Golf Course Road
Old Hunstanton, Norfolk


Architect: Alexander C. Hardy

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“Bathed in light and sea air [...] a tremendous success from every standpoint”

Unique and sublime, this five-bedroom modernist house rests in an unrivalled spot on the north-west Norfolk coastline, with spectacular views and direct access to the beach. It has remained in the same family since it was built in 1957 and abounds with mid-century, seaside charm.

A home of prevailing simplicity and skilled execution, it displays design ideas ahead of its time. Silver cedarwood clads its upper body and is punctuated by a series of windows and glazed panels that distribute a wonderful quality of light across the interior. In the garden, herbs, roses and lavender flourish, along with some sturdy cordylines and little flowers of alyssum that provide a sweet scent.

The Architect

Alexander C. Hardy designed the home after he was recommended to the owners by Leslie Martin, the first Professor of Architecture at the University of Cambridge. On meeting, they deemed him to be “just the sort of man that we’re searching for, with a keen eye for the appropriate thing”.

The building was finished within the year and, thrilled with their “seaside novelty”, its new residents moved in. They thoroughly approved of Hardy’s vision, with one of the owners writing in his diary that “it is so attractive in this lounge, in the sun and out of the wind, with a lovely outlook over a sea sunlit and masterful. Nothing could beat this.”

The Tour

Set back from the quiet approaching lane from Old Hunstanton, the house sits behind mature trees, topiary hedging and a shingled entranceway. A generous garage is positioned on the roadside for easy and secure car or boat parking.

A white masonry plinth forms the lower level of the building. Above is a more dramatic wooden façade, with contrasting vertical strips of wood and glass in one corner. Inside, the neat rectangular layout and evocative material details repeat the themes of beach, sky and sea.

Arranged in an upside-down configuration over two levels, the house optimises the spectacular panoramas to the rear. The primary entrance leads into a bright and welcoming glass-fronted hall, with cloakroom storage, a utility area, a WC and a separate shower room. From here, a simple open-tread stair leads to the first floor and primary living areas.

The main living room is a wonderfully sociable spot to gather. Warm and inviting, with pine-panelled walls and cork-tiled flooring, the room is orientated towards a wall of glass framing the coastal backdrop. French windows lead to a small sheltered space, and on down to the stone terrace and the garden. The room is perfectly positioned for evening sundowners on warm evenings while surveying the sun setting beneath the big Norfolk skies.

The open-plan dining and kitchen space looks over the entrance hall and stairs. Lofty, light and airy, this is a delightful place to entertain, cook or while away the day. Glazed doors lead to the terrace, encouraging al fresco breakfasts and lunches. The kitchen is tucked into one corner, and cleverly conceived for the practicalities of family life. A bright space, the sunshine-hued cupboard fronts add colour and the large drop-down hatch conceals messier moments.

Sleeping accommodation is generously proportioned, adaptable and perfectly suited to coastal and holiday living, with options for double, twin, bunk and multi-bed arrangements. Two of the five bedrooms are on the first floor, each with a good provision of storage and views of the front garden. The family bathroom, illuminated by an overhead roof light, lies between. The remaining three bedrooms are on the ground floor.

Outdoor Space

The surrounding outdoor space is an integral part of this seaside house. The long flower beds along the land side of the house have developed over the years, and are chock-full of mature shrubs, flowering bushes, lavenders and herbs, adding colour and fragrance while attracting hosts of butterflies and bees.

Stone steps twist and rise at the western fringe to the upper terrace, where the coastal views are breathtaking. The outside spaces are well-suited to outdoor dining during warmer months. A barbecue has been built into the sheltered corner of an old wall by the present owners, who brought up the red sandstone from a local quarry.

A grassy lawn lies in front, ready for games of badminton and croquet, while a gate at the rear of the garden leads directly to the beach.

The Area

Only a grassy path and a scattering of dunes and beach huts separate this home from the expansive sandy beach. Mile upon mile of coastal walks lead south, towards the Snettisham RSPB Reserve, and east, past the beautiful North Norfolk villages of Holme-next-the-Sea, Thornham, Brancaster, Burnham Overy Staithe and onwards to Holkham.

Behind lies Old Hunstanton, where there is a good craft shop and the village post office and stores, handy for day-to-day provisions. A mile away, in the town of Hunstanton, there is a terrific traditional hardware store and the exceptionally fine Norfolk Deli. Delicious pub food and great evening spots for a beer or glass of wine lie on the doorstep at The Mariner Inn and The Lodge Hotel and Bar, while a short drive away affords an array of fine dining, including at The Old Bank and The Rose and Crown by Snettisham and Socius and No Twenty9 in Burnham Market.

A host of independent shops are scattered across the area, like Droves Orchard Farm Shop, Joyful Living, Arthur Howell Butcher and the Fish Shed in Brancaster Staithe – founded and run by fisherman’s wives – selling magnificent local oysters. There are also many cafés with tempting coffees and cakes; The Lookout at Holkham is perhaps the most beautiful with its views of marshland and swooping birdlife.

The coastal road offers wonderful and gentle cycling routes and is also served by a hop-on, hop-off bus service connecting the string of Norfolk characterful villages and hamlets. These offer an assortment of seaside haunts and traditions: boating, crabbing, links golfing, birding or simply sitting by the quayside at Wells-next-the-Sea with an ice cream in hand.

For more inspiration, look to our guide to North Norfolk.

Old Hunstanton is around 16 miles from King’s Lynn Station, which runs regular services to London, via Ely and Cambridge, in just under two hours.

Council Tax Band: F

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.

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