The Modern Barn in Cornwall: Two Designers Use Local Materials and Traditions to Build Their Family Home
Were you raised in a barn? Flo Millard is one of the few people who can answer that old wisecrack affirmatively. She grew up in a 300-year-old converted farm building in Essex, England. And she liked living amid old beams and a central open space so much that when she and her husband, Chris Millard, had the opportunity to build their own family home, they borrowed from barn vocabulary.
Flo is an interior designer and Chris is an architectural lighting specialist. Together they run Millard & Flo, a firm they founded in 2011 when they relocated from London to Cornwall—their first client was the real estate agent who initially showed them around: “he was building a house and needed lighting and interior design help,” says Flo. “It’s really just snowballed from there.”
The two now have a son and daughter, and were feeling desperately in need of more space when they were offered land in the town of Rock, in North Cornwall, near the old cottage they had settled in. “We were then faced with the challenge of designing a new house from scratch as Covid was hitting,” says Flo. “It was a scary time to leave our beloved home and buy a field.”
The goal for their new place was to match the cottage in terms of character and longevity by making use of natural (and, when possible, local) materials and Cornish workmanship. Specifies Flo: “We wanted the structure to bed down into the landscape, and for the interior to feel communal and light.” We’re delighted to be the first to present the house that Millard & Flo built.