When it was built in 1927, this barn in England's Suffolk region provided milk and cheese for the Royal Hospital School. It also, oddly enough, won design awards. Its boast as one of the first stylistically modern agricultural buildings made the structure all the more enticing for a tradition-eschewing artist and media businessman, who wanted to build out the space as a home "to challenge you out of your comfort zone," or so the artist tells Elle Decor in this month's feature. When it came to making the dairy barn a residence, the couple called on architectural firm Woollacot Gilmartin, who used a gentle hand when it came to structural renovations. After all, a semi-raw barn feel is pretty much the ideal backdrop for a trendy house-within-a-house structure (↑)—not to mention 80-foot-long ceramic installations, 1960s furnishings, and a giant vintage disco ball.
To its owners, building the house was "hardly" daunting; they approached it like a painting, "thinking about composition, with negative and positive in perfect balance," as the owner told ED. Materials-wise, they went for gray stone, oak, and Douglas fir: "You must have your darkest tone and your lightest tone, like in a painting," she says.
The master bedroom (↑) shows off the family's assemblage of art and antiques—"I have a car boot-sale mentality, searching around for things that I like."—things like West African fabric that hangs like a headboard, antique Chinese side tables, and a 1950s Italian chair. It's all intermingled with paintings largely of the owners' own creation.
The eclectic feel continues into the kitchen (↑), where 1950s Danish chairs are tucked under a 17th-century French table. "Anything we've bought has always been a personal thing that we liked, rather than any idea of a collection," the owner says. The backsplash is made of Moroccan tiles, which stand out on a wall of custom cabinetry and original brick.
In all there's 7,000 square feet of overhauled space, much of which is over at Elle Decor, so do have a look.