When an urban couple decided to build an affordable tiny house outside the city as a retreat from their busy lives, they found a site in the Stockholm archipelago and called on architect David Lookofsky of Lookofsky Architecture.
Lookofsky took one look at his clients’ wondrous site—marked by towering pine trees, rocky cliffs, and cinematic views of the Baltic Sea—and decided he would reuse the existing foundation and not build beyond it, conserving both the construction budget and as much of the natural terrain as possible.
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The cost and the landscape informed Lookofsky’s choice for the construction materials, too.
"The majority of the house was done in low-budget materials such as construction plywood and concrete," says the architect, who clad the exterior and the interior walls with pine plywood. Lookofsky maintained the raw finish of the pine for the interior, but painted the exterior walls a brilliant shade of red. "All of the exterior details were done monochromatically for a uniform and distilled expression that references the traditional red Swedish houses in the area," he says. "Using a similar logic, the inside of the house is clad completely in [unfinished] pine, adding warmth to the concrete floors and referencing the tall pine trees outside."
Lookofsky also took a simple approach when he organized the floor plan and placed the living area across from a kitchenette, a bedroom, and a bath. He employed an asymmetric gabled roof that allows for built-in bunk beds, also constructed from pine, in the bedroom. "Small houses need to be designed simply with few architectural features so that they maintain a sense of clarity," the architect says.
Throughout the house, carefully placed windows frame views of pine trees and the sea. "The varying window placements, along with the asymmetric roof, give the house a playful expression that’s in tune with the unpretentious nature of the project and the site," Lookofsky says. "And inside, the window frames are hidden in order to blur the boundary between the interior and the outdoors."
In celebration of the pine that wraps around almost the entire house, the architect nicknamed his design "the monochrome house." It’s a name that also references the entirely red exterior of the home, which is in tune with the houses round it. "The neighboring houses are older red wooden ones," says Lookofsky, whose design takes on a much more contemporary aesthetic than a traditional one. "I wanted this house to both stand out and fit in," he says.