Manygate lane: the secret mid-century estate in S-E London

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In a quiet commuter suburb of London, you can find a group of houses that more closely resembles midcentury Denmark or Sweden, than postwar England. The estate, built in 1964/5, was one of very few experiments of modernist housing by the private sector in Britain.

Designed by Swiss architect Edward Schoolheifer (employed by the Lyon Group), the houses are each internally arranged around a central ‘hub’ that includes the main living areas and very high and open glass windows. This follows the mid-century modern concept of blurring the division between inside and outside as it creates a very strong visual link to the garden.

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When the houses were completed they cost approximately double the average price for a three-bed house in London (£3,500). The proximity to Shepperton studios meant that it’s had a few star-studded residents, including Tom Jones (pictured outside his house), the singer Dickie Valentine (whose unfortunate car crash inspired a novel by the local JG Ballard), and rentals from Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger and Julie Christie. Scroll down or click through for two photo sets from houses recently sold in the area.

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A Swiss retreat with a neutral palette

For the first home tour of the year, we’re heading to Switzerland to a recently remodelled 17th century Alpine retreat – the Andermatt Chalet. Andermatt is high up in the mountains, at a 1500m elevation, and surrounded by mountains around 3000m high.

The place not only has a neutral palette, but also a neutral blend of old and new – with the interior designed by Jonathan Tuckey, a firm once described as ‘[able to mix] old and new to make defiantly contemporary architecture‘.

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The Christmas Barn

A festive treat this time. This building is modern-era (built 1972), but has some history behind it – hence the unusual name. A rare honour among modern-builds, this house was listed as ‘Grade II’ by Historic England. In a village outside the relatively small but world-renowned town of Cambridge, it’s a perfect mid-century end to the year.

It’s Christmas day here in England. It snowed earlier this month but none today unfortunately. Still rocking the festive spirit though!

 

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Retro to go: a 60s-styled Dorset beach hut

This small but strategically formed home, forms part of a larger estate with an original architect’s house that was built in 1964. The ‘garden house studio’, as the owners call it, was built more recently – in 2010 – as an outlet for the owner’s creativity and love of design. They are currently renting out the space for holidays. This is a short but sweet tour today, as mid-century styles have been very popular recently. Like this style? Check out this slick mid-century airport lounge, or have a peek at an American Cape Cod retreat.

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A classically styled Stockholm home

I’ve been away in Vienna this week. A friend of mine got a job in the diplomat sphere that goes on there (a lot of international organisations known by their acronyms – (OPEC, IAEA, OSCE …) so we were celebrating. And Vienna’s fun in a calm way; plenty of nice cafes, museums, vintage clothes markets, and so on.

But enough about Austria. This week’s home tour is again in the scandi-style capital of Stockholm. It’s much more classically styled than usual, but isn’t fussy or pastiche. I appreciate the simplicity it’s offering. You can also explore the home’s neighbourhood if you’re interested.

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This Swedish apartment effortlessly nails the millennial pink trend

If you’ve got an Instagram account, you’ve probably seen the hype around this colour. Some people call it ‘rose quartz’ or ‘scandi pink’. Some might say there’s scientific evidence of it having a calming effect. From Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, to high fashion, the soft rosy shade was called the colour of the moment for the Tumblr generation.

I’m back to Scandinavia this week to peek inside this Stockholm flat that takes the trend and puts it in a simple, pared back, domestic setting. No chandeliers or overindulgence. Just a nice looking apartment with a small balcony.

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A must-see before & after conversion in Wiltshire

This is a really impressive makeover of what seems like an incredibly difficult space to work with. Somehow the architectural designer behind this – Ian Hill – managed to make a studio flat with shop attached and a shower in the hallway, somewhere welcoming and spacious to live in. You can see some original thumbnails from what the house used to look like below, before we move on.

The outside has merely been repainted, but it’s what inside that counts. Something I really appreciated was that there wasn’t any large-scale reworking with the actual structure or features of the building; the designer strategically moved a few things around and used lighter colours to complement what the space already had.

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