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English Country House Inspired by Wine Hides Behind Ruins

For Downley House, a modern residence tucked into the hills of Hampshire's South Downs, London-based architecture firm Birds Portchmouth Russum takes a few liberties with the term "country house." Sure, it's technically a house in the country, but it's also a brand-new, slinking structure with gleaming interiors and lovely contemporary architectural touches. Inspired by the homeowners' love for wine, the heart of the spread is a lofty barrel-vaulted dining area, with burnished staircases spiraling upward and large windows on either side looking out into the courtyards. Much of Downley House was constructed from prefabricated pieces initially built in Switzerland, and its "ground source heat pump and heat recovery system" means the project, according to BPR, is "highly sustainable and energy efficient." Though perhaps the mansion's most unusual feature sits outside the home itself; the structure was all built behind the crumbling façade (below) of an old, true English country house. More photos, below.

· Downley House in Hampshire [Birds Portchmouth Rossum via DesignBoom