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Latitude: 50.8907 / 50°53'26"N
Longitude: 0.6892 / 0°41'21"E
OS Eastings: 589228
OS Northings: 113584
OS Grid: TQ892135
Mapcode National: GBR QYF.12M
Mapcode Global: FRA D6BR.8BC
Entry Name: The Beach House
Listing Date: 26 November 2001
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1389520
English Heritage Legacy ID: 488205
Location: Pett, Rother, East Sussex, TN35
County: East Sussex
Civil Parish: Pett
Traditional County: Sussex
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex
Church of England Parish: Pett St Mary and St Peter
Church of England Diocese: Chichester
1917/0/10050 PETT LEVEL ROAD
26-NOV-01 Pett Level
The Beach House
Private house. 1959-60 by Michael Pattrick as a beach house / holiday home for Richard and Phoebe Merricks.
Ground floor has an exposed concrete structure, with floor slab resting on pilotis, in turn resting on concrete pads 3 feet below ground level. This houses the carport and painted timber boarded entrance hall. First and second floor pre-stressed timber frame to enable the building to withstand high winds, clad with dark stained timber boarding, painted wooden panels and with plate glass windows with painted wooden frames. Flat roof.
The house is oriented towards the south to take advantage of excellent views of the sea. Three storeys, with a neat and compact rectangular plan. Principal accommodation is on first and second floors, which are raised above the ground floor on pilotis. It was built higher than neighbouring earlier properties, responding to the raising of the sea wall prior to building. The resulting undercroft provides space for a carport on the east side and a timber entrance pod on the west side, accessed via the carport. This space houses a small lobby, storage, toilet and stairs. In late 1990s this entrance pod sympathetically extended on the south side to provide a small galley kitchen, still sitting well within the footprint marked out by the pilotis. The first floor has four bedrooms, two with direct access on to an external staircase on the south facade, a bathroom and a toilet arranged around the central stairwell, all cleverly shoehorned into a small space. The main open-plan living space including small kitchen area occupies the entire second floor, with access on to a balcony on the south side.
There is an external staircase for direct access from the living room balcony and bedrooms to the beach. This external stair dominates the south facade and evokes the visual vocabulary of the ocean liner. At second floor level, the living room has full-height casement windows opening out on to the balcony; these replaced the original sliding doors soon after building due to water ingress. This is the section of the facade visible from the beach, the remainder being largely screened by the sea wall. The first floor bedroom windows remain minimal for privacy, but the weather boarding is lightened by the use of white-painted wooden panels, and glazed doors open on to an external landing. The street and side facades are more reticent, dominated by the dark-stained timber boarding. A continuous string of windows at second floor level along the three facades is echoed by a narrow band of high level first floor windows along the street façade, with bedroom windows puncturing the boarding on the sides. The timber of the light-weight entrance pod is painted blue on all sides, in line with the original colour scheme, and providing the house's single bold flash of colour.
The interior remains almost entirely intact. It echoes the nautical theme with its streamlined design, clever planning and walls lined with natural sanded wooden V pointed boarding. Timber staircase runs right through the core of the house. The living room is a light, airy space with varnished timber floors, fibre-board ceiling and retains original light fittings. It has a small kitchen partly screened off by fitted wooden cabinets and the timber-clad head of the internal stairs. Cabin bedrooms have stacked single or raised double wooden bunks fitted, and retain original wooden bookshelves and light fittings. Windows are positioned at a high level so that all beds have views of the sea. The house was originally heated by just electric space heaters, as it was intended only for use in the summer. Small radiators have since been added throughout.
This is an excellent example of a compact, streamlined holiday home in the modern idiom, associated with the kind of lifestyle not often found on the British coast. It is an excellent survival complete with all original fixtures and fittings, with a high quality of finish. The architect was a close friend of the Merricks, a prominent local family with an interest in modern design.
Original drawings held by Rother District Council
House and Garden book of Modern Houses and Conversions, London: House and Garden, 1966.
Dinah Hall, Country and Modern: contemporary interiors for rural settings, London: Quadrille, 1998.
Listing NGR: TQ8855014211
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