Clad in elegant silver tiles, the house dramatically cantilevers over the landscape, providing views from its huge panoramic windows over woods, ponds and meadows. The house was designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV, who have won a world-wide reputation for the ingenuity, playfulness and comfort of their designs.
• RIBA Awards 2011 (winner)
• Brit Insurance Design Awards 2011 (shortlisted)
• Red dot design award (winner)
• Conde Nast Traveller Innovation & Design Awards 2011 (winner, Leisure)
The Balancing Barn by MVRDV is built on a stunning site beside a Suffolk wildlife nature reserve, and overlooking a small lake.
From the road, the barn is almost invisible, with a pitched roof that faces the long straight driveway and suggests a property with a small and traditional shape. However, the whole house is in fact 30 metres long, extending right over the grounds it occupies. At its midpoint, the house starts to cantilever over the descending slope; a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building; resulting in 50% of the barn being in free space, and giving a wide view over the Suffolk landscape, adjacent lake and surrounding garden. The long sides of the structure are well hidden by trees allowing privacy inside and around the barn. The exterior is covered in reflective steel tiles, resulting in the barn changing its exterior with every new season.
Within the interior and closest to the driveway are a kitchen and dining area. A series of four double bedrooms follows, each with separate bathroom and WC. In the very centre of the barn, the bedroom sequence is interrupted by a hidden staircase providing access to the garden beneath. In the far, cantilevered end of the barn, a large living space is created. Throughout all the rooms, full height sliding windows, roof lights and a glass floor give wonderful views and access into the garden and surrounding landscape, allowing visitors the opportunity to reconnect with the rhythms of nature.
The interior has been fitted out with great imagination by the Dutch design office Studio Makkink & Bey. On the walls and floor coverings, paintings by Constable and Gainsborough (both local artists) have been sampled and manipulated, and in places resemble the geometry of works by Mondrian. Studio Makkink & Bey have made some bespoke items of furniture for the house, and have put together a collection of some of the most beautiful chairs, tables, sofas and lamps by leading contemporary Dutch designers.
The Balancing Barn accommodates up to 8 people:
• 4 double bedrooms, one of which can be made up as a twin room, all with ensuite facilities. Two of the bedrooms (bedrooms 1 & 2) have an in-bedroom bath as well as an ensuite bathroom.
The interior has been fitted out with great imagination by the Dutch designer Jurgen Bey. On the walls and floor coverings, paintings by Constable and Gainsborough (both local artists) have been sampled and manipulated, and in places resemble the geometry of works by Mondrian. Jurgen Bey has made some bespoke items of furniture for the house, and has put together a collection of some of the most beautiful chairs, tables, sofas and lamps by leading contemporary Dutch designers.
The following are provided for your holiday:
• Miele kitchen appliances - oven, combination microwave oven, induction hob, dishwasher, fridge, fridge freezer.
• David Mellor kitchen equipment - including DM kitchen knives, chopping boards, sieves and colanders, graters, whisks, tongs, cooking utensils, a range of DM saucepans (suitable for the induction hob), food blender, scales, mixing bowls, a rolling pin and pastry brush, glassware (tumblers, wine glasses, champagne flutes), DM cutlery (including children's cutlery), a tea pot, cafetiere and mugs.
• Miele washing machine and condenser dryer (plus an iron, ironing board and airer, but please bring detergent).
• REN skincare individual shampoo & conditioner, bath & shower gel and hand soap.
• Peter Reed high quality Egyptian cotton bed linen.
• Luxurious hand towels and bath towels.
• Luxury hypo-allergenic pillows and duvets (to ensure that everyone, including those with allergies, have a comfortable stay; but please note we do not have the storage space to also provide feather duvets and pillows).
• A few food items to get you started in the kitchen: tea bags, coffee, semi-skimmed milk, bread, salted butter and olive oil.
• Basic household items: bin bags, washing up liquid, kitchen roll, hand-wash, dishwasher tablets, foil and loo paper.
• A library of books to keep the most avid reader happy, from local travel guides, to architecture and philosophy.
• Television and DVD player. Please note that due to its location, The Balancing Barn does not have television reception. However, we have provided a television and DVD player for your use (so do bring DVDs to play).
• Wi-fi internet connection (which you can access if you bring a laptop, but please note that, due to its location and for reasons beyond our control, internet access can be intermittent).
• Underfloor heating throughout the house; plus starter fuel log (if you wish to use the fire in the living room).
What's not provided:
• Beach towels.
• Landline telephone.
• High chair and travel cot (please note that due to the design of the bedrooms, only one infant can be accommodated, in twin bedroom 4).
• Additional logs for the fire (but these can be bought locally if desired).
• We are sorry but we do not accept dogs at The Balancing Barn. However, a dog is welcome at The Dune House and The Shingle House (both of which are situated on beaches).
Availability and Booking
Prices start from just £740 for a 4-night break (the equivalent of £24 per person per night).
You can book The Balancing Barn for a weekend (3-nights, Friday to Monday), a mid-week break (4-nights, Monday to Friday) or a week (7-nights, Friday to Friday).
The Balancing Barn is sited three miles from the ancient village of Walberswick on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. Nearest railway stations - Darsham or Halesworth (approx. 10 minutes drive away)
An area rich in opportunities for all ages, including walking, birdwatching, cycling, swimming and sailing - as well as for the exploration of castles, restaurants, pubs and teashops.Things to do:The Balancing Barn is situated adjacent to Church Farm nature reserve, owned by Suffolk Wildlife TrustNearby Minsmere nature reserve for walking and bird watchingNational Trust owned Dunwich Heath - for spectacular coastal walks and nature watching (birds and seals)National Trust Sutton HooNational Trust owned Orford Ness Nature ReserveEnglish Heritage Orford castleThe Balancing Barn is close to some of Suffolk's most beautiful coastal towns & villages including Southwold, Walberswick, Aldeburgh and ThorpenessHoly Trinity, Blythburgh - a beautiful church hosting seasonal summer concertsCrabbing in WalberswickBoating on the Meare in Thorpeness (inspired by J.M. Barrie)Bike hire from locations around Suffolk (including Southwold, Thorpeness and Aldeburgh)Places to eat:Queens Head, Bramfield - for local beers and food (2-3km from Balancing Barn)The Crown, WestletonThe Anchor, Walberswick - serving fresh seasonal produceThe Bell Inn, Walberswick - serving traditional English pub food in a relaxed atmosphere
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