The Living Room is the principal space of The Homewood: large, multi-functional and open-planned. There are two seating and lounging areas for day-time near the windows, another for the evening centred on the fireplace, as well as two work spaces. Originally, the furniture was more light-weight, so that it could be easily pushed aside for dancing – the maple floor is sprung. Over the years, Patrick Gwynne altered, adapted and refurbished the furniture, designing many new pieces for the room to meet his changing needs and aesthetic taste.
Wanting a place to work in the Living Room, Patrick Gwynne created this dual-purpose desk, in the 1960s. With its top down, it is a writing table; when removed, a drawing table can be raised and tilted. A lamp unfolds from a channel in the desk surface. The Bauhaus chair behind the desk was one of the first originals imported to Britain. Disliking the chrome finish, Gwynne had it stove-enamelled in ivory.
Click on the desk in the image now to explore its features.
This wall is a masterly piece of cabinet-making, a series of built-in wall units, veneered with Indian laurel. The tripartite arrangement echoes the windows. The outer sections have inset shelving for books and displaying objects, lit with hidden strip-lighting. The centre section is enclosed by sliding tambour doors; behind these are spaces for the drinks cabinet, hi-fi equipment and a serving hatch through to the Kitchen on the other side of this wall. Beneath the middle segment, convenient to the hatch, is a concealed built-in serving table which Gwynne used for parties or buffets, pivoting it out from the wall and unfolding its single tubular metal leg.
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Grouped near the fireplace are two pieces original to the setting and both designed by Gwynne: the occasional table with a thick round glass top and rosewood frame had its legs lowered by three inches to better suit the second piece: the large semi-circular button-back sofa. Originally the sofa was upholstered in fabric – when this wore out, Gwynne replaced it with the present imitation brown suede, while also lowering the back. There were once two matching tub chairs, but Gwynne substituted for these the beige tubular chaise-longue and matching chairs by the English designer William Plunkett.
Near the window, where they have been since The Homewood was completed, is a pair of chaises-longues by the Swedish designer Bruno Mathsson, covered by Patrick Gwynne in beaver lamb ‘fur’. Between is a Gwynne-designed magazine table, made of American walnut on a brass frame, with a pull-out shelf for resting drinking cups.
The seating area in the corner near the window is where Patrick Gwynne used to relax most often, in the classic leather Eames lounge chair and matching ottoman given to him by Paulene Stone after the death of her husband Lawrence Harvey. It is grouped with a beige leatherette-covered couch with ebonised supports, designed by Gwynne in the 1960s. The couch is attached to the wall, but could be pivoted out so that the built-in projection screen could be raised and angled when Gwynne wanted to show his home movies. From around the same date are the coffee table, with its slender yew top and metal rod support supports, the delicate standard reading lamp with a shantung silk shade, and the low square red and black lacquered unit, all by Gwynne. Over the couch is a large drawing in dyes on paper by the artist Stefan Knapp.
Show room introduction
Text and images © The National Trust