This is the second time I have visited Eva’s home. The first time was last summer when I was lucky enough to get a tour of her flat and the ‘estate’, including access to the magnificent roof terrace, as part of a Twentieth Century Society walk. I was delighted when she kindly invited me back to tell me a bit more about this Grade II* Modernist gem.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you live
I’m currently in the middle of a year out doing a masters degree. Pullman Court was built in 1936 by the, then, very young architect Frederick Gibberd, it was a private and remains a private development. His inspiration included Lawn Road flats and the usual continental suspects. I think it’s his best work. The 218 flats are arranged in three blocks, set back from Streatham High Road. We participate in Open House each year, and I open my flat mainly because I seem to have the most original features. Gibberd designed all the fittings and what I did not find when I moved in I’ve cannabalised from what other people have thrown away when they’ve refurbished their flats. So I’ve got the original door handles – chrome ‘D’s and mushroom knobs – some lighting, radiators, electric fire and so on. The knocker on the front door is a small delight. The block is often used for film and photoshoots, it’s got that modernist photogenic quality, good gardens and views from the roof.
How long have you lived here?
Did you know much about the place before you moved in, what attracted you to living here?
I didn’t know anything. When I first walked up the driveway between the blocks I got the vibe, it was a wreck then but still a very satisfying space. The flat seemed to be all windows with built in storage in every room, and it felt very large – the double-width hallways and all those windows make it feel bigger than it actually is.
Most banks don’t like lending on non-standard construction buildings, did you have any problems in getting a mortgage?
No problems, but it was a while ago. Some people have had problems over the years but they keep moving in, so its possible.
How much are the service charges, and what do you get for your money?
The service charges are about average for flats in Streatham. Here we pay each year into a reserve fund and save up, so the major works we have needed to do aren’t a shock.
What about the communal areas, are they well maintained?
Beautifully. When I moved in the block was on the buildings at risk register. A lot of hard work and a lot of investment has brought it back to life and there’s no going back. We have a team of caretakers and a managing agent who are rigorous about keeping the site in good condition and work with the residents on improvements.
What are the neighbours like?
An interesting, mixed crowd. Some have been here longer than me and there are plenty of younger folk who have moved in for the architecture.
Best things about living here?
My flat works for me and is always a pleasure – today the sun is pouring into my living room. Plus, I’m in the back block, so its quiet, but good transport links are just at the end of the drive.
Worst thing about living here?
The flats can get damp if you don’t ventilate well. The old airbricks got blocked up years ago and the flats weren’t designed for modern heating systems.
Finally, money no object, where would you live?
Nearer to Vitra and Ronchamp.