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Law House

A Grade II Listed Building in Elsted and Treyford, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9515 / 50°57'5"N

Longitude: -0.8469 / 0°50'48"W

OS Eastings: 481091

OS Northings: 117526

OS Grid: SU810175

Mapcode National: GBR CD0.8P8

Mapcode Global: FRA 963L.HW1

Entry Name: Law House

Listing Date: 16 November 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392322

English Heritage Legacy ID: 494376

Location: Elsted and Treyford, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester

Civil Parish: Elsted and Treyford

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Elsted St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text

ELSTED

1899/0/10056 BEACON HILL
16-NOV-07 North Marden
Law House

II

Also Known As: Beacon Hill House, BEACON HILL, North Marden
Private house 1966-68 by Edward Cullinan, with Alice Milo, for Peter and Anne Law. Extended in the late 1970s by Edward Cullinan Architects with the addition of an attached annexe to the west.

MATERIALS:
Buff brick, concrete and prominent timber detailing: fascia boards, exposed roof beams, boarded eves soffits, and window frames.

PLAN:
A detached two-storey house with a flat roofscape built on a sloping site. The main entrance is through an open brick porch to the south west opening into the living room on the upper of two floors (essentially a ground floor and smaller lower ground floor given the slope). The living room is a generous and light room with a feature fireplace, large windows on two sides: a projecting window to the garden and one to the upper terrace. A striking feature is a broad almost semi-circular theatrical staircase which sweeps down to the dining room on the lower floor and was intended to function as seating when entertaining, as well as stairs. Also on this floor is the master bedroom, again with extensive glazing and a projecting window over the garden, and a further bedroom. There are accompanying dressing rooms with cleverly fitted cupboards and dressing tables/desks and compact bathrooms. Further integral architect designed storage throughout including built-in corridor bookcases with lighting. The living room and bedrooms are all arranged around a private upper terrace/courtyard on the south side which is only accessible from the house. The lower ground floor contains a dining room, immediately off the staircase, two further bedrooms and their dressing and bathroom accommodation, although one is now used as a study, and the kitchen. The latter retains much of its fitted furniture including original kitchen units and hobs and seating. Many of the lower ground floor rooms have doors opening onto the lower terrace and thus access into the garden. To the north of the living room is a garage, utility, storage and boiler housing. There is an additional flat-roofed, single storey, rectangular annexe to the north west which is attached to the original house and is complimentary in style.

EXTERIOR:
The entrance façade, to the south west, is understated and largely blind with an open brick porch defining the main entrance. The brickwork stops short of the soffit, exposing the timber roof beams which are cantilevered to support the deeply overhanging timber-lined eaves. The south east and north east garden facades, however, are essentially in brick but have large and dominating cantilevered oriel windows. These are timber-framed with vertical lights and again have heavy eaves and are flat-roofed, but with the roof-line projecting above the line of the main roof to add interest. Other openings, both the lower ground floor windows and doors onto the terrace, are subtle in comparison with plain white frames and canted lintels. The north west façade is stepped with a similarly muted window treatment. The annexe's main façade is to the south east and is part brick and part timber but substantially glazed. It has complimentary projecting heavy timber eaves and some weatherboarding detail.

The house is set in a sloping garden with mature trees. The lower terrace area to the south east, also by Cullinan, includes a hexagonal paved area possibly echoing the polygonal staircase inside.

INTERIOR:
Interior finishes are of a high quality. Walls are largely painted and the ceilings of the upper floors are in timber. Floors are either carpeted or tiled. The arrangement of rooms around the upper terrace and the substantial glazing, particularly to the living room and master bedroom create a strong relationship with the garden. The living room is the largest and most important room of the house, designed as a more formal entertaining space. It has attractive features including a curving wall above the main entrance and a stepped fire mantel; also an unusual polygonal staircase sweeping down to the lower level with a depth of tread also designed for use as seating when entertaining. Architect designed fitted furniture survives throughout including dressing rooms with dressers and cupboards; shelving units with integral lighting; bench seats with storage; radiator covers; folding shutters, and even door knobs and light switches. The kitchen and bathrooms also retain much in the way of original fixtures including kitchen units, tile and wooden surfaces and original hobs.

HISTORY:
Law House was a privately commissioned detached house designed by the architect Edward Cullinan, with Alice Milo, for Peter and Anne Law, hence Law House, and was built between 1966-68. The quantity surveyor was Stern & Woodford, the structural engineer S. Jampel & Partners and the main contractor, John C. Lillywhite. Cullinan was recommended for the commission by the architect Denys Lasdun for whom he had worked. Prior to the construction of Law House a small rectangular cottage occupied the site, a building first shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1912. Fabric from this cottage is understood to have been incorporated at the core of the new house. Additional accommodation in the form of an attached but self-contained annexe was added in the same style to the west in the late 1970s. This was by Edward Cullinan Architects, with the oversight of Edward Cullinan but he was not involved in the day-to-day project work. The annexe was designed and conceived such that it could be readily incorporated as part of the main house should that prove desirable at any future point.

Cullinan's early private houses represent a period before his architectural practice came to prominence, however. They were important commissions for him, providing opportunities to explore domestic design themes early in his career and from which one can identify his combined interest in Modernism and the Arts & Crafts Movement. Some of his earliest houses were designed for family or friends, sometimes with limited budgets or needing a response to a difficult or confined space as at No. 62 Camden Mews, Camden (1962-65) - designed as his family home - and Garrett House at No. 1a Greenholm Road, Eltham (1966). Others, such as Horder House, Hampshire (1958-60), Knox House II, Suffolk (1967-68), and of course Law House, benefited from rural locations where space was unconfined but where Cullinan's designs responded to their landscape settings. Law House was probably his first larger private house commission where space was unrestricted but where the building had to accommodate and exploit a steeply-sloping site with far-reaching views over the Sussex Downs.

SOURCES:
Edward Cullinan Architects, 1984, Edward Cullinan Architects. RIBA publications
Powell, K, 1995, Edward Cullinan Architects. London: Academy Editions

REASON FOR DESIGNATION DECISION:
Law House is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* A good quality and little altered example of Edward Cullinan's early work, and specifically domestic design.
* A post-war house with an imaginative plan, where the design makes the most of a challenging steeply sloping hillside setting.
* A design where the materials, finish and attention to details are of high quality with many original fixtures and fittings including architect designed fitted furniture.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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