The Househunter: Room by Room

19th April 2019

When I was growing up in the dim and distant 1970s (and it was dim as the General Strike of 1973 meant the lights and heating were actually turned off) there was a programme on television (when it worked!) called Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead. Now I mention this only because this long bank holiday weekend with the forecast set to Barbecue, I think it’s highly likely that many of you will not be sitting in front of screens. So perhaps the 21st century equivalent is why don’t you power down your screen etc…. But, for those of you who are dropping by, and for those of you who, like me, will always, always find looking round other people’s houses the least boring thing in the world, we have a corker for you today.

It’s a £9.9m house in Highgate, north London and it’s on the market with The Modern House. It’s rather wonderful don’t you think? I am unlikely ever to live in a house like this (stylewise not moneywise clearly) as I think you often have to build them yourself but I think, in a similar green setting, I could be tempted. Very often the ultra modern houses don’t appeal to me, but there is something about this one with its views of greenery from one side to the other and yet it’s set about ten minutes from the shops that I love. I’m an urban girl at heart clearly.

Inside there are six bedrooms, a private garden, garage and swimming pool and it overlooks the woodland at the edge of Hampstead Heath. It appears (relatively) modest from the road as the lower floors are hidden by fencing and it’s only when you are in that you can see the scale of the 6,000 sq ft.

It’s arranged over three floors with the large kitchen and reception on the ground floor, then there is the raised ground floor with a cinema room, study/bedroom five with en suite, garage and tiny (tiny) sixth bedroom – it’s barely 8×7 – but it has an en suite and direct access out to the pool terrace and pool so I imagine the reality is that it makes a glamorous changing room.

There are three en suite bedrooms and a master suite on the floor above all of which have balconies.

Now let’s talk decor. So often I find that while I love the ultra modern exterior of a building, I can’t get on with the inside. It’s different here. The furniture is period – mid-century or antique, which contrasts so well with the glass walls and views to the outside and the floors are wooden. I can’t get on with tiled floors unless they are in the kitchen, bathroom or Spain.

The colour palette is as natural as the environment in which it stands and it blends both out and in together perfectly. So the question is: could you? Would you? Forget about the money, as regular readers know this is fantasy Friday so it’s about examining your own tastes and preconceptions to find out what you really like if the question of funding was removed.

I think I could. And it’s not just the space. I don’t need as much of that as I used to think I did. At the very least I’d like to make friends with owners then send them away for six months and do an extended house-sit. What do you think?

I’m particularly taken with these kitchen pendant lights too. Having three similar but not the same is always a good idea when it comes to lights, cushions or anything that you need more than one of.

This house also makes me think of Notre Dame. Apparently there were 13,000 trees needed in the original roof structure and it’s not going to be easy to source them for the repairs. Wouldn’t it be better to create an entirely new roof – perhaps a glass one that shows some of the blackened beams and tells the story of what happened to this building rather than trying to restore it as if nothing ever happened? It will be interesting to see what they do.

And on that note, on this holy day for some of you I wish you all a lovely bank holiday weekend. I will be back on Monday for any of you who like me, are planning not to turn off your screen and do something less boring…..


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  • SFord 23rd April 2019 at 11:45 am

    Love the mix of modern exterior and antique furniture inside but wonder how much fading would occur on the antique wood or textiles with all that glass?

  • Lilah 20th April 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Oh, I love your idea for repairing Notre Dame. It would be beautiful.

  • Hélène 20th April 2019 at 7:51 am

    I totally agree with your comment about Notre Dame. As an ex Parisian (or is that forever Parisian), my heart hurt while watching it burn but my first thought was that it shouldn’t be rebuilt in an identical manner. When Viollet-le-Duc renovated it in the 19th century, among other things he added the spire. We can’t really go back to what it was like when they built it 850 years ago, I think we need to rebuild it in a way that acknowledges the passage of time. The controversy is already brewing nicely. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

  • Anna 19th April 2019 at 10:49 am

    I’ll come in and feed Enid the cat for you when you are away from this house! Couldn’t live here at my age as so many miles to walk in the huge kitchen but would love a snoop around it!

    I so agree with your comments about Notre Dame and so very sad to have seen it burn.

  • Finella 19th April 2019 at 10:46 am

    If I had a spare 10 million I definitely would!

  • Lesley Keir 19th April 2019 at 7:48 am

    sorry but I can’t get on with a house void of artwork giving colour and personality – I find it “lacking” and particularly cold in winter if there is a neutral colour scheme

  • Davina 19th April 2019 at 7:24 am

    Oh… I really, really could!

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