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Emily Escaped: reviews and photos of holiday homes for design lovers

Emily Escaped

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Written by homes journalist Emily Brooks, this blog is dedicated to seeking out UK holiday rentals that are all about great design

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Bramley, Norfolk

This early 70s steel-framed bungalow has a quintessentially English seaside setting on the Norfolk coast, and comes with a relaxed mid-century-inspired interior

This Norfolk house can justifiably be described as pioneering. Designed in 1971 by architect Robin Spence, it has a steel-frame construction, something that’s rare in residential building even today, but perhaps not for long – the market for all kinds of ‘prefabricated’ houses is now booming thanks to the precision engineering that makes them incredibly energy efficient. Spence designed the house having just returned from building steel-framed homes in Chigaco, which explains its American vibe – one long, low bungalow, with integrated garage, patio doors a-plenty, skylights and an open-plan living area (taken for granted now, but it must have seemed highly glamorous and unusual for a small seaside town in 1971). The house made it into Pevsner’s local guide to the architecture of the area, a ringing endorsement if ever there was one.

Bought by its current owners at the end of 2010, Bramley has been spruced up to retain Spence’s original vision of lots of space and light, but with some 21st-century mod cons like the glossy white kitchen, power shower and Weber barbecue in the back garden for summer get-togethers. The furnishings are spot-on, with a mixture of mid-century-and-a-bit-later furniture – I love the smoked-glass and chrome dining table with cane chairs, which are just right for the period of the property but don’t scream ‘designer’ at you, and the white ladder shelving, full of design books an interesting trinkets that make it feel really personal. There’s even a turntable with some vinyl to spin.

Bramley being a five-minute walk from the sea at Old Hunstanton is just the icing on the cake – the beach here is a huge, majestic stretch of sand (a regular for kite-surfers) that should blast any lingering cobwebs away.

Nearby: Old Hunstanton’s beach, as well as shop and post office in the village, plus eateries The Lodge and Michelin-starred The Neptune. Attractions along the north Norfolk coast include the wildlife sanctuaries at Holkham and Blakeney, plus a veritable historic house bonanza in the shape of the Sandringham estate, Holkham Hall, Houghton Hall and Blickling Hall.

Essential details:

  • Old Hunstanton, Norfolk
  • Sleeps 6
  • From £450 per week
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More photos:

Photos via Norfolk Hideaways

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