I don’t suppose there are many Arts and Crafts homes still standing these days in their original condition. They were very expensive to build and decorate in the late C19th, and even those that were built have been renovated since. But I found one in Country Life magazine (7th July 2010) that does not seem to have been changed.
In the 1880s, tobacco magnate Sir William Henry Wills needed a seaside holiday home for the family. Ramsgate was an excellent choice; already by the later Victorian era, this east Kent coastal town was a well-known destination for affluent families to 'take the sea air'.
East Court: exterior, gardens and the sea
The house was designed by the very classy architects Ernest George and Harold Peto in 1889. George was so classy that Edwin Lutyens was one of his pupils. And Peto came from the minor nobility himself. After a highly successful career as an architect, Peto became increasingly interested in garden design and was commissioned to build a number of gardens in Edwardian England. In the 1890s, Peto built his own dream home, Iford Manor in Wiltshire, which of course displayed his Arts and crafts approach, especially to garden design.
Strutt and Parker call the home East Court, a magnificent example of an Arts and Crafts House, set high above the sea below. Note that The Architecture of Sir Ernest George and His Partners c1860-1922 gives this grade II-listed house’s name as East Hill.
Externally the house was given striking green slate roof tiles. The design incorporated over-hanging jetties, verandas and oriel windows, details which gave the house a distinctive, Elizabethaneque feel.
The main reception rooms were arranged around an airy reception hall with marble floors and dominated by a stained glass window depicting scenes from the Book of Revelations. A fine, wide oak staircase took the family to a galleried landing.
The first floor accommodation was arranged around a galleried landing area with a fireplace to one end. The upstairs rooms were only for the family, so I must confine myself to one comment about this private area - the rooms to the front of the house enjoyed truly wonderful sea views.
As you would expect from a late Victorian Arts and Crafts home, the gardens at East Court were very special. Shrubs, trees, evergreen hedges, brick and flint walls formed the boundaries of the garden. A coach house was added, built in the same distinctive style as the main house, with slate tile hung elevations and multi-pane leaded light windows.
The house passed to Sir William Wills' niece, Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills, on his death in 1911. Carrying on what seemed to be a family history of benevolence, Dame Janet was a keen supporter of the Antarctic expeditions. Ernest Shackleton became a close personal friend, and often stayed at East Court. Since Dame Janet's death, the house became a children’s home and then a school, however the building retains its architectural integrity and survives largely in its original layout.