Brrr now that the Beast from the East has finally arrived and settled in, there’s nothing for it but to grab a cup of something hot and cosy up for a bit of a read. If you’ve missed the rest of this week’s updates you can find them here and if you’re up to speed on why blush pink ain’t over yet, why black is the new brass and how to shop local online, then let’s do some virtual house-hunting from the comfort of our own armchairs.
Now I’m showing you this one but as soon as I find that £3,550,00 down the back of the sofa and hand it over to John D Wood, it’s mine. It’s a five bedroom house in Mornington Crescent, London and it’s even got a studio house in the garden. On balance that might be the only bit I can have (who am I kidding?).
Anyway, if any of you buy it be sure to invite me round and in the meantime let’s just soak up the inspiration. Now not everyone wants to paint their walls dark but if you want to pack a little punch or bring in a little drama there is always the option of doors and skirting boards as this house demonstrates. And yes shutters if you are lucky enough.
And if anyone is in any doubt how brilliant black windows frame a green view then keep this picture. I know that clients have been uncertain in the past – actually not so much the clients as, often, their partners who may not be keeping such a close eye on things as readers of these pages.
These two bedrooms demonstrate perfectly the power of light walls with a dark accent. If you’re nervous then don’t go for black but instead a soft navy or dark grey would be the thing. Farrow & Ball’s Railings or Down Pipe or Basalt by Little Greene. And don’t forget the fifth wall – all the trend magazines are talking about making the most of your ceiling and here’s a prime example.
Finally the black tap… as posted earlier in the week. Looks perfect in here with the wood and white and instantly more modern than brass. I’m not sure you heard it here first but you definitely heard it here.
Now where next? We’ll stay in London but we’ll look at something completely different. I don’t like to use the word iconic but I think this one might be. It’s the penthouse at the Isokon building which is on with The Modern House for £950,000.
Otherwise known as the Lawn Road flats, this building has been home to a number of Modernists including Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, as well as Marcel Breuer (the Wassily chair. But then there was Agatha Christie, who wrote her spy novel here, and at least one Soviet spy, as well as Arnold Deutsch, the recruiter of the Cambridge Five, and the sculptor Henry Moore, who until he moved in, was a frequent visitor with Barbara Hepworth.
The building was designed by Wells Coates for Jack and Molly Pritchard and was the first building to be made mainly from reinforced concrete. It was inspired by Le Corbusier and the 32 flats all had simple plywood furniture made for them. The sales pitch said you needed to bring only a rug, a chair and a picture.
The kitchen was communal as most of the flats had only small galley kitchens and others services included bed-making and shoe-cleaning. It was sold to the New Statesman magazine in 1969 but three years later the council bought it and it fell into disrepair and was abandoned in the 1990s. Then in 2004 it was restored by its new owners Avanti Architects and many of the flats are now for key workers under a co-ownership scheme.
It now has Grade I listing – extremely rare for any building in the UK – making it one of the most historically significant and fascinating buildings in the country. Do visit The Modern House for more pictures and to see how many design classics you can spot. And there is a book about the building too if you fancy further reading: The Lawn Road Flats by David Burke.
Now have a lovely weekend and stay warm. And while I’m on the subject of homes and cold and weather Streetlink is an organisation that allows you to send an alert if you see a homeless person sleeping rough and they will pick them up and take them to a shelter. Or you can ring 0300 500 0914.
AND AN UPDATE: Every weekend from now until 29 October you can visit the Isokon Gallery – situated in the old Isokon garages) – to see an exhibition on the life, work and art of resident, Bauhaus professor and vanguard of 20th century modern art László Maholy-Nagy.
The gallery is free to enter but is run by volunteers – any proceeds from sales of merchandise and event tickets help with the running costs of this important space.