These Mirrored Forest Cottages in Ukraine Reflect the Great Outdoors
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These Mirrored Forest Cottages in Ukraine Reflect the Great Outdoors

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By Marissa Hermanson
Located in Ukraine’s Poltava region, these new guesthouses are camouflaged by their surroundings—and the architects didn’t uproot any trees during their construction.

These contemporary guest cottages in Sosnivka, Ukraine, were designed with seclusion in mind. "When creating a new type of guesthouse for Verholy Relax Park, we were tasked with designing more pronounced personal areas compared to the existing room types," say designers Volodymyr Nepyivoda and Dmytro Bonesko of YOD Design Lab. "Solitude, with an emphasis on asceticism." 

The windows are highly reflective, creating a mirror of the forest.

The cottages were designed to wrap around an outdoor terrace.

Completed earlier this year, the 860-square-foot cottages are cozy, yet they have plenty of space to accommodate families and groups with two bedrooms, one bath, and an open, flowing outdoor living space.

The interiors are restrained with an organic color and material palette, letting views of the great outdoors take center stage.

In lieu of a traditional foundation, the houses were installed on geo-screws. By perching the structures on a screw base, the designers were able to save the root systems of the surrounding trees in the forest, and in turn prevent them from getting cut down. The cottages are also elevated a meter off the ground, so they’re safe from floods.

Deftly integrated into the forest, the houses maximize outdoor living with a terrace—comprised of larch plates—that invites guests to further connect with nature. 

In the bedroom, a gray cotton upholstered headboard grounds the bed, and veneered oak plywood walls serve as a backdrop.

The dwellings are meticulously arranged so that each one peers into the forest and not into another building in the complex. The architects wanted guests to wake up and see pine trees first thing in the morning.

Each window is intentionally placed to create a portal into the woods. "Guests find themselves fully immersed in a forest—rested and relaxed, thanks to solitude and the most intimate connection with nature," the designers say.

In the foyer, a long corridor connects both indoor spaces.

Windows play an integral role in the guesthouses’ design, as they are highly reflective to mirror the great outdoors and create a camouflaged exterior.

"The idea was for the houses to be as integrated as possible into the surrounding forest and reflect the beauty of the forest," say the designers. "In the daytime, the houses are even difficult to notice among the trees! Thanks to this decision, people inside the homes are not visible through the glass walls in the daytime, so this adds privacy."

The narrow strips of alder that encase the exterior mimic the textured bark of the surrounding pine trees. 

Constructed out of lightweight metal frames, the structures are clad in heat-treated plates made from solid alder, and Thermowood decks hug the exterior.

The guest cottage interiors are intentionally understated, with an organic color palette and materials that echo the natural surroundings. The floors are tiled and water-heated so they are warm underfoot, and the walls are covered with veneered oak plywood. To continue to bring the great outdoors in, the walls and floors are tiled with a "tree effect." 

A Thermowood deck is enclosed with hot-rolled metal railings. 

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