When Karen, with Mark, went in search of her Italian roots, their adventure ended in an 18th-century grain barn in a secluded dell surrounded by rolling vineyards. Upon arrival one feels like they’ve reached one of the last remaining unspoiled corners of countryside. Enter the beautifully renovated granica through a foyer of limestone floors, a wet bar and exposed brick walls: to the left is the library with deep leather sofas and chocolate and lime colours; to the right is the dining room, sleekly minimalist with polished marble floors and Lithuanian oak chairs. Beneath a high cathedral ceiling, the four bedrooms are luxuriously furnished with lashings of silk, velvet chenille armchairs (or chaise longue), splashes of raspberry tones, Egyptian cotton sheets. In the more traditional rooms are mahogany sleigh beds and resplendent bohemian chandeliers. The cottage holds a diminutive sitting room, a fully equipped kitchen and double and twin bedrooms in house style – the former with a ‘Jacobean’ four-poster. Trees and lawns neatly frame the discreet swimming pool.