A couple of weeks ago, I received an advance copy of the book Modern Country by Caroline Clifton-Mogg and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love a pretty coffee table book with lots of inspirational images, and Modern Country certainly has its fair share. Photos were taken from the archives of the French interiors magazines Côté Sud, Côté Est and Côté Ouest, and offer a look into informal living (from several different angles) that merges traditional ideas with a modern aesthetic.
Modern Country is a complicated book and does not simply tell a story through pictures, but rather takes us on a journey through every aspect of the modern country home by offering both stunning visuals and accompanying text that explains the how and why. For true design lovers like myself , sometimes understanding the history and process behind the design can be more fascinating than the design itself.
The book is broken up into four main categories:
- Country Locations
- Architectural Styles
- Materials and Finishes
- Country Living
Each of these categories are then divided into sub-categories that explore each aspect in further detail. When merging two different points in time, as is the case with the homes in the book (an old space that has been converted/repurposed and merged with a contemporary “of the moment”design aesthetic), a new style emerges and Modern Country explores the most exciting and interesting examples of this new contemporary style.
“Country Locations” include those near the coast, mountains, and the “off the beaten path” countryside.
The category of “Architectural Styles” touches upon structures that have been converted, restored and repurposed. Author Caroline Clifton-Mogg explains “one of the major differences between traditional and modern living is the way that the delineation between rooms has dissolved and softened” and many homes represented in the book have “completely rearranged the inside.” Today, the kitchen has become the center of most homes and now more than ever, the emphasis is on “a connection between the inside and outside of the house.”
Materials and Finishes
“Materials and Finishes” does not merely show the materials that are used, but it explains how different construction materials and finishes, whether natural or man-made, can and should be used to inform character.
Lastly, Modern Country delves into the different aspects of country living and that the “life that is led in the houses in [the] book is the most important thing about them, and every element within them has been chosen and created to bring quiet pleasure to all.”
Modern Country is not only a pretty coffee table book, but it is also a wealth of information for anyone who values time with family and friends, entertaining at home, and stylish yet informal living that takes into account the beauty of the outdoors. It is a must have guide to integrating traditional living with modern style and describes what is needed to achieve the modern country aesthetic and why. The sentence that sums up the book: “the whole exercise is a gentle lesson in the art of reinterpreting and presenting the past in a modern yet timeless fashion.”
Modern Country by Caroline Clifton-Mogg is available through Amazon.