Move over George Clarke! Alain de Botton's unusual and upscale holiday spaces are in a world of their own... Here are a few of our favourites from the Living Architecture portfolio:
The Long Barn, Norfolk
Designed by RIBA Stirling prize nominated Hopkins architects, the rough exterior walls of The Long Barn envelop a beautiful, calming interior of sleek ash flooring, wooden beams and lime-rendered walls. Plum, apple and hazelnut trees border a gravel driveway at the front of the house and the surrounding gardens have cleverly been planted with a wild meadow mix, which embeds the house in the Norfolk landscape. Horses, ponies and sheep graze peacefully in a space that is an utter dream to experience.
The Dune House, Suffolk
The best thing we've learnt about The Dune House is that upstairs, each of the four double bedrooms has a bathtub in it, with windows carefully positioned so that one can lie in warm water and take in views of the North Sea and surrounding meadows - bliss! Norweigian architects JVA wanted to create more than just a space for sleeping upstairs, so there is also a small library and roof terrace.
The Shingle House, Kent
Elements of the landscape have filtered into the design of The Shingle House, such as the gorgeous Purpleheart timber flooring that takes inspiration from the violet blue flowers that carpet the area in summer. Combining elements of the fisherman’s cottage design with references to the train carriages of the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch miniature railway that passes by the house, this is straight off the pages of a magazine. Enjoy a soothing soak in the polished concrete sunken bath, not pictured (but highly coveted!).
The Balancing Barn, Suffolk
Last but not least, the first property constructed by the Living Architecture team (designed by Dutch architects MVRDV) - The Balancing Barn. This building defies the eyes, with half the barn hanging seemingly precariously in thin air while offering panoramic views of the surrounding woods and lake. Inside, the wood-clad interior creates a relaxing space worthy of its prestigious awards.
The Life House, Wales
The seventh property in Alain de Botton's Living Architecture series, all designed by top architectural practices, The Life House is the perfect place to escape the never-ending clutter and distractions of modern life. Based upon the concept of a retreat where serenity, contemplation and restoration are foremost, the interior is simple yet luxurious, with floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Fancy staying at one of Alain de Botton's amazing spaces? Enter our competition here for your chance to win a four night stay at The Life House!