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The Martin House

Bridge Pa, Hastings 1970

Built for potters Bruce and Estelle Martin in 1971, this is my family home. The house was designed when the Martin’s had three teenage sons and is divided into two “sides”, one for the adults, the other for the boys. There are four sections with peaked roofs: the dining room, the master bedroom and two sitting rooms, connected by flat roofed sections. Three small bedrooms adjoin the boys’ sitting room, along with a bathroom and shower. The Martin’s brief was “no carpet or wallpaper”. The block-work inside is unpainted and retains its original warmth and colour variation. The ceilings are polyurethaned chipboard, with exposed beams and the internal walls in the living areas are plywood. The floors are red brick tiles. Built by Ian Kepka, the house is full of quality workmanship; the corner joins in the plywood are just amazing.

Bruce and Estelle have loved living in this house. The spaces and proportions are perfect. The dining room is a superb space, with wonderful light, texture and contrasts. One of my favourite features of the house is the huge double-hung window in the dining room that goes almost from floor to ceiling. (There can't be many 1970’s houses with double-hung windows.) The way the window frame connects with the concrete block walls, the way the window divides the wall, the windowsill details inside and out, the proportions of the window and walls, are all astonishing. Scott's design is simple, straightforward, and functional but it is much more than that. Most 1970’s design looks awful today, yet the Martin house transcends the period and remains a striking piece of architecture thirty years later.

Craig Martin
May 2003

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