Along an unassuming path lined with redwoods, pines, wild ferns and bluebells, a magical glass-fronted cottage awaits. It’s the most idyllic rural escape for busy Londoners looking to unwind.
Local residents Lindsey and Rik are the brains behind Looking Glass Lodge. With the help of architect Michael Kendrick, their unique project became a reality in October 2022. The modern structure was built in a natural clearing in a leafy, sheltered woodland just outside of Fairlight, a pretty village in south-east England. Constructed of raw materials such as western red cedar, the building blends into its surroundings – tinted electrochromic glass on both sides of the house reflects the forest, making it easy for passers-by to miss the secret hideout. Large sliding glass doors open onto a wooden deck with seating for two, further bringing the outdoors inside.
It’s the design details that make this room so spectacular – it was even featured on Channel 4George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.. From the natural vents, underfloor heating and top-of-the-line Sonos sound system that flows seamlessly throughout the space, to the Scandi furniture purchased from nearby shops and local artists. If you’re looking for interior design inspiration, you can also shop the look on the house’s iPad, which features a full list of items scattered throughout the space.
Interiors are modern, cool, and super Scandinavian, enjoying the light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The open, free-flowing space features a polished cement kitchen counter in the center with extremely elegant appliances of the highest quality. There is a Smeg hot chocolate maker, a Stagg kettle with digital temperature display and ceramic mugs handcrafted by a local artist.
The bedroom corner is at the rear of the lodge and is separated from the living space by gray linen curtains that tuck away in the wooden frame. There are plenty of cozy touches in this room too – a queen-size bed with linen linens, two bathrobes, a Dyson hairdryer, colorful artwork, giant coffee table books and even binoculars should you spot some wildlife from the bed.
In the back corner of the bedroom is the impressive pebble bath with views of the forest – best enjoyed with bubbles, bath salts and a glass of sparkling water from the nearby Tillingham vineyard. In the other corner of the bedroom you will find a cozy bathroom with a dual hose shower and deliciously scented Wideye natural body lotions.
Onto the living area, with the most impressive feature of all: a floating wood stove hanging from the ceiling. Upon your arrival it is stocked with all the kindling and wood you need to start your own roaring fire. Snuggle up on the sofa, put a record on the vintage record player (there’s a wide range to choose from, from Bob Marley and the Beatles to Jamie XX) and feel the stress melt away.
As evening falls, the glass begins to tint automatically. At sunrise it starts to clear up, so no alarm clock is needed here. Instead, wake up to the sound of birdsong and the dance of dappled sunlight peeking through the forest canopy. Coffee pods and herbal teas can be found in the kitchen cupboards and are best enjoyed outdoors on the wooden deck.
You could opt for a totally relaxing weekend enjoying the outdoors and reading on the patio. Or if you have itchy feet, there’s plenty to do right on your doorstep. There are several helpful guides on the cabin iPad – we opted for a breezy sea walk along the Fairlight cliffs. 20 minutes later you’ll find yourself at The Bale House Hastings Country Park visitor center full of homemade cakes and freshly made sandwiches. Hastings is a short 10 minute drive away and there are also a couple of pubs and a farm shop and the historic town of Rye within driving distance. As we left, we flipped through the guest book, which was full of doodles from happy guests who went home with a newfound sense of relaxation.