July 15, 2024

Tour a Studio Oink–Designed Holiday House on the Baltic Sea

For her holiday home in Germany, less than half a mile from the Baltic Sea, Susanne Burghardt had it all planned out, down to the vegetation. “We had been dreaming about a house at the sea with an apple tree in the garden for a very long time,” she says.

Over the course of many years, she had devised an ideal itinerary (that makes our knees weak) for getaways: weekends of sauna-ing, evenings by the fireplace, and plenty of time to surf and cook. The same laser focus was applied to the house: A central room would need to be spacious, daylight should enter from all directions, the inside and outside should merge into one, and sustainable living features would need to be woven throughout.

It was a tall order, but one made easier when they saw an article about an eco-friendly vacation home community called Meerleben, situated right on the shores of the Baltic Sea. As part of the “building cooperative,” they were allowed to personalize the design so long as they worked within the flexible, Patric Meier–designed layout designated by the developer.

So thankfully, Suzanne’s lofty vision was not too much trouble to implement. Wood insulation and a mud wall for thermal energy storage brought it up to her energy standards. And for the interiors, one visit to design firm Studio Oink in Leipzig, where she hit it off with husband-and-wife duo Lea Korzeczek and Matthias Hiller, paved the way. “We knew immediately that Studio Oink’s design completely met our expectations in terms of clarity of shape and the vitality of materials,” she says.

By focusing on the main hub of recreational activity where the kitchen, dining area, and living space converge, Lea and Matthias played up the spontaneous, improvisational flow of family life on vacation. With just enough color (think petal pink and baby blue) and an expansive stretch of blond hardwood floors, the result is a palette cleanser, stripped down and serene. “The most important piece of art is the nature which surrounds the house,” says the Studio Oink team. “For a holiday home, it’s such a gift to have the freedom to choose just a few furniture items and let nature speak. ”

Here’s how they made magic without making a mess:

Don’t shrug off the textiles. One-of-a-kind fabrics can elevate even the most spartan of rooms. “We are delighted to have been able to source handwoven seating upholstery and blankets from textile artisan Katja Stelz, who has her studio in a nearby village,” says Susanne.

Get creative with natural finishes. Slate and concrete, neutral-hued materials, make the indoor-outdoor transition seamless – even if your home isn’t a stone’s throw from the Baltic Sea. Thin porcelain tiles designed to look like Corten Steel (by Grespania, a Spanish company) line the backsplash.

Eliminate visual clutter by sticking to one wood tone. “We wanted light wood furniture for the whole house,” Susanne says. As a tiny, tucked-away bedroom shows, the solid wash of color adds cohesion, making tight quarters feel bigger than they are.

Ladders are your new storage strategy. Forget the closet. Toss your blankets and cardigans onto a ladder. “If a wooden ladder can underline and accentuate a space,” says the Studio Oink team, “it’s a perfect solution for us. ” Further bedroom storage, built out under the windows, doubles as a bench.

Relax – a little mess is okay. Don’t get too precious hiding tchotchkes and whatnot. Even in such a minimal space, the Studio Oink team wanted the overall feel to be “friendly and open to people. ” “No one should have the feeling to be in a museum or a white cube, where nothing can be touched. ”

Invest in something on your design bucket list. While it might seem like an extravagance, saunas are actually common for holiday homes in Germany – even if they have to be tiny to fit. “A sauna inside the house has been a long-held dream,” Susanne says, “and after long planning, we did find a space for the sauna – small, but big enough to fit two people. ”

Use the island as a room divider. “We knew from previous holiday home experiences that nobody wants to withdraw to the kitchen to cook while all the others enjoy themselves in the garden,” explains Susanne. A matte-black island pulls double-duty: part prep and storage space, part organic divider that doesn’t close off the room.

Buy tools you can put on display. When renovating or decorating, take inventory of your stuff. An edited collection of essentials that you use every day, like olive oil and spices, can be set out on open shelves within arm’s reach. Stash the rest away.

Don’t block out your natural light. For the sake of privacy, Studio Oink prefers airy and unobtrusive white curtains: “They generate a soft and wide atmosphere. ” All the better to show off the light wood floors – soaped and leached, as is the custom in Scandinavia.

Outside, embrace the existing landscape. Turn your house into a study of contrasts. “We envisaged a low building, dark on the outside with a green roof, nestled in the southern hillside,” says Susanne, “and inside, a complete contrast – all light. ”

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