Nothing feels quite as earthy as a home with a broad, horizontal facade and sweeping views. It's even better when the home measures a generous 370sqm. So in more than one way, the home we will explore today is one with the land.
It was built for a family of three and built with the aim of integrating into the landscape – a sloping site surrounded by forest and graced with a lovely river. The owners wanted it to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so the builders Lethes House decided to create a wooden construction with lots of green features. The result is a home with an A+ energy class certificate and an earthy beauty. Let's take a look at it in pictures…
The home was built on a pre-cleared area of the property and limited to a single, simple mass. The owners had initially wanted a modular home due to the cost benefits of building off-site. But they settled for a dwelling with a mixture of approaches so as to customise the project to suit the slope of the land. In the end, the home was built from wood on-site, but the construction process only lasted 3.5 months.
The final product has all the ease of a modern rustic home. The lower level is shaped to suit the slope of the site and the upper level has a lofty outlook. The entire home has a very strong horizontal aesthetic. This is accentuated by the use of horizontal timber beams and series of floor to ceiling glass doors. There are few vertical lines in the design and the chunky lower level recesses from sight alongside the dominant dark timber of the upper level.
Many holiday resorts are designed with a strong horizontal shape because it's said to help us relax. This is certainly the feel we get from the wooden terrace here. The glass wall and rich golden timbers really encourage one to feel at one in the landscape. It's a home with a definite outward focus.
In practical terms, this design also provides lots of cross ventilation in the home. During the colder months, the home is heated with a wood burning salamander. It also has a system for heating the waste-water and a geothermal energy system.
The kitchen has kitchen cabinets with earthy colour hues and a glossy contemporary finish. It's a practical family kitchen so there's lots of storage capacity, the cupboards run all the way to the ceiling and there are wall-mounted kitchen appliances for extra comfort. A long kitchen bench extends outwards to create a casual breakfast bar. It also serves to integrate the kitchen with the living area. It's a good solid family style kitchen.
Within the home the focus is always on the natural surroundings. From the kitchen outlook we have a lovely view of the forests. Note how the soft beige walls and recessed lighting creates a very calming atmosphere. Finally, it's interesting to see the inset wall in the centre of the living area. It creates space for a natural nook that could be used to divide the various living zones.
The home has big broad areas covered in natural materials such as the feature brick wall here. The natural variation and colour in the stone adds a neutral, earthy appeal to the home. A big part of the luxurious feel of the home comes down to the very simplicity of these features. There are no fiddly details and few broken lines of sight. Instead, we have vast washes of colour or texture that have a natural appeal of their own.
The neutral earthy tones are continued in the bathroom where we have a small speckled grey tile. It becomes the real focus of this area because the bathroom shower has been designed as a shower room. The structure is visually quite light. The bathroom has generous proportions and the same relative simplicity we have seen throughout the home.
On this side of the bathroom we have a rich golden timber feature wall. It's good to see the natural variations in the grain up close. This is a home built for a family, so the vanity is sturdy and has his and hers basins. There is also a good combination of closed and open storage.
Finally, we thought to include an architectural rendering of the project for comparison. These illustrations are notorious for being a little glitzier than the final product, but this one is quite accurate. It also shows the potential for the project once the landscaping is finished. It all, it's a fairly impressive project for one that took just 3.5 months to construct. Finally, we should add that it cost just 160,000 euros.
Here we have another rural retreat to explore, A couple's dream bungalow in the countryside.