In the 1970s a summer house had been built right here, in that sweet and beautiful spot between the forest and the water. But the house was uninsulated, poorly constructed, and now partly held together with duct tape. It was a long way from matching the charm of its surroundings. We always try and salvage something from a building, but in this particular case there was really no option but to start again.
There are restrictions in such a stunning location as this, and we had to stay within the footprint of the existing building. It wasn’t exactly a clean slate, then, but we could still be ambitious about what we could achieve. By turning the roof ridge to be parallel with the contour lines of the shore and pushing it asymmetrically to the back of the site, our cabin takes on the contours both of the shore and of the surrounding forest. By giving the small bedrooms attic spaces under the ridge we could sleep 12 people and still give them ample living space. By allowing the interior to flow seamlessly out onto the terrace, we’ve blurred the sense of indoor and outdoor. Our clever, landscape-inspired design was both approved and applauded by the planners. We ticked all the boxes but went so much further than that.
This little summer cabin now welcomes a large extended family every summer. It might only have a modest 70-square-metre footprint, but it’s become a welcoming, spacious retreat for all the generations – and their friends – to come and spend time together.