The history books will tell you that Vista Point is an important piece of our modernist architectural past. That it’s grade-II listed and designed by world-famous Patrick Gwynne. That it sleeps nine in five big bedrooms. That it’s a national treasure. But there are lots of things history doesn’t tell you.
It doesn’t tell you that it feels like a family home. But it is: when Vista Point isn’t booked out, the owners bring their children here at weekends to make memories in a special place on the Sussex seafront. To walk the 150 yards to the Littlehampton beach and throw pebbles in the sea and build castles in the sand.
The rest’s equally hippy-trippy, with funky original bathrooms, wood-panelled spiral staircase, glass-domed roof and curvy this and that. Play games on the monster lawn, hang out in the poolhouse, make every night a movie night, then sleep in crisp cotton to the wash of the waves. Be part of a very special history.
Beyond the garden gate lies the biggest playground of all: the shingle-and-sand-seafront, sailing club and Bluebird beach café at Ferring. Throw a line for crabs, take a dip in the water, skim stones, watch hours wash away.
But wait – before you get there, there’s two-thirds of an acre to explore on site. The focal point is the Hockney-esque pool, designed by house architect Gwynne, heated from May to September and fenced for safety. Dive in, chill out and let go of the world awhile.
Towel off in the pool complex. Oh yes, there’s a pool complex which is open May to September. It comes with small kitchen with sink and fridge for snacks, changing room, shower and WC. In the lounge, there’s a Bonzini table football game to flick and twiddle away an evening.
Out in the garden, the deck chairs and sun loungers are already reclining: you’re invited to join them. And you can fire up a barbie around the large dining table and chairs. Kick back on the outdoor sofa and armchairs while the kids find the trampoline. Life gets no better than that.
Few living spaces come with such relaxed seaside insouciance; from the wraparound balcony that overlooks the pool and sprawl of English lawn, the blue wash in the near distance is an intoxicating sight as the briny drifts in on the breeze.
Inside, it’s all very 60s hippy-trippy, yet in a very contemporary way. There’s a wood panelled spiral staircase to climb up to the glass-domed roof and the hourglass–shaped house is short on side windows, so your attention is always out to sea.
All is playful, colourful and loud: in the living room, upstairs to catch the views, the 60s are still swinging in the shape of the Merida rug and Florence Knoll sofa. There’s a hidden drinks cabinet. Classic swan chairs in muted shades of orange sit atop semi-circular-patterned rugs. And G-Plan is Plan A here.
But your stay here will be thoroughly Century 21. There’s seating for eight and a 42” smart TV with Catch-Up and Netflix for entertainment. The Samsung Blu-Ray player makes every night a movie night, and you can set the soundtrack to your stay with the Bose Lifestyle stereo and Bluetooth receiver for smartphone streaming.
The kitchen’s a modernist marvel, wrapping around the house front in three sections. Views span over the estate to the South Downs that rise and fall in the distance. It swings with a 60s style but the equipment is far from ancient history: double oven and hob, built-in fridge/freezer, dishwasher and coffee machine stand ready.
Dining is a stylish delight, with the Eames DSW chairs sitting under a Bramante extendable dining table. There’s built-in speakers for amping up the atmosphere, while the classic 60s hatches keep the refreshments flowing between the kitchen, living and dining rooms.
Out in the garden, al-fresco options are good. This is picnic-in-the-park territory, or maybe a bangers-and-burgers barbecue with the aroma drifting on the salty air across the sprawling lawn. Fancy a little pampering? Call up our chefs and chill while we cater for your special celebration.
The Bluebird Café is breezy and beachy for coffee and cake, or a chippy tea. Go mad for the Med at the Andalucia – all prawns in garlic and olive oil and chillies washed down with sangria. Or push the boat out at Michelin-starred Ockenden Manor, for Duke of Berkshire pork or wood pigeon with roasted root vegetables.
Sleep deeply to the lulling sound of the waves that wash the south-coast shore. Wake to the call of the gulls and the smack of salt on your lips as you bounce out to the balcony.
Sixties style is rampant here, with custom-design that extends to the headboards, the wardrobes and mirrors, and the floating bedside and dressing tables. Bag the master bedroom for the king-size bed, crisp White Company linen, back-lit headboard and garden views.
But there’s no short change here: bedroom two can be a single, twin, or super king-size with equally crisp White Company linen and pool views. Bedroom three comes with full-size single and similar views, while bedroom four is a double with garden views. Bedroom five’s bunks with White Company linen make for contented kids.
The three bathrooms are all as swingingly sixties as Audrey Hepburn, with not-so-subtle shades of navy, turquoise and yellow. Unleash your inner Shrimpton and brush your beehive.