A modern villa hides in Soulac-sur-Mer's peaceful pine forests

A minimalist wooden villa in the French west coast is inspired by Modernist houses and Brazilian architecture, explains its architect, Paris based Nicolas Dahan

house with glass windows in woods
This family home in Soulac-sur-Mer is set in a pine forest
(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

Nestled within a pine forest in Soulac-sur-Mer, not far from Bordeaux in the west of France, sits this elegant timber home. Designed by Paris based architect Nicolas Dahan, the house is a 250 sq m family retreat, created as a ‘space to live and move within the pine forest', explains Dahan.

With that in mind, the architect set out to compose a space that is in constant dialogue with its natural surroundings. Large openings and floor-to-ceiling glass expanses allow for wide views out towards the trees, merging seamlessly indoors and outdoors when windows are open and the living room transforms into a covered terrace.  

The structure was built using advanced timber engineering techniques to allow for purity in the material's use and a unified design approach everywhere, from ceilings to floors and from main living spaces to smaller rooms.

house exterior with trees

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

Working with nature did not just include the pine and oak trees immediately surrounding the house. ‘The ocean, though not visible, is so close that the sound of the surf rhythms the day. Nature runs through the bedrooms and the living room. The house is built where the air flows,' says Dahan. 

Okoume wood flooring and larch ceiling beams line the interior, two distinct features that are highlighted especially in the large, open plan living space that occupies about half of the house's footprint. Five bedrooms and three bedrooms are placed in the volume's other end, tucked away behind smooth wood panels. 

‘The main inspiration for the space stems from the single-story American villa, and the floor and the ceiling require engineering skills developed by John Lautner’s vision for open architecture,' says the architect, who also credits the use of light found in Brazilian villas as another key influence in his design.

Soulac-sur-Mer villa, France

Nestled within a pine forest in Soulac-sur-Mer, not far from Bordeaux in the west of France, sits this elegant timber structure. Designed by Paris based architect Nicolas Dahan, the retreat is a 250 sq m family bolthole, created as a ‘space to live and move within the pine forest’, explains Dahan. With that in mind, the architect set out to compose a space that is in constant dialogue with its natural surroundings. Large openings and floor-to-ceiling glass expanses allow for wide views out towards the trees, merging seamlessly indoors and outdoors when windows are open and the living room transforms into a covered terrace. The ocean is so close, you can hear the waves. 

wooden house with glass windows


(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

house exterior with bedroom

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

wooden house interior

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

wooden kitchen area

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

wooden dining area

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

wooden house exterior

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

wooden living room with sofa set

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

bedroom with grey curtains

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

wooden bedroom with curtains

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

bathroom with bathtub and washbasin

(Image credit: Vincent Leroux)

INFORMATION

nicolasdahan.fr (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).

With contributions from