There is so much creativity incorporated into the design of D House both inside and out and yet the home blends seamlessly within the banks of the estuary that it sits on. Located in Brittany, France and designed by Iode Architecture, this waterfront home is a creative expression of modern, rustic and contemporary elements all wrapped up in a house of contrasts.
Even the site is both sloped and flat and the architects took advantage of this duality by cocooning the private rooms within the slope and exposing the social zone to the surrounding views via walls of operable glazings that can be slid and stacked out of the way for the much sought after indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
When the weather permits and the windows are open, the continuation of the stone tiles into the outdoor zone blurs the line between the interior and the exterior even further, adding to the duality of the home.
With the water’s edge so close by the outdoor connectivity was extremely important, how awesome is it to be out on the water, pull you kayak back up to you home and walk inside without even opening a door?!
As much as the indoor-outdoor connectivity and the combination of wood with glass offers a sense of duality to the home, so too does the juxtaposition of machine cut wood with living edge wood. The straight sections of wood create both a shade and privacy screen to the 2nd storey decks and windows while the living edge wood planks that cover the rest of the 2nd volume helps disguise the structure within its surrounding landscape.
Leaving both the machined and the living edge wood unfinished so that it can age gracefully into a soft silvery grey patina further enhances the merging of home with landscape.
The disappearing act of the building becomes obvious when viewed from the water.
Up close, the camouflaging effect of the surrounding stone tiles as well as the glass and wood walls also allows the home to settle comfortable into its surroundings, letting the view of the trees and water beyond become the focal point.
Even at night when all the lights are on the ability to see through and past the home keeps the landscape up front and personal.
by covering the stairs leading up to the entry with the same tiles used on the main level flooring, the slope change is barely noticeable from a distance.
The entry is positioned up against the concrete retaining wall against the slope and unusually, rather then being glass the two doors are solid masses tonally matched to the concrete.
The entry leads directly into the kitchen with the dining room to the left and a closet within the slope to the right.
Two of the windowed sections overlooking the kitchen and dining room feature rows of wood shelving in front of them.
The light for the dining area comes from a stunning pendant that incorporates extra long cables pinned to the ceiling with a haphazard aesthetic to create serious drama in the otherwise calm geometric surroundings. In complete contrast to this wild and wonderful moment, light for the kitchen comes from a large geometric void within the ceiling and a row of evenly spaced pendants over the island.
Additional light comes from the row of clerestory windows positioned above the slope on the concrete retaining wall. The dark void within the wall is an entrance alcove that leads to the first of the two bathrooms on this level.
The artistic installation of backless shelving within the center of the building is actually the stairwell balustrade. The way the dark, steel shelf supports are staggered is such a fantastic artistic expression that for me it would be a shame to put any mementos or books on it.
Just past the stairwell is another creative masterpiece in the shape of a fireplace. The upper white chimney volume takes on the vertical shape of the horizontal void within the ceiling and appears completely separate from the fire pit below. This disconnection eliminates what would otherwise be a large continuous obstruction to the views beyond – really well done.
The void in the living room ceiling creates a visual connection with the upstairs terrace.
The terrace has a wall of glazings that look down into the living room.
A second light installation over the sofa in the living room adds another abstract moment that has been complimented by the oversized vintage looking but completely modern Anglepoise floor lamp.
Adding to the contrasts and the geometry is the way the concrete retaining wall turns the corner and slices through one section of glazing creating two similar sized triangular sections of transparency and mass.
the second washroom on the main floor is right behind the stairwell volume. It is tucked into the slope and a large storage room also within the slope is accessed through its end wall.
The shelving / sculptural installation that is the balustrade allows both the views and natural light to flood the stairwell.
Once upstairs the flooring changes from tile to wood and the walls convert from glass to drywall while a hallway connects two master suites with one extra bedroom.
Unlike the hallway, all the bedrooms are painted a dark grey offering a dusky aesthetic to create a relaxing and sleep-inducing atmosphere.
This bedroom features both a wood floor and ceiling while the master suite over the living room is carpeted for an extra layer of soundproofing.
The master suite over the kitchen has its own terrace that looks down on the kitchen as well as over the embankment. It is the same layout as the 2nd master suite over the living room and only the foliage and the flooring determines which is which from this vantage point.
The machined wood that surround the terrace seems to be creating a sentinel watch over the landscape as the tree canopies reaches towards it.
The master suite over the living room continues the wood floor through its closet and ensuite, but the bedroom area is covered with champagne colored carpeting. Here, a window covered in wood louvers overlooks the treed slope behind the home.
While the window overlooks the trees, the views from the terrace are all about the waterscape.
When on the terrace there is also a view to the social zone below.
The two master suites have identical floor plans within the bedroom and terrace, its only when you look at the closets and bathrooms that things change and while the bedroom with the ocean view terrace has the better views, the other master suite has the larger bathroom and closet area. So which do you prefer – bathroom and closet or terrace