A design by the homeowner himself, this house is meant as the ultimate expression of creativity and personal comfort for those living within. Volker Wiese initially completed a concept for his home after his previous residence was spoiled by a block of apartments built nearby which kept his gardens from getting sunlight, and he handed over his initial designs to Kaden Klingbeil Architekten to finalize and make a reality. The starting point for the house was a large piece of property in suburban Berlin, which was completely leveled to start over and allow Wiese to cultivate his own gardens on a large lawn without fear of interference in the future. The architecture of the home is centered on this large yard, with almost all of its windows surrounding a spacious multipurpose outdoor space at the rear, eventually leading to the grassy lawn. Only a single window, garage, and doorway break up the house on the front, truly focusing all living spaces on the property behind the building.
The home’s construction is of solid timber, wrapped in a contemporary material called HI-MACS which allows for tile-like finishes without the unevenness of stone or the shining glare of metal. Inside, wood accents and warm colors are key to making the house an inviting place to be. Though the dwelling appears closed-off from the street, once inside it has a very welcoming and comfortable mixture of modern design and traditional material choices. Two wood-burning fireplaces, one inside and one outside, share the same tall and thin chimney, which matches the height of a cylindrical roof over the second story. Public rooms are focused on the main floor of the largest wing, while private rooms overlook the lawn commandingly on the upper level, often with their own decks.
From the road, only a single second-story window gives any indication that building is a house, rather than simply a large contemporary industrial warehouse. The designer went to great lengths to ensure the privacy of his personal residence. Small square knobs extend from the facade in a pattern around the entire abode, adding visual interest to its facade.
The house is covered in a material called HI-MACS, which has many of the visual properties of a metal finish without the shine of aluminum or steel. This principally stone-based finish gives a smooth, tiled look to the outside of the dwelling, draped over a strong timber frame.
Every major room of the house overlooks a highly-landscaped outdoor space delimited by the edges of the building, which features many of its outdoor amenities. Additionally, the upper level of the house features a number of decks off private rooms and personal passageways, giving a number of options for outdoor activities.
The upper portion of the dwelling’s lawn, framed by its two wings, feature a large swimming pool, a koi pond, and a number of built-in garden boxes for leafy plants, flowers, and even the occasional tree. A small area of uninterrupted grass occupies the space between two wooden decks, next to one end of the pool.
A sliding glass window panel behind the residence’s living room allows the homeowners to access a lawn-level wooden deck, complete with a six-person metal dining table and built-in outdoor fireplace. To the right, the supplemental rooms of the home’s second wing feature plenty of views and outdoor access as well.
At night, when the interior lights of the house reveal its rooms to the patio beyond, you can truly see the differing personality of each space inside its walls. Every room has a unique set of hues and layout which defines it differently than the others.
By day, when neighbors are out and about, the house appears colder and more isolated than it does under the warm glow of its lights by night. When the most people are likely to pass by the dwelling, privacy is retained simply by diffusing inward gazes with darkened window frames and shadow-casting overhangs.
Beyond its patio and pool area, the home boasts a lawn larger than most full residential lots in Berlin. The fact that the residence was built on a piece of property previously occupied by much larger building means that plenty of space is left over for an urban gardener’s dream yard.
The thin chimney and curving roof crest compete for the honors of the tallest point of the structure, both finished in a darker grey tone than the rest of the house to help them stand out from the comparatively uniform white walls.
The separation of the house into two distinct wings is evident at the corner of its L-shaped plan, where the tall roof of each bedroom is briefly pushed inward, with only a small hallway connecting each wing on both floors.
The two plants in the corner between the home’s wings may seem like just a small garden installation, but they actually hide a small private deck off of the private bedrooms and living spaces of the upper floor.
The corner deck on the upper floor between the home’s two wings supplements a nearby indoor sitting area, perfect for private and peaceful activities which are both outdoors and isolated from the din and gaze of the city beyond.
On the street side next to a black-colored garage accessed through a hole in the property’s shrub wall, a single short flight of stairs leads to a relatively minimal entrance for such an impressive house, sunken modestly into its facade.
Accent lighting, tall window sections, and wood ceilings help to unite each room thematically, while differing color schemes and furniture shapes from room to room give each a distinct personality within those overarching themes. No room feels completely out of place, but no room feels completely the same as another.
Much of the appeal of the interior comes from its seamless use of aged and natural materials to form contemporary design elements and furniture shapes. The right-angled geometric fireplace here is finished in rust, while the glass-walled staircase is entirely made of smooth-cornered wood. The natural tones inside the building help to warm up the house visually, contributing to its comfortable and personal atmosphere.
In the kitchen, a blend of two materials dominates. The same wood used on the floors and ceilings composes the dining tabletop and shelving, while polished aluminum is the principal material for the counters and chairs. Open-faced display shelving, tall corner windows, and minimal cabinet design contribute to the modern yet warm vibe of the cooking and eating spaces.
An additional, more personal living space is provided on the upper level overlooking the patio area, in the form of a compact lounge area which takes up the window space next to the upstairs hallway.