Took a trip to Homewood House on Friday: a perfect autumn morning to see this 1930s Modernist home by Patrick Gwynne. The driveway winds a bit, so you get a glimpse of the white rectilinear form of the house over a pond and half hidden by bushes, but on arriving at the entrance the initial impression is of suburban Modernism and most obviously Villa Savoye. Nothing wrong with that, but what elevates Homewood further is the interplay of house and landscape, which comes into full effect with the southern elevation. In particular the vast living room with floor-to-ceiling square sash windows opening onto a stretch of grass flanked by magnolias, rhododendrons, maples, cypresses and silver birch trees.
Style-wise, it was brilliant, right down to a swivel table for pouring cocktails. It’s tempting to think that prewar Modernism did it all, and, aesthetically, I don’t think we’ve moved significantly beyond the 1930s. However, walking round this cold house on a warm October morning, it struck me that the technology of materials has progressed considerably.