Recently I got a copy in the mail of a new interior design book for reviewing: Modern Country: Inspiring Interiors for Contemporary Country Living by Caroline Clifton-Mogg, published by Jacqui Small. I was familiar with the work of the author but when I realised all the images were from the archives of the French magazines Côté Sud, Côté Est, and Côté Ouest, which I bought quite often when we lived on the Continent, I thought perhaps I had already seen many of them. To my surprise I only recognised a few and found myself really enjoying the book, which felt fresh. If I were to use one sentence to describe it I would say: A modern take on country living that is also stylish.
A press release from Jacqui Small states:
It’s impossible to deny ... that modern country style, although emphatically of the twenty-first century, is still based on, and evolved from, traditional rural values. Lightness of living is always important; an understanding of the things that make life pleasant, such as family and friends, comfort and ease, food and drink. Presenting some of the most exciting examples of the contemporary in interior design, Modern Country is full of inspiration on how to achieve that highly desirable ideal of comfortable country living combined with the clean lines and edited design of today.I couldn't agree more with the clean lines part. The images I have included in this blog post should give you some idea of what the book has to offer. It truly has a modern and stylish take on country living. What especially appealed to me when going through its pages was that most of the case studies show spaces that are modern without that cold vibe, which always puts me off. What I also like is that the style is varied, there is something for everyone, and you don't get the feeling that all the homes look the same. It seems the images have been chosen thoughtfully to help the reader get a sense of the many ways of how to create that ideal country retreat, without sacrificing modern comfort.
Modern Country shows you a beautiful collection of old European coastal and country houses that have been turned into homes and retreats with all comforts needed. Also noteworthy are the wonderful solutions the book has to offer. One of my favourites is the window below, which you will find on page 23. The owners of this Brittany farmhouse cut through a thick stone wall to let in the light. By doing so they not only got light, they also got a sitting nook.
The book has four sections called Country Locations, Architectural Styles, Materials and Finishes, and Country Living. As someone who likes rustic style; the use of earthy and raw materials, the details of the Materials and Finishes part kept me reading. That section starts with the words:
There is a beauty in the texture of all building materials and a beauty, also, in the right combination of different textures used together. For most people, the first impression of a building - any building, old or new - is not one of form or design, but one of fabric, of material. (p. 106)Modern Country by Caroline Clifton-Mogg certainly has texture, that wonderful blend of stone, brick, wood, metal, and glass, and even plaster and concrete. Its images will also show you beautiful textiles. As I said above, there isn't just one country style, there is something for everyone.