An Inspiring Island Retreat Mixes Scandinavian Style With Japanese Simplicity
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An Inspiring Island Retreat Mixes Scandinavian Style With Japanese Simplicity

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By Lucy Wang
At the northern end of the Stockholm archipelago, a humble cottage becomes a gorgeous seaside retreat for a nature-loving family.

When Stockholm–based architecture practice Kod Arkitekter was asked to design a summer retreat on a Swedish island north of the capital, the brief came with the unusual request that the small cottage on site be preserved.

Naturally, the existing 700-square-foot structure became the starting point for the design of the new residence, which combines cues from the building’s simple gabled form built in the Scandinavian cottage vernacular with a simplicity inspired by Japanese design.

A place of unspoiled nature with breathtaking views, the island property spans approximately 1.6 acres in size.

A place of unspoiled nature with breathtaking views, the island property spans approximately 1.6 acres in size.

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Expanded to 2,260 square feet, the Summer House in the Stockholm archipelago seamlessly integrates the existing cottage with a common roof and, through careful design restraint, emphasizes strong connections with its forested surroundings and exceptional sea views beyond.

The house is clad in vertical planks of black-painted fir.

The house is clad in vertical planks of black-painted fir.

Pictured on the left is the former cottage that's located on the north side of the house. It houses two bedrooms, a kitchenette, dining area, bathroom, and a mud room.

Pictured on the left is the former cottage that's located on the north side of the house. It houses two bedrooms, a kitchenette, dining area, bathroom, and a mud room.

The volume that extends toward the south of the site (to the right of the central volume) also contains two bedrooms.

The volume that extends toward the south of the site (to the right of the central volume) also contains two bedrooms.

"The building is made of wood, an obvious choice of material for a location this close to nature," explain the architects. "[It’s] an interpretation where simplicity, wood, and the relationship with the surrounding nature are at the heart of the architecture."

White-washed birch plywood has been used for the interior walls.

White-washed birch plywood has been used for the interior walls.

Large windows pulls views of the landscape indoors to create an immersive experience in the open-plan living spaces.

Large windows pulls views of the landscape indoors to create an immersive experience in the open-plan living spaces.

A small loft space sits above the living room and overlooks views of the forest and sea.

A small loft space sits above the living room and overlooks views of the forest and sea.

The house is organized in a T-shaped layout with the common areas located in the middle, while the private zones are placed at the far north and south ends. The open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen are housed in the central protruding volume that has been elevated on steel posts to mitigate changes in slope.

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Elevated on steel posts, the central volume and exterior deck project west toward the sea.

Elevated on steel posts, the central volume and exterior deck project west toward the sea.

The exterior decks are made of silicon-modified pine from OrganoWood.

The exterior decks are made of silicon-modified pine from OrganoWood.

This effect gives the impression that the house is hovering over the ground note the architects, and "creates a beautiful relationship between the building and the landscape, with its features of heather and rocks."

The floors throughout the home were built of Douglas fir. The window frames are made of pine.

The floors throughout the home were built of Douglas fir. The window frames are made of pine.

The timber decking that connects the existing cottage to the new volumes emphasizes indoor-outdoor living.

The timber decking that connects the existing cottage to the new volumes emphasizes indoor-outdoor living.

"The roof that connects the two volumes makes it possible to use the patio even when it rains or when the dew settles," note the architects. "This way the house is adapted for Swedish summer— it works in all kinds of weather."

"The roof that connects the two volumes makes it possible to use the patio even when it rains or when the dew settles," note the architects. "This way the house is adapted for Swedish summer— it works in all kinds of weather."

The home is accessed from the rear via a gravel path.

The home is accessed from the rear via a gravel path.

Summer house in the Stockholm archipelago floor plan.

Summer house in the Stockholm archipelago floor plan.

Summer house in the Stockholm archipelago section.

Summer house in the Stockholm archipelago section.

Summer house in the Stockholm archipelago site plan.

Summer house in the Stockholm archipelago site plan.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Kod Arkitekter / @kod_arkitekter

Landscape Design Company: Kod Arkitekter