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ELLE Decoration Country No. 15

Explore the most inspiring homes in the countryside: from coastal hideaways to rural havens in the latest edition of ELLE Decoration Country. This beautifully crafted and stylish book showcases the interiors, lifestyles and houses of those who define contemporary countryside living. Discover 15 of the world’s most beautiful homes as well as 50 beautiful and useful essentials that will turn a house into a home. This coffee-table staple is a must for all lovers of modern country style.

United Kingdom
Hearst Magazines UK
R 165,73

in this issue

1 min

Picture a country home and your thoughts may naturally drift towards characterful cottages, wonky stone walls or even an imposing manor house. And while many of these glorious structures, whether gently restored or reimagined, are blessedly still part of the rural landscape, there is a wealth of architects and designers who are skilfully integrating contemporary builds into bucolic settings around the globe. With this in mind, for the 15th volume of ELLE Decoration Country, we’ve brought you a considered edit of both. From an ancient castle in the south of France to a former summer camp in Connecticut and a Brutalist retreat in deepest Devon, it’s a diverse mix of inspiring homes and a slice of pure escapism.…

3 min
country heroes

‘It’s a Romeo and Romeo story,’ says Ronnen Goren, as he recalls how he and his partner, Trace Streeter, came to settle here, just outside the small town of Daylesford amid the expansive bushland of rural Victoria. ‘We had never lived together and were based in separate cities, so we sold everything and just took the plunge. The site we bought had nothing on it, apart from an electricity pole.’ That was almost a decade ago, and, since then, Ronnen, a branding consultant from Melbourne, and Trace, a hairdresser from Brisbane, have built much more than just a house; the multi-award-winning, 110m-long structure in which they now reside is also home to a thriving, self-contained farm, and it’s this burgeoning plot that has introduced them to a whole new way…

2 min
silent water

An intense, soporific calm washes up from the lake and over Camp Kent, the family retreat of interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud in Litchfield County, Connecticut. ‘It’s so quiet, you can literally hear a pin drop,’ she says of the glassy body of water in which they swim, wetsuits or not, with dogs in tow, all year round. ‘It’s a place like no other.’ Bought in the 1980s by Champalimaud’s then boyfriend and now husband of 24 years, Bruce Schnitzer, the former children’s summer camp covers a sprawling 270 acres and is surrounded by a dense forest of majestic oaks. Originally built in the 1920s, the property was left untouched for decades and was in a state of disrepair until the family, with the help of friends, gradually restored the buildings, their…

2 min
back to basics

A property with pink stucco walls isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find on Mallorca’s rugged Tramuntana mountains, but then Olive House is something unique. This quaint retreat belongs to Ask Anker Aistrup and Mar Vicens, a Danish-Spanish architect duo who escape here when they’re not working in cities across Europe. Surrounded by thousand-year-old olive trees, the structure sits on one of the ancient dry-stone terraces that are typical of the region. ‘They’re a patchwork of plots that have been owned by local families for generations,’ explains Ask. ‘People still take pride in maintaining them, so you’ll always find a small stone house on each piece of land for storing tools, making lunch and taking siestas.’ Drawing inspiration from the landscape and the older houses nearby that are built into the mountainside,…

2 min
an artistic affair

‘I’ve loved this place since I was little,’ says Mathilde Labrouche of Chez Douteau, the 18th-century Charentaise farmhouse that has become the centre of her creative universe. The designer, who transforms antique textiles, murals and mirrors, and creates artfully déshabillé interior schemes for clients including Petersham Nurseries, grew up playing in its woods and barns. ‘My mother came from the next village, my grandparents lived five minutes away and my great-great grandmother was once a servant in the house,’ she explains. ‘It’s always been in my heart.’ The youngest daughter of two porcelain artists and antiques dealers, Mathilde inherited the farm when her parents bought each of their six children a home in the area, which she still refers to as Haute-Saintonge – the former historical province. Much like the flea-market…

2 min
the rough and the smooth

Expressions such as ‘labour of love’ can be overused when it comes to home renovations, but Elizabeth Sinclair’s journey to bring a near-ruined 18th-century watermill back to life could hardly be described in any other way. Looking for a weekend cottage situated in the gently rolling hills of Oxfordshire’s Vale of White Horse, the GP fell for the ‘beautifully higgledy-piggledy’ property and its imperfections. However, for 10 years she lacked the budget to do anything more than camp amid the wreckage and carry out basic maintenance. ‘My friends all thought I was mad,’ she admits. When Elizabeth finally found the perfect architects, it took a further four years until the funds were in place to carry out the renovation work. Now the mill is full of pleasing juxtapositions; the black monolithic…