Who is MHM ?

Modern Heritage Matters has been established to provide information and advice to owners, developers and managers of  heritage buildings. Our approach is focussed on helping people recognise the significance of places and at the same time  managing  changes necessary to ensure they can continue to be used and enjoyed. MHM is dedicated to providing a wide  range of services from heritage impact statements to interior design advice to house histories.

MHM also has an important advocacy role. We recognise and strongly support the vital role the general public plays in protecting our  buildings. Governments are under-resourced to carry out the breadth of their heritage responsibilities. MHM aims to provide comprehensive information to help people gain a better understanding of what issues are currently facing the heritage industry, identify buildings at risk and let a wider audience know how they can get involved in heritage conservation. We will also direct you to exciting heritage travel opportunities and let you know what’s on at important heritage venues around Australia.

“We  believe that preserving old building is vitally important, but that this process does not need to come at the expense of progress. Modernisation should not be discouraged and successful new designs for old dwellings should be celebrated.  We established this website in recognition of the fact that government funding is never going to be enough and that community support will play a major role in saving buildings under threat.  The issues surrounding Heritage conservation are complicated and there are rarely black and white solutions, but the greater our understanding the better our combined responses can be.”


How we can help you?

Click on the buttons to learn more about our expertise in each area.

Heritage Consulting

Heritage Listing

Do you have a heritage listed home and want to know what that really means?
Our website provides details of how the heritage listing process currently operates at all levels of government. It also directs you to relevant heritage bodies that can provide more detailed information specific to your needs. We are available to research any further information you may require on your behalf. Please refer to the Contact Us section for our contact details.


Are you looking at buying an old house and you are worried that the listing
may stop you from renovating?

MHM’s website outlines the implications to the owner of a listed building at a local or state level. We will help you understand what this means and what help or services you may require or desire to assist you the process. Refer to the Implications for Owners summary in our Understanding Our Heritage section.

We can also provide you with a heritage assessment that would help you assess what risks/requirements the purchase may entail.


Do you live in a conservation area and what to know what that entails?

Refer to our Implications for Building Owners summary in our Understanding Our Heritage Section.


Are you planning a restoration or renovation to your property and need a heritage
impact statement?

A Heritage Impact Statement is a planning document often required by the Council to accompany a Development Application where development works are proposed to a listed heritage item, within the vicinity of a listed item, or within a Heritage Conservation Area. Our Heritage Impact Statements will establish the building’s significance and provide a comprehensive and robust assessment of the proposed development and its impact on its cultural heritage values.


Do you have a concern about a particular building and want to know who to contact?

Refer to the Heritage Bodies section of our Understanding Our Heritage section or Contact Us for further advice.


 Do you want to gain a better understanding of what is happening legally within the heritage industry?

There are those that consider heritage to be a public good and there are those that consider it to be a burden and an impediment upon orderly land use and development. In the past decade in Australia we have witnessed a shift away from Government support of the heritage industry.  Public policy is undergoing dramatic change and the future for heritage looks increasingly bleak. We will endeavour to provide a balanced summary of its current status.

Refer to our Current Heritage Issues section for further information.


Can we help you apply for a NSW Government Heritage Grant to help you care for your heritage building?

Refer to our Current Heritage Issues section for further information.


Other Heritage Consultancy Services that we can provide include:

  • Conservation Management Plans
  • Advice with regards to Heritage Interpretation
  • Archival recording (photographic recordings, measured drawings)
  • Community based Heritage Studies

 Please refer to our Contact Us section to email or phone us with any queries or requests in relation to any of the above services.


Design Consulting

Combining our degrees in Fine Art Hons and Masters of Heritage Conservation, a work history of interior design in London and several house renovations between us we offer the client a considered approach to renovating. We enjoy combining a contemporary aesthetic with historical relevance no matter what era the house. 


Are you finding it difficult to explain to an architect how you would like to update your house.?

The process can be overwhelming. We can help you prepare your brief for architects by assisting you in clearly communicating your intentions, aspirations and constraints.  A well prepared brief will lead to a better project outcome, reduce risk, cost overruns, time delays and conflict. Contact Us to learn more about this service.


Do you want some fabulous tips on how to update your old home with a modern design?

Refer to our New Ideas for Old Buildings gallery for some great ideas of how an old home can be re-designed to accommodate your lifestyle and be brought up to date.


Do you want to update your interiors and don’t know which parts are important to keep and which are not? We can help you with your design and identify the parts of your property which we believe are important to retain.

