When Willeke Makatita approached Gijsbert Schutten and Gijs Coumou of Liberte Tiny Houses, she had one very specific request: a compact dwelling that would let her simplify her life and live as close to nature as possible. "Willeke loves walking, camping, and bushcraft," Schutten says. "She asked for a home that would suit those passions."
Inspired by the dynamic qualities of the natural landscape, Schutten and Coumou developed a design that would let Willeke be immersed in nature. "When she first came to me, she had the idea of a Hobbit house in mind, something with rounded lines," Schutten says. "But as we talked, I learned that her main wish was a house with an organic shape, large windows, and lots of sunlight."
Schutten and Coumou thought about forms found in nature and the way sunlight shoots through treetops, creating a chiaroscuro effect of sun rays and shadows. "The shape of the house was inspired by the lines that appear when you carefully fold a leaf," he says. "And the window shutters give the effect of the way light scatters through the forest." On one side of the house, floor-to-ceiling glass walls make it seem as if there’s no boundary between the home and the natural surroundings. "Those big windows give an unobstructed view of the outside world," Schutten says. "You almost forget you’re inside."
Liberte Tiny Houses sided the exterior of the house with ThermoWood radiata pine and wrapped the interior in pine, too. "It gives a feeling of a cabin in the woods," Schutten says. Gray vinyl flooring that looks like concrete contrasts with the wood and lends an industrial aesthetic.
"All of the furniture is built-in," says Schutten, who designed a geometric bookshelf on the loft level and a table on the first level that folds out of the wall and can be used for dining or as a workspace. The living room displays a bench with wood storage and a salvaged tree stump.
"Willeke doesn't use chairs; she sits on the floor," Schutten says.