Meet the Team: Founding Director Albert Hill selects the best artists’ houses in the UK
In our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we’re getting to know The Modern House staff. Here, we’re talking to Founding Director Albert Hill about the best artists’ houses in the UK, selected from our 12-year-old archive and homes currently on the market.
Albert studied Art History at the University of Bristol before becoming the Design Editor at Wallpaper* magazine. Pursuing his passion for the crossover between architecture and commerce, he founded The Modern House in 2005.
Albert comes from a large cohort of artists but sees his profession as creative too. “As I see it, there’s a lot of creativity in business. In fact, the thing I enjoy most about The Modern House is that we’re an estate agency that doesn’t follow the normal conventions of how an agency should be run,” he says.
The Modern House has long enjoyed working with artists – including 16 nominees or winners of the Turner Prize at the last count – and our ever-growing office art collection is largely sourced from our clients.
Michael Craig-Martin Studio, Highgate Road, London NW5
“Michael Craig Martin taught a lot of the YBAs, so he’s sort of the godfather of Young British Art.
“Here, I’m attracted to the boldness of the decision not to have any dividing walls but rather to live in one big open space. It takes a lot of discipline to do that because you can’t go and hide on a couch in the corner; you’ve got to be tougher than that to live here.”
Arlington Avenue, London N1
“The owner of this house is a well-renowned artist who trained as an illustrator. The interiors have a headstrong nature to them, in a way that makes you think the owner has executed exactly what they wanted. You see a lot of spaces with dark colours now, but this was an early example of that trend.
“I can imagine a lot of people getting to a stage where they think, ‘I want to do my kitchen in a slightly outlandish way’, but then bottle it and do something a bit more mainstream. If you’re an artist you go ‘great, no one’s done it before me!'”
Banham Studio, Prickwillow, Cambridgeshire
“We sold this house for the architecture critic Reyner Banham and his wife, the artist Mary Reyner Banham. The house was designed by the architect Jonathan Ellis-Miller for the couple in the early 1990s as a studio and country retreat. We visited the house a couple of years ago for our Journal.
“What’s nice about this is that its sort of like a little Farnsworth House in the Fens. It’s at once very modest and sort of radical.”
“This is a former industrial building that was overhauled by the design firm Brinkworth for the artist Dinos Chapman and knitwear designer Tiphaine de Lussy.
“It’s a converted concrete reservoir bunker that was first built in the 1930s. I love the audacity and purity of vision here, and I think it shows that Dinos really pushed Brinkworth to come up with something extraordinary.
“The actual structure of the house has a grandeur and monumentality to it, and I like how it has a non-domesticity to it.”
“We sold this for a sculptor to a well-known conceptual artist, interestingly, with the one who bought it making quite a lot of changes. He was one of the most exacting and incredible people I’ve ever come across, and for whom the smallest details made a big difference. You can really see how it has played out in the space.
“The bathroom has a marble sink unit that was created from an offcut that Damien Hirst gave to the owner. I love the idea of having a sink with that story behind it.
“This is probably at the confluence of all my favourite things about residential architecture. It’s got rural views yet is in the town, and it has an interesting past while also being contemporary. It haunts me, in a good way.”
Read more: Art House: the best artists’ homes in the UK