This is a labour of love: In 1958 architect and editor Brian Housden set out designing a house for his family in 78 South Hill Park, Hampstead. Completed in 1965 the two-and-a-half storey building makes no concessions to the neighbouring Victorian town houses. Reframing elements from the Rietveld Schroder House in Utrecht, Aldo van Eyck’s Orphanage in Amsterdam and La Maison Verre in Paris, Housden House is as swinging sixties bling as a brute gets.
The stark postwar concrete slab facade is juxtaposed with cheerful, pink-framed Crittal windows, mosaics and glass bricks. Inside, unfaced concrete and exposed copper pipes elegantly clash with the bold pinks, tangerines, blues, violets and greens of the large open-plan living space whose centre piece is a sunken dining area. Colour-coordinated curtains snake throughout the space to divide the different areas. The back, overlooking Hampstead No1 Pond and the heath beyond, is almost entirely covered in glass bricks which flood the house with diffused natural light.
Notoriously skint, Housden completed and furnished the family home in piecemeal fashion. Apart from a 14-piece set of furniture by Gerrit Rietveld, transported to London over several trips, he built much of the furniture himself over a period of years. Housden House was Grade II listed in 2014, two days before Brian’s death.