The South London home of steel

Visit Dulwich, and you’ll find brick homes. Dulwich village, which I visited recently for the Edward Bawden exhibition, even has a semi-rural feel to it. In short, when you’re walking about in this area you don’t expect to see a modern house made of steel, concrete, and a luminous thermoplastic.  And you don’t. The house is obscured from the street – nested in a central courtyard and former brickyard behind other houses. From the street you only see an unassuming metal gate.

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Kent’s Mid-century treasure

Whilst Gerald Beech is best known for the Liverpool house Cedarwood – a prototype for future estates that drew tens of thousands of visitors but never saw mass-production – the architect also built another gem on the other end of the country. Broadstairs, in Kent, is a mid-century time capsule.

Broadstairs, built in the early 60s, was created for a family downsizing from a large and ‘stiff’ 18th century manor. The brief was to create “a more manageable home which still retained a sense of space”. In ‘The Architect & Building News’ journal, a critic wrote of the high central ceiling:

“the extension of part of the living room through two floors has created a strong element of vertical space which is apparent from all parts of the house and, with the stairway and bridge link pass through it, the accommodation on the first floor becomes an entity with the ground floor”

Later the same critic wrote of the way structural elements had been used to frame the divide between different areas:

“Exposed joists and beams have been used, and by giving careful consideration to their positions and direction of run, this structure is dominant in the spatial idea… The provision of such a modular discipline in the structure at an early stage during the building operation did much to encourage exact craftsmanship by the building operatives”

The front exterior is relatively modest and opts more for privacy than anything else. We start with the kitchen and dining area below.

Moving into the central living area we can see the space really does open up.

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Moving upstairs, we note a transition from the main living room to the bedrooms, and here a change of character. The house goes from being quite open downstairs and along the walkway, to more sheltered and snug.

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The gallery wall links the open living area – stretching the theme upstairs.

Image source is The Modern House, Streetview can be found here. I’ve created a map below for reference.

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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 Welsh house that flows over the river Ysgir

Surrounded by some of the most spectacular hill landscapes in Britain – the Brecon Beacons – this house fittingly was built as a testament to the surrounding landscape. Ty Hedfan (in Welsh, meaning hovering house) is unique, built on a site that slopes down to the meeting points of two rivers – Ysgir Fach and Ysgir Fawr. The dual design problems of a steeply sloping plot, and a no-build zone within seven metres of the river Ysgir, became an opportunity for the architectural firm Featherstone Young, which is known for having a focus on the context and area that surrounds a development.  The house cantilevers over the river bank and into the canopy of the trees, almost hovering as it does.

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A Swedish home with a social focus

This week has been busy, and all the people I’ve been talking to recently have the same impression. Has the good weather inspired a social zeal in my city? Or is this a universal effect of Summer coming? I’ve always been quite introverted though, so meeting a lot of people in quick succession has left me exhausted this Monday morning. A friend sent me this music video to help decompress, and it’s soothing. This week isn’t going to be any quieter, so maybe it’s best I ask for a day off work?

Anyway, this is the reason I chose this apartment from Nooks, because I feel like it’s a very social space. The space that connects the kitchen to the living room was actually opened up, and then shelves were put in between the supporting pillars. It does look stylish, but the reason the owner did this was to be more social and connect the rooms together more for when he had guests over. Max, the owner, also said:

“In the vast majority of home decorating, we focused on the TV, but here in the living room, I wanted instead to the social would be central. The same applies to the dinner table, I chose a round table in order to be able to keep up more with each other. ”

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An award-winning Victorian conversion from London with a must-see bathroom

From the entrance, this place looks like a typical Victorian house. There’s little you can see from the front, and the ubiquitous London Plane tree (the big one) outside doesn’t point to anything out of the ordinary – houses such as this being a relatively common but well-coveted staple in Britain.

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However, once you go in through the hallway and past the living room you’re greeted by something quite unexpected. A burst of light and open planned space that meets the garden. Click on the images below for a larger size.

This is what makes this house special. Staying on the lower levels, and going back towards the front of the house you’re met by something more traditional.

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You’re then thrust back into the new world, with a trendy study that’s part of the new conversion. This looks like such a perfect spot for concentration, or writing a book. The decoration is fairly minimal and the palette is limited, but there’s also a view of the trees which must be calming.

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You’ll also notice that there’s some light coming from the back, which is a nice touch. 20170406-DSC_5135-web-950x63420170406-DSC_5044-web-950x63420170406-DSC_5037-web-950x63420170406-DSC_5025-web-950x633

The bedrooms are also all lovely, with some nice accents to boot. They’ve all made good use of space, and the mirrors, white walls and bright colours, all liven up the rooms.

The real showstopper in this building though, is what’s at the top of the tower conversion. A magical bathroom (below) with a completely glass roof. I don’t use the word magical with any exaggeration. This bathroom was the cherry on top that made the house received a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award in 2008. An article in Grand Designs described the bathroom:

Upstairs the bathroom is more than just a room in which to groom. A small-scale bench in the shower room means you can sit while you shower, and on a clear night you can watch the moon traverse the sky through the glazed roof, from the comfort of a hammock.

New-builds always run the risk of being sterile, but this house is the opposite. It’s a place for late-night stargazing and leisurely late-afternoon lunches, with generous amounts of natural light and windows strategically placed to frame the natural surroundings

In the magazine Homebuilding & Renovating, more praise was given:

If there were a prize for best bathroom, [this] home in Hackney would easily win it. It’s rare that one finds a bathroom that multitasks, but Anne Katrine’s not only combines a magnificently stylish bathing area, but also has a space for exercising – complete with dumbbells – and hooks from which she can string a hammock to gaze up at the ever-changing sky through the room’s glazed roof

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Photos were taken, with permission, from The Modern House. This property was on the market at point of publication.