This will get you talking. The Round House Oliver Hill art deco property in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex has been renovated and is now up for sale.
You might recall the house was up for sale back in 2016. In fact, it seemed like a struggle to sell it back then, but after a price drop the house did find a new owner, who has gone about renovating this one completely.
Now, this is a house with some history. A circular grade II-listed house by renowned architect Oliver Hill, it’s perhaps the most notable of the houses that were built for the Frinton Park Estate.
That estate was going to be quite something, with 200 acres of land bought for what was to include 1,100 houses, a town hall, college, churches, shopping area and a hotel.
The area nearest the sea was seen as a ’showcase’ for modern houses of the day, with Oliver Hill thew principal architect. But he didn’t work alone. He used some of the finest talent of the day, including Wells Coates, Maxwell Fry, Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff and Frederick Gibberd.
Sadly, the idealism and the experimental nature of the houses didn’t work as a large-scale development and things ground to a halt in the mid-1930s. But houses were built, about 404 in total, which included 12 Hill designs, with 10 still in existence.
The Round House was the first and the finest, operating as both a show home and an office for the development. That’s why it has a mosaic plan of the development on the floor designed by Clifford Ellis, which has thankfully been preserved and still has pride of place in the newly-renovated house.
English Heritage describes it, quite rightly, as a ‘strong architectural statement’ even if the house has been updated and changed a little over the years.
In fact, when the house was last on the market, it was pitched as something of a renovation project. Some of the windows had been swapped for modern double glazing and the general condition, although looked after, wasn’t exactly pristine.
The current seller describes it as being in a ‘dilapidated state’ although it did still benefit from some original features and being generally true to the original Oliver Hill design. Do have a look at that past listing if you want an idea of what the current seller walked into.
It’s a radically different proposition now, although I can see it splitting the crowd. The house was ‘sympathetically refurbished to a very high standard’ according to the agent and the result is certainly bold.
For me, what jumps out are the number of designer fixtures and fittings and a feel that’s more 1960s than 1930s in some places. But you need to look beyond the furniture. You’re not buying that. It’s going with the owner.
What you need to look at it the restored structure, the Crittall windows, that mural on the living room floor, the smooth and curving walls, the original internal doors, the full-height glazing looking out onto the social space beyond, the glass block wall, the curving staircase, the wall of glass across the master bedroom, the vintage-style bathroom and the use of colour throughout.
This has been restored to a very high standard and is miles away from a house a few years ago.
Ok, the kitchen might not be to your taste, but the old was a modern one that really didn’t work with the house. Plenty of other details that weren’t for the original era have also been removed to get this house where it is now.
And as I said earlier, the furnishings and fixtures are either not staying or changeable over time. Not something to concern yourself with if you love the idea of this one.
As for space, that covers 2,108 sq. ft. and has the entrance hall and reception on the ground floor, along with the kitchen, dining room, reception, study and central hallway space. Upstairs is the master bedroom with en-suite, along with two further bedrooms. A couple more bathrooms upstairs and down too.
Outside is the garage and some quite bold entertaining space as well, with a hot tub, wood burner and potential for outside cooking. There’s also the garden itself, a front veranda with water features and of course, some lovely views to the coast.
Lots of work, so no surprise to see the asking price jump up since it was last on the market. This has a guide price of £950,000.
Note that there is a launch event for this house, but you do need to register before viewing with the agent.
Images and details courtesy of Fine and Country. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.