Villa Devereux

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Jersey houses


Villa Devereux, St Brelade


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Property name

Ville Devereux

Location

Route Orange, St Brelade

Type of property

1980s 'super house'. It is not very often that people drive from all parts of the island to catch a glimpse of a new house, after its appearance in the Jersey Evening Post, but Ron Hickman's house at Route Orange was something entirely different from what anybody had seen and created a major sensation

Valuations

No recent transactions

Families associated with the property

  • Hickman
Ron and Helen Hickman


Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

Villa Devereux has exceptional value as a unique house of its date. The house has architectural quality and integrity, substantially unaltered, with a consistent design language running throughout. It is unusual, internationally as well as in Jersey, for the quality of its materials and use of natural light, features that demonstrate the consistency of vision throughout.

It is an exemplar of its age, moreover, in thinking not only about fast motor cars and 'high tech', but also about conserving heat while reflecting solar gain at a time when ecological issues such as global warming and energy shortages were first making an impact on architectural thinking.

The house has a significant association with an exceptional client, Ron Hickman, whose reputation as a gifted inventor was international and whose skill can be seen in the structure, because of his personal contribution to the design.

Villa Devereux was built in 1981-83 by the clients Ronald and Helen Hickman and their architect Derek Mason. Ronald Hickman OBE (1932-2011) is best-known as the inventor of the Black and Decker Work Mate and designer of Lotus cars.

He moved in 1977 to St Brelade, where he established a design factory, named Tekron. He bought a site called La Cotte, overlooking St Brelade's Bay, which contained a single-storey bungalow and a swimming pool.

Mr and Mrs Hickman conceived their own house on the site of the swimming pool, an awkward problem for the foundations, but which became a store for the Workmate prototype models.

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The brief included a design and sculpture studio, music room and accommodation for a small collection of highly collectable cars; there was also staff accommodation.

Hickman's position as a leading car designer helps to explain the flowing shape of the Villa Devereux, with its compact and complex plan and a highly technical specification, as well as the relatively large amount of garaging.

The build cost was £1.2 million. The house was sufficiently highly regarded to be one of four buildings featured on a series of Jersey stamps on the theme of modern architecture in 1987.

Villa Devereux is a large and complex house on three levels, with an integrated swimming pool and two sets of integrated garages, and with an additional freestanding garage also. The house appears almost symmetrical, save for the slightly higher wing on the east side of the garden front, but the west wing containing the garage and pool conceals an additional floor within the fall of the land.

The materials, mainly Welsh slate, granite, render, timber and anodised aluminium, are of high quality chosen for their durability, and the consistency of finish continues in the granite planting beds around the house that provide a plinth for the design. The use of rendered blockwork on the entrance elevation suggests a secondary service wing incorporating the garage - this is a building that understands how to use materials to emphasise a hierarchy of spaces within.

Notes and references

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