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This Island Retreat in the Netherlands Flexes the Power of Prefab

Designed by Orange Architects, the compact, energy-efficient home features open and airy interiors that can instantly be adjusted for privacy.

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Nestled into the trees on the beautiful Dutch island of Texel is Holiday Home, a timber-clad getaway just a 10-minute walk from the North Sea. Rotterdam-based firm Orange Architects designed the prefab for its homeowners to enjoy quality time together, prioritizing open social spaces within the confines of a roughly 970-square-foot plan. Still, it incorporates plenty of flexibility.

Holiday Home’s sculptural design features a striking black exterior juxtaposing warm and welcoming natural wood interiors.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

By day, the house is an open, fluid indoor/outdoor space that extends through floor-to-ceiling windows and doors into its bucolic surroundings. Inside, centered around the kitchen are a living space with a dining area, a bedroom/library, a bathroom, and a staircase leading to a mezzanine level that houses an additional sleeping/living space. 

At night, wooden panels in the hallway on the first level turn 90 degrees, transforming the living space into private rooms for sleeping. The library becomes a full-size bedroom, while the hidden shower and sink convert into an en suite bathroom.

Like the interiors, the exterior of the home is equipped to shift with changing needs: Lamellas on the terrace swivel to block the wind or provide shade from the sun.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

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To create the home, Orange Architects prefabricated the walls and roof off-site. "Because of its irregular shape, the structure was first fully assembled in the contractor’s workshop," explains Orange Architects. "After the structure was fitted and finished, it was then dismantled and transported to the island, where it was reassembled on-site within a very short time frame." The interiors were then built out within the protective shell of the prefab structure.

More than just a novelty, the innovative design continues to delight the homeowners. "It’s nice to see that Holiday Home—as compact as it is—feels comfortable and familiar to our client but also continues to surprise, inspire, and enchant them every day," shares Patrick Meijers, a partner at Orange Architects.

Thoughtful geometry creates Holiday Home’s distinct appearance.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

Creating a sustainable home was also one of the project’s goals. The timber structure features natural ventilation, while a concrete floor adds thermal mass. The highly insulated roof is topped with almost-invisible solar panels that help cover the home’s energy needs—no fossil fuels are required.

And while Holiday Home’s energy efficiency is impressive, Meijers brings it back to how well connected the home is to its surroundings: "The cherry on the cake is the height of the entire interior space and how the cozy mezzanine features a skylight that opens to the Dutch skies and stars."

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Knoll Brno Flat Bar Chair

The Brno Flat Bar Chair (1930) offers the comfort of an armchair without the stuffiness or bulk. The triple-plated chrome, cantilevered bar stock steel lends the chair its strength, while the padded full-grain Spinneybeck leather seat will only get better with age. The Brno Flat Bar Chair is a registered trademark of Knoll, Inc., manufactured by Knoll according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. Made in Italy.

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Graypants Sun Pendant

Using custom-made entirely white corrugated cardboard, Scraplights White shades abstract and elevate the layered cardboard aesthetic that Graypants has been carefully evolving since their beginning. This radical departure from the traditional Scraplights line is precision cut by advanced machinery, assembled by hand using non-toxic adhesive, and treated with a non-toxic fire retardant coating. Handcrafted from recycled cardboard, Graypants flagship Scraplights provide warm, intimate, and functional lighting for any occasion or space. Tough and elegant, each is precision cut with a laser and assembled by hand using non-toxic adhesive, and all Scraplights are treated with a non-toxic fire retardant. The Frame pendants combine the classic layered cardboard aesthetic with a steel frame and a frosted glass diffuser. This provides excellent top and bottom lighting for large spaces such as lobbies and conference rooms. The Dome pendant combines half of the well-known Sun32 design with an even larger diffuser, making it ideal for any open office space.

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HAY Don’t Leave Me Side Table

Copenhagen-based industrial designer Thomas Bentzen believes that everything he creates should engage and create curiosity, be functional and meet human needs while in use. In other words, this is a designer who thinks beyond the obvious. A perfect example of his approach is the lightweight, portable Don’t Leave Me Side Table (2007) for Danish design collective HAY. Also known as the DLM Table, it features a handle for easy carrying from room to room and a tripod base for excellent stability. Made in China.

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The overhanging eaves provide a covered place to sit and enhance the homes airy, open feel.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

The open-plan living area is centered around the kitchen. Full-height glass doors open the home to its surroundings and provide a strong indoor/outdoor connection.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

A staircase leads up to a mezzanine with a sleeping/living space.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

At night, the library transforms into an en suite bedroom.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

The mezzanine level provides an additional sleeping area, as well as place to gaze at the stars.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

At night, the home glows from within.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

"We love the space, because of the different heights and the light," share the homeowners.

Photo by Sebastian van Damme

Holiday Home Floor Plan

Courtesy of Orange Architects

Holiday Home Front Elevation

Courtesy of Orange Architects

Holiday Home Side Elevation

Courtesy of Orange Architects

Related Reading:

This Black Prefab Cabin in Uruguay "Melts" Into the Woods

A Nordic-Inspired Prefab Lets a Canadian Couple Get Away From It All

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Orange Architects

Builder/General Contractor: CorKoper Bouwbedrijf

Structural Engineer: Ingenieursbureau Dijkstra

Landscape Design: Orange Architects

Interior Design: Orange Architects

Cabinetry Design: Orange Architects

Other: S&W Consultancy

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