Friday Fun: Converted Barns

Barns were very popular types of conversions in my part of France, after people ran out of chateaux (or budget) to renovate. Here are some to pique your interest…

The Mill on the Floss type of barn from Brittany, from
Contemporary Dutch barn interior, from
Probably more of a warehouse than a barn, from
Lots of gorgeous stonework, from Red Banana Studio.
American ambition, from
Barn for sale in New York State, from Brown Harris Stevens.
British conversion, from Ideal Home.
And we finish on a French note again, by Franck Labbay Architecte.

Friday Fun: Contemporary and Futuristic Homes

Glass seems to be the building element of choice for futuristic homes. Let’s just hope there’s no one waiting to cast any stones!

The mountain chalet updated in Colorado, from
It’s all about the views in this Brazilian home, from Casa Claudia.
High ceilings seem to be compulsory in modern houses, as in this Spanish house. From Casa Luxo.
Inverted clifftop house (bedrooms downstairs, living room upstairs) from
Another American extravaganza, from
Now we move onto futurism, from
More modest and sustainable: a container home. From

Friday Fun: Luxury Mountain Lodges

I think the Americans must have a different definition of mountain lodges to just about anyone else except the Swiss. Have a look at these! Certainly not the kind I will be coming back to rest in after skiing…

Ready to go canoeing? From Stonewood LLC.
Montana Magica hotel lodge in Chile, from Atlas Obscura.
A dreamy terrace to admire the view, from Style
Swimming pools are of course always a bonus. From
When you are isolated on a mountain, you can afford to have big windows. From Once Upon a Better Home.
After a hard day of climbing mountains, isn’t this the perfect spot to come back to? From

Friday Fun: More Mountain Escapes

Preparing for my ski trip at the end of this month, so all I can think of currently are the mountains. Sadly, I have the feeling that my accommodation won’t be quite as attractive.

Mountain resort Chumbipemayangste in India. from
Traditional Japanese ryokan in the mountains. From Japan Quest Journey.
The view from the Alpine Escape studios in Romania.
Mountains and sea – the pinnacle of views! From Annandale Black Tomato, New Zealand.
Maliba Lodge, South Africa, from Pinterest.
Another amazing landscape from New Zealand, Te Kahu.

Friday Fun: Mountain Retreats

Last week, when we were covered in snow, I needed to escape to warmer climes, but the truth is I love nothing more than spectacular, remote mountain retreats… in countries which know how to cope with snow and access and heating!

Mountain cottage in Ogawayama, Japan. From Home Crux.
Anako Lodge in Switzerland, photo credit: Olivier Maire.
The interior of a mountain villa in Sri Lanka,
Hot tubbing in the snow in Pestera, Romania, from Akasha Wellness Retreat.
The luxury end of the spectrum, Finca Paraiso in Costa Rica, from
Far more modest: the Hen House on Skye, from

Friday Fun: Writers’ Houses from Other Continents

I tried to find Asian writers’ houses and guess what? There aren’t many of those still around. Space being at a premium, the land being earthquake prone, writers not necessarily coming from wealthy families, a climate hostile to conservation, a lack of literary tourism… lots of reasons for the lack of memorial homes. There are literature museums instead. So I tried to see what was happening on other continents.

Australian writer Ethel Turner’s house in Sydney, from








Stefan Zweig’s last home, in Brazil.
Edgar Allen Poe’s house in the Bronx. From Chicago Tribune.
Faulkner’s plantation house, from Lonely Planet.
Karen Blixen house in Nairobi, Kenya.
Pablo Neruda house in Isla Negra, Chile.
Rimbaud’s house (in which he probably only wrote the accounts) in Harar, Ethiopia. From Society of Architectural Historians.
Mazo de la Roche’s house in Canada, an inspiration for the Jalna series.







Friday Fun: Ireland in the Sun

To the tune of ‘Islands in the Sun’, here are some pictures from our lovely trip to Ireland last week.

My favourite place indoors, of course. Trinity College Library.
Guess what symbol this is?
View over Dublin and Howth.
Wicklow Mountains. No sun but spectacular clouds blowing past.
Old monastery, graveyard and siege-ready tower.
Lough Bray Lower.
The sea, the sea at Bray.
The grounds at Malahide Castle.
Cosy three-bedroom medieval castle at Malahide.
This was a common sight in Ireland and reminded me how I’ve never seen the Union Jack flying together with the EU flag in the UK even before the Brexit vote.