When looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, there are few better options than a privately owned island. Spatial designer Aleksi Hautamäki and graphic designer Milla Selkimäki had this in mind while they searched Finland’s Archipelago National Park for the perfect location for a summer home. They found it in a five-acre island where they built an off-grid island cabin, complete with bedding for 10, a sauna, and a workshop.
Called Project Ö, which means ‘project island’ in Swedish, the cabins honour traditional Finnish architecture with gabled roofs, long eaves, extended gutters, and vertical cladding.
The goal was to provide all the necessities in the smallest space possible, resulting in a total size of just 70 square meters. Each building was designed to be long in order to include as many windows as possible to make the most of the stunning views and to draw in ample natural light. Together, the buildings house a modern kitchen, bedrooms, living room, bathroom, sauna, and workshop.
The timber structures on the island are completely self-sufficient, both by design and necessity since there is no central grid to connect to. Roof-mounted solar panels provide power and wood burning stoves provide heat and cooking options. Purified by reverse osmosis, water is sourced directly from the surrounding Baltic Sea for drinking, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. After use, greywater is treated with a natural leach system outside and black water is stored and emptied once each year.
Hot running water is heated as a by-product from the stove in the sauna and flooring is heated with the same system.
The Scandanavian colour palette and aesthetic is seen throughout the interior of this off-grid island cabin with pine used on almost every surface, with the walls, floors and some ceilings clad in the knotty planks. Timber furniture with clean lines and simple detailing is also in keeping with the notion of living a pared back existence. Acoustics were improved with ceiling paneling made from dried peat. Furnishings, fabrics, and colour selections speak to the simplicity of archipelago living, with muted greys echoing the rocky landscape.
The two cabins are separated by a covered walkway that doubles as a patio. The decking continues around both cabins for easy access to the outdoors and provides elevated seating for taking in the majestic scenery.
Hautamäki reflects on the project saying, “We think that the end result is highly successful. The buildings are well positioned on the grounds, creating a natural yard and areas for various activities. Their interiors are optimized for our needs and include nothing extraneous. The materials, colors and proportions match each other visually”.
Want to read about more inspiring homes like this? Check out our stories about sustainable architecture.
– Off-grid island cabin
– Small footprint
– Solar panels provide all the homes power needs
– Wood burning stoves provide heat and cooking options
– Water is sourced from the Baltic Sea and is purified by reverse osmosis for drinking, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets
– Greywater is treated with a natural leach system outside
– Black water is stored and emptied once each year
– Hot running water is heated as a by-product from the stove in the sauna and flooring is heated with the same system
– Extensive use of pine timber both inside and out
– Acoustic paneling made from dried peat
– Lit by expansive use of glazing
– Water views from all parts of the property
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.