Couple buy their own island and build two stunning off-grid cabins
Finnish designers Aleksi Hautamäki and Milla Selkimaki have recently completed the first stage of their two stage island project. Dubbed Project Ö, the duo have successfully built two off-grid cabins on their very own private island. They spent five years searching for the ideal island, and when the opportunity arose to purchase the 200 m by 100 m (656 ft by 328 ft) triangular island, located at the edge of the Archipelago National Park in Southwest Finland, they jumped at the chance.
“After 5 years of intensive searching, a perfect little island is found,” says Hautamäki and Selkimaki. “The island itself is completely untouched and intact, there has never been any habitation. It's allowed to build 400 sq m [4,305 sq ft] on the island with strict rules on the dimensions from the shoreline and between the buildings.”
In order to work with the rocky conditions of the landscape and the strict building rules, the couple came up with an initial design for two self-sustaining timber dwellings that incorporate comfortable interior and outdoor living zones, a sauna and a workshop.
The design features a 45-sq m (484-sq ft) guest house, complete with living area, kitchen, master bedroom, traditional Finnish sauna, wash room and an additional exterior living space equipped with outdoor kitchen and dining. The adjacent building features a 25-sq m (269-sq ft) workshop, boasting a compact technical shed at one end and an impressive workshop with ample storage at the other. The structure also incorporates an outdoor space, which can be used to extend the work zone or provide access for larger machinery if needed.
Both structures are built with a hidden timber frame and are clad with vertical timber panels. Wooden decking allows the buildings to sit amid the rocky landscape and access to the dwellings is via a series of wooden steps and walkways. The hidden timber frame allowed for more flexibility with the interior walling and overall interior design.
“Timber frame is hidden and will always be clad over with another material, which means it gives countless options on how to cover the walls,” says Hautamäki and Selkimaki.
Due to the remote location, the cabins needed to be 100 percent self-sufficient, therefore roof-top solar panels were included to power the homes. Six 260-watt solar panels, coupled with eight 605 Ah (6 V) batteries, allows a constant supply to the homes. As a backup, a combustion engine generator was installed, which is programmed to start whenever the battery level drops below a certain level.
The homes include a SolaRO MIni 150 water filtration system, which allows 100 liters (26.4 gal) of water per hour to be purified from the Baltic sea. The filtered water is used for all water needs on the island. Hot running water is produced by the sauna's stove, which also provides heating to the floors throughout the two cabins.
Currently the Project Ö cabins can accommodate up to 10 people and boast simple interiors that have been kept minimal and functional, with the main living zone designed around a large black wood-burning stove. Large floor-to-ceiling glass windows throughout both cabins provide endless views of the untouched surrounding landscape and sea.
The next stage of Project Ö is planned for the coming years, and will see the completion of the main house, which will be built on the middle claw of the island. The video below has more.
Source: Project Ö via Designboom
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No wonder it took them FIVE years to find one that suited them! At least in winter, and they get a lot of it in Finland, they'll be able to go for long walks to the other islands;-) The disadvantage would include, it's a damn long way to shop for food or anything! The building style is pretty common to the area, given the abundance of pine forests, and given their remoteness, nobody is likely to find their buildings a problem. They may have wood burning stoves, but from my own experience it takes a LOT of wood to heat through the winter, and Finnish winters are probably some of the longest in Europe, so they'll be needing some big deliveries of firewood. It needs to be kept dry so where will they store it? I dont see anything that looks like a firewood storage shelter. As for their solar panels, they are likely to be covered in snow, frequently, so the projected power production could be halved, at least. I think their generator will get a lot of use, so frequent or abundant deliveries of fuel for that. I do hope they've thought all this out and are prepared, or they could have to abandon their idyllic retreat in midwinter.
I'd like to know how the foundations work... and how they handle foul water (ie sewage). It seems very odd that they have all that roof area and are not using t for PV and instead relying on a stinky generator. If they use wood (no shortage of that and carbon-neutral) for space heating, cooking and water heating then I suppose they might just about get away with such a small array... Not wildly convenient, though, especially in their older years.