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

Emily Escaped

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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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Tilty Barn, Essex

Medieval meets minimal: architect John Pawson’s careful update of an ancient oak-framed barn is all about the luxury of light and space

People get sniffy about the practicalities of minimalist architecture (chiefly about where you display half a lifetime of knick-knacks when you’ve got no shelves), but if you’re just rocking up for a week’s holiday somewhere, then hurrah, that’s not really your problem. The monastically calm Tilty Barn is a u-shaped complex of agricultural buildings, some dating back to the 17th century, renovated by lauded minimalist architect John Pawson in 1995, and owned by photographer Fi McGhee. If you live a life of clutter, then I imagine that this sort of environment would have quite a transforming effect on your state of mind.

In the absence of knick-knacks, what is here, then? White walls, concrete floors, stainless steel, straight lines. This place is all about the luxury of light and space, with larger areas broken up by freestanding partitions, windows that grow directly out of floor – so it feels like they’re not really there – and the barn’s original, powerful timber trusses always taking centre stage.

And just because you’re occupying rather a sober environment, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun: there are toys, board games and even table tennis (well, you’ve got enough room).

The building overlooks stables: this has got to be one of the few holiday homes that comes with an invitation to “bring your own horse”.

Nearby: horseriding, on the doorstep; the grand stately home of Audley End; the market town of Saffron Waldon, packed with historic buildings dating back to the 12th century

Essential details:

Dunmow, Essex
Sleeps 12
From £7,200 a week
Available via The Wow House

More photos:

Tilty Barn, Essex

Tilly Barn, Essex

Titly Barn, Essex

Tilty Barn, Essex

Tilty Barn, Essex

Photos via The Wow House

Tags: Essex, Short breaks,

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