A Barn Turned Into a Contemporary Retreat

Many of us have dreamt of building a simple home in a wild countryside somewhere in order to live in tune with nature, but Labor 13 Architecture has made that dream a reality for one lucky family. A young family was looking for a peaceful, rural getaway and so those chose architectural studio Labor 13 to design and build A Simple Rustic Retreat In The Czech Countryside. The result of this rustic retreat project is simply amazing.

The Conceptual Object project in Vernerice is an experimental home which is constructed almost entirely out of recycled materials. In addition to leaving only a small footprint in virtually the middle of nowhere, this tiny rustic home remains completely open to the surrounding landscape. Once part of a farm, the chosen property held the remains of a large barn which had decayed to the point that only small portions of the original stone walls were still intact. The family insisted their new home be a basic but comfortable tiny house that could be built at minimal cost using only local materials.

The home, which was placed inside the remnants of the old barn (whose walls now form a semi-enclosed courtyard) is a simple rectangle with a shed roof hidden behind parapet walls. It has five “gates” on the southern side that completely open to the landscape surrounding them. When the gates are closed, the many windows admit adequate daylight. Eventually, the plan is for the home to be solar-powered. Inside the tiny home, which has both the look and feel of a log cabin, the floor plan is open and fitted with simple finishes. The interior is minimally furnished to allow maximum open space. Each of the specific areas are really designed around and focus on the gates which, when open, display a stunning view.

As requested by the owners, the tiny log home was constructed using only locally milled wood and other recycled materials including boards and timbers left behind by the old barn. The cabin is almost entirely off-grid with a well and septic system and when the photovoltaic panels are installed, they will also be self-sufficient for electricity.

This house represents a marriage between many different movements, including the small house movement, sustainable architecture and off-the-grid living. All of which advocates living simply from the land. Off the grid is a term used to describe homes which are autonomous, meaning they do not rely on municipal utility services for things like water supply, sewer, electricity and natural gas. A true off-grid home is able to operate completely independently. Meanwhile, sustainable architecture, also known as green architecture, seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings through efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space.

It uses a conscious approach to energy and ecological conservation in the design of the built environment. The idea of sustainability is to ensure that our actions today do not inhibit the opportunities of our future generations. Thus, by taking an old barn and reclaiming materials in order to create a small space that is in harmony with its natural surroundings and can be entirely self-sufficient, this young family in the Czech Countryside have done what many others of us only dream about doing. Not only is this A Simple Rustic Retreat, but it is also a beautiful example of how we can make dwellings fit in with our landscapes.

More about this story can be found at: Labor 13

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