A Tiny Holiday Home in the Netherlands

i29 interior architects, an award-winning studio based in Ouder-Amstel, the Netherlands, places a special emphasis on brick and mortar experiences within the context of an increasingly virtual world.

Chris Collaris Architects, also based in Ouder-Amstel, is a studio focused on social responsibility, constantly examining how architecture — and those who practice it — can have the capacity to create a positive impact on the world.

The two firms combined their talents and expertise on a tiny holiday home in the pastoral setting of Vinkeveense plassen, and the result is a compact, modern structure that nabbed the prestigious title of ‘House of the Year’ at the 2019 Frame Awards.

The structure has a diminutive footprint at a mere 55 m2, and yet its clever layout gives it a luxuriously spacious feel. Designed for a family of four, it is comprised of a living room, a kitchen and dining room, three bedrooms, one bathroom (and two toilets), and a patio.

The home sits on an elongated island plot, close to a lake, and has been designed to offer views of the surrounding water. It has also been strategically oriented in relation to the sun, allowing plenty of natural light to filter through the large windows. The volume of the structure has been divided into four rectangular parts to make the most of this light, guiding it with precision into the interior spaces.

The exterior was designed as a sculptural entity, in such a way that its profile varies when viewed from different angles. This effect is aided by the use of minimal design work on each side of the exterior, as well invisible roof endings and window frames detailed behind the wood façade. These large windows, interspersed with sliding doors, can be fully opened, creating a continuity between interior spaces and the natural world.

Inside, the ceiling heights of the four individual volumes delineate separate living areas, with long sight lines outwards to the patio.

Furniture was custom made for the project. The design team opted for simple, natural materials in the integrated cabinets, walls, and façade, showcasing the beautiful grain of natural oak wood panels or staining them black to complement the rough pinewood of the exterior. According to the Chris Collaris website, the façades and the roof are made of HSB elements with high-quality insulation and a finish of preserved spruce boards. The floor is a polished concrete, a material that is continued outwards to the patio and terraces, further merging the indoor/outdoor living areas.

Ceilings are beam-staggered and painted white, creating bright, open spaces. The design language of each interior area is simple and streamlined; the real focal point is the world outside, with windows framing views of the surrounding trees and water like fine art.

Space-efficient choices were made throughout, with simple modifications to ensure that the structure is energy efficient and eco-friendly. V2com describes it as the “model example of a tiny house: smart, comfortable, but with no concessions to quality in both the interior and architectural design; small is beautiful.”

The bathroom shower and sink are entirely LG HI-MACS. We’re especially fond of the exterior shower head, blending in with the dark cladding; it’s the perfect place for a refreshing rinse on hot summer days.

There’s a lot to love about this tiny holiday home, which may be larger than other tiny homes we’ve seen, but it serves as a compact and efficient oasis, nonetheless. Our favourite detail, however, is its strategic positioning by the water; on calm days, when this body of water is still, the four rectangular volumes of the structure are mirrored on the surface in a breathtaking optical display of geometry and light.

If this gorgeous retreat has made you hungry for more modernist design tucked deep in the heart of nature, check out this cottage from CORE Architects.