British country style may conjure up images of chocolate box cottages – but it can also be cool, eco-aware and cutting edge, like this Modernist home
An unusual combination of existing farm buildings and new Modernist enclosures, Wood Farm in Suffolk is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches as far as the eye can see. It is the country home of Richard Hywel Evans, founder of London architectural practice Studio RHE, and his wife, the artist Rachel Shaw Ashton. It took two decades to complete the house, which is not only rigorously contemporary but sustainable and sympathetic to its surroundings. As such, the new glass-walled barns that have been added to the original agricultural buildings are raised above the floodplain and built using local materials. The property faces south to make the most of the uninterrupted views, while shielding the open courtyards on either side of the building from the strong prevailing winds that whip across the landscape. Consequently, the space adapts effortlessly to indoor/outdoor living.
Inside, a series of new oak-clad rooms connect to an old galvanised zinc barn, which provides further accommodation. The terraces are furnished as beautifully as the interior, with comfortable, curated pieces: the Rodolfo Dordoni ‘Boma’ sofas invite guests to recline and enjoy the views, while Jasper Morrison ‘Park Life’ chairs await summer soirees in the dining areas. The furniture is by Spanish company Kettal and is designed for outdoor use.
The materials used in the construction of the house strengthen its connection to the natural surroundings: reclaimed handmade Suffolk bricks and terracotta tiles, galvanised steel, flint and green oak are fused with modern laminated timber and steel, oversized frameless glass and black zinc – the striking porcelain cladding is a fittingly luxurious finishing touch. This, surely, is the epitome of contemporary country living. studiorhe.com; kettal.com
This house features in our ELLE Decoration Country book – the place to find the world’s most beautiful homes in the country. For more inspiration and to buy it now, go to elledecoration.co.uk/country
Kitchen The open-plan kitchen is framed by oak ceiling beams, highlighted by ‘Aim’ pendant lighting by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Flos. The handleless kitchen cabinetry is by Bulthaup Stockist details on p284 ➤