Lode Architects’ modest new structure near Honfleur blends a down-at-heel agricultural aesthetic with serene craftsmanship. Located on the site of a former barn - from which it draws its compact 12 x 4.5m dimensions - the pitched roof, wooden-boarded house creates a familiar silhouette. Inside, however, it’s far from rough and ready.
Click here to see images of the house, inside and out
Jérôme Vinçon of Lode Architects abandoned conventional planning in favour of something a little more elemental for this weekend retreat. All functions are placed at the heart of the structure, starting with the galley kitchen, set in front of large French windows, opening out onto a wooden deck for al fresco dining. Behind that is a narrow stair, which in turn shields the WC and shower area.
At each end of the ground floor is a large square window, an uncluttered expanse of glass that perfectly frames the meadow outside. A minimal dining area, containing two lightweight benches and a dining table, is balanced by a generous living/bathing area, replete with free-standing bathtub. The stairs lead up to an open plan sleeping area in the eaves, divided up by a simple curtain. We also like the balustrades, created from hard-wearing industrial netting, attached to the floor and ceiling.
Described as a ‘deluxe shed’ by the architects, this modest project is a masterpiece of detailing. The plywood-clad interior is warm and inviting, while each window wall is painted black to create a stark contrast with the verdant views. The ground floor is black rubber throughout, while the sleeping area has rubber mats, similar to those found in martial arts clubs, helping to keep the noise down.
The deliberately unkempt exterior landscape, high insulation and single wood-burning stove keep the cabin’s environmental footprint to a minimum (although remotely operated fan heaters can be set via telephone to warm the space up as the owners approach). Despite its undeniable simplicity, that decadent tub-with-a-view ensures the owners always know they’re far from urban crowds.