The Househunter: Room by Room

10th May 2019
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This is so different from the house I live in that I wonder if I am attracted to it purely for that reason. Or perhaps that during the location shoot I went up and down to the loft so many times during the week that I quite fancy the idea of a house with no stairs.  By the end of the four days the producer was simply refusing to go up and down and simply texting the crew from the kitchen!

This is a single storey four bedroom house built around a central courtyard with that glorious pear tree in the middle. Built by Anthony Jay, it’s on the market with The Modern House for £1,999,000 and is located a short walk from the Botanical Gardens at Kew and the banks of the River Thames.

The key to it all is the layout and you need to think carefully because, since it’s on one storey, it’s not as conventional as you/we/I might be used to.

At one end there are three bedrooms – one is ensuite  – and one bedroom has its own door to the family bathrooom while the other bedroom can also be accessed from the main bedroom. So, in practice, you are probably looking at one en suite bedroom with a dressing room and one double bedroom with a not quite private en suite.

There is another bedroom at the hall end but it’s quite a schlep from the family bathroom – and you might get there to find that the person from the other bedroom is in there already. Also it has one door from the hall, one from the kitchen and one to the utility room so it might feel a bit passage-like.

On the plus side there is this quite extraordinarily large utility room (15ft x 13ft) which has double doors to the courtyard and is also accessed from the bedroom next door. I assume this could be used as an adjacent sitting room or wonder if you could stick another bathroom in here.

Don’t forget that as the living and kitchen space is all open plan you might want somewhere to put the washing machine and the drying laundry.

But enough of all the practicalities. You can see that it’s light and airy and the spaces are generous and there is something lovely about facing onto that courtyard.

I might be tempted to do something a little more adventurous with paint. For example by painting the kitchen cupboards at the far end (above) in green and doing the same with the wall behind the sofa (below). That would make the space seem more bookended and, as it’s long and thin, might not only widen it but bring a bit of the outside in.

Top marks for rug placement while we’re there. You can see how using a large one helps to demarcate the sitting zone from the rest of the open plan space.

This is the bedroom with doors from the living space. I think you would just block the one from the hall completely. In addition, the single yellow cushion makes me want to reach for the paint pot. This is such a light house that while there are arguments for not deliberately making a light room dark I do think it could take a bit of colour.

It’s the same with the bedroom below. Having said that, if do live in room like this and you don’t want to paint the walls, consider painting the skylight well in a contrasting colour. Imagine that in yellow – it would be quite subtle but it would be like the sunshine was pouring in every day.

Ultimately this is one of those houses where on paper there are things that won’t work for everyone but the living space and courtyard aspect might outweigh the other things. After all, as we all know, it isn’t location, location, location, it’s compromise, compromise, compromise.

And now it’s Friday again. What no long weekend? We’ve sort of got into the habit after such a late Easter.

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  • Ruth 19th May 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Wow – I live right near here and would never have known this amazing house existed! Too expensive for me but I can dream….

  • Anna 12th May 2019 at 4:56 pm

    There should be more houses built like this one, especially for us ancients and our friends who can afford them, when trading down from large houses in cities. I wonder if the wooden deck is slippery when wet? Apart from that, me and the painter and decorator would have a field day once I had purchased it!!
    A refreshing change Kate. Thank you.

  • Harriet 10th May 2019 at 11:43 am

    Totally agree, Kate, about being bolder with the paint, but I adore the house, the light, the privacy. And I love the furniture they’ve got in there are the moment – it’s so in keeping with the aesthetic of the house. I think it would be a wonderful space in all seasons. Now if only I could find a pot of money behind the sofa …

  • Suzanne 10th May 2019 at 11:26 am

    We lived in a 1300 sq/ft house that went around a courtyard. It was the best house we ever lived in.It had doors out from every side . Nobody could see in really. It was so private and tranquil. It felt like our own oasis in the middle of the village. We wished we could have lifted it up and bring it with us when we moved to the other end of the country. If we get a chance to build I would love to recreate it in a bigger format.

  • Imogene 10th May 2019 at 10:23 am

    Love this! Living in a densely populated country in mainland Europe, I’m accustomed to single-storey (apartment) living etc. The house we now live in has an upside-down layout (large and open living – kitchen – dining space on the top floor) to maximise the views. Which is wonderful, but my absolute dream home would have a courtyard layout – how calming to look out on greenery and that gorgeous pear tree. 🙂 I think the enclosed aspect appeals to my inner introvert. Since space is at a premium where I live, it’s not going to happen, but it’s lovely to dream!

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