Dipping Into Deco


The Haven is a real landmark in the coastal village of Beadnell.

It stands proud on a corner at the harbour entrance to the village where it commands fine views of the coast.

Its full-height curved window, striking white paint and black railings mark it out as a ‘look at me house’ which echoes its Art Deco heritage.

But it’s been a journey and a case of deconstructing the decades. The house was built in the 30s and has been through a wealth of renovations and what might loosely be called ‘improvements’.

It was rescued by the current owners in 2005 when it looked a million miles from the property it is today.

It started out as a flat-roofed building in the 1930s built as the village Co-op store. For years it  was the village store with living accommodation above.

Photographs show it with a flat roof and bay windows to the front with the shop at the side.

In the 80s a pitched roof was added, windows moved, extensions built and lots of light brown wood tacked on, making it a property of its time.

But as we all know, with a house it is all about location, location, location.

The Haven’s location is as good as it gets with a little path to a small sandy bay known as Haven Beach, from where the owner swims when the weather is good.

It’s great for paddling and rock pooling too.

Kevin Brown from Sadler Brown Architects in Newcastle was the man behind the restoration of the coastal property and a more recent and striking new-build in Lyme Bay, East Devon, this one with a Bauhaus influence.

The Devon house with its cliff-top location is stunning, with far-reaching views, different again from its Northumberland counterpart.

Both houses share a feeling of clarity and space with vast windows that allow the light to flood in as well as making a feature of the ever-changing skies and weather patterns.

The owners of the Devon house wanted a Modernist property, inspired by a Bauhaus design they had seen.

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Their brief was a large living space with corridors, a snug and a larder.

A galleried library area overlooks the sitting room below with breathtaking sea views.

Bedrooms look seawards and have balconies.

Like the Beadnell house, the interior is painted white and in The Haven, there is an ‘ocean-liner’ feel with black railings on the terraces that offer up fine sea views.

In Beadnell, the grand stair tower on the front of the building is inspired by the Art Deco period with curves and long, lean lines. It is the definite wow factor from the outside.

Says Kevin: “In Beadnell the original design was of Art Deco appearance, ie flat roofs, white rendered walls, metal casement windows etc. The design was similar to a number of properties built in Beadnell in the same era, and typical of many built as seaside dwellings. There are many Art Deco-style properties in Beadnell which retained the essential Deco design elements such as flat roofs, rendered walls and general clean angular lines.

“We made the main living accommodation at first floor level in order to maximise the views seawards over the tops of opposite buildings and built a sun room with balcony access on the north and west sides and study to the east side of the stair tower to observe the sea bird colonies that occupy the rocky shoreline.”

The Devon house was landscaped by Alistair Baldwin, the man who is currently creating Wynyard Hall’s walled garden.

In Beadnell the owners were inspired by a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where they saw a floor-to-ceiling fireplace that they recreated and painted white to blend in with the walls.

The woodwork such as skirting boards and door trims in The Haven are painted black and there are Deco trims on the doors throughout.

Glass bricks have also been added in dividing walls and as features in some of the doorways.

The Beadnell owners usually spend the winter months in their Northumberland home, which sleeps nine.

They rent out the property in the summer months, its layout makes it a good family house with three storeys and separate lounges, all with balconies and those big views.

The main lounge is on the first floor where the layout is what you could describe as a polo mint! At the top of the stairs you take a right to the lounge which then curves round to the kitchen and a balcony.

Next floor up there’s another lounge, balcony and outside terrace.

One of the best rooms is one of the tiniest, the office of dreams; surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with amazing views. Snug, private and a haven indeed.