This modern barn-style build in Kent blends contemporary rustic charm with an industrial edge |

Sitting on her sofa, Astrid Zala can see the colors opposite gradually change. This seasonal spectacle of autumn leaves on the trees outside is accentuated further by a mirrored reflection into the water below. 

Even from inside the leaves seem almost touchable. Dramatic is an understatement. ‘The main view was always to be of the pond with the woods behind it,’ explains Astrid, ‘because I’d always wanted to look out onto woodland.’

After 25 years in London, Astrid and her former husband Jamie were keen to make the break to the country. ‘We were after a more peaceful and soul-nurturing lifestyle,’ she explains, so along with daughters Olympia and Atlanta, they eventually made the move 10 years ago. ‘At first, we thought we’d buy an old farmhouse or such like. But the ceiling heights were so low, the rooms dark, and the configurations of the houses bizarre,’ she laughs. Hence the decision to build their own. ‘We had also completely renovated our previous London properties, so “doing a project” was what we were used to.’

Barn-style new build home in Kent exterior

(Image credit: Future)

With the site purchased and the existing dwelling demolished, Astrid and Jamie called architect Andy Martin. ‘We shared a studio in London 20 years ago and I always loved his designs and the houses he lived in. I trusted that once he’d visit the site he’d work his magic,’ Astrid says.