Alchemy, a word so often associated with less tangible arts than architecture, of shifting common metals to gold, of curing sickness and of eternal life; a craft mastered in the mind, brought to fruition through inherited wisdom and unteachable power. But, with great buildings borne of the earth singing with timeless elegance all over the world, should such a word be saved only for the workings of the mystique?

Clever architecture which stands the test of time comes in many forms; sometimes it’s a sleek cliffhanger which mirrors the jagged angles of the coast, others it’s a 16th century manor renovated to suit the modern man, adapting with the changes but still with its foundations and soul holding firm. Often, the best constructions work at one with nature, taking into account her ever-drifting light and irregular pattern, ensuring it reuses, gives back and harnesses the elements around to energise and warm the spaces within. 

Homes which ride the wave of trends and lifestyle throughout the ages are homes which embody the spirit of the alchemist; they’ve transformed the simple materials of bricks and mortar into beauty and have swallowed the elixir of life, standing firm as the world they were created in displaces around them.

Within our collection such architectural homes stand proud, showcasing artistry and talent, sympathy and evolution; below we explore ten of the most remarkable modern houses to inspire your next self-catering escape.


Echoing both the landscape and modern man, Linea harmonises with the environment in which it sits. Designed to both shelter from northern storms and channel the summer heat onto its sun-trapped patio, Linea is a modern classic suited to all manner of traveller settled on the North Devon coast.


Full to the brim with character and delight (and with not a straight line in sight), Rhapsody and its charming eccentricity will enchant for evermore. A mock Tudor design combines with state-of-the-art mod cons, while throughout the gardens pockets of joy and whimsy hide behind every topiary and through each secret door.


Silvered Accoya clads this luxury Cornish beach house, allowing it to all but blend into the smoky shingles on the sand below, while a smorgasbord of sustainable and eco-friendly facilities (triple clad windows, solar panels and thermal insulation to name just a few) all combine to ensure Iraia’s footprint is minimal.

The Find

A dwelling which has really spanned the ages of time, there has been an evolving home on the site of The Find since the 12th century. Expanding and adapting to its inhabitants and needs, what once started as a humble Cotswold cottage has now reached out across the ground, bringing tradition and modernity together in what is now one of the most iconic homestays in Britain.


Designed entirely around the best views in Mousehole, Holanen rises from the rocks in a perfect manifestation of man meets Mother Nature. Local building materials, furniture collected from around the globe and splashes of colourful art combine to give this new home a wisely atmosphere; combining all there is to love about life by the coast in one stunning build.


Right at the centre of Scotland’s wild heart, Elemental’s clean lines and Scandinavian style at first seem to contrast with the untameable fury of Loch Rannoch’s weather and mountains outside, but on further inspection, the honest materials and enormous windows at every turn offer perspective and representation of this most stunning country; raw, often unrefined, but not to be missed for all the whisky in the world.


With views of an ancient wooded valley, this Red Cedar clad home on the Devon and Dorset border could almost have risen from the bedrock on which it sits. Triple glazed windows allow all that glorious natural beauty to flow through, while bespoke oak furnishings and a concrete floor offer seamless timelessness. Created by architects who designed the house to live in themselves before letting it as a holiday home, no part has been neglected.


Powered by solar panels and an air source heat pump, this unique coastal home in Polperro was designed entirely around the views laid out before it; miles upon miles of ocean, a horizon which burns with kaleidoscopic sunrises and a sky so large it feels as though it could swallow you whole. Raffia’s neutral palette and natural materials are sure to keep eyes directed to the windows, while ensuring guests feel ongoing serenity.


An angular sculpture made with local limestone and poured concrete, Skyros was designed to make the most of every ounce of Ireland's magic sunlight; in the morning, the orange glow of sunrise pours into the open plan living area, while at sunset the huge floor-to-ceiling windows act as a frame for a show of colossal effect. Forever with views across County Cork's Mizen Peninsula, this iconic home in Schull is different with every visit.

The Looking Glass

Every material used in this architect-designed house-by-the-sea was chosen to blend into its already magnificent landscape. Inside, the colour scheme reflects the swaying hues of the sky and ocean, while a natural sedum roof, copper fascias and Red Cedar cladding blend into cliffs which bloom and brown with the seasons.