We take a trip to Somerset, where Tim and Emily Swift, who sold their place in Highbury, north London, via The Modern House in 2018, have found their “perfect home” in a Georgian country house they’ve given a modern makeover.
Having spent his formative years working as an actuary, Ross Russell knows a thing or two about calculated risks. As such, there was no better client to commission an experimental house with a 20-tonne sliding shell that can be removed to reveal roofless rooms and a behemoth conservatory-like structure beneath it. Here Ross takes a deep dive into the house’s design and reflects on life in truly versatile living spaces.
The house has been described by drMM as one for all seasons. During the warmer months, the structure can slide over the terrace to give shade to alfresco diners, while in winter it provides as extra insulation. Then there are the adaptable rooms inside the house, designed so they can either be sheltered or open to the sky, depending on the weather. One of the highlights is the bathroom, where people can soak under directly the sun or stars. When guests come to stay the first thing they typically ask, Ross says, is: “Can we have a bath?”
Natalie Silk and Tom Baker have worked on many projects together, the best known of which is Field Day festival, which they co-founded in 2007. As individuals, Natalie now produces regenerative food and craft events that celebrates links between the city and countryside as part of Village Mentality; Tom runs Eat Your Own Ears, which has been a part of London’s music scene since 2001.
But the couple’s latest project is an altogether quieter and slower-going one: the sensitive renovation and extension of an old cottage in the bucolic hills of East Devon, which you can explore in our latest film.
Architect Barbara Weiss likes to do things a little differently. Indeed, the last time we caught up with her was at her upside-down house: a converted pub in Westminster, central London, where she lives on the secluded top floors and sleeps on the lower floors (yes, it’s as brilliant as it sounds). This time, she’s giving us a tour of her latest self-designed home, which she’s aptly titled the inside-out house.
Whether it’s a wall of stainless steel cabinets or a row of plywood units, there is something particularly satisfying about a thoughtfully designed, minimal kitchen.
The trick to clutter-free surfaces is to make sure that behind the clean-lined exterior, there is plenty of space to stash away kitchen paraphernalia. Here, we’re sharing our favourite example of minimal kitchen designs – from a monochrome kitchen in north London to a barely-there arrangement of white units in the Cotswolds.
Step through the looking glass and into the story-book inspired house of architect Sally Mackereth in King’s Cross, a playful world of mystery, discovery and fun in a former Victorian stable.
As head of her architecture and design studio, Sally draws from her 25-year career working internationally to design residential and commercial projects with her signature style, defined by material rich spaces that play with colour, texture and detail. Recent projects have included the updating of a listed artist’s studio in Chelsea, London, once the workspace of James Whistler, Augustus John and John Singer Sargent; and the interiors of pied-a-terre for an art-loving couple in Tribeca, New York City. A sense of fun and glamour runs through the practice’s work, and Sally’s own living spaces are no exception.
Kings Cross is a district in Central London, England, 2.5 miles (4.8 km) north west of Charing Cross. It is served by London King’s Cross railway station, the terminus of one of the major rail routes between London and the North.
The area has been regenerated since the mid-1990s with the terminus of the Eurostar rail service at St Pancras International opening in 2007 and the rebuilding of King’s Cross station, a major redevelopment in the north of the area.
Set within the grounds of a Georgian walled-garden, this superb seven-bedroom house has been joyfully designed around the exceptional architectural landscaping. The internal living space spans over 4,580 sq ft across multiple levels, arranged in a playful layout of floating mezzanines, balconies, and a double-height winter garden.
Designed with high energy efficiency in mind The Garden House has outstanding solar collection, heat recovery and rainwater harvesting and is partially earth-sheltered to conserve its heat and energy.
The Garden House is approached via a quiet country lane, leading to a secluded entrance, revealing little of the house from the walled courtyard. A private driveway leads to a sheltered car port available for several vehicles to park adjacently to the house. There is also a log store, outside store room and a smaller front courtyard garden.
See how since buying the house with his wife, managing director of creative agency Winkreative, Ariel Childs, 20 years ago, Paul de Zwart has transformed a 17th-century cottage into a refined take on the English country house idiom, with interiors that bear the mark of the couple’s desire for contemporary country living, where wellies are as at home as a cocktail shaker.
London-based entrepreneur Paul de Zwart crystallized the concept for his fledgling furniture company, Another Country, while searching for some simple bedside tables and stools for his country house. “I realized there was a dearth of well-made, well-priced design with a modern craft heritage,” he says. His solution? An affordable line of pared-down pieces that are handmade in England from sustainable woods. “We’re going for timeless over trendy.”
THE MODERN HOUSE (AUG 2020): “I like to make things with unusual textures and I use a lot of heavy glazes, which either bubble or foam up, and I’m interested in the ways the glaze chemistry can make different textures. I’ve been making pieces with a sort of volcanic surface a lot recently, which is achieved by an element in the glaze recipe making tiny explosions in kiln, and then cooling it down very quickly so they set.”
In the first of a new series, Studio Visits, in which we’ll be meeting artists, designers and makers in their place of work, LA-based ceramist Raina Lee invites us into her treehouse studio and gallery space for a talk about her creative process.
Raina, how did you get into ceramics?
“I was a journalist in the tech and video game industry, and I still do some writing now. I happened to be living near a ceramics studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I decided to take a class. I was enthralled.
“It was so exciting to do something physical and work the clay with my hands – I just fell in love with it. Writing is very abstract and a lot of the time you work on something or pitch an idea and it doesn’t work out, by there’s always a physical end result when making ceramics.”
Last year, architect Adam Richards revealed Nithurst Farm, his self-designed family home in the South Downs National Park. We’re pleased to share a new film exploring the far-reaching ideas and references that informed the convention-defying design of the house, as well as the intimate realities of daily life in the space, one year on.
Head of his namesake practice, based in Sussex and London, Richards oversees his studio’s work on residential and cultural projects that have most notably included the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft and the Gardens Learning Centre and Café at Walmer Castle. The handling of such buildings by ARA is one they define as an approach that seeks ‘to transform the deeper themes within its projects into engaging critical, spatial, social and structural propositions.’ This often translates to an engagement with the historical context of a site, so that an extension to a neo-classical Georgian townhouse in Notting Hill takes the form of an abstracted Greek temple, or a refurb to Arundel Lido is informed by a nearby Roman villa.
When it came to designing his own home, Richards had the freedom of a blank page. The brief was to create a new-build home for him and his family on a site at the bottom of a valley, surrounded by the woodlands and farmland of West Sussex. With creative freedom came the incorporation of seemingly disparate sources of inspiration, everything from the cinematic tactility of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 Soviet art house hit, Stalker, to the classical plan of Andrea Palladio’s Renaissance masterpiece, Villa Barbaro, and Robert Mangold’s 1970s minimalist work of geometric abstractions. The resulting building is one that plays with time, style and detail in surprising and unexpected ways, to appear as a “Roman ruin wrapped around a modern concrete house,” according to Richards.