Situated in an interesting settlement of a couple of dozen Bauhaus-style bungalows, built by the River Hamble in Hampshire in the 1930s by the tea impresario Sir Thomas Lipton, the home of Deborah Wilks is a classic example of how homes that are past their best can not only be restored but improved beyond all imagination.

A gleaming white rendered example of sleek design born at the height of Modernism, when Deborah and her partner took it on it was all faded glory and not much else. Over the years, the five bedroom bungalow had been reworked with the best of intentions, but perhaps not the best of design guidance. Deborah knew the value of expertise in this situation and called in Lesley Hally, from LA Hally Architects, to come up with a scheme that would be part restoration, part remodel, part opening up.

The Project

  • Name: Deborah Wilks
  • Build cost: £450,000 (£2,356/m²)
  • Build time: 1 year 1 month
  • Location: Hampshire

The Brief

Deborah had previously remodelled another home on the same estate and knew what working on these homes involved. This, her latest venture, came with a brilliant site with lawns down to the river front and beautiful views over the marina.

However, the cluttered internal layout meant that the 191m² house was quite dark and so the priority was to open it up to introduce more light and a greater sense of space.

the roof deck

Deborah used Eco Dek composite wood polymer recycled boards for the large flat roof deck. With a built-in sound system and fabulous views, it is effectively another living space

Design

The scheme that Lesley came up with was to remove many of the existing internal walls, including the main ones separating out the hallway, to create a largely open plan rear to the house including a kitchen, living and dining space. A home office is partially separated with a half-wall and the number of bedrooms has been reduced from five poky spaces to three larger rooms of a size more accommodating of things like en suites and large wardrobes.

Large sliding doors ope out onto the garden

Large sliding doors (from Smart Systems) open out to the garden

There are new windows throughout, and to the rear a suite of new openings, including bi-fold aluminium doors (from Smart Systems) and a feature circular window in the home office that is used, imaginatively, to provide a curved window seat. Most glamorously of all, the large roof terrace (the bungalow has a flat roof) has been restored to its original majesty and now provides a huge party area complete with built-in speakers.

Bauhaus

The Bauhaus movement in the 1920s and 1930s is in many ways where Modernism really started. Established by architect Walter Gropius in Germany, it attempted to combine a single vision for the visual arts of painting, sculpture and, of course, architecture.

The architectural style (Bauhaus means ‘House for Building’, which is the name of the school that gave the movement its name) rejected ornament and tried to capture the essence of Classicism in its most simple form. Essentials include the use of strong colours (white and grey being key) along with bold, often geometric lines.

Circular window in a Bauhaus style home with white walls

A charming circular window seat in the home office allows a framed view, as well as a greater connection with the outdoors

The Build

The project ran smoothly with LA Hally providing an in-house project management service. However, the couple played a big role in product choices and took on the interiors.

Much of the front elevation the whole roof structure had to be rebuilt with added insulation. To heat the space, they chose trench heaters on the understanding that underfloor heating would not be financially viable — but the bespoke grid coverings for these which were designed to match the flooring have levelled the price difference.

The house is superbly open and crisp in its approach, and as a model of Modernism it’s hard to beat, with a series of very-well-chosen pieces of art and furniture to blast out of all that white. The exterior, with a new through-coloured K Rend render gleaming in the brightness, looks brilliantly individual, with the roof terrace being a real highlight. Overall, the home is now greatly improved, giving them the light and space they need, whilst staying true to the original.

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