20th December 2013

A few weeks ago I featured a minimal black and white timber house on Copperline: crisp white inside, warmed by the furnishings in black, dark grey and natural wood, and with black painted pine cladding on the exterior. I didn’t think I’d find something else where this monochromatic palette was used to achieve an even more streamlined and pared back effect, but this house in Virrat in Finland really is, simply, black and white.

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The internal walls and ceilings are clad in spruce with pine on the floor, and both have been treated with a Wood Wax Finish in white from Osmo. The furniture, including the kitchen, combines the palest of timber with white. Colour is provided by the flames of the woodburning Scan stoves.


The Four-cornered Villa was designed by architects Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen of Avanto Architects, who created a floor plan in the shape of a cross in order to frame different views of the forest and water on all four sides. The house was conceived as the ultimate wilderness getaway: surrounded by nature, there’s no running water, no central heating, and only limited electricity provided by the sun. A sauna is located in a separate building.


The house is well insulated and is warmed by the wood used in the stoves, resulting in a carbon neutral home. The dark exterior means that the building disappears when viewed from the nearby Vaskivesi Lake.


Given that Hara and Puustinen are based in Helsinki, arriving here offers a complete change of lifestyle away from the noise and buzz of the city, and reorientated towards nature. Can you imagine escaping here, or is this a step too far? For me, there’s something very beautiful and serene in this simplicity.

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For more photos and plans see this feature on ArchDaily. Additional information from this feature on Remodelista. Photography by Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield of Kuvio.