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September 2, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Autumn 2018 issue
A bungalow with a difference
Words Anthony Bonello Photography Alan Carville
The property we have decided to review in this edition varies slightly from our usual choice in that it is not overly big, it has not seen an interior designer and, other than general maintenance and decoration (the inclusion of a fireplace in the sitting room and new bathrooms), nothing has been done to it.
This bungalow was built in 1975-1976 from plans drawn up by Italo Raniolo, who came from the stable of the prestigious firm of England and England, the foremost architectural company at that time.
Although it is very unpretentious, one gets a real feel-good factor on entering through the east-facing front door, into a very large L-shaped hall which leads through a large arch onto an open plan sitting/dining room on the left, a large kitchen in front and four bedrooms and two bathrooms to the right.
The sitting/dining room has two very big French doors, separated by a small, antique desk holding a large selection of old family pictures. The doors lead onto a very large tiled terrace which also includes a swimming pool.
The terrace is wide open and one does not get the impression of being closed in because the property is fully detached, with a road on two sides, a field on another and a neighbouring house set quite far back; so other than the front of the house, the other three walls are less than three feet high. From this terrace one can see the most amazing sunsets, which are normally used as an excuse for a gin and tonic while watching the sun go down.
The dining room furniture is Regency-style, with a six-foot table and chairs, and the sitting room is fitted with two large facing leather settees with an occasional table separating the two rooms. There is also a large wall-to-wall working fireplace.
The patio and pool are south facing and so the pool gets sunlight from about 9am until sunset.
Right throughout, the paving is in ‘marmettone’ tiles (anybody out there old enough to remember when these were the bees-knees!) and, to be fair, considering they are a composite made of marble and cement, they are still in very good shape.
The kitchen, locally constructed 22 years ago, still has the original carcasses and granite top. (They don’t make them like that anymore). It has the requisite dishwasher and also a built-in washing machine.
The beauty of the kitchen is that it was planned by the owner, who enjoys a spot of cooking every now and again, so it is very user-friendly, with the hob, oven and fridge all being within reach of each other. There are also loads of work surfaces and storage cupboards available on hand.
There is a six-foot window over the sink overlooking views out to the sea and a door that leads to the patio and outside eating area and garden.
The first bedroom was specifically designed to accommodate three grandchildren, as there are two large wardrobes on either side of the window which overlooks the garden, together with a desk in between and a massive bunk bed with a trundle bed underneath so all three girls could spend their evenings giggling away together.
The second bedroom has a double bed and another large semi-fitted wardrobe with a window facing south. The furniture has panel doors and stained in a light oak colour.
The main bedroom has a wall-to-wall wardrobe with mirror doors, used to advantage to make the room look double its size. A small settee compliments the setup and although it’s very pretty, one has to make sure that it does not become a clothes sorting area, as items of used clothing are chucked on to it to be sorted out ‘later’! A small window looks out onto the garden and a door leads out to the patio and outside dining area.
The fourth bedroom has been converted into a living/TV room and has a built-in cupboard with overhanging book shelves. A small hanging cupboard houses a multitude of cables and plugs which go with today’s modern TVs and computers/telephone sets.
A wall-hung television set, comfortable seating and a games table finish the room.
A wide door leads to the outside dining area and to the mature garden, which is definitely the highlight of this bungalow. A part of it surrounds the house and six steps lead up to the top garden, where one finds mature fruit trees like pears, figs, plums and other soft fruit. These are so prolific that when the fruit is in season the owners are hard pressed to give it away.
Is the house too big for two elderly people? Definitely! Is it quiet and secluded? Yes. Can you park outside the house at any time of day? Yes! Are the present owners ready to relocate and downsize? Most definitely not!
In the words of the man of the house, the only way they will move out is feet first in a coffin!