The Two-Faced Home

Roland Bull Roland Bull
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Set amongst an idyllic, Austrian landscape this lovely cottage is the creation of Viennese architecture firm Backraum Architektur, whose design premise incorporates the use of natural materials to reflect the surrounding environment.

Attention to detail is the name of the game with simple but stunning finishes achieved by resurrecting traditional craftsmanship, producing a sequence of sleek lines that blend together and effuse an air of understated sophistication. 

The charred timber exterior is a prime example of a traditional technique used to add character to the home with the practical effect of sealing the wood from the elements. The pale underside of the timber has been retained throughout the interior in order to infuse warmth and light within the living quarters.

The result is a chic but rustic cottage leaning sturdily on the hillside with stunning views of the surrounding lake and forest. The perfect locale to escape the bustle of city living and indulge in the serenity of the countryside for a relaxing getaway.

Idyllic setting

The cottage is nestled amidst country greenery, augmented by the calm of the neighbouring Thurnberger Reservoir. Summer in the area brings plenty of visitors to the water for a refreshing dip, with the cottage taking prime position lakeside—very convenient for family fun in the sun!

During the cooler months the cosy interior provides all the necessary comfort for an autumn or winter getaway in which avid hikers can explore the countryside before rewarding themselves with a hot bath and a relax in front of the fire.

Strong foundations

To support the cottage structure on the relatively steep hillside the architects chose a concrete foundation, which is heated internally to provide warmth throughout the home when needed.

The muted colour of the concrete highlights the charred wood of the cabin walls, with the entire structure blending beautifully with the surrounding greenery rather than imposing itself on the natural landscape.

Playing with perspective

From this perspective the home could almost be teetering precariously towards the lake. Buoyed by the strength and security of the concrete foundation, Backraum decided to play with the visual appeal of the home from various angles. From this end the architects have hinted at the illusion of floatation as the cottage juts proudly over the lush, green grass and into the empty space beyond. 

Also notable also from this angle is the lack of windows on the back wall, with glass panels strategically placed to capitalise on the warmth of sunrise and sunset but to avoid introducing an unnecessary chill from areas of the home not benefiting from direct sunlight.

Country charm

Upon entering the cottage we are immediately enveloped in rustic, homely charm. Wood panelled walls emulate the surrounding forest, with the smooth, glossy finish adding a comforting touch. The concrete floor houses internal heating to warm the space during the colder months and furnishings have been kept simple and sleek, in keeping with notions of traditional, country living.

Rustic sophistication

Moving through to the dining room and, whilst the rustic wooden finishes of the interior have been retained, they have been offset by contemporary touches such as the sculptural, black light hanging above the dining table. 

This stark but sophisticated creation juts out at all angles, providing 360 degree ambience, not only within the living and dining areas but also filtering up to the mezzanine level. Touches of black throughout the space add a colour contrast and tie in beautifully with the charred exterior.

Communal living areas

This perspective lends greater insight into the openness of the cottage interior with kitchen, dining and living areas combining to create a relaxed, communal feel. The expansive window elevates the room as natural light bounces and plays upon the pale wooden finishes and bursts of green flow into the space through the glazed glass.

Furnishings are sparse, simple and moveable so that the inhabitants can arrange the space as they choose. Relaxing with a book in front of the fire, enjoying the view of the natural surroundings or feasting at the sturdy dining table are all options in this cosy cottage.

Mezzanine getaway

Anyone who wants a small break from communal living has a treat in store with a stunning mezzanine level built into this blissful cottage. 

A short walk up the stairs lies a daybed drenched in sun from the overhead windows. It's the perfect spot to disappear for an afternoon nap only to be woken by the delicious aromas of a hearty meal wafting up from the kitchen below.

Room with a view

The sleeping quarters have been built into the concrete foundation of the home, providing a sense of support and security and a lovely view of the hill and forest outside. Tucked between wooden walls, the master bedroom is completely enclosed, lit only by subtle overhead lamps and the sunlight flowing through the large, glazed window. 

The window not only provides a lovely view of the surrounding hillside but allows for a gentle wake up call as the morning sun filters into the space.

Bathing and sleeping

Across from the inviting bedroom is a rustic but elegant bathtub, nestled snuggly into a corresponding niche. A small window perched atop the back wall provides ventilation for escaping steam while the central sink balances the room with simple practicality. 

The bathtub and bed combination are no accident—this floor of the house has been designed with supreme relaxation in mind, with occupants able to wrap themselves up in warmth and comfort right through the cold, Austrian winter.

For more ideas about rustic, country living have a look at: How do I create a rustic look?

Would this country cottage be your ideal getaway location? Tell us why below!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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