Behind the Privet Hedge
In 1936 my father designed the house in which I grew up in the Fifties. I would like to say that it was a textbook example of Thirties Modernism, like a small-scale model of an ocean liner in dry dock, with sinuous white curving walls punctuated by Crittall metal windows, and a flat roof – that signifier of all that was modern (or ‘moderne’ in house-speak). The inside white à la Syrie Maugham, with minimalist pale plywood furniture, maybe a Marion Dorn cubist-design rug on the herringbone parquet floor, smudgy John Piper textiles hung at the windows. A regular ‘machine for living’, form elegantly following function. Only it wasn’t.