Meet the Team: Charlie Monaghan's favourite modern country homes
In our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we’re getting to know The Modern House staff. Here, we’re talking to Content Editor Charlie Monaghan about his favourite modern country homes.
Since receiving a BA in Classical Studies from the University of Bristol, Charlie has spent time living and working in Tokyo and honing his editorial skills at Monocle and Wallpaper* City Guides.
Charlie currently lives in north London, spending most of his weekends at the Heath, pretending he’s in the countryside, where he one day hopes to have a second home.
“What do they say about an Englishman and his castle?! Apparently it rings true; at least with this choice.
“Becuase I live and work in London, I think my ideal country home would be one in which I couldn’t see or hear anyone else. I’d want a total contrast to the city: quiet, isolated and with big, expansive views. This house, which is a conversion of an early 19th-century Martello tower, ticks all of those boxes.
“And, of course, from an architectural point of view, it’s very special. Because it’s so exceptional, I can’t quite picture what being there would be like, but I think part of the appeal would be discovering the building and learning how to live in it.”
Thursford Barn, Norfolk
“This is the complete opposite of the above, in many respects. What I love about this is that it proves you don’t need something grand with 10 bedrooms.
“In fact, I think it would be more than sufficient to have a little hideaway in the countryside that you can retreat to. It wouldn’t have to be about anything more than putting something in the oven, going for a walk, and then coming home to eat.
“The modesty of the structure represents the most basic of architectural forms: four walls and a roof. But the simplicity of that means it’s very pure and unobtrusive, which, for me, is what spaces should be about.”
Klein House, Scottish Borders
“My vision of living here would be me putting on a jazz record, making a martini and strolling around in a silk robe. In reality, it would probably be more like me sitting in an empty house because I don’t have any stuff that’s half as cool as the art and furniture in here.
“I like it when houses have gallery-like elements, which I think this does, and I’m drawn to spaces that don’t always feel necessarily domestic.
“Being in Scotland, it’s just the ultimate hideaway, and it would be great to watch the seasons go by there. I imagine the winters would be pretty spectacular.”
“This house would be a great one for a big family Christmas, and I can imagine my family dog running around in there.
“It’s definitely cosy, but I like the white walls they have used throughout. I like minimal interventions in a space, so that if the current owner left all that would remain would be a simple canvas against which one could place their furniture, art and objects. It’s a demonstration of versatility and functionality as being the most important elements to a space.”
Runcton, West Sussex
“People think that having as much natural light as possible in a house is beneficial, but, actually the best architects manipulate light to create an airy, spatial feel in one part of the building, and more intimate, cosy spaces in others.
“Walter Greaves, the architect who designed this house, executed it perfectly at his family home in West Sussex. I especially love his study, which he designed to be north-facing because he didn’t like too much natural light while he worked.
“I’m really interested in homes that are a complete manifestation of someone’s unique vision, which this is. It’s also masterfully functional, with Greaves designing pod-like zones of the house that could be opened up or closed off.”
Read more: The Modern House visits Helsinki