The Househunter 29/1/16

29th January 2016
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Well now this is an interesting one to start off with; it’s the house my father grew up in. My mother visited him there many times while they were – shall we say “dating” – it was the sixties – and then it was sold shortly afterwards.


It was eventually bought by Sir Bernard Lovell, the scientist who created the Jodrell Bank Observatory a few miles away, and is currently owned (or being sold by) Joe Wee, whose company invented Angry Birds. And it’s a toss up whether my children are more interested in Angry Birds or their Grandfather, although to be fair the latter died some 20 years ago so they never knew him.


Anyway, it’s now for sale via Jackson-Stops & Staff for £2.95m. Apparently, Mr Wee carried out a lot of restoration (he bought it after Lovell’s death in 2013 when it was on the market at £1.25m) including re-using many of the original flagstones, fireplaces, doors and timber. This extended to restoring the piano and billiard table which Lovell had sawn down so they didn’t wobble on the floor which was wasn’t quite level.


The Quinta was originally built for the Vicar of Swettenham in the early 1900s, but I imagine the panelled library, which houses Lovell’s book collection and which Wee bought with the house, is probably the room that has changed least over the years and perhaps still looks the way it did when my father was living there.


Now, what do you think of this one? It’s a lesson in mixing old and new, contemporary and modern. Well, if we’re going to be strict it’s sort of really old with quite mid-century but you get the idea. The question is do you think it works?

I have just written a feature for Homes and Antiques magazine, who are going to print an extract of Shades of Grey in few weeks time, about how well grey – which is currently viewed as a terribly modern colour – works really well with period furniture. And it’s the same thing in this house.


The polished concrete floors show off the rugs brilliantly and the rough old walls look fantastic with the modern and period furniture. It’s on the market with The Modern House for £1,295,000 and is a Grade II listed 17th century house that has been fully restored.


It has been highly praised by the architectural press but that doesn’t mean that any of us/you would actually like to live in it. What do you think? I particularly like the bathroom and kitchen although for some reason I’m finding the doors with their modern lever handles all wrong, but that’s a personal thing; I’ve wrecked too many clothes on those handles as I seem to get caught on them when I barrel into rooms at high speed. I should probably just slow down.themodernhouse.netI reckon it’s probably quite tricky to pull of this half brick half plaster trick without it looking contrived but I’d like to have a go. What do you think?


Where are we moving to this week people? I’m torn between the ancestral pile (haha) and this old/new mash up.

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  • Kate 29th January 2016 at 9:10 am

    I think to some extent it depends on how you live. My mother who is 94 would fit seamlessly into the modern/old house and it would remain pristine , which is how it should look. My husband, on the other hand, who is 54 and would give any untidy toddler a run for his money, would have stuff everywhere and chocolate on the plastered wall. So the old pile would be better. Don’t get me wrong my husband is a force for life but minimalist , pristine, pale – not possible. Which of course is one of the many reasons why grey is such a good colour!

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