ISSUE 45  |  London Calling

Durslade Farmhouse in Somerset: The New Bloomsbury?

November 10, 2014 10:00 AM

BY Julie Carlson

It’s an unlikely love story. High-flying, edge-loving Swiss art dealers Iwan Wirth and Manuela Hauser of Hauser & Wirth (they have contemporary art galleries in London, New York City, Zurich, and Los Angeles) fell for the ancient, King Arthur–esque landscape of Somerset, England, a while back, and moved there full time with their four children. This past summer, they opened an ambitious arts center with a gallery, artists residencies, a bookshop, a learning room, a restaurant, a farm shop, and a 1.5-acre perennial meadow by Dutch master garden designer Piet Oudolf. The centerpiece? Durslade Farmhouse, a six-bedroom historic structure restored in a completely idiosyncratic fashion and available for rent. Join us for a tour.

Photography by Aaron Schuman and Dominic Brown via Durslade Farmhouse.

Above: Paris architectural firm Laplace & Co. and conservation specialists Benjamin + Beauchamp oversaw the renovation of the 200-year-old farmhouse. The facade features a neon installation by British conceptual artist Martin Creed.

Above: In the sitting room, a wall is papered in Sanderson toile de Jouy.

Above: Another view of the sitting room. The house is filled with work by Hauser & Worth artists.

Above: The kitchen is anchored by a Smeg range tucked into the hearth.

Above: A detail of a kitchen shelf.

Above: The kitchen features traditional amenities, including a farmhouse sink. The vintage plates on the wall reference Bruton, the town in Somerset where the house is located.

Above: The designers stripped back layers of paint and paper to reveal the original surfaces.

Above: Buenos Aires artist Guillermo Kuitca painted the dining room mural during a five-week summer residency at Durslade. “I had no previous image or script in mind,” he says.

Above: Kuitca also selected the chairs, tablecloth, plates, and glasses: “I feel as though there is a religious, almost austere quality to the room and wanted to retain this feeling,” he says.

Above: A view from one of the bedrooms into the dining room.

Above: Bedroom Three on the first floor features a patchwork floor and views of the dovecote.

Above: A settee upholstered in a traditional English print.

Above: A mix of vintage furniture animates the space.

Above: Old-fashioned wood hangers on brass hooks.

Above: A wall is papered in a design by Paul McCarthy in Bedroom Five.

Above: Bedroom Six has a white-painted floor and views of the countryside.

Above: A detail shot of the bathroom, with a privacy screen.

Above: A bath with a view.

Above: The bed is tucked under the eaves.

Above: Consisting of a group of outbuildings dating to the mid-1700s, the compound includes a threshing barn, stables, cowsheds, an engine house, a giant stainless steel dairy pail sculpture by Subodh Gupta, and more.

Above: A meadow designed by Piet Oudolf, the Genius Behind New York’s High Line. (See more of his work in Gardenista’s Steal This Look: Piet Oudolf’s Private Garden and Garden Visit: Piet Oudolf in Yorkshire.)

Below: The center is located in Bruton, Somerset, approximately 2 1/2 hours by car from London (train service also available). Go to Hauser & Wirth Somerset to see the full setup. To inquire about rental details, go to Durslade Farmhouse.

Planning a trip? Go to Hotels & Lodgings for our favorite places to stay all over the world, and consult our UK Travel Guide for restaurants, shops, house rentals, and more.