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A highly unconventional compact home

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
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This wild and unexpected home is located in the rural Bavarian region of Germany, a part of the world renowned for its iconic structures steeped in history and tradition – and this particular structure is in no way a part of that tradition! The boundaries are being pushed, both inside and out, as this structure offers a highly unique, blocky black exterior and some wacky, spontaneous angles and niches within.

The owners of the home wanted to live a more alternative lifestyle and to explore the limits of home design. A compact home is a natural choice, as it has a small footprint on the Earth's resources and its small space limits encourage innovation in structure and layout. The owners called upon the architects firm Hofgut Hafnerleiten for help with their ambitious project. The finished product: a sleek, sustainable compact home that's anything but conventional!

First Glance: A Mirage

The first glance at this contemporary structure will have you questioning whether you're imagining things, as its flat appearance looks almost two-dimensional as you approach the house (now that's compact). Vertical black timber comprises the exterior of the home, creating a stunning, stark contrast to the lightly vegetated Bavarian countryside. And speaking of countryside, you can observe the interesting, ultra reflective window that acts as an intentional mirror for the surrounding countryside. The result is an exterior wall that appears to be decorated with a framed photo of the greenery that it faces.

Despite its unconventional use of materials, the home's architectural form is classically restrained, refined to look similar to the familiar structure of a traditional barn found in the region (notice how the structure incorporates a gable roof, a play on the region's proud built form).

Long, Uniform Lines

The repetition of any basic element – be it a line, a colour, a word, or a shape – can turn even the most mundane object into a thoughtful work of art. Here, the architects apply this theory in full, with a solid structure of black, black, and more black, comprised of panels, panels, and more panels. This long, uniform structure resembles a corn shed, where corn is stored for drying out over the winter. This look is exaggerated by the slats that create micro separations between the panels, reminiscent of the airy slats in a farmhouse corn shed.

On this long side of the home, another window-slash-mirror frames a lovely view of the Bavarian meadow beyond.

Looking for more inspiration for homes that reflect nature? Have a look at this ideabook featuring a tour of an eco-friendly home that's one with nature.

An Ever-Changing Picture

Some houses have solid, boring walls built for function – this home has solid, interesting walls built for style. A close-up of this window pane shows just how reflective it is, affording an ever-changing view of the landscape depending on your angle. Yet another reason to stand and stare at this wacky, unexpected home!

Playful Dog House

The addition of the mini-house (a dog house) is almost laughable. The architects have done a clever experiment with size – when they could have chosen any style or structure for the dog house, they purposefully chose to make an exact replica of the home. This tiny structure is a playful mimicry of the its bigger twin, and the juxtaposition of both sizes will almost make you believe that both are really just children's toys, set up beside one another in an imaginative set. For some reason, you expect to see a tiny person – instead of a dog – strolling out from its mini-door, a thought that brings humor to this pitch-black home.

Leading to both the mini-house and the big one, unstained, local timber provides a simple palette that contrasts against the stark black of the building. 

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom features strong architectural geometries, with the primary focus of the space being the expansive, square window directly next to the bed. The four square sections of the bed further complement this geometrical theme. While some may prefer a darker spot (or some very heavy curtains) for hitting the snooze button in the morning, for a couple that's looking for a more alternative lifestyle, this bright window provides plenty of morning motivation to get out of bed and start the day with a walk through the woods. The placement of the bed directly against the window saves space (and in a compact home, this is important) while also stealing an infinity look from one of those elegant, placid swimming pools that appear to glide off into the horizon.

More Squares

The living room features more straight lines and squarish looks, in a sharply angled sofa and rectangular protruding shelf above. The light colour of this room is completely opposite the colour of the outside of the home, acting as a light, spacious surprise (and, in effect, creating a colour scheme similar to an Oreo sandwich cookie).

Spacious Living Room

Who would have thought that all of this space existed within such a compact home? From the outside, it was difficult to get a sense of scale (and the architects create further confusion about size with the playful placement identical dog house, seen above).  This is not what most people imagine when they think of a compact home – here, a stove reaches to the high ceiling, offering heat for the spacious living room, and a long hallway draws eyes to the impressive length of the home. 

In keeping with the black-on-the-outside, light-on-the-inside theme, the floor offers up a black colour, creating the appearance of a smooth black surface that blankets the entirety of the home – even the very bottom.

Unexpected Bathroom

Can you remember a time when you saw a bathroom similar to this one? In this innovative design, a bathroom enjoys ample sunshine while maintaining an enclosed, sauna-like feel. A bath in this tub would be positively heavenly, with beams of light streaming in at a picturesque angle, and nothing to distract from the warm, smooth walls.

Yet Another Mimicry

As if the dog house weren't enough, the architects have added another playful mimicry of the home's simple structure with this interior, enclosed loft that closely resembles the outside in shape and colour.  With this loft, they've created a very open ground floor with plenty of height – this compact home feels anything but compact.

Another wood-burning stove is placed in this end of the room – combined with the stove in the opposite end, these eco-friendly heating options will keep the temperature balanced throughout the home, even in the Bavarian winter.

Streamlined Kitchen

In such a lengthy, narrow home, a long, narrow kitchen is very appropriate. Windows above the counter are an interesting addition, as they don't provide natural light – instead, they provide views into the living space on the other side of the wall. Yet again, the architects play with scale, creating the notion of a home within a home.

There you have it: a compact home that pushes the boundaries with bold, unforeseen style. This structure is convenient and eco-friendly, and it also plays artistically with color, size, and scale!

If you're interested in learning more about farmhouse-inspired structures like this barn-shaped home, check out this ideabook about a rustic barn that's transformed into a modern country home.

What do you think about this eco-friendly country home? Share your insight below!
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