The Househunter

Two white houses for you this week. Both very different both inside and outside. Shall we go and see?


The first is in Buckinghamshire and is, apparently, one of the finest modernist houses in England. It was designed by Connell & Ward in 1935 and forms part of a series of so-called Sun Houses of which this was the first. It’s on the market for £1,380,000 via The Modern House.


It has been opened up and extended since the 1930s and now has three bedrooms and a large open plan bright living area. It was cleverly designed with lots of differently sized windows on the south and east sides and minimal glazing to the north so that it’s not overlooked by neighbours.


The kitchen and master bedroom are part of the extension, while there’s also a top floor study with view of the valley and a large roof terrace. What do you think? Is modernism for you? I have to say that on this one I prefer the outside to the inside and I’m not sure if I could get the inside to do what I wanted.


Our second white house is in Cheltenham (also Grade II listed like the one above) but from the Georgian period around 100 years earlier. I have to say I am instinctively more drawn to this. Georgian houses tend to have large square rooms and high ceilings and lend themselves extremely well to modern furniture, whereas my instinct with the modernist house would be to fill it with antiques.


It’s for sale with Savills for £1,895,000 and has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a dressing room, a drawing room, a dining room, a cinema and a study. It’s one of a small number of detached houses in this parade of listed properties.


This room is mainly about those enormous floor to ceiling windows – the same as the modernist house above but actually so different. The white painted floorboards make the whole room lighter although I’m aware that some would think it sacrilege to do this to a Georgian house – somehow no-one minds when it’s Victorian.


I love the slightly rustic feel to the kitchen too although while I’m not usually a fan of hiding things and pretending they’re not there, there’s no question that that fridge would look better behind a wooden door.  But, as with many of the houses from this period the bone structure is good and you can happily impose your own style on it and it will accept it.


Mind you, the bit that would probably seal the deal is this covered space in the garden. I’d make sure there was wifi and probably install myself here in about May as my summer office returning inside only to fill the coffee pot and collect another biscuit.


So which white house is it be this week? Old or new? Modenist or Georgian?

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I love absolutely everything about that 1935 house. I could move in as is and completely happy, serene. Thank you for sharing this home. Cheers, Ardith

  2. Both the houses are beautiful Kate! If I keep the budget aside, I would prefer the Georgian one, though I have to say that the furnishing in the living room is neater in the modern house. Both Kitchens are lovely, I’ll be inclined to the Georgian house kitchen a bit.. The covered space is certainly the standout feature in the Georgian house & now If I had to consider budget, then I’ll go for modern house and opt to build a covered space (similar to the one with the Georgian house) in the garden area – That I suppose will cost me lesser than than the Georgian house and make the proposition of the modern house sweeter 🙂
    x Germarie

  3. I love the modern one and I like the outside space of the Georgian one. I think big Georgian/Victorian/Edwardian houses are wonderful and have lived in a couple (not at the same time), but they really do suit a family best. Now there is just me and ‘im we veer towards the clean, simple and open plan rooms – easier to clean! I did once live in a white cube styled house in South Africa all on one level, with an enclosed courtyard and big windows. I don’t know why builders can’t design beautiful bungalows/houses in this country, but they seem stuck on creating poky little rooms.

  4. I like the exteriors of both, gardens included, more than the interiors. I’d lean toward the modern one with lots of Frank Lloyd Wright furnishings–simple, neither old nor new. I think what they have now is so banal that it drags down the fantastic outdoors-insideness of those giant windows. The kitchen, however, is awful, unless that shot was taken with a back to a wall of windows. It looks like it’s in a basement.

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