What about this then? Not in sunny California but in a small corner of Buckinghamshire. Gerrards Cross to be exact where, I was once told by someone wanting to move there, things hardly ever come onto the market. And then this does; a £4,000,000 modernist house built in 1936 that is on the market with The Modern House.
Now, I don’t know about you but this is my proper other life fantasy house. I will never live in a house like that and that’s not just because of the price tag. Well, all right it’s largely because of the price tag. But also because I suspect it’s so different to anything I have ever lived in that I wonder if I would bottle it at the last minute and revert to the 19th century for my buildings.
That said I’m up for a virtual wander round the five bedrooms, central tower, curving staircase and indoor pool. Are you? I also suspect that if I lived in the area and, if it were visible from the road, which I think it isn’t as it’s at the end of a private gated driveway, I would spend quite a lot of time just driving past and looking at it. Or possibly making friends with owners so I could visit for real.
Anyway, let’s go in. So, as I said, it was built in 1936 and completely renovated in 2011 (winning an award) by CSK Architects. There is now an 8m long indoor pool – right behind this kitchen, which, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure about, a white rendered curving staircase, a roof terrace, a pilates studio and a sprinkling of bathrooms, laundry rooms, and a living room, family room and dining room.
Now the pool, which you see below, is basically behind that green wall which you see above. I’m not sure. The pool was added in the 1980s when the garage was converted into an office. If you look at the floorplan you will see. I think I might have put it elsewhere. But, that aside, there are many things I like about the interiors of this house.
Yes it’s spacious – over 6,000 sq ft, but also there is character. So often, in houses of this type it’s all a little minimal and cold-looking whereas this has vibrant art on the walls, patterned rugs and lots of different textures and textiles which, bearing in mind that this is the UK and not California, all help to make it a cosy and welcoming spot even when the weather is dreadful. And given all those huge windows you are going to see a lot of that weather going past outside.
Upstairs the bedrooms aren’t huge bur imagine waking up to that wall of glass and seeing the trees outside and the changing of the seasons. Also, several of them have their own bathrooms and dressing rooms so you don’t much more space if you don’t have to store much in them.
The house is one of a handful of similar ones in the area but, according to the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, it is the most faithful to the principals of the Modern Movement. It is a Y shape with a circular tower and wraparound staircase, ship’s rail balconies and porthole windows. The white render and swooping lines were influenced by Le Corbusiner, Gropius and the Bauhaus.
The dining room, not pictured, and one of the bedrooms are located in the central tower, with rooms stretching off either side. As far as I can make out from squinting at the floor plan, each bedroom has a bathroom – note the clever storage at the end of the bath in this one.
This garden view gives you a sense of the roof terrace leading off the yellow bedroom pictured above. Even though it was clearly raining when this was taken you can see it’s a fabulous house. Or maybe it’s the palm trees. What do you think?