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Antsy Plum: An Architect Revives a Forgotten 1960s Hillside Beauty

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Antsy Plum: An Architect Revives a Forgotten 1960s Hillside Beauty

June 7, 2019

I recently came across this midcentury weekend home owned and remodeled by architect Sandra Coppin on The Modern House, and when I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I knew that I had found my next home tour.

What captivated me? First, there’s that arresting angular shape. The structure, designed by architect David Levitt in 1962, features a single-sided pitched roof that follows the exact slope of the hillside into which it’s built, resulting in architecture that feels deeply respectful of its environment.

Equally impressive is Coppin’s thoughtful resuscitation of the house. When she and her husband purchased it in 2009, the building sorely needed to be repaired—and returned to its original form. She stripped it of additions and changes that weren’t in keeping with the original structure’s “raw, honest, unpretentious quality,” she says, and updated the plumbing, insulation, and heating to make it livable all four seasons. Ultimately, the improvements reduced the home’s energy consumption by 80 percent.

Antsy Plum—named for its location in the village of Antsy on a former plum orchard—is now a tranquil weekend retreat for the couple and their two children. “Our time [there] is spent walking, cooking, socializing and working in the kitchen garden,” says Coppin.

Join us for a tour of Antsy Plum.

Photography by Brotherton-Lock, courtesy of Coppin Dockray.

Note the pitch of the Douglas fir roof, which mimics the slope of the hill. The lower quarters are the public areas (living, dining, and cooking spaces); the upper includes a sleep loft for the couple as well as a bedroom (at right) for their two girls. The entire home is just over data-src=
Above: Note the pitch of the Douglas fir roof, which mimics the slope of the hill. The lower quarters are the public areas (living, dining, and cooking spaces); the upper includes a sleep loft for the couple as well as a bedroom (at right) for their two girls. The entire home is just over 1,000 square feet.
Coppin made sustainable and eco-friendly choices throughout the home. &#8
Above: Coppin made sustainable and eco-friendly choices throughout the home. “The dining table was made from the zinc from the derelict studio roof, and we bent it over a cheap door blank. Very simple. The chairs are old school chairs which we sourced online,” she tells us. Large double doors lead to a patio.
Much of Coppin&#8
Above: Much of Coppin’s budget went toward weather-proofing the house. Central heat, new windows, and insulation were all added during the remodel. “The original floor was removed so that the house could be insulated and heated. We used concrete paving slabs on the first floor which we ground down to expose the aggregate,” she says. On the second floor, cork-tiled floors were chosen for their sustainability, warmth, and mid-century appeal.
A sleep loft is just above the kitchen. All the wood used for the house&#8
Above: A sleep loft is just above the kitchen. All the wood used for the house’s exposed framework is Douglas fir.
&#8
Above: “The bespoke stainless steel counter was designed as part of the original house and is supported by a large steel section. It cost a tenth of the original build budget, but the client was a great cook and so a priority for him,” says Coppin. The wall shelves and cabinet, at right, are Vitsoe.
&#8
Above: “The armchairs and sofa are from the Plank range by Hans Wegner, and have been upholstered in a Swedish wool fabric,” says Coppin.
The sleep loft, with a pair of Alvar Aalto stools for nightstands. &#8
Above: The sleep loft, with a pair of Alvar Aalto stools for nightstands. “They are one of the best pieces of furniture every designed, to my mind,” Coppin shares.
A studio used either &#8
Above: A studio used either “to work or to paint” sits at the bottom of the garden.
A bathroom, with a lush view, was added to the studio.
Above: A bathroom, with a lush view, was added to the studio.

For more inspired homes in and around London, see:

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