When I was thinking about how this blog was changing – away from design to more personal posts about coastal living and some of our favourite places to explore and walk – I wasn’t sure how to integrate design into this format. Would it jar? Possibly. But some design led posts still feel like they fit here, and particularly when you combine contemporary architecture with a sustainable ethos and a striking coastal location, as with Majamaja, which is situated just outside Helsinki.
I have a list of blog posts that I’ve been meaning to share, but sometimes you spot something randomly, and it seems to fit the mood of whatever you’ve been thinking about, right? The Mountain Refuge caught my eye when scrolling on Dezeen last week (you can see Dezeen’s feature here) for a few reasons. Like most people, we haven’t had a chance to escape this year, and ‘escape’ for us usually means going some place quiet, away from people, and spending a week or so just connected with nature. And this year, my desire for a more remote lifestyle has really kicked in. (I’m guessing that I’m not alone in this.) As we’ve grown more accustomed to being away from people, I’ve realised that this is how I’d like to live. Find me some place remote, by the sea, with a great broadband connection (the tricky bit), and I’ll be there. You can dream, right?
It feels as if spring has shifted into summer this week, even though we’re still in May. The biggest challenge of our home in summer is the temperature. We face south-east at the back where there’s a glass-roofed conservatory that’s our dining room, and as this is open to the kitchen and the sitting room there’s really no way of preventing this heat from just …. seeping everywhere. If you’re someone who really enjoys warmth, you’d love this set up. If, like me, you really can’t handle heat and enjoy cooler days, you’d be dreaming of escaping to a house that was well ventilated, with extensive glazing in the right places (not on the roof in other words), and open plan living where every space feels comfortable all year round.
I seem to have settled into a habit of late night scrolling on Pinterest, usually just before I pop my phone onto airplane and head to bed, but first I’ll tap open Pinterest for a quick browse – you know, five minutes, not a moment longer – and half an hour later I’m still there because I’ve happened across a timber-clad house and that’s led me to lots of other timber-clad houses, and then I’m sucked into a Pinterest vortex of timber cabins. Which is what happened here, when I came across Villa Rauhanniemi, the beautiful vacation home of Joanna Laajisto, the creative talent behind the Finnish architecture practice Studio Joanna Laajisto. Before going any further, can we take a second to appreciate this combo of herringbone brick floor and timber panelling below? Gorgeous.
So hello again. It’s been a while. Of all the things that I imagined might draw me back here to blog again, a global pandemic wasn’t one of them. But look at how much our lives have changed in a few short weeks. Short weeks that feel so much longer. Two weekends back we were in Fife visiting Cambo Estate; having a bite of lunch in their café and walking in the walled garden; visiting the glasshouses before winding through the woodland with its carpet of snowdrops. We walked along Kingsbarns beach in the low, late afternoon light, enjoying the peace and emptiness of the scene. Two weeks ago, we couldn’t even have imagined the rules of social distancing; friends losing all their work and closing the doors to their businesses, unsure of when they might open again. A country in lockdown with all the restrictions this brings. A world in crisis.
You know when you spot something that’s just so good that you have to share it? Well, this lakeside timber cabin in rural Victoria, Australia, offered one of those moments when I spotted it on Dezeen. I love compact architecture, and I’m always drawn to natural materials. And, I guess, I dream about one day having a retreat, a place to escape to. And this cabin answers all of that – albeit on the other side of the globe. Continue Reading…