1655/0/10040 THE RISE
GRANELLI, adjoining pergolas to east,
south and west and garage block and bo
undary wall to north-west
A house designed in 1955-7 by Remo and Mary Granelli for themselves and completed by 1961. A single-storey garage block was added to the north-west of the house in 1963.
MATERIALS: Buff-coloured hand-made bricks from Leicester Brick and Tile, laid in stretcher bond to the lower floor. The first floor is clad in cedar planks, placed vertically. The window frames are of timber or metal. All were specially made for the house by Birmingham manufacturers and in some cases standard mass-produced casements were added.
PLAN: The house has a T-shaped plan. The main, two-storey wing running south-north houses the reception room, kitchen and playroom. A smaller, single-storey wing which is oriented east-west has the entrance and study. There are pergolas at either end and immediately to the rear of the entrance hall which link the house to the surrounding gardens and landscape.
EXTERIOR: A contrast is made between the ground floor (which has walling of buff brick with a soldier course to the top of the wall on the wing housing study and entrance hall) and the first floor, which is clad in vertical cedar planks. A motif across the building is the matt-black lintels above the ground floor window openings. These are of re-enforced concrete which was then rendered with Artex and painted black. The entrance front has a two storey block to left with a louvred service door to the left and a two-light window at right, with a smaller two-light window to the first floor. To right is a single-storey range which has the front door at left with a full-height window which has a stainless steel plaque to the transom which reads "REMO and MARY GRANELLI / CHARTERED ARCHITECTS". At right are a single-light and two-light window. The left reveal has a two-light, full-height sliding window at left of centre which leads out from the house to a pergola with brick piers and hardwood superstructure. At right of this is the three-light kitchen window. The first floor has two single-light and one two-light windows. To the garden front is the two storey range of the house at right, with the single storey entrance corridor and study wing at left. The house has a three-light, full-height window to the ground floor living room and a three-light casement to the first floor principle bedroom. At left is a pergola and the study block.
INTERIOR: The plan revolves around the wide central corridor which runs east-west and is paved in terrazzo flooring and was designed with under-floor heating. At the west end is the study and entrance lobby. At the centre of the house is the cantilevered staircase and at the east end, looking out over the landscape and down into the sitting room, is the dining area. The site slopes slightly towards the south and the architects took advantage of this fact to create a sitting room which is set three steps lower and consequently has a greater ceiling height. To the north are the kitchen and former garage, which was converted to form a playroom. The first floor is approached by steps which are cantilevered out from the rear of the sitting room chimney stack. They are of re-enforced concrete which was covered in terrazzo. The balustrade is of chromium plated metal with a teak handrail. The first floor has a principal bedroom and conjoined dressing room to the south side and other beds and bathroom to the north. Details throughout the house were carefully designed and the great majority remain in situ. Original fitted furniture can be seen in the study, kitchen and hallway at ground floor level and in the bedrooms at first floor level. The first floor landing is lined with bookshelves and there is a fitted seating area at the eastern end. Throughout the house are the original bathroom fittings, door and window furniture and light fittings and switches.
HISTORY: The site for the house was bought in 1955 for a cost of around £1,100. The adjacent land was owned by the National Trust and has remained so; this fact has helped to preserve the setting, at the edge of a wide expanse of country, which the house was designed to overlook. Work on the designs started in 1957. Both Remo Granelli and his wife Mary (nee Graham) worked on these together and sketch drawings show both hands. Construction started in 1960 and was complete by October 1961 at a cost of about £4,000. The Granellis used local Birmingham manufacturers who were known to them for the fittings. Remo Granelli's father, Antony, manufactured Terrazzo, and his knowledge shaped features such as the heated flooring, stair treads and mantel shelf. Three children were born to the house, and the garage, adjacent to the kitchen, was transformed into a playroom around 1963. A new, double garage was built in the same year, adjacent, but separate to the entrance hall and study. A third pergola, connected to the rear of the new garage was also added at a later date, as was the lean-to glasshouse attached to its south wall. The flat roof has been replaced once and thermal insulation blocks have been added to its upper surface, but otherwise the house has been little altered since.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
Granelli is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* The overall design has considerable quality and reflects a carefully considered design process by the architects
* The design is amongst the vanguard of house designs at the time in Britain
* The detailing of the individual parts and spaces is very fine
* The building responds well to its site
* The building is largely intact with the loss of few original features
* The Italian origins of the archotect, Remo Granelli, are strongly felt in the choice of materials and the building is a good example of interior design of its day.