How Embracing the Outdoors and Creative Spaces Makes this Tiny House Feel Anything but Small

Mingled with foliage at the lake’s edge in the small region of Vinkeveen, Netherlands, Tiny Holiday Home’s stained black exterior has a distinct, almost sculptural appearance. This home was designed by i29 interior architects and Chris Collaris to comfortably accommodate a family of four. Its footprint maximises the use of its compact 55 square meters and the surrounding natural environment. Beyond a focus on functionality, the team aims to create spaces with “strong identities that speak loud and clear in order to attract, energise and inspire people.”


Known for its crystalline lakes, the Vinkeveen region of the Netherlands plays its role as holiday host beautifully. The Tiny Holiday Home’s use of natural materials and focus on eco-friendliness and clever design gives it a refreshing, open, and airy feel that blurs the lines between inside and out.

We took a seat with the i29 team to get to the process behind the design. In true collaborative spirit, i29 asked us to quote as, like Tiny Holiday Home itself, a team effort.

The Plus: Many tiny homes take a standard rectangular shape and use shared space to function as multiple rooms. Yours is quite different, appearing to be a combination of independent blocks which can be combined. Tell us about how you came to choose this structure?
i29 interior architects:
Since our allowed footprint for the building was only 55 m2, we were looking for ways to enlarge the building by merging the inside and outside. By placing four volumes around one patio, the enclosed outside space became one with the interiors. Each volume has its own function – kitchen, living, sleeping, dining etc.


TP: How was the design of the Tiny Holiday Home, both aesthetic and functional, inspired by its surroundings? Which other inspirations did you have in mind?
Functionally the elongated plot allowed for a strategic position in relation to the incoming daylight and views from inside outwards. Aesthetically, in all of our work, we aim to create spaces with strong identities that speak loud and clear in order to attract, energise and inspire people. A sculptural series of black volumes in the middle of nature is at one hand a huge contrast but at the same time the inside and outside are completely merged. 


TP: Tell us about how you designed and oriented this house to take maximum advantage of the sunlight and nature all around.
We positioned the volumes in an optimum way to have spectacular views to the surrounding water and nature. All volumes have big windows or sliding doors which can be opened completely to fully merge the inside with the outside. The patio is a perfect spot for hot summer days, as this has shadow all day long.


TP: What inspired your choice of materials and of a simple colour palette, including the dark-stained exterior?
The blackened timber is a sustainable facade cladding, which needs low maintenance. The black wood also stands out in the lush green environment of the Vinkeveense Plassen. As we aimed for a design in which the interior and exterior fluidly comes together, the black wood is also used inside for bespoke cabinets and kitchen. The same goes for the polished concrete floor, which is continuously going from the inside out. In our work, we often limit our choice of materials to shape clarity and balance as a good basis for their end users.


TP: How do you envision this tiny home being used and enjoyed?
The location is pretty close to Amsterdam, yet still in the middle of nature. We envision the future habitants riding to their holiday home after work and enjoy their tiny yet luxurious house in the middle of nature. The area is a series of islands in a huge lake, so they most likely will swim a lot, perhaps take a boat tour and, of course, enjoy their new house.


TP: What inspired you to create a Tiny Holiday Home, and what do you think of the growing tiny home phenomenon?
The plot was bought by our client with only a small old shed on the land. They asked us to create a house that is designed from the inside out, in order to use every cm2. Bespoke cabinets are seamlessly integrated within the architecture and the other way around. Building restrictions allowed us only 55 m2 footprint to build on. By a smart arrangement of volumes around the patio, this area feels like it’s part of the living area yet it is outside. The tiny home phenomenon is a trend we can only support. Luxury does not mean automatically big… and small can be beautiful!  Of course, building small also means less waste, less building materials, smart use of energy. 


TP: The Tiny Holiday Home is both efficient and distinctly artistic. How do you see the intersection between functionality and sculptural work?
In our work we always find the big idea design solution in which everything comes together on a conceptual level, in function, aesthetically and custom designed to the end user. We like to play with volumes and surfaces on an abstract level, where there is no difference between a facade and a kitchen front, in this tiny home case.

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