We can help you with your design and identify the features of your property which we believe are important to retain.

This part can be really difficult and often you just need a second opinion. Sometimes jobs are just too small to bring in a heritage architect. We would be happy to advise and to send you in the right direction to get the right kind of help.

Call us, email us or request that we visit your home. Refer to our Contact Us section for details. Also check out our comprehensive Resources in Understanding our Heritage and MHM Loves sections.


Property History

Property History Consulting

Do you just want to know when you house was built and what style it is? Ever wonder about the history of your home or place of business?

We can research your property and write a professional Historic Building Profile, including a history of the building and previous owners, interesting historical facts, an overview of architectural details and an evaluation of its heritage significance. Take a look at our What Style is That? Section.


Renovating and want to Record Your Journey?

In addition to providing a full history of your house in a bound book, provide us with photographs and we can include the story of your renovation journey.  In the book we will include a resources section that details the name of the tradesmen you used and your sources.  It is great to have all this accessible a year later when you need to make repairs and you have forgotten where to get those replacement parts!





Heritage Travel and Events

Are you planning a trip, overseas or domestic, and want some unique and wonderful tips for heritage places to visit while you are there?

 Check out our Heritage Travel section.  Our ideas range from a stay at a fabulous Seidler home in NSW’s Southern Highlands to Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House in Connecticut.  We will be updating this section as frequently as possible and would appreciate any recommendations.


 Do you have a love of old buildings and want to have a better understanding of what is happening in your area?

There are so many ways you can get involved.  Joining different heritage groups such as the National Trust, donating money to various heritage related charities, visiting historical buildings, writing to your local member to help protect buildings at risk! We will attempt to keep our list of Buildings at Risk as up to date as we can.   Also please refer to our section Get Involved or contact us with any queries.  We would love to help if we can. Finally check out our Events section for great ways to keep yourself busy on the weekend!


Do you like visiting historical homes and want to find out what events are coming up?

Check out what’s on in our Events section. We will try to update this section as soon as we can but please feel free to email us if we have overlooked anything!!!


The MHM team

Mandie Purcell

Founder and Partner in Modern Heritage Matters
BEc, MCom, MHerCon, Australia ICOMOS Associate Member

Mandie’s deep knowledge and understanding of heritage is the result of her lifetime love and passion for Sydney and its diverse communities. Mandie holds a Masters of Heritage Conservation from the University of Sydney.  She is an Associate Member of ICOMOS Australia.

Prior to launching Modern Heritage Matters, Mandie managed a private property portfolio and multiple heritage conservation renovations.  It was during this time that she developed the practical skills required to achieve a balance between council requirements, sympathetic treatment of heritage and modern design for twenty first century living.  This philosophy forms the basis of Modern Heritage Matters.

Mandie was previously an analyst at an international investment bank, working across multiple industries and countries in Asia Pacific.  Mandie holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney and a Master of Commerce in Finance and Japanese Business.


Susanna Press

Partner in Modern Heritage Matters
BA(Hons) Fine Art

Susanna grew up in the dark halls and broad verandahs of Georgian and Victorian houses with a very stylish mother who taught her all about fabrics and sewing. Her working life combines a decade in graphic design, winning several National Print Awards, with a BA (Hons) Fine Art (Critical Fine Art Practice) at Central St Martins in London which led her to work for an interior architect in Notting Hill. Susanna has recently returned from 15 years in London and Hong Kong.  A recent project in the Northern Beaches won a Master Builder’s Association NSW Award. The renovation was noted for its sensitivity to the building’s era.

Susanna and Mandie joined forces having bonded over a mutual belief that Sydney’s built environment gains much from the preservation of its mix of building styles.  Our aim is to give a fresh approach to heritage conservation by celebrating the ability of great contemporary design to maintain and enhance existing structures.


Kirrily Sullivan

Consultant to Modern Heritage Matters
BA (Psy) and MHerCon

Mandie and Kirrily probably first met when they were born in the same Sydney hospital one day apart. They next met a few decades later when they enrolled in the same Masters of Heritage Conservation program at the University of Sydney. In the meantime, Kirrily had worked in marketing and psychology, and also spent several years living overseas in the US and Singapore. Since completing her Masters, she has worked at the NSW Heritage Branch researching sites for nomination to the State Heritage Register and tutoring architectural history at UNSW. She is also a PhD candidate at UNSW, researching strategies for empowering communities to identify and manage their own cultural heritage.