Friday, October 17, 2008

David Shelley, fab house follow-up

Back in spring I posted some fab houses that I had found in various magazines. One of the responses I got was from a Julian Shelley who could inform me that his dad had designed one of them! His dad is architect David Shelley and apparently he was more than happy to provide me with more samples of his work, if I was interested. Wow... Was I interested? You bet. Father and son Shelley most kindly photocopied and sent me magazine articles, plans and pictures of 3 different houses. (I have to apologize for the quality of my scans, and for the delay in posting this - I haven't been able to borrow a better scanner).

The first house was called 'House of a hundred curves' when it was featured in Ideal Home Magazine in the 1970s. Here is a quote about it from a local historian:
The present Stainsby House was completed in 1974. The architect was David Shelley, of Nottingham, and it was built for Robert Morley, then owner of Alida Packaging of Heanor Gate.
A most unusual design, which attracted both praise and criticism at the time, the house had a helicopter landing pad, an indoor swimming pool, marble floors, solar panels, and gold-plate fittings. The living area was 15,000 square feet (about the size of 15 three-bedroom terraced houses!), and there were 18 acres of land to accompany it. It is often described as being "Spanish style," but I'm not sure that that is correct - the aim of the architect was to do away with straight lines, with the rooms being round or oval - curves everywhere. It won at least one award.
By 1975, Mr Morley had moved to Guernsey, and the house was put on the market at £425,000 (remember - this is 30 years ago!). The property did not sell until 1977, by which time the price had dropped to a mere £150,000. It was on the market again in 1986, for £350,000.
It has been used as a TV set. In BBC's "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil," it was meant to be an affluent clinic in California.

The second house is the Coward House which I posted in April. You can read more about it here.

The final house is called Monchen House and is from 1978. It's interesting to see the great span in expression of these houses although they are all designed in the same decade. By the same man.

HUGE thanks to Julian and David Shelley for going to all the trouble of sending me this info.


Francesca said...

wow, what a great contact! i think i still love the coward house the most.

smalley said...

Hi, I can't believe you have just posted these pictures. I was looking for images of the house,Stainsby, to show my son, where i lived in 74/75. My parents commissioned the house.
Best Wishes
Sheridan Morley

Janne said...

Hi Sheridan, thanks for leaving a comment on this blog post! Wow, it must have been an exciting place to live!?

I have just purchased a dvd of 'The Life and Loves of a She-Devil' in order to have a closer look :-)

Anonymous said...

the house, now called the up-side down house in Ravenshead near Newstead Abbey was designed by David in 1968/69.

it was very exiting to live in the house
I unfortunately had to go back to Sweden after a short time but am now back living in England again and also have been to see the house again

5th JULY 2009

Gunilla Tyrland, Lexden, Colchester

Anonymous said...

My father worked on this house for the BBC when they filmed "lives and lovers of a she devil" in the early/mid 80's. I remember being given a tour and thinking one day I wanted to own it! I was in total awe!...Does any one else have any more photos?

Anonymous said...

hahaha nice to know the stuff my grandad did lives on - dom watson son on kim coward

Malkit Sandhu said...


I currently live in stainsby house. Allthough the house has had a few changes since being built it still has no lost any of the original features that Mr Morley built. Sheridan it would be interesting to know if you have any other pictures? When we bought the house we found pictures which I presume belonged to your parents which we still have to date.

The house is still a dream and featured in a Mercedes Benz advert and a number of other high profile television and Film appearances.

Janne said...

Thanks for your comment, Malkit. I find it really exciting that this blog post is still getting responses. I'm thinking I might have do another follow-up... Watch this space :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello - we own the David Shelley house in Nottingham ( fab houses 11 ).
If Malkit would like to contact me I have some original photos of Stainsby House. Contact Atomic in Nottingham and ask for Simon.

simon said...


We own the Coward house - I have quite a few photos of the other houses by David Shelley if interested!
Simon Siegel

Janne said...

Simon. Thank you, that would be fantastic!

carl said...

I can remember doing the swimming pool ceiling about '92- '93, the house was having a lot of money spent on it. The whole of the exterior was repainted and coping stones were being put on top of the exterior walls.Fantastic house and can remember Rocky the alsation!