It’s no coincidence that when I saw this movie I was instantly taken by Peter Colt’s parents’ house. I had just moved back to the US from the UK where I spent a year travelling around with my graduate school class studying residential architecture and interiors.
We had even made a trip to see Broadleys (1898) on Lake Windermere in Cumbria. And except that Broadleys in on the water, the two houses – Broadleys and the Colt’s home in the movie – are quite similar.
It was a house called Norney, by C.F.A. Voysey, that was used in the movie Wimbledon as the main character, Peter Colt’s, parents’ home. I think that’s what I love about Voysey’s houses; they always feel like a parents’ home to me. The warmth of the wood, the organic feel of the interior design and the way they appear to have grown over time, as the family has, makes them welcoming and comfortable. Yet, at the same time, their use of vernacular architectural details and their sheer size give them a regal quality that their often used title of ‘cottage’ usually doesn’t cover.
According to the English Heritage website, Norney was built for Reverend Leighton Crane. The round window, seen in the picture above, was often seen in Voysey’s architecture.
C.F.A. Voysey was an English architect, textile designer and furniture designer during the Arts and Crafts period. And though his designs followed the simple country look of the Movement, using the English vernacular style of the 17th century, he is still considered a pioneer of Modern Architecture. Though, that distinction comes from those whom he influenced and was not his intention.
Voysey paid very close attention to detail – he designed the furniture for his houses – and even the lock designs as seen in the example above from Broadleys. Other similarities I noticed between Broadleys and Norsey, while watching Wimbledon, included the upstairs hallway and the staircase.
Both hallways feature a balcony where one can look over the room below. They also both have rounded doorways and slanted ceilings or walls that make sure you know you’re upstairs and just below the line of the roof. I associate upstairs ceilings that slant with small cottages and it is with details like this that Voysey is able to give these substantial homes the feel of a small cottage.
While you can see that the layout of Broadleys and Norney are mirror images of each other, their similarities are striking. They are after all both created with the architectural language of Voysey. Both staircases feature flat and closely spaced rails. They also both have wood panelled walls and a highly placed windows in the stairwell that lives in an area between the two floors, not really belonging to either one. Unfortunately, during my trip to Broadleys, I did not find James McAvoy on the staircase. But it wasn’t a total loss because I loved my time spent there and it helped me to instantly recognize the house of Peter Colt’s family as a piece of Voysey architecture.