Interior design for contemporary living in the shell of traditional timber log house.  (…)

Not far from Lake Ladoga, on the bank of the river Chernaya Rechka (Black River), there was an estate of impressive size, with a farm, a garden and kitchen gardens. The client, who had fallen in love with this untouched place and is very fond of the traditional rural life-style, asked the architect to build a house in a style with light touches of the Provencal rural spirit.

The gentle flowing of the river seen through the picture window in the drawing room gives a feeling of peace and calm.
The apparently undemanding simplicity of the rural life style cannot be stylised in a mechanical way. The personal, family context calls up fond images from the memory; coloured with episodes reflected upon and brought to mind many times. The picturesque rustic style, giving the wooden surfaces a certain degree of ruggedness, arouses pleasant associations, full of romanticism.

The stucco facades of the house have borrowed elements typical of southern Europe. The corbels are made of glue-bonded mahogany.
The low ceilings suggest the influence of a French village. The rural setting has a nostalgic attraction, enchanting in its naivety.

Black River House. Saint-Petersburg. 2008

In Repino, a health resort suburb of St Petersburg on the banks of the Finnish Gulf of the Baltic Sea, a house with a grass roof has been constructed. This solution was prompted by the desire to avoid damage to the environment and the need to increase the size of the living area of the log house which already existed on the site in a way which would not be out of keeping with its Finnish architecture.

The curved natural forms of the building help to incorporate it into the existing landscape with the greatest flexibility. Not a single tree was sacrificed. The elegant curved vestibule is adorned by an ornamented stucco dome. The complex space of the drawing room, positioned under a vaulted earth roof, is filled with light entering through various window openings This creates the atmosphere of a modern home with elements of a traditional Russian country estate. A tree enclosed in glass in the interior fits in naturally and picturesquely with the forest theme of this magical place, celebrated by the artist Ilya Repin, who used to live here.

The structure of the building, made from a reinforced concrete shell, is camouflaged on the exterior with turf, while its interior is lined with wood. The long, winding corridor, positioned in the solid ground, has an upper lighting opening at the side, which follows the vaulted ceiling and passes into the rooms through bent glass frames, serving as additional interior background lighting. The ceiling, rising along the parabola of the roof, makes the room feel more airy.

The skill of the specialist joiners and masons who carefully executed the curves designed by the architects deserves special mention.

The high-quality drama of life-style, expressed in the architectural formulae, shows that the owners of this house are unusual and free-spirited people, sophisticated and experienced, with an appreciation of art and culture. Paying great attention to detail has led to extreme fastidiousness. When fastidiousness becomes a habit, it makes life itself a work of art.

Green Roof House. Private House. Saint-Petersburg. 2007

The small additions to the facades of the standard log house gave it bigger linkage with the historical landscape of Repino village, the former Kuokkala. The staircase to the upper floor is hidden behind the considerable fireplace in wood.

Log House. Saint-Petersburg. 2005
Summerhouse. Private House. Saint-Petersburg. 2003
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