Much changed since construction, but the 1930s Old San Juan modernist house in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire is still an appealing prospect.
Not that you would realise as you approach the front of this 1930s modern movement house. The kerb appeal is as high now as it was back in 1936 when the house was completed to a design by C. Mervyn White, Prentice & Partners.
But the house has been renovated to a considerable degree. That work was undertaken by CSK architects back in 2011 and as you might expect, it is work that will split the audience.
But it is worth noting that the work was both renovation and preservation. According to architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, this house is ‘the most faithful to Modern Movement principles, with a Y-plan hinged on a circular tower, a wrap-around staircase window in one wing, ship’s rail balconies and horizontal bands of windows and portholes.’
If those details had departed, it would be a worry. But the key architectural features of Old San Juan were preserved when the work was carried out, something recognised by RIBA, with the work winning a regional award for CSK Architects.
But there is no getting away from the fact that the finishes are more contemporary than vintage. Ultimately, the finish could pull you in or push you away. But the architecture remains the star of the show and for me, it is still the key selling point here and the rework has been done with no shortage of style.
The white rendering on the exterior, the symmetry, minimal detail are all still in place, even if the house has changed over the decades. Earlier work to the house in the 1980s by Thomas Deckker added in a swimming pool and the conversion of the garage into an office. But that hasn’t radically altered the house.
The house, which is set back from the road, has its own private and gated driveway, leading to a turning area with a ‘palm-adorned island’ at the front of the house.
Park up, enter through the front and take in the space within, which is considerable, not least because of the work done to extend in the past.
The hallway, which is lined with Italian encaustic tiles, is located in the circular tower at the heart of the house. Beyond that is a spiralling, galleried staircase, with large sections of Crittal glazing still in place.
The eastern ‘wing’ is taken up by the modern and open kitchen with two sets of glazed doors, windows and skylights above. Also on this side of the house and to the side of the kitchen is the indoor pool, with a wall of glass to one end.
Also in this part of the house is some storage space, a laundry room and a WC, as well as a large office and a family room, which take up the space of the original garage. The old garage is gone, but don’t worry, as a detached double garage has taken its place.
You will find a dining room in the southern half of the central circular tower, with glazed Crittal doors opening onto the terrace and lawn. Head outside and follow a path to a secluded alfresco dining area and the ‘yoga and pilates studio’ at the foot of the garden. Not something you would expect to find.
The western wing of the ground floor is taken up by a large living room with an ‘Art Deco’ fireplace. More glazed doors access the garden terrace from here too.
Head up that amazing staircase and you get to the first floor, which has five bedrooms, all of which have their own en-suite bathrooms. The master bedroom, positioned above the pool in the eastern wing, is the only contemporary addition to the house and has its own private roof terrace with views out across the garden. That master suite also has its own dressing area.
There is one other large double bedroom with en-suite bathroom in the eastern wing of the house, with the former master bedroom positioned in the ‘curve’ of the central tower and with a slightly smaller balcony overlooking the garden.
It is a lot of house and a property with a lot of pedigree. Let’s not forget that this is also a sought-after area to live in. Adding all that up means a hefty price for this modernist gem. The asking price is £4,000,000.
Images and details courtesy of The Modern House. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.