Sheds, backyard offices and garden houses all add an extra bit of comfort and enjoyment to our natural spaces; sometimes they are almost like an extension of our homes. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the oddball to the futuristic.
In Utrecht, this fetching new garden house was built out of wood, on top of the foundation of an old structure, and features a full wall of shutters that can open up to an peaceful outdoor view.
Designed by Dutch firm Zecc Architecten, in collaboration with interior designer Roel van Norel, this modern re-interpretation of the "archetypal cottage" in the garden measures 40 square meters (430 square feet) in total.
One of the first things that strikes the visitor is the asymmetrical profile, which plays on the classic gabled roof form. The side that can be fully shuttered and closed or completely open, also has the more generous overhang; the rear, not so much. The result is something interesting to look at, as seen from its front facade, which features a mix of glass and steel and French door entry.
Inside, the open plan concept is organized in an efficient way: the rear wall hosts a series of built-in oak cabinets that seamlessly incorporate storage, stove, kitchen counter and even a woodstove, all in one place, thus opening up the rest of the space.
Dining and sleeping areas are located at opposite ends of the house. The bedroom can be closed off by using sliding partitions that are hidden in the rear wall. Beside the sleeping area is the bathroom, which has its various functions of toilet, shower and sink split up and compartmentalized to make them fit in the scheme of the all-in-one rear wall. Above the bed is another loft, to be potentially used as extra storage space or as a place for guests to stay.
The shutters are built in a way that they can still let light in when closed, while offering more privacy.
There is an intriguing play between open and closed, transparent and opaque going on in this deceptively simple but well-detailed house. We also like how the rear wall has absorbed so many functions into it (reminding us of this transformer apartment), thus liberating a lot more space and maximizing a small footprint. More over at Zecc Architecten and Roel van Norel.