The Househunter: Room by Room

17th May 2019

Well I’m not going to say that summer’s here (that would clearly be foolish) but I am going to say that since the sun has been shining this week and I went to beautiful Bath for a meeting, that this house, inspired by the Case Study houses of LA felt like one I wanted to look round today.

A five bedroom house in Tonbridge Wells, it was built in the 1980s, remodelled two years ago and is on the market for £1.6m with The Modern House. What’s a case study house you ask? Well I had to look it up too, so: in the 1940s Arts & Architecture magazine commissioned various architects of the time, including Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones and Craig Ellwood and Richard Neutra (on whose ideas this one was based) to build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the returning soldiers after WWII. There were 36 designs in total and while not all were built, most of those that were were in LA and several were photographed for the magazine.

The most famous of them all is the Stahl House, which you can tour if you are ever in LA. It’s utterly fabulous and if I was going I would. Anyway, back to Kent….

This was remodelled two years ago to include lots of internal Crittal, underfloor heating, new roof and larch cladding as well as an extension of the living space to include a gym. So it’s still quite LA.

The house is on a slope so the views are amazing as you can see below but as you approach it the lower ground level is hidden by the slope so it looks modest as you approach.

The kitchen is large and arranged around a central island. It leads out onto a decked balcony with far-reaching views. That’s on the side of the house as you look at it from the outside. That balcony in front is for the main bedroom.

It’s essentially an upside down house with the kitchen, sitting room and two bedrooms on the ground floor and three more bedrooms and the gym on the lower ground which will have been done to take advantage of the views although as it was built in a slope I imagine the views are good from wherever you are.

This house is all about the windows though. Big picture frames for every view and you can see that the study below looks across a deck to the kitchen beyond so the spaces are linked. Painting this room dark joins it more forcefully to the dark exterior wall beyond and, since it’s a small room it’s fine to go dark.

There is a theory that you shouldn’t paint light rooms dark and while I tend to think you can do what you like as you live there it’s worth considering if that’s the right thing to do. What I would say instead is that remember to think about what  you are using the room for and when you will be doing it. That is probably a better judge of what colours you should choose.

Imagine waking to views like this in the morning. Again, as you know I’m not always a fan of the feature wall but I think it can work behind a bed as it gives you a good focal point when you come in and once you’re lying down you’re not overwhelmed by the colour. However, rather that doing just that wall I might have done the ceiling as well. Well, actually I might have done all four walls – one of them is mostly glass after all. But if you are thinking of one wall then consider making it the fifth.

The same thing has been done here but the colour echoes the window frames opposite so it has a little more purpose. This is the one with the balcony that you can see from the top picture by the way.

So what do we think? Anyone throwing £1.6m into the mix. I could be quite tempted. All five bedrooms have their own bathrooms by the way and three of them have a dressing room as well. Throw in the gym, the wine cellar and the garage for two cars and I think until you left the building you could be forgiven for thinking you really were in LA.

You Might Also Like

  • Molly 17th May 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you, love this house a lot! It was also featured in the Metro last month, so surprised it hasn’t been snapped up (well, you know, not dwelling too much on the million pound + asking price!)

  • %d bloggers like this: