Halsbury Close, Stanmore HA7

Another new entry on the Open House programme for 2022 was this beautiful Grade II Modernist House in Stanmore designed by architect Rudolf Frankel for his sister in 1938.

The two storey family home was built from brick rather than reinforced concrete like most Modernist houses of the time, perhaps attributable to the slow acceptance of Modernist architecture in Britain with brick being seen as a more traditional choice.

The ground floor was mainly taken up by the living and dining areas which opened out onto the garden via a cutaway veranda with a single column at the corner to support the upper floor.

The kitchen, which contained the original cabinetry and maid bell system, was positioned next to the tradesman’s entrance and still-intact service wing.

Upstairs were the bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of which was largely original.

The internal layout was arranged to allow the living and dining rooms to face out onto the garden to take advantage of the southerly orientation whereas the kitchen and bathrooms were located on the northeast and northwest sides of the house to enable all drainage to be kept out of sight and the front elevation to be clutter-free.

Extremely well preserved, the house was owned by two generations of the family who acquired the house from Frankel’s sister until 2019 when it was bought by the current owners, who seemed equally committed to preserving the house’s original features.

Not that they have much choice in the matter: the Grade II listing (which describes the house as one of the most elegant and least altered private houses erected before the War) means that all alterations need to be approved before they are made, including relatively small details such as the choice of tile in the bathrooms and kitchen.

The lack of ornamentation in the design and the abundance of original features from the original build (flooring, light fittings, light switches, radiators, floor finishes, ironmongery and joinery) gave the house a timeless, contemporary quality.

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