A 182-Square-Foot Tiny Home in the Netherlands Is Shaped Like a Leaf
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A 182-Square-Foot Tiny Home in the Netherlands Is Shaped Like a Leaf

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By Laura Mauk
Nature dictates the shape and materials of this Dutch cabin in the woods.

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." 

The angled tiny house is tied to the landscape through expansive windows. Its distinct shape recalls a folded leaf—a nod to the homeowner’s love of nature.

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls blur the boundary between inside and out.

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."

The large windows help to flood the tiny home with plenty 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."

The sizable windows facilitate cinematic views of the natural landscape. A salvaged tree stump serves as a stool in the open-plan living room, where vinyl flooring that mimics concrete lends an industrial quality to the design.

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.

The rear facade is clad in pine that's punctuated by elongated shutters that create the effect of sunlight being filtered through treetops.

The vertical pine siding on the exterior references the texture and form of tree trunks in the woods.

"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. 

Wood storage lies beneath a built-in plywood bench in the living area. "The fireplace is a Fintan Woodstove," Schutten says. "It’s small and efficient. Most woodstoves are too big for a tiny house."

At the foot of the sleeping loft is an angled  bookshelf that's inset into the wall. 

A small, built-in table flips up from a plywood wall in the kitchen and can be used for dining or as a desk.

"The bookshelves reflect the angular shape of the house," Schutten says.

"Willeke doesn't use chairs; she sits on the floor," Schutten says.

The client Willeke Makatita sits on the deck outside the living room and takes in the woods.

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