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1950s, Midcentury modern, United Kingdom

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire (image credit: The Modern House)

The 1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire, is a shrine to the midcentury modern era and is on the market.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

It looks like a time capsule, and you might be expecting me to say something about it not being on the market for decades. Not so. Followers of modern houses might remember it being up for sale back in 2012.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Interestingly, it did take some time to find a buyer back then and it did get a couple of price cuts. Ultimately, all of us would like to live in a house like this. But it’s also quite an undertaking. You aren’t just taking on a house. You are taking on something of a significant and much talked about piece of architecture.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

There’s also the location. I suspect if this was within commuter distance of London, it would find the right buyer pretty quickly. But you’ll more likely have to conduct your business in Leeds or Manchester (or a smaller town in these areas) to be the target market. Or be able to work from home—there’s plenty of space to do just that here.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

If I had the money, I would snap this up straight away. It represents everything I love architecturally and stylistically. Yes, maintaining this iconic Peter Womersley house would be quite a commitment, but it’s one I could happily devote myself to.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

As has the current owner judging by the photos of this one. of course, everyone has their own take on furnishings and finishes, but very little of note seems to have changed over the last 13 or 14 years.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

You wouldn’t expect any significant changes to the architecture. Farnley Hey, designed and built in 1954, was one of the first post-war buildings to be listed. According to English Heritage:

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

‘In style, Farnley Hey suggests the influence of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, brought to a dramatic site in the Pennines. It typifies the best of the 1950s in its lightness, sense of the picturesque and optimistic stance.’

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

As I said earlier, the house was designed by noted architect Peter Womersley, who was also behind the stunning Klein House in Scotland, amongst other things. I’m always fascinated by the Galashiels football stadium stand he designed, which is rare by the fact that it’s also listed. Go look it up if you have a minute.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Or just focus on this modern gem, which sits in open countryside but is just a couple of miles from the villages of Farnley Tyas and Honley and not too far from Huddersfield if that helps with the geography.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

It’s a vision both inside and out, a British take on modernism of the day, but also inspired by Le Corbusier’s Pavilion Suisse and Frank Lloyd Wright’s layout and materials. One other notable thing: The house is incredibly well preserved.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Very little has changed here in terms of the structure and the layout. Of course, each owner has put their own ‘spin’ on things in terms of the decor and finish. But without taking away the originality of the 1950s build. That’s the thing that really seals the deal here.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

But there is so much more to appreciate. The flat-roofed wood and stone facades, with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, were no doubt quite the head-turner in West Yorkshire in the 1950s.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Equally so, the materials used, the volumes within and the open layout across the house. Spaces are zoned out rather than strictly marked out with walls. Of course, all of that means plenty of natural light, another big selling point here, along with the views out across the expansive gardens.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

The double-height volumes add even more light and space, and the large windows and use of natural materials break down the barriers between the outside and inside.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Oh yes, the materials. Everything from the extensive use of camphorwood to the York-stone flags on the floor flooring and the maintenance of the lemon-yellow Formica panels.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

The cladding, the exposed brick, the intricate detail for the staircase, the period fixtures and fittings, the fireplace, the lighting, that wonderful kitchen area, there’s so much to see at every turn.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

But this is also a house for the 21st century. I know that might sound like a contradiction, but this is no museum. Everything is functional for the contemporary family, there’s a wonderful office space to work from home, space to relax, a garden to enjoy, and plenty of bedrooms. It’s just that little bit grander than something you or I might be used to.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

That zoned accommodation includes four bedrooms (two with a shared Jack-and-Jill bathroom), a family bathroom, a large study/living area, a kitchen/dining room, and two ‘sweeping’ reception rooms. None of that fully describes the actual spaces. Hopefully, the images do—or, if you are a potential buyer, a viewing.

One of those rooms is described (quite rightly) as ‘the defining room of the house’.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

It is known as ‘the dance floor’ because of the polished flooring, its built-in audio system and the double-height ceiling. According to the agent, it was originally designed for ‘Womersley’s energetic parties and even for recording live music’. If you love a gathering, it’s quite a plus point. The second reception space is a cantilevered mezzanine gallery on the upper level, which is an altogether more sedate space for relaxing.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Other space includes a cloakroom adjacent to the entrance and a large walk-in pantry for the kitchen, with plenty of storage in the linking corridors.

That’s not quite all, as the outside of the Farnley Hey modern house is also a huge selling point and very much part of the overall design.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

On the southerly side, a terrace is ‘the place for early morning coffees, long alfresco lunches and evening sundowners’, with the kind of views you can only dream about on a summer’s day.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

Adjacent are stretches of lawn, interspersed with colourful bulbs, raised beds and ‘more secluded spots to rest, sit and mull’. There’s also extensive woodland, which adds some colour and some privacy.

The original garage has been converted and now houses a new biomass boiler with additional space for storage.

1950s Farnley Hey modern house in Farnley Tyas, West Yorkshire
(image credit: The Modern House)

 

One last thing. Would you believe that Farnley Hey was designed by Peter Womersley in 1954 as a wedding present to his brother? Pretty sure I just got some money in a card.

That money was quickly spent, but the Farnley Hey modern house will live on and on. You could be part of the journey if you have something like £1,200,000 available.

Images and details courtesy of The Modern House. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.

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