A Tiny Cabin in Rural Sweden Pops With Red Pinewood
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A Tiny Cabin in Rural Sweden Pops With Red Pinewood

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By Laura Mauk
A couple’s 269-square-foot getaway features a crimson exterior and an unfinished pine plywood interior.

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. 

Red-painted pinewood wraps around the exterior of a tiny house that sits on a slope overlooking the Baltic Sea in the Stockholm archipelago.

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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."

Strategically placed windows and doors open the red-painted pine plywood house to the outdoors and frame views of the landscape.

The interior walls of the living room, crafted from unfinished pine plywood, contrast with the cool gray of the concrete floors. 

A window in the sloped ceiling helps flood the living room—where creative shelves create shadow box-like vignettes—with natural light. 

Wide-set window sills provide a ledge on which to sit and view the pine trees that dot the shoreline of the Baltic Sea.

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. 

Lookofsky outfitted the bedroom with built-in pine plywood bunkbeds, walls, and a ceiling. The bathroom and a closet are also wrapped in plywood.

A glass wall separates the toilet area and offsets an unfinished pine plywood wall in the bathroom.

In the bathroom, the unfinished pine plywood of a partial wall counters the ceramic tile of the backsplash.

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." 

Lookofsky placed a trio of windows on the side elevation of the house that frame views of the natural surroundings.

Tall pine trees and rocky terrain create a rugged feeling for the tiny house, which ties to its landscape.

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.

Lookofsky painted the exterior of the house a bright red tone that pays tribute to the other red, more traditional, houses in the area.

The sloping terrain, rocks, and pine trees inspired the architect to use the footprint of the house that existed previously on the site. 

An asymmetrical roof lends character and a contemporary note to the red-painted tiny house.