“What do you think of modern art?” It’s one of those questions that’s guaranteed to elicit a spiky response from many an otherwise mild-mannered person. It’s right up there with littering and the cost of the Olympics.
But ask about modern architecture and the response will often be rather more positive.
Granted, you will hear a few Prince Charles-style complaints about “flimsy boxes” and “hideous carbuncles”, but in truth, “my two-year-old could do better” just isn’t a charge you can level at a building.
What’s more, even diehard traditionalists tend to think again once they actually enter a modern structure.
It’s all due to the founding premise of modern design, that form follows function. In other words, how a thing looks should be governed by what it’s meant to do.
Which means that to appreciate modern buildings you have to get inside them.
When applied to family homes, this modern design aesthetic is rarely seen in its purest form. More often, modern elements are incorporated into a traditional design, or vice versa, in a blend of comfort and functionality toned down to satisfy both homeowners and planners.
Homes have been built in Britain on modern lines since the 1920s, and each decade reveals its own interpretation of the aesthetic.
The following four properties are all “modern” to differing degrees, and are all currently for sale in our area.
Lydwell at Huby was built in the 1950s and although in many respects a fairly traditional house, it does incorporate some modern features, such as its shallow-sloping roof.
Light floods into the five-bedroom detached house from full-length windows in the lounge and master bedroom (which also has a balcony), on the landing and, of course, in the spacious conservatory.
Spruce Hill is a highly individual single-storey four-bedroom home in Collingham.
Displaying many of the classic features of 1960s contemporary design, it has some flat roofing and full-height, wall-length windows, which give it spectacular views over the countryside of the lower Wharfe valley.
Number 9 Fledborough Road in Wetherby was built on a corner plot in the 1970s.
This large, Scandinavian-style detached family house has five bedrooms, a clutch of “extra” rooms, such as the music room, and a potential self-contained annexe.
Arguably its finest feature, though, is its stunning kitchen, one wall of which opens up entirely onto a decking area and large gardens beyond.
Finally, 9 Kent Bank in Harrogate was built in the 1930s, but has just been remodelled along more contemporary lines to provide luxurious accommodation on three floors.
In true modern style, the whole rear wall of the ground floor has been fitted with bi-fold doors, bathing the sitting room, dining room and living kitchen in natural light and giving them direct access to the patio and dramatic landscaped gardens.
Unusually, the whole house can be surveyed from a spectacular raised terrace at the top of a natural rock face, which also gives beautiful views over the woodlands of Oakdale.