How one couple changed their mind about modernist homesPosted: 08th Mar 2021
Self-confessed period property lovers, Peter and Stella Tubb, on their surprise at moving into Cubis Bruton, an innovative new development in Somerset
A couple of years ago, Peter and Stella Tubb were looking for a change from Hampshire, where they’d lived for thirty years. Originally from Bristol, the lively pair had relocated to the South East to ease Peter’s commute into London, where he worked as a Senior Executive for software companies like Salesforce. Stella worked in education and together they raised three children. But when retirement beckoned, they felt drawn back to the West Country. “But not Bristol” insists Stella, sat at their kitchen island in their four bed family home at the Cubis development, in Bruton, Somerset, “because it was busy.”
A lover of vintage fairs, art and design (she graduated in History of Art), Stella instead started visiting the bohemian Frome area and heard that Hauser & Wirth were building a gallery in nearby Bruton. With family and friends in Bath, Bristol and London, the distinctive market town ticked many boxes, particularly its proximity to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, accessibility to the countryside and to the many historic places scattered everywhere like daisies in a summer lawn.
She took Peter to investigate. “We were originally looking for an older property with character,” she remembers. “We’d never lived in a new house, let alone a modernist one, but after seeing Cubis online, I thought we’d pop into Lodestone Bruton and find out more. As soon as I talked to Sue [managing partner] and saw the plans, I thought both the architecture and the contemporary nature of it were lovely.” Peter agrees. “The design was very artistic, like way the show-home had an angled sedum roof, it really looked very contemporary.” They ended up being the very first people to move in.
“We’d never lived in a new house, let alone a modernist one, but after seeing Cubis online, I thought we’d pop into Lodestone Bruton and find out more”
It is an impressive, breathtaking place. Conceived by sculptors and artists Mark Merer and Lucy Glendinning and built by Acorn Property Group, it’s a majestic mix of clean lines and natural materials, creating a Cubist skyline that rises up and melts into the surrounding landscape. It’s bold and life-affirming, giving you a sense of connectedness with the natural world, with sedum roofs strewn throughout (the Tubbs have one, which they gaze at from their balcony ), natural cladding hugging the homes, fields beyond the back. And the light! Sun soaks through supersize sliding doors that lead out of the downstairs living space to the patio and then the garden. Peter loves the fact there it’s always sunny somewhere, at anytime of the day and is mesmerised by the way the angular shapes throw changing shadows on walls, inside and out, as the sun moves around the site. “It’s a very calming sort of house,” says Stella, “very easy to live in. The range of architectural styles and materials that have been used on the buildings is lovely, it creates a contrast of light and textures and that creates a harmonious space”.
Nonetheless, it’s a total departure from the classic country home the pair initially sought. Aside from being bowled over by the design, what other features appealed to them? “We had completely discounted new developments before we saw this, “ explains Peter, “because usually they’re a mass of houses, all kind of scrunched in, but Cubis is different and the more we looked into it the more attractive it became.” They liked (and still do) the space, the rooms with higher ceilings (“that extra 300 mm gives you a sense of height” says Peter), the wider than average stairway, the fact you can easily move inside and out through sliding doors out to the garden, the underfloor heating upstairs and down and the energy efficiency, including triple-glazed windows and heat-recovery system.
They also appreciate the open-plan living. “We’ve zoned the downstairs living area with a rug under the dining table and one under the sofa,” continues Peter, “so we’ll have brunch at the kitchen island, move to the dining table when it’s dinner – and we’ve never been a formal dining couple – and then we’ll just slip over to the TV area.” Plus when the family come to stay, there’s plenty of room for everyone – during their first Christmas there in 2019, they managed to sleep nine very easily and had room for five cars on the driveway, keeping cars off the road.
“We have a nice little community here. People are moving in and adding value and some of them work in quite influential places, which makes it even more interesting.”
Of course, when you move somewhere new, part of the pleasure is making new friends and bedding into a place. Peter and Stella moved into rented accommodation off the high street in October 2018, a year before their new home was ready, so felt fully integrated into the town when they moved in. New residents to Cubis don’t have to wait so long to feel welcome though, as Stella often pops round to say hello after they move in, taking a bunch of flowers and letting people know they can contact her if they need anything. There’s a What’s App group too. “We have a nice little community here” says Peter. “People are moving in and adding value and some of them work in quite influential places, which makes it even more interesting.” He cites the award-winning country estate just up the road, The Newt in Somerset and local school, Kings Bruton as two such employers.
So would they recommend Lodestone? A resounding yes. “Sue [managing partner] was great, very professional and kept us very well-informed. As you know, moving house can be stressful but she kept in touch every step of the way.” And if you’re thinking of moving to Bruton? “Come and have a look at Cubis, even if you are not thinking of a modern house,” says Stella, “because you will be pleasantly surprised. You’ll feel rooted in the landscape and welcomed in the town. We’ve never regretted it.”