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Frisian Style: An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea

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Frisian Style: An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea

September 22, 2017

Noted recently: A former hay loft in a farmhouse on the small island of Föhr (technically belonging to the Nordfriesland district of Germany) in the North Sea. Architects Karin Matz of Sweden and Francesco Di Gregorio of Italy took their cues from traditional Frisian style: think shades of blue, a nod to nautical design (that comes from the island’s history as a center of navigation in the 17th century), wood-lined rooms, and small, dark bedrooms called “bed boxes” that feel distinctly like ships’ cabins. Here’s their modern take.

Photography courtesy of Francesco Di Gregorio.

Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea The farmhouse is in the traditional Frisian style, thatched roof included.
Above: The farmhouse is in the traditional Frisian style, thatched roof included.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea The duo started by taking down most of the interior walls to create a long, open kitchen/dining/living space, divided by a rope lined staircase and lined in light wood.
Above: The duo started by taking down most of the interior walls to create a long, open kitchen/dining/living space, divided by a rope-lined staircase and lined in light wood.

Inspired by the blue and white Frisian tiles traditional on the island, the designers installed a statement-making update (on a budget): 3,200 simple white tiles with holes hand-drilled (by the architects and the client), allowing powder blue cement to show through and create a pattern of dots. “It becomes the central wall going through and unifying the space,” the architects say.

Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea The small kitchen features pale wood cabinets with open under counter shelving on one end.
Above: The small kitchen features pale wood cabinets with open under-counter shelving on one end.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea The light filled dining area.
Above: The light-filled dining area.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea In an effort to keep the space open—and with a nod to maritime design—the staircase is bordered by 500 meters (\1,640 feet) of blue polypropylene rope. (For more like this, see Netscapes: 9 Stairwells with Nautical Enclosures and Rails.)
Above: In an effort to keep the space open—and with a nod to maritime design—the staircase is bordered by 500 meters (1,640 feet) of blue polypropylene rope. (For more like this, see Netscapes: 9 Stairwells with Nautical Enclosures and Rails.)
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea Translucent doors lead from the living area to the small interior bed boxes, and make the most of the natural light that comes in through the slanted roof.
Above: Translucent doors lead from the living area to the small interior bed boxes, and make the most of the natural light that comes in through the slanted roof.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea In the living area, the color palette evokes the building&#8\2\17;s history as a hay loft.
Above: In the living area, the color palette evokes the building’s history as a hay loft.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea The bright living area, beams included. Look carefully on the tiled wall and you can see the small punch out window that lets light in to one of the bed boxes.
Above: The bright living area, beams included. Look carefully on the tiled wall and you can see the small punch-out window that lets light in to one of the bed boxes.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea The entry to one of the bed boxes.
Above: The entry to one of the bed boxes.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea Inspired by Frisian bed boxes that are &#8\2\20;small, dark, and all the same size,&#8\2\2\1; the bedrooms have wood paneled floors, ceilings, and walls, all painted blue. They&#8\2\17;re &#8\2\20;private, like nests,&#8\2\2\1; the architects say. (For more on ship inspired wood paneling, see Remodeling \10\1: The Ultimate Wood Paneling Guide with Jersey Ice Cream Co.)
Above: Inspired by Frisian bed boxes that are “small, dark, and all the same size,” the bedrooms have wood-paneled floors, ceilings, and walls, all painted blue. They’re “private, like nests,” the architects say. (For more on ship-inspired wood paneling, see Remodeling 101: The Ultimate Wood Paneling Guide with Jersey Ice Cream Co.)
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea Though the bed boxes are small and intentionally dark, windows let in natural light during the day. Even the corner sconce is painted blue.
Above: Though the bed boxes are small and intentionally dark, windows let in natural light during the day. Even the corner sconce is painted blue.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea Built in shelves and cabinets under the bed add storage to the small space.
Above: Built-in shelves and cabinets under the bed add storage to the small space.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea A twin bed box, with a small cutout window looking to the living area outside.
Above: A twin bed box, with a small cutout window looking to the living area outside.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea A window in the eaves. (For more of our favorite blue paints, see Palette & Paints: Coastline Inspired Blues.
Above: A window in the eaves. (For more of our favorite blue paints, see Palette & Paints: Coastline-Inspired Blues.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea Frisian charm: A window cut into the thatched roof.
Above: Frisian charm: A window cut into the thatched roof.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea In the evening.
Above: In the evening.
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea Despite its quiet landscape, the island is exposed to the elements and at the mercy of the sea: &#8\2\20;Föhr is very much in the hands of natural forces,&#8\2\2\1; the architects say. &#8\2\20;The area has a big tide. When the water is low you walk over to other islands. To protect the island, manmade grass walls surrounds half of the island.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: Despite its quiet landscape, the island is exposed to the elements and at the mercy of the sea: “Föhr is very much in the hands of natural forces,” the architects say. “The area has a big tide. When the water is low you walk over to other islands. To protect the island, manmade grass walls surrounds half of the island.”
Frisian Style An Otherworldly Former Hay Loft Transformed in the North Sea A beach, in fog.
Above: A beach, in fog.

N.B. The home is available to rent; see Urlaubs Architektur for more.

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