Walter Greaves is a name known to most architects in West Sussex as he was a much-admired architect. He once worked on the Royal Festival Hall with Peter Moro in London, before developing his own practice and then building his own property.
Set in landscaped gardens that reach almost 3 acres, Walter Greaves’ modernist home in Runcton, was designed to be a family. There aren’t many late 20th century homes that were granted Grade II listings, but Historic England described this modernist house as a “particularly finely-executed example of post-war architecture” and architects in West Sussex can see why.
With five beautiful bedrooms, this large modernist house can be found at the end of a very quiet lane in Sussex. Runcton is only 2 miles south of Chichester, which makes it an attractive place to live as it’s still commutable to Chichester and beyond. An idyllic setting is one thing, but the timber frame and cedar-clad building sits beautifully into the surrounding landscape. The fact that the facade of the home is made with cedar is one thing, but the way it’s been worked is what makes it truly interesting. It curves smoothly around the corners of the house, but the curve stops suddenly at the flat roofs. Occasionally, the cedar follows sharp right angles, and the variation in texture that is natural for cedar means that the exterior of the home needs no other decoration and adornments.
The wooden theme doesn’t end on the exterior, either. It continues on inside the house with wood tones that work to complement each other as you move through each room. It’s timeless, as you cannot place a house of this calibre in a particular period. The kitchen is designed to follow the way the structure curves. The cupboards, stainless steel handles and the cabinets all follow this pattern, too. These small features add up to some beautiful architecture by Walter Greaves, and it’s easy to see his style throughout every aspect of the house.
Walter Greaves and his wife knew what they wanted for their home, and they designed stunning gardens around the river that wound its way through the site itself. The gardens are large, colourful and stunning in the sun! For added luxury, there is also a full-sized tennis court on the grounds.
A Labour Of Love
Walter Greaves’ home in Runcton has been called a personal labour of love. This home was a project, not just a building, and it took many years to put together on a site that was also a piece of the garden from his former home. Historic England has described it as “the finest work of an architect of considerable talent”. They referenced his creative approach and his meticulous attention to the detail during the building of this home. Architects in West Sussex only need to see the house in person to see that ultimate expression of his love of timber, and as the exterior is so expressive, you can see how well it relates to the setting.
The whole ground floor is made of the living space and the kitchen as well as a dining area, a utility room and two bedrooms. Architects in West Sussex will also find that there is a study, a further utility room, bathroom and separate WC. The space is enormous, with a double garage that can be used as a workshop, an additional cloakroom and a bedroom next to that, too. The living room is a spacious room, with bespoke shelving built into it and gently curved corners to give it an air of cosiness. The views of the garden are incredible, making it an wonderful space to be. The first floor comprises of two more bedrooms, including the master bedroom with an outlook over the land – it’s a view to die for – and a family bathroom, too. The sheer size of the grounds match the size of the house, and they complement one another. Greaves designed and installed built-in furniture that is as elegant as the rest of the home design. We’ve mentioned the bespoke shelving in the living room, but there’s also window seats, built-in cupboards and a cantilevered, open-tread timber staircase. The thin steel balusters set off the look and make for a striking entrance to the first floor. The house has been created with careful detail, beautiful features and with love built in.
Over the years, the house has remained a well-maintained building, and it’s only very recently that the timber that clads the interior and the exterior of the house has been replaced in full.
The house has been lovingly maintained over the years and timber that clads the house, both inside and out, has recently been entirely replaced. The open living spaces were not common for the time though that trend grew in popularity over the years. The windows frame some of the most peaceful, natural views you will find in a home like this. There are office spaces to enjoy as much as anything else, and the living space is perfect for a larger family.
Owner’s image of the exterior in summer, courtesy The Modern House