The Mill House by Gert Wingårdh
The Mill House is a combination guest-house and sauna designed by architect Gert Wingårdh. On the outside it is a simple cottage with a gabled roof and a big chimney, the archetype of a house as drawn by a young child. The inside, by contrast, is highly refined with superb detailing and craftsmanship. Every surface is treated as if it were fine furniture.
The 50 m2 (538 ft2) of floor area provides room for both the sauna and a comfortable living area on the ground floor. The architect clearly wasn’t trying for the most efficient floor plan: the sauna is reached by about the most circuitous route possible in such a small house. Perhaps the idea was to provide a sense of transition while heading to the sauna. Along the way, small porthole windows recessed into the thick masonry walls serve as beckoning lights at the ends of corridors.
The upper floor is cantilevered over the living room and kitchen leaving a gap at the wall. That gap is enough to provide a glimpse of the adjacent courtyard from the upstairs bedroom. As well, morning sunlight can bounce off the ceiling into the spaces below.
What really sets this small house apart is the landscaping. A stream runs along one side of the cottage, and there is a reflecting pool on the adjacent side. The walls on those sides are entirely glass so the water features can be enjoyed from inside as well. One of the keys to small house living is taking full advantage of the yard, creating outdoor rooms to supplement the inside space. Here the architect has provided a small pool for post-sauna dips, an outdoor dining area, and a terrace for lounging.
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Photographs courtesy of Wingårdhs.
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