Modern Living - Homes Away From Home


Turned on by chic hotel rooms on your travels? My new book Modern Living: Homes away from Home explores heavenly holiday homes, ideal for whetting your wanderlust or armchair inspiration...



Let’s play house. Let’s check in to our perfect holiday home and believe we're someone else – even if it’s just for a couple of weeks. The lure of a rustic Greek villa or a glamorous island retreat conjures up all sorts of lifestyle fantasies. For me, they're dominated by straw baskets, kaftans and all things fringed. Sipping a kir at a roadside bar and ambling around flea markets – that kind of thing.

In my book Modern Living: Homes away from Home, I take a tour around some of the world’s most stylish holiday getaways and imagine what it would be like to live there – and share decorating ideas that will translate back home. From luxurious refuges to hippie retreats, I’ve rounded up five of my favourite places here. And I have just the right outfit to go with every one...

ABOVE: Boasting sea views, this alfresco terrace in Syros, Greece, is a dream outdoor room, with its deep-cushioned day-beds, rattan chairs and cotton dhurrie floorcovering, topped off with a nice shady bamboo roof (see below, Rustic Villa)


Contemporary chic
The minimal, modern mood of this architectural stunner in Canterbury, New Zealand, offers as much design inspiration as it does R&R. Guaranteeing good views (crashing waves, sparkling ocean, sunsets, check!), razor-sharp interior style and a feeling of luxury in the wilds, Annandale Seascape ticks all my boxes for a dream escape.


Rustic villa
The last word in boho chic, this simple stone Aegean villa on the remote island of Syros in Greece is one of those spaces that transcend fashion. Foregrounding sea views, the casual indoor/outdoor lifestyle radiates comfort. To get the look, mix contemporary lighting with streamlined, neutral-toned furniture and plenty of deep-filled linen cushions. A hammock wouldn’t be out of place here either...


African beauty
A lesson in how to do luxurious style, Singita Boulders Lodge in Mpumalanga, South Africa, breaks out of the safari-style mould. There’s not a zebra print in sight. Instead, a glamorous infinity pool adds gloss to the rustic stone and thatched roof surrounds. Abstract artworks and sleek woven chairs make for a modern organic vibe.


Cornish bolthole
You can breathe in the sea air at this wharfside cottage in the small Cornish town of Mousehole. The decor mixes off-white colours and vintage finds for a beachy feel without the usual blue-and-white clichés. Full of period character and crumpled charm, it delivers an understated style that is so terribly English – in a very good way.


Venetian palace
Saving the frescoes, flamboyance and terrazzo floors until last, gilded Villa F palazzo in Venice is nothing less than you would expect. Located on Giudecca Island across the lagoon from San Marco Square, here opulence and antiques reign. Venice is an incredibly addictive city and this luxe Italian retreat hits all the right spots.

Claire Bingham is the author of seven interior design books, including A Beautiful Mess and Grandiflora for teNeues which delve into the home lives of inspiring creatives passionate about eclectic taste and nature respectively. She's also a DesignFizz contributing editor.

'Modern Living – Homes away from Home' by Claire Bingham (teNeues, £29.95) 

Pictures: Yiorgos Kordakis (Aegean Villa, Syros, Greece, styling Anestis Michalis); Simon Devitt (Annandale Seascape, Canterbury, New Zealand, also on Modern Living – Homes away from Home book cover); Singita (Singita Boulders Lodge, Mpumalanga, South Africa); Paul Massey (Hope House, Cornwall, UK); Tony Amos (Villa F, Venezia, Italy); Michael Paul (A Beautiful Mess book cover); Martyn Thompson (Grandiflora book cover), all rights reserved