th century Californian architects and popularised in Australia in from the mid 1920s to 1940.

It is readily recognised by twisted pylons to the porch areas, with a white stucco finish, arched doorways and red terra cotta tiles.

The possibilities of the Spanish Mission Style were brought to the attention of Mr McKinney, of the well-known Toowoomba business family, during his buying trips in America and from these journeys a beautiful, gracious and unique home was built here, far from its original inspiration.

Casa Mara sits with style, hiding behind a well-tended hedge, but suggested by the original low-slung stucco fence.

Magnificent flowering camellia trees planted so long ago by the McKinneys still bloom in the front garden.

An entrance portico above the front door has a massive sculptural quality, reflecting the stylised lines of the art deco movement which was popular at the time.

The arched front door is embellished with unique and original black wrought iron hardware a[pounds sterling] an introduction to the grand style that waits inside.

Constructed from poured concrete set into a form, the house is as solid as a rock.

Inside, the rooms are spacious and all are filled with light from clear glass, diamond patterned, leadlight windows set throughout the home.

French doors open from the large entry foyer to the formal lounge, an expansive room made comfortable with a built-in fireplace and a long window seat.

Plaster ceilings feature both bold and delicate decorations, with a beautiful sunburst pattern in the dining room making a stunning statement. …

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