A Modern Finnish Villa That Grows Out of a Seaside Cliff

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By Jonathan Simcoe / Published by Dwell
Helsinki-based architecture studio Mer Arkkitehdit nestles a monochromatic villa among the trees in the 19th-century seaside town of Hanko, Finland.

In the late 19th century, when Finland was still a Grand Duchy under Russia, Hanko was a popular place of retreat for the Russian nobility. A string of winding beaches are lined by weathered pine forests and large seaside villas like Stormvillan by Mer Arkkitehdit.

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The residence is situated right in the center of Hanko's historic villa district, enjoying sweeping views of the dramatic Southern Finnish coastline.

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Stormvillan's expansive main floor opens outward in three directions, offering different ways to experience the majestic space.

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First, the living room creates a long view out to sea, welcoming guests with a beautiful and unique suspended fireplace—floods of natural light creating a light, expansive feeling.

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Secondly, the lounge moves west, creating an ideal space to take in epic sunsets across the dining terrace.

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The master bedroom takes in the juniper trees and wind-swept pines of the surrounding cliff that Stormvillan stands on.

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Stormvillan neighbors the classic Parkvillan, designed by Theodor Höijer, one of the most significant Finnish architects of the 19th century.

The home's ground floor cuts straight into the rock, which is sometimes masterfully exposed, and guests enter the sweeping villa from the beach level.

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Upon entrance, visitors are guided through a narrow hallway with a glazed wall facing the revealed bedrock. 

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At the very end of the ground floor is a room with two walls of bare bedrock—the wine cellar.

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A carpet clad staircase leads up to the main floor with lattice wood detail on the left and tall, white piping that create a symmetrical texture and effect while navigating the stairs.

The exterior of Stormvillan is clad in spruce paneling, painted with traditional linseed oil, as are the other surrounding 19th-century villas. The zinc roof helps the structure blend seamlessly into the coastal hues of the Finnish sky.

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