Of course, there are modern houses – every new development seems to feature properties with contemporary touches, such as open-plan living kitchens and integral garages – but they nearly all owe their outward style to 20th-century conventions, with bare brick walls, pitched roofs and unremarkable windows. Truly modern architecture is still the preserve of more adventurous buyers who take great enjoyment from a clean-line aesthetic.
This kind of building has its roots in the 1920s modernist movements such as Bauhaus in Germany and De Stijl in the Netherlands, which rejected the “bourgeois” ornamentation of traditional architecture in favour of flat roofs, right-angles and smooth façades.
The underlying belief was that form should follow function: if a building’s design is guided solely by its ultimate purpose, then beauty will follow in the form of functionality. Houses are built with lifestyle in mind – hence open-plan layouts – but light is also given priority, with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass curtain walls.
In recent years, modernist architecture has taken a turn for the earthy, and new designs are far more likely to feature wood, natural stone and low-emission heat exchangers than those cold, white cubes we’re all familiar with.
The following three houses all owe their design – or at least some of it – to this architectural heritage, and all three are currently for sale in our area.
Fringill Dike House in Darley is a new eco-house which uses a mix of dry-stone walls and sedum living roofs to blend in with the Nidderdale landscape. It has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, living room, study, utility room and 53-foot-long kitchen. Below, there are two large rooms, ideal as a cinema room and gym, plus shower room with sauna. It also has an integral double garage, and sits in 1.39 acres of gardens. Underfloor heating throughout runs off ground-source heat-pumps, and a submerged rainwater tank supplies outdoor taps.
Palmarius House in Harrogate has a concrete-and-glass façade that conceals – or rather, displays – an ultra-modern home with state-of-the-art technology including underfloor heating and Control 4 automation. It has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, study, family room, and a large dining kitchen area which opens onto a sunken terrace. There is a garden to the front and parking for several cars to the rear.
Finally, 61 Wetherby Road in Harrogate looks very much like a conventional semi-detached home from the kerbside, but the view from the back presents a quite different image. Here, the house has been extended in stunning fashion to create a large open-plan living kitchen, plus an extra en suite bedroom above. In the original part of the house, there are two more bedrooms, a bathroom, sitting room and integral single garage. Outside, there are low-maintenance front and back gardens.