Architectural Holiday Homes You Can Escape To

27th March 2018
unique architectural holiday home experience, Five Acre Barn, Suffolk, mid-century modern accomodations

Host Unusual offer a country bolthole with modern style, Five Acre Barn in Suffolk. Photo © Sarah Blee.

There’s no doubt that since the rise in popularity of Airbnb, the home from home holiday experience is more important than ever. We’ve shown that we want to live like locals, relax in considered spaces, appreciate high-quality design and perhaps even come away with a few ideas for our own homes. It used to be that it was a lengthy task to find anything design-led that was within a certain budget and wasn’t a luxury hotel, but now there’s a dedicated number who’ve got you covered, connecting you with architectural holiday homes you can play a grown-up version of house in and pretend you live there.

The Modern House

unique architectural holiday home experience, Backwater lakeside home, Norfolk broads, loft bedroom

Award-winning Backwater eco-home on a secluded lagoon on the Norfolk Broads, designed by Platform 5 Architects.

You might already know The Modern House as an estate agency selling some truly exceptional properties, from modernist classics to contemporary builds, but did you know they also have a portfolio of architectural escapes? From European to International homes, this collection of award-winning spaces offer a unique insight into how well considered architecture can change our quality of living. These homes are anything but ordinary, particularly the Backwater eco home, found by a secluded lagoon on the Norfolk Boards. With a real sense of Scandi influence, this RIBA 2016 award winner has a jetty leading straight out on to the water and room for up to eight guests.


unique architectural holiday home experience, minimalist wood cabin Bergaliv Landscape hotel Sweden

Stripped back – minimalist Bergaliv Landscape Hotel in Sweden

This German-based company founded by Jan Hamer who curates a jaw-dropping collection of private homes, hotels and B&Bs, Urlaubsarchitektur divide European locations up into inspirations depending on what it is you’re after. You can find any number of highly designed experiences, ranging from the minimalistic, a break that’s cool for kids or even a yoga-centric retreat if that’s your bag. Be warned though, as what starts as a quick browse can fast turn into falling down a rabbit hole. Check out their series of Holiday Architecture books for coffee table dreaming and scheming.

unique architectural holiday home experience, swiss chalet Halb Haus designed by Jonathan Tuckey, large open plan kitchen with mezzanine, tall ceilings

Halb Haus chalet in Switzerland, restored and re-designed by Jonathan Tuckey. Photo © Paul Massey.

Host Unusual

unique architectural holiday home experience, Five Acre Barn, Suffolk, mid-century modern accomodation

Moody blues contrast the contemporary plywood walls and traditional barn rafters at Five Acre Barn, Suffolk.

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to stay in a treehouse or look out onto a beautifully bleak coastal setting in the middle of nowhere, Host Unusual have a strong selection of quirky UK escapes for just that. Staycations are no longer a last resort, blending the best of the British countryside with cutting edge contemporary architecture. A personal favourite is Five Acre Barn in my home county of Suffolk, a mid-century modern inspired country escape;  just a few miles from the coastal town of Aldeburgh if you ever wanted to leave this stunning location!

Living Architecture

unique architectural holiday home experience, The Life House, John Pawson, Living Architecture, timber clad walls, white brick interior

The Life House, dedicated to reflection and a slower pace of living, designed by John Pawson.

A fully immersive experience of exclusively designed architectural properties, Living Architecture aim to educate and influence discussion about modern architecture and its importance to innovate for future generations. Founded by Alain de Botton in 2006, he set about working with what has become a group of nine stellar architects, including John Pawson, NORD Architecture and Mole Architects to design a series of purpose-built holiday locations in the UK.

John Pawson’s Life House, nestled in the remote Welsh hills promotes minimalist relaxation in simplistic surroundings. Full-scale windows bring in the rugged landscape and the interiors show the natural appeal of white brick, polished terrazzo and timber lined ceilings. There are separate rooms for reading, listening to music and a contemplation room with a retractable skylight. A less-is-more aesthetic for a pared-back retreat.

unique architectural holiday home experience, The Life House, architect John Pawson, Living Architecture, open plan living space, corner sofa, white brick walls and timber clad ceiling

Simple living and every-day detoxing are encouraged at John Pawson’s Life House in Wales. Photo © Cate St Hill.

DOM Stay and Live

unique architectural holiday home experience, The Pink House, Azores Islands Portugal, minimalist interior, whitewashed timber, rustic contemporary holiday home, converted barn

Contemporary meets rural style – The Pink House.

DOM Stay and Live is a relatively new holiday experience, launched by interior architect Marta Nowicka. DOM, meaning home in Polish draws on the trend for designers and architects opening up their homes for others to stay and live in. Marta has collated a hand-picked collection of homes from across the globe including some of Marta’s own. There are three categories that DOM divide their experiences into; UK locations, European bolt-holes and locations you can actually live in long-term. I’ll take The Pink House on the Azores islands (pictured) for its mix of contemporary interiors and traditional heritage, once a barn owned by the family for six generations.

unique architectural holiday home experience, The Pink House, Azores Islands Portugal, minimalist interior, whitewashed timber, rustic contemporary holiday home, converted barn

Blending traditional, local craftsmanship with contemporary design – The Pink House, Azores islands.

It’s worth noting that although some of these organisations manage the properties themselves, the majority are privately owned meaning they put you in direct contact with the owners. Goodness knows where you’d even begin choosing where to stay with so many possibilities – where’s next on your passport?


I love the first house, it’s so calm and relaxing and I would happily chill out on my holiday there. Although all of them are amazing!

These all look so amazing. I want to stay in them all! I’m definitely going to look into these more. I always think it’s such a waste of a holiday if you don’t stay somewhere more lovely than your own home.

Oh wow, these all look AMAZING! Would be so fun to live in such a beautiful space for a week, pretending it was real life.. *le sigh*

So much beautiful choice available now, it’s no wonder I spend hour upon hour trawling the internet getting distracted by beautiful holiday homes.
The Pink House is my kind of heaven !

[…] I’m picky as hell too when it comes to choosing somewhere to stay. I want to be wooed by an architectural home. I mean, I actually annoy myself when we’re looking as, unless it’s a serious […]