Home > Architecture & Urban Design, Things I DON'T Like > Why I hate Chigwell Grange

Why I hate Chigwell Grange

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This made me very cross on the way home tonight, so much so, that I’ve had to add a new “Things I don’t like” category especially. Hopefully there won’t be many of these…

Seen as a full page advert in the Evening Standard, the image below had the slogan “A BENCHMARK FOR MODERN HOMES” written across it.

Chigwell Grange_1

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this an image from a Horse and Hound magazine circa 1935? So what is it that’s Modern about it? The chimneys, the arched entrances, the gable ends possibly.. and there’s lots more of this tosh on the web site….


Have we sunk so low, and are that scared of modern architecture, that the best way to sell new homes to the commuter belt wannabees is to resort to images that should be in Metroland Magazine .

Chigwell Grange_3

And it gets worse.. once you wade through all the (admittedly quite seductive and halcyon) imagery you find that these abominations look nothing like the pictures and exactly like you would expect… cheap, value engineered and debased copies of the Metroland properties they aspire to.. no “period” details to raise them from the mundane, thick framed and poorly proportioned windows which aren’t recessed, hollow Doric columns and stick on stone window surrounds…  Ugly, Ugly, Ugly…

And don’t start me on the “aspirational” vehicles… the bus above was last seen in service about 70 years ago and the Rolls Royce is so old its probably worth more than the houses…..

Incidentally, prices start from a tantalising £1.95 million, so if you fancy living in another gated development that’s destined to be full of footballers and models, then sign up now… Who said that wealthy people had no taste.

I need to sit down now…

Chigwell Grange_2

  1. ch
    March 5, 2011 at 19:57

    The windows are timber..sorry

  2. LW
    April 14, 2011 at 10:42

    FYI- images are modern illustrations in a period style.
    I know cos I did em.

    • April 14, 2011 at 11:00

      Hi there, is it Laurence?
      Your images are very persuasive and beautifully produced, I have no problem with them at all… I think I described them as seductive in the original post.
      What prompted the post was this apparent desire of Developers to run away from everything contemporary. And whilst I’m aware that they are responding to a specific, real and probably very profitable market, it was the descrepencey between what your drawings reminded me of (the bucolic and halcyon days of Metroland) and what I suspected the finished development might look like.
      No slur intended on your part I can assure you.

  3. JC
    October 20, 2011 at 14:14

    Nice pictures. However, whilst trying not to be too anoracky, that type of bus (RF) in service during the 1950s – 1960s was never on a route that stopped at Chigwell Station which, in my view I am afraid, devalues what would otherwise be a very desirable and collectable picture.

  4. Olivia Gordon
    September 13, 2013 at 20:40

    LOL this is so awkward because I live in one of those houses and they are so nice, stylish, modern, and everything is so easy to get to. They aren’t ugly!! They are houses for rich people with money who can afford the nicer things in life, douche bag, just because you’re jealous doesn’t mean you can just write stuff like this.

    • September 14, 2013 at 09:54

      Hi Olivia
      I’m surprised you can imply jealousy from my post… believe me, I wouldn’t live there if I had all the money in the world…
      And yes, it is my blog and that does mean I can write whatever I like, that’s the whole point isn’t it?
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment though, much appreciated

  5. moi
    October 10, 2013 at 13:24

    I think the drawings at the top look nice, both (to me) portray a country, villagey feel to them of a bygone era, I wonder if that was what LW was going for when he/she? drew them.

    From the picture of one of the actual houses, I don’t dislike it, but then as someone who couldn’t afford a set of tyres for the Porsche outside I wouldn’t refuse it if someone gave me one, I am sure they are spacious and lovely inside. However had I of had the money it isn’t my ideal taste, but then different people have different tastes.

    As an architect (yes I read your about page) I wonder if you cast a more critical eye over these developments than someone not in that trade/line of work?

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