Monday, January 16, 2012

Heathcote

Earlier last year I was reading online that Heathcote, the Edwin Lutyens designed country house, had come up for sale. Designed for businessman John Hemingway in 1906, the house was an unusual one for Lutyens, laying outside of the arts and crafts realm in which he practiced.The most surprising fact to me is that the house is not a large estate but rather a suburban villa - a precursor to the modern day mcmansion perhaps? (JUST KIDDING!) As you can see in the aerial view above and site plan below, the house has a substantial sized lot but is suburban in character. This is not a criticism from me in the least but an observation (I would never criticize a Lutyens project!). Normally with a house of this grand scale and design it has a working estate to go along.In his unusual design, Lutyens played with the notions of classical architecture and in particular the work of Palladio. The main facade faces the back garden, seen in the pictures above, but the street facing elevation is very similar.The 3 story house is symmetrical in plan and elevation and built of a local yellow rusticated stone with dressed grey stone quoining and Doric columns with a red clay tile roof.While the house is classical in design, Lutyens stuck to his arts & crafts routes by sourcing these local materials.Of the project Lutyens wrote "This house was for a very rich man who could not spend money: until he met me! in an ultra suburban locality"After visits to the Hemingways' former house, Lutyens was less than impressed with their sense of style and was therefore relieved when they asked him to help with the interiors of Heathcote and as you can see they turned out beautifully.The seller is actually a company who has had the house from the 1950s and has supposedly taken very good care of it but I haven't seen any contemporary interior photographs. What a spectacular house this would be to buy or work on!All historic photos from Country Life magazine via the book Edwin Lutyens Country Houses by Gavin Stamp. Drawings and aerial photograph from great Great Buildings.

8 comments:

Francine Gardner said...

Spectacular grand house. However, i too feel that it needs to stand on its own set in gardens and fields...

The Devoted Classicist said...

My local bookseller doesn't carry "Country Life" magazine any longer, so I miss seeing all the ads of houses for sale in England. But I could not find the listing under properties currently for sale in that area. Any news of the current status? It may be my favorite of all the wonderful Lutyens houses.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Lutyens knew how to play the game, didn't he? Just brilliant how he bends and twists shape and convention.

I've seen more than one McMansion whose architect has mined this house for inspiration, without remotely 'getting' what it actually is that makes this place work.

And how about that landscaping? Designed within an inch of its life on a small lot, and it expands space and takes the eye further than it really goes. Yup. Lutyens understood movement, and volume.

HRH The Duchess of State said...

What a spectacular villa... absolutely beautiful dahhling! Enjoyable post.

Gwen Driscoll said...

Amazing, amazing architecture! So beautiful..what a great post!

the designers muse said...

Such a fabulous house!

Bob @ Life of an Architect.com said...

What a great find for me this afternoon - thank you for bringing it to my attention. Lutyens was an architect's architect.

Cheers

Lord Cowell said...

An amazing, if not slightly odd house in it's proportions. Have to find out more about it now you've whetted my appetite. I love the raised terrace out back.