Things have been a little hectic of late (hence the overdue blog) and now Mr W and I are co-habiting again. A novelty which I am sure will soon wear off for us both. Long story short he’s been diagnosed with diabetes and is under hospital supervision until his glucose levels can be stabilised with insulin. So all his business travel has been cancelled and I’m playing nurse. I did manage a couple of trips before his diagnosis though which provided some interesting sight seeing for an interior designer.
First stop Rotterdam to see an old school friend who took us to see the cube houses designed by architect Piet Blom. There are 39 in Rotterdam, each tilted 45 degrees and resting on a hexagon shaped pylon. They were built in 1977 and his design is supposed to represent a village within a city, where each house represents a tree, and all the houses together, a forest. One has been maintained as a museum and getting inside is a challenge in itself as the stairs are steep, narrow and windy. Once you’re in the views from the windows almost induce vertigo as you feel like you’re facing the ground below. But the biggest challenge with these houses must be furnishing them, your only real options being flat packed or custom made. My verdict? Interesting and worth a visit but I’m a bit of a space utilisation freak so they left this interior designer twitching…
Next stop Norway. Hurtiguten run a fleet of cargo/passenger ferry/cruise ships along the coast from Bergen to Kirkenes. They sail non-stop and dock everywhere to load and unload passengers and goods. Its a great way to see the coastline, and at this time of year also the Northern lights. We boarded halfway in Tromso and sailed to Kirkenes and back. At Kirkenes we visited the snow hotel as an add on to a husky dog sledding excursion. Now I’ve seen a snow hotel all romantic notions of staying in one have disappeared. The rooms are freezing, the air is damp, there’s little privacy and the bathrooms are down an icy corridor. I don’t know what I was expecting but perhaps a little more decor, and the only signs of any interior design are the ice carvings on the walls. My verdict? Worth a nosy if you’re in the vicinity but unless your Bear Grylls I’d avoid an overnighter….
So these places left me pondering about other challenging interior design jobs. Here’s some I’d like to get my teeth into….
1. Possibly the smallest house in London. Only 188 sq ft which is one fifth the size of an average new build. Only one bedroom and unsurprisingly open plan living space. It sold recently for £275k which will prompt much sucking in of breath from my northern friends…You’d need a sparse wardrobe and be a fan of eBooks, digital music and movie streaming to live here. And check out the bathroom – I’ve seen bigger on boats.
2. Most definitely the least private house in the world. This 914 sq ft house built by Sou Fujimoto Architects is definitely only a home for exhibitionists as it’s completely transparent. Apparently it was inspired by our ancient predecessors who inhabited trees. Once I’d got past the bathroom issue my next thought was how have they hidden all the plumbing and electrics?
3. A very eco-friendly house. Located in France is a bio-climatic solar house that has been designed as a three-dimensional sundial which keeps the temperature cool in summer and warm the rest of the year. I’m not sure I could live in a temperature controlled glass box though. I’d get very little sleep in the summer as there don’t appear to be any window dressings and I’d definitely want to get a window cleaner.
4. A house with a view. Not a penthouse or a mobile home but a rotating house. It took the 73yr old builder more than 20 years to complete this house in the Czech Republic but what an invention. He said he built it because he got bored building ordinary houses. The lower level is a swimming pool, the house moves up and down by flipping a switch, and it can rotate 180 degrees, albeit manually. When the house is submerged it maintains a stable temperature year round making it energy efficient too. The round walls would present a bit of an interior design challenge furniture wise but I love it – imagine being able to change your view when you wanted to.
Much as I like the rotating house my dream home is still one that overlooks water, but Holly Cottage fits the bill for now