“Granelli House is among the vanguard of house designs at the time in Britain” - English Heritage
Set within three quarters of an acre of landscaped private gardens, this beautifully original, four-bedroom, mid-century house was designed between 1955 and 1958 by architects Remo and Mary Granelli. Granelli House was completed in 1961, with the addition of a garage in 1963, and was granted a Grade-II listing by Historic England in 2007, acknowledging the design as, “among the vanguard of house designs at the time in Britain.” Lived in by the Granelli family until last year, this is the first time that the house has come on to the market.
Accommodation is arranged around a T-shaped plan. The main, two-storey wing houses the reception room, entrance hall, gallery and dining area. There is a sliding door onto the terrace, kitchen and a family room. Four bedrooms and a family bathroom are arranged over the first floor. A smaller, single storey wing which is oriented east-west houses the entrance hall and study. Outside, there are pergolas at either end and immediately to the rear of the entrance hall, which link the house to the surrounding gardens and landscape, extending the sense of indoor/outdoor living central to the Granellis’ overall design.
The entrance opens up via a wide central gallery with beautiful multiple aspects through the house and into the garden across terrazzo floors. The focal point of this gallery is a wonderful cantilevered staircase set into the rear of the living room’s chimney breast. Each step is made of re-enforced concrete, covered in terrazzo; the balustrade is of chromium plated metal with a teak handrail.
The Granellis took advantage of the sloping landscape to create a sunken living room, set three steps lower than the entrance hall, gaining greater ceiling height on this level. Glazed doors run along the south-facing aspect, looking out over the extensive gardens and neighbouring National Trust protected fields. Exposed brickwork has been used to form the fireplace with a terrazzo mantel that bridges an ‘open window’ in the brickwork, allowing for beautiful sight-lines from the kitchen, through the living room and out to the gardens beyond.
Externally, a contrast is made between the ground floor which has walling of buff brick and the first floor, which is clad in vertical cedar planks. A motif across the building is the matt black lintels above the ground floor windows. These are of re-enforced concrete which was then rendered with Artex and painted black.
The first floor has a principal bedroom and dressing room, divided by a beautiful cedar-clad headboard. There are three further bedrooms on this floor each with views into the garden and fields beyond. Original fitted furniture can be seen in the study, kitchen and hallway at ground floor level and in the bedrooms at first floor level. The first floor landing is lined with bookshelves and there is a fitted seating area at the eastern end. Throughout the house are the original bathroom fittings, door and window furniture, and light fittings and switches. While the vast majority of its exemplary mid-century features are preserved in good condition, the house will require some modernisation. There is also some potential for further development, subject to the relevant planning permissions and consent. The Granelli added a large garage in 1963 which can be developed into a master suite, allowing for a living arrangement across a single storey.
The house is very well located on the outskirts of Hopwood, a peaceful hamlet split by the Worcester and Birmingham canal just north of the lovely village of Alvechurch. Local shops and amenities can be found five minutes by car in Alvechurch to the south and Longbridge to the north. Birmingham’s vibrant and cultural city centre is a twenty minute drive away.
Whilst situated in peaceful greenbelt, Hopwood is also fantastically located for motorway, rail and the International Airport. The nearest train station is at Longbridge and from there trains run to Birmingham New Street. New Street has regular trains to London (via Birmingham International Airport) with peak journey times of an hour and a quarter; trains to Manchester also run regularly in just under an hour and a half. The M42 is one mile away and London can be reached by car in under two hours.
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.
Inspired by the work of Modernist masters Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, Remo and Mary Granelli began work on the design for their own family home in 1955.
The couple were both trained architects and had been working in Birmingham for some time when the idea to purchase a plot of land near Alvechurch came to fruition. The plot, bordering National Trust greenfield sites on three sides, is excellently positioned at the end of a quiet lane near Hopwood. The Granellis chose this site as they wanted their house to act as a starter home, envisioning a space that could be developed and extended as their family grew.
The T-shaped plan may have been influenced by Remo’s work in liturgical architecture around Bimingham with Rush, Granelli and Partners. A number of these religious buildings remain in use to this day and include Our Lady Wayside in Shirley and Kingshurt’s St Anthony Catholic church.
Construction on Granelli House started in 1960 and was complete by October 1961. The Granellis used local Birmingham manufacturers who were known to them for the fittings. Remo Granelli’s father, Antonio, manufactured the terrazzo and his knowledge shaped features such as the heated flooring, stair treads and mantel shelf. These choices were carried out with the intention of combining the family’s Italian heritage with Modernist architectural practice and the characteristics of their local environment.
The house’s multiple pergolas and courtyards are designed to break down the boundaries between outside and in. They were intended for use as extra rooms or extensions to the interior, affording space for afternoon teas, al fresco breakfasts and evening drinks.
In 2007, Granelli House was awarded a Grade II listing by English Heritage acknowledging a “carefully considered design process… the Italian origins of the architect, Remo Granelli, are strongly felt in the choice of materials and the building is a good example of the interior design of its day.”