In 1958 Basil Spence submitted an application to Hampshire County Council to develop a plot of land for his own holiday house on the former Estate of Beaulieu Manor. The plot is situated on the bank of the River Beaulieu and is within easy commuting distance of London. This made it a perfect spot for Spence, a keen yachtsman, to design a holiday home for himself and his family.
‘It’s only a little shack, you know. Just a wooden box’
- Sir Basil Spence, speaking to the Daily Mail, 1961
The house is two-storey, flat roofed and geometric in design. The ground floor is white painted brick with strip windows and was originally designed as a storage space for Spence’s boat, as well as a workroom and a changing area. The upper floor is concrete and timber clad. This floor originally had a deep cantilevered balcony overlooking the river, a large open plan living area, a small galley kitchen, and bedrooms and bathrooms to the back. One of the main features of the living area is a massive concrete fireplace designed by Spence himself, who noted that it made a “natural conversation centre”. To the north of the house in the woods is a separate studio.