Country houses for sale

‘One of the most significant Modernist buildings of the 20th century’ is up for sale for £3 million

Have you heard the one about the Roman and Greek Antiquities dealer that lived in the modern house?

‘I am the home of a 20th century family that loves air, sun and open country’ states the opening sentence on the website listing for High and Over.

No, we’re not at some warped self-help class for houses on the market with an identity crisis, instead, these words were apparently written when the house was first completed in 1931.

And although we’re no longer in the 20th century, the pretty general statement of loving ‘air, sun and open country’ is sure to resonate with a lot of buyers; after all, if that past two years have taught us anything, it is surely that of our love of air, sun and the country.

The house itself, however, is a little bit more niche. Buyers who love air? Well, that’s kind of a given. Buyers who love Modernist homes built in the inter war eras? Probably less so.

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If you double took the age of the property, then you’re not alone. High and Over is remarkable from a design perspective which intriguingly fuses ‘Modernism with classical references and proportions,’ note selling agents Unique Property Company, who bring the house to market with a guide price of £3 million.

The utilitarian modernism projected throughout High and Over will not be for everyone. For anyone who’s spent a bit of time in the middle east, the external façade will seem familiar, as it is fairly reflective of the type of properties more destined to countries with 40-degree + temperatures (I’m excluding our UK summer heatwave) and is a far cry from a two-up, two-down thatched Cotswold Cottage.

The imposing white concrete property was designed by Amyas Connell, of Connell Ward & Lucas, for Professor Bernard Ashmole, the Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum. The irony of an antiques professor commissioning a modern, innovatively designed home is not lost on us, and certainly reinforces the notion of keeping your work and home life separate.

Softness and hardness interplay throughout the house. A utilitarian kitchen in various shades of grey and icy blue is muted by the floor to ceiling wood panelled dining room.

The near circular reception hall forks into three fronds in a ‘Y’ shape, from which the kitchen and dining room, a large library and the drawing room are accessed. Stairs lead up to the first floor where you’ll find five of the six bedrooms.

On the second floor is a large winged roof terrace (causing the house to acquire the nickname ‘Aeroplane House’), a central lounge and the sixth bedroom with a dressing room and study.

The gardens and grounds extend to just under two acres, formed of mature woodland, lawn and steps leading down to a circular swimming pool and terraced seating area.

The English poet, writer and broadcaster, John Betjeman, was not a fan. ‘In 1931 all Buckinghamshire was scandalised by the appearance, high above Amersham of a concrete house in the shape of a letter ‘Y’’, was his response to High and Over. However, Pevsner’s Buildings of England, Taschen’s World Architecture and Irving’s 100 Buildings to See Before You Die all regarded the property as an ‘iconic masterpiece.’

It’s situated in an elevated position near to Amersham with sweeping views across the Chilterns. Central London is a little over 30 minutes away on the Chiltern or Metropolitan line and just 10 minutes to the M40 and M25.

Amersham is considered one of the most photographic market towns in the Chilterns, with its timbered houses and iconic Market Hall. There are a range of independent boutiques and shops in both the older and newer part of the town, as well as plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants.

The River Misbourne flows through the town before meeting the River Colne, providing several pretty water-side walks, and for those looking to immerse further into nature, head to Chesham Bois Wood nature reserve.

The selling agents state that High and Over is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to acquire a house of ‘distinction’ and ‘important architectural provenance,’ and although its style won’t be for everyone, for those searching for a fusion of modernism, innovative design and great views, look no further.

High and Over is currently on the market via Unique Property Company with a guide price of £3 million — see more pictures or enquire with the agent for further details. 

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