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IoE Number: 474221
Location: 4 BEECHWORTH CLOSE (north east side)
Photographer: N/A
Date Photographed: N/A
Date listed: 26 April 1999
Date of last amendment: 26 April 1999
Grade II

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TQ 28 NE BEECHWORTH CLOSE (Northeast side} No4 31/8/10374 II . Private house with linked garage. 1961 by Patrick Gwynne for Max and Anne Bruh. Reinforced concrete floorslabs supported on central staircase well, the slabs exposed externally in black Glamorock, between ground-floor infill of non-loadbearing grey brickwork and first-Floor rendered in white Mineralite, both with extensive use of glass. Slightly pyramidal roof, felt covered, culminating in central skylight. Square plan of two storeys around central open top-lit stairwell; the upper floor is slightly set back. Inset patio to living room at rear has white side wall and ceiling, black timber surround to full-height window with patio door; balcony to master bedroom over has white rail at matching height to sills of adjoining windows. Ground floor with projecting single-storey utility room, and covered link to garage. Sliding black casement windows in neat white-framed surrounds; those to kitchen and smaller first-floor rooms with inset dark soffits unl.Jer, continuing the contrasts of dark and light begun with the cladding materials, and pair of still higher windows to bathrooms; the other windows full-height. Semi-abstract figure on side wall. Garage has timber doors; covered link on steel posts to black double vertically-boarded doors with broad toplight over, which continues as clerestory-height glazing to adjoining lobby and kitchen. Tradesman's entrance in projecting utility area. The interior is one of Patrick Gwynne's finest and most complete surviving schemes. Panelled entrance hall and double-height staircase lobby. The natural timber finishes continued to the doors. Terrazzo floor and stairs, the latter with projecting white treds has partly open balustrade with glass panels and timber handrail. Black mosaic panel under, concealed cupboards and inset display alcoves with individual lighting. L-shaped living room with dining area in angle, denoted by fixed room divider of open shelves and cupboards, the last continuing the black/white theme and also the long line of the adjoining hearth, in which a low fireplace and display shelves are set and which ends as a step up to dining area. The black and white theme is a contrast to the natural-coloured original wall fabric, with black and gold Chinese patterned panel within timber lined dining area. Natural timber surrounds to all windows internally. Study with fixed shelving and rosewood cupboards, the latter swivelling to make a pull-out desk and concealed storage for appliances. Kitchen with white tiles and orange mosaic, original timber-fronted cupboards, inset display alcoves and call system for maid. Original cupboards and fixtures also in bedrooms and bathrooms. Patrick Gwynne is one of the most imaginative designers of private houses in the post-war period, displaying particular virtuosity in the use of a wide range of materials and in his love of practical yet novel fitted furniture, built-in alcoves for the display of objects and concealed cupboards -he is at once witty yet practical. The love of gadgetry is derived from the constant embellishments made to his own home, given to the National Trust. While other houses, notably the four originally built in Coombe, Kingston-upon- Thames, are smaller versions of this central plan, in its wide use of materials and the care and imagination with which the built-in features have been devised this house is exceptional in Gwynne's oeuvre. In this he fully satisfied Mrs Bruh's brief for a house that 'would be easy to run, with a certain toughness to withstand the mild ravages which even the nicest teenagers are liable to perpetrate' (Home, July 1963, p.32). A house which is simple, direct and confident in every detail of design' (Michael Manser, ibid.)

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