Stunning architecture and an equally stunning setting. The 1930s art deco Penhill House in Brixham, Devon, is now up for sale.
It’s a part of the world that does have a lot of interesting architecture. You might recall the hugely-popular Sunpark 1930s art deco house in Brixham and, in contrast, the 1960s Mervyn Seale-designed Parkham Wood House. Both of which have been featured on these pages. But not this one.
Penhill House is a recent listing, having been lovingly restored by the current owners. It’s also a house with something of a celebrity past. According to the agent Savills, the house is believed to have once been owned by Agatha Christie’s accountant, with the best-selling novelist reputedly a regular visitor. With both the design and interior still having a firm foot in the 1930s, you can imagine that too.
In fact, that’s one of the big plus points of this house. I have written a do’s and don’ts of updating an art deco house in the past, and this one gets it pretty much right. The bottom line is to maintain the look and feel of the era, as well as the architectural integrity. But at the same time, be mindful that it is likely to be a family home rather than a museum.
Which is what you have here. A house that has the striking look of the best art deco architecture matched up with an interior that is inspired by the 1930s. But it is also a luxury family home for the 21st century too.
Period-friendly details include double-glazed Crittal-style windows contrasting blue against the white background, solid oak doors with art deco handles, parquet flooring, a wonderful wooden staircase, vintage radiators, plus light fittings that are either original or ‘in keeping’. Some lovely interior design touches of the era too.
Of course, the architecture itself too, which is quite the statement. Elevated to take advantage of those amazing views, this striking white building also benefits from substantial glazing, balconies, a huge wraparound terrace and a rather grand entrance, with views of the coast and surrounding nature from almost every angle. Imagine waking up to that each day.
But as I said, this is also a modern-day family home as well. You probably noticed the rush finishes throughout, the modern/open kitchen area, and the contemporary bathrooms, for example, with other less obvious updates, such as the underfloor heating and a built-in garage with EV charging. Character meets practicality,
And space. Lots of space. Whether that’s internal space over the three floors or the outside space, which is more plentiful than you might think at first glance. 3.5 acres of gardens are yours, with the option of an additional 12 acres of paddocks, stables and an agricultural barn by separate negotiation. Pretty much your own private estate. Of course, the Man Sands beach is also just beyond.
But before you consider a jaunt to the beach, let’s take a closer look at the house itself and the layout.
Head in through the front door, and the entrance hall really sets the scene for the rest of the house, with many of the 1930s detailing still intact. It also provides access to the main reception spaces, which benefit from the natural light, courtesy of all that glazing.
A dual-aspect dining room with French doors accesses the terrace, with views out to sea, a games room features a circular bay window and, perhaps best of all, a living room perhaps with a large semi-circular bay window and a second circular feature seating area.
You will have spotted the modern kitchen/breakfast room, which still has the original Butler’s bell but also all the modern appliances and fittings you would expect, right down to the American-style fridge freezer. There’s also a large window here too, plus doors to the wraparound terrace, should you fancy a spot of alfresco dining. There is also a utility/boot room and a cloakroom on the ground floor.
A spiral staircase from the kitchen/breakfast room leads to the lower ground floor, which features office space with bi-fold doors for more terrace access. There is also an en-suite shower room and access to the integral double garage with electric up and over doors and an EV charger.
Back to the entrance hall, and stairs lead to the first floor, which is made up of the principal bedroom with a large semi-circular feature bay window and doors to a balcony and, yes, more sea views. Beyond this is an en-suite bathroom with a free-standing roll-top bath said to be ‘perfectly positioned’ for the views of Man Sands. A dressing room too.
Beyond that, three double bedrooms, all of which have en-suite bathrooms and two of which have a balcony or roof terrace.
That’s not quite all, as it would be remiss of me not to mention the outside space. The house is approached via a private driveway which leads to the integral double garage and an additional parking area. 3.5 acres around the house, including the large terrace I previously mentioned, the landscaped formal garden, and a well-maintained tennis court.
Oh yes, there’s also a further detached, four-bedroom cottage currently run as a successful holiday let which, like the extra land, is available by separate negotiation.
A statement house, along with lots of well-maintained grounds and a stunning setting. If this is your dream, the guide price is £2,500,000.
Images and details courtesy of Savills. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.