Househunter, Mad About . . ., Mad About The House

The Househunter

25th November 2016
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You know it’s the weekend when it’s time to poke around some other people’s houses and so here we are. No Black Friday deals on these ones sadly, but there might be some ideas to steal.

This first property, a two bedroom split level apartment in The Pioneer Centre, south east London, was described by the founder of the Bauhaus School Walter Gropius as an “oasis of glass in a desert of brick”.


It was built in 1935 to a design by Sir Owen Williams and, according to The Modern House, who are selling this for £750,000, it occupies the best spot in this Grade II* listed building; that is to say the entrance is on the ground floor with the bedrooms above.


And the entrance to the first floor swimming pool (oh didn’t I mention that?) is close to the flat too. And a communal gym and a tennis court. The building was, in fact, designed as purpose-built health centre for the Peckham Experiment, a study into the nature of health. The idea was to observe families in a community setting and monitor the factors that contributed to their wellbeing.


I have to say I reckon I’d be pretty healthy with all those glass walls and an indoor pool practically outside my bedroom. You can read more about the experiment here.


But aside from all the health and history what do you think? I love the open plan living even though in practice, when you have a family – and especially teenage children – open plan living starts to have its drawbacks as everyone wants to do their own thing in their own space but hey – they can do that in their bedrooms and we can have all this lovely space to stretch out and chat while someone cooks and someone else lays the table. I’m just off for a swim, what time did you say dinner would be ready?

Mind you this next house also has floor to ceiling windows in one room and possibly the best window seat in the world. Coming? We’re off to Nether Alderley, near Macclesfield in Cheshire. Bring a coat.


It’s on the market with Savills for £3,950,00 and I want it. Yes I do. Even though you would probably panic every time it rained for longer than 20 minutes. Which I think it might do as it’s in the North West, which is the UK Seattle isn’t it? Cue lots of people shouting and telling me it barely rains at all. In which case brilliant, where do I sign (with my fantasy chequebook).



Imagine having breakfast there? Although with five reception rooms, six bedrooms and a breakfast kitchen (whatever that is) there’s plenty of room for every one to have breakfast wherever they want.

This manor house dates to the 17th century but has 16th century origins. It is also Grade II* listed which just sets me off down a little mental path of how both these properties, which are so completely different, are recognised as special and worth keeping and that makes me feel good on this Black Friday. Although I appreciate it’s not black in the traditional sense of the word. Some of you will remember Black Wednesday which was an entirely different sort of black day. Anyway I digress, who wants to ring the estate agent and see if we can get a stonkingly good discount on this place?


Failing that, we can just look at it here. I think this might be the breakfast kitchen as there’s a dining room elsewhere. If you want to see more then you can, as ever, click the link above. Below is just the hall. Imagine having a hall like that.


And here are floor to ceiling windows 17th century style as opposed to 1930s style. This one might edge it on the view I think. You can sit here and look at the bridge over the moat and see if there are marauding hordes coming for lunch.


And I promised you a great window seat. Whaddyafink of this? I would be on there all day with my feet up and my laptop mostly staring out of the window.


Right, well I think we know where I’m moving too this Fantasy Friday. What about the rest of you?

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  • Sandra 25th November 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I love the apartment with all that light coming in, but the staircase is a deal breaker plus the location ;-(

  • Sarah 25th November 2016 at 2:57 pm

    The apartment which makes me happy just looking at it, well apart from that staircase.

  • Jude 25th November 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I love the London apartment – all that wonderful light! And they must have a jolly good window cleaner. It always perplexes me how people who build these houses with huge walls of glass, keep them clean.

  • Janet Whincup 25th November 2016 at 10:53 am

    All very nice, all we need now is a huge windfall to live in places like these. I love looking at the pictures. I was brought up in a large detached house set in it’s own grounds and miss that. I live in a new build now.

    Back in the real world, your book has inspired me. Last year we had total downstairs redecoration and I opted for grey walls in Fescue to complement some Rob Ryan wallpaper, “We had Everything” in Sage.
    Yesterday we ordered a new suite in a dark grey woven chenille and when we have taken delivery we will be getting new carpet, but not grey. Most of the rooms in your book feature floor boards and rugs, sadly we have no floorboards.
    We are also refreshing our bedroom with teal grey on feature walls and possibly some Hannah Nunn wallpaper, Daisy meadow in Moonrise.
    So far so good. ?

  • Our French Oasis 25th November 2016 at 8:36 am

    OK, I am opting for the London apartment during the week, I would basically lose our youngest daughter who would live permanently on the tennis court, but how to make someone super happy! Then I’ll buy the Manor House as our weekend retreat, sounds like a perfect solution to me. Although we might need a helicopter too, I don’t want to get stuck on the M1/M6/M40 heading north every Friday night! Did you watch Grand Designs last night, five homes featured for the RIBA house of the year award, which was your favourite?

  • Taste of France 25th November 2016 at 7:59 am

    I thought the country house was going to be all cozy and/or opulent (lots of velvet, maybe?), but it’s cold and unwelcoming.
    I’d fall for the walls of windows. Not cozy, either, but somehow energizing.

    • Anne Brown 25th November 2016 at 10:31 am

      No, it’s the Nether house for me – and I’m already mentally decorating it!!! Less country house more pared down chic. Let the bricks and the wood sing – then add plenty of books, pictures and family photographs, and voila – home. And, as for the garden … ah what bliss!

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