Emily Escaped


Emily Escaped: reviews and photos of holiday homes for design lovers

Emily Escaped

About Emily Escaped

Written by homes journalist Emily Brooks, this blog is dedicated to seeking out UK holiday rentals that are all about great design

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Balancing Barn, Suffolk

Living Architecture’s glittering, gravity-defying house harnesses the idiosyncratic talents of several Dutch designers, and provides a natural playground for its paying guests

When I first heard about Living Architecture’s grand plans to build several cutting-edge contemporary holiday homes in the UK (I blogged about it here) the CGI view of Balancing Barn was one of the most eye-catching, exciting things about the whole project. But CGI can be very misleading. ‘Pfff. There’s no way it’ll look like that,’ I thought, assessing the picture of this shiny, otherworldly structure with its brain-can’t-quite-compute-how it-doesn’t-fall-off cantilever over a sharply angled grassy bank. But it does look just like it. Which is rather amazing.

To me it sums up everything wonderful about Living Architecture – bold, daring (much more daring than anyone would bother to be if this was their full-time home), weird (in a good way) and still completely liveable. The Dutch do have a rep for designing things that are a bit out there, and architects MVRDV do nothing to dispel it here: putting aside the polished exterior – which calls to mind an airstream trailer, half pushed off a cliff – the interior (by Dutch firm Studio Makkink & Bey) is quirky too, with large-scale reproductions of paintings by Gainsborough and Constable (local boys both) that bleed away into pixels, working their way across the wall.

The furniture is all big-name stuff, with lots of Dutch designers, such as Vitra’s Polder sofa, just the right shade of grassy green to match the bank outside and Cassina’s Utrecht armchair, in a saturated Yves Klein blue. There’s a lot of playfulness here – there’s a glass floor in the living room, for example, so you can feel yourself in the balance, and who could resist the invitation to mount the swing hanging from the far end of the cantilevered building, accessed through a tiny hidden door?

Nearby: The nearest ‘proper’ town is Walberswick, on the coast; hop north on the foot-ferry from here to reach Southwold, with its beach huts, pier and narrow alleyways (it’s also home to brewers Adnams); see wildlife at Minsmere Nature Reserve, Dunwich Heath and Orford Ness; visit the Anglo Saxon burial ground at Sutton Hoo

Essential details:

  • Thorington, Suffolk
  • Sleeps 8
  • From £1,500 per week

Available via Book now at living-architecture.co.uk

More photos:

Photos via Living Architecture

Available via Book now at living-architecture.co.uk

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