Modern Homes: a 1950s Update in Putney

by Kate Burt in Interior designed homes

A particular strand of early 1950s residential architecture was incredibly good at letting the outdoors in – and this sensitively modernised, west Putney family home from that era reflects that trend beautifully.

What you first notice about the four-bedroomed Granard Avenue property in SW15 is the incredible abundance of natural light – particularly in the striking sitting room with its vast, curved wall of windows – and also the generous use of wood (reminiscent of the likes of the Riihitie house, a a favourite house of mine, built by the Finnish midcentury designer, Alvar Aalto). The Putney house was reconfigured in 1997, by Carl Falck Associates, who opened up many of the rooms and added more space, really maximising the building’s airy atmosphere. I really like how this works in the master bedroom, which feels modern with its open-plan update, yet still has visible remnants of the original room divisions in its interesting nooks and crannies.

Sunlight also floods the sleek kitchen, thanks to an extended row of skylight windows running the width of the room. I love how the splashes of blue zing up the otherwise neutral kitchen. The warmth of the long wooden island countertop stops the combination of the blue and the stainless steel from looking stark and cold.


The house, which has previously been part of the London Open House weekend, has two floors and three reception rooms, as well as the bedrooms – and the latter each has luxurious full-length glass doors, two of which open onto balconies overlooking the secluded, mature gardens.

But back to those glorious reception room windows, as I have found out a bit of interesting history about the company that made them. They are Crittall windows, which were first designed in the early 20th century with metal frames so as not to rot. And if that brand name doesn’t mean much to you, you might also be as fascinated to discover that Crittall didn’t only make windows to withstand damp British weather but also, in the 1920s, built the first ‘garden village’ in Essex, for the company’s employees, called Silver End. The village included (sadly much of it was very recently demolished) some modernist architecture designed by Thomas S Tait, whose other work included the concrete pylons on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

But enough architectural trivia: back to Putney. The clever design continues with the office/teenage den, separated by an open tread ladder – yet more beautiful wood – that makes the sleeping space feel nicely secluded (yet another nook – or cranny). And it really is this combination of open-plan with quirky alcoves and corners that gives this building such great character, and makes it a home not just a house.

This house is for sale via The Modern House estate agency.

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