A Modernist Gem in Hampstead Village

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Hidden away in the quiet streets away from Hampstead High Street, just opposite the Heath, nestles 1930s gem 2 Willow Road. It's a National Trust property these days, so we popped along for a look around.

The modernist style house was completed in 1939 by Hungarian architect Erno Goldfinger as a family home for himself, his wife and their three children.

During the 1930s lots of artists, writers and political thinkers began moving from Chelsea to Hampstead. The peace and quiet, the beauty of the Heath and the relatively low cost of housing (crikey, it's not that way today!!) drew them to the area.

The Goldfingers were very much left-wing idealist thinkers, who enjoyed good living standards, and many a high society party took place at Number 2.

You can't take pictures inside the house unfortunately, so after our tour I did my stuff outside while Mr DI, my architect, did his stuff and examined the finer details of the place with our guide...

It's not much to look at from the outside (imo), but inside the house is light and airy with lots of clever design features ~ hello low level dining table so you can't see the road when you're sat down eating ~ and nifty space saving ideas like doors which fold back 180 degrees. There were tons of great books from the surrealist period and stacks of architectural journals ~ I giggled a bit at the 'Architectural Defects' periodical! A pretty garden out the back sealed the deal for me.

After our tour, we strolled back up to the High Street through the quiet, sunny streets. Such a glorious day!

Please Mr Architect, can we move up here?!

 My future front door?

Loving the old-fashioned street signs here...

We finished up with lunch at Gail's Bakery on the High Street ~ where we sat outside ~ yey, that's one sure sign that summer is upon us!

Willow Road is definitely a hidden gem in London, so check it out if you can. Opening days and tours are limited so be sure to look at the National Trust website before you go.

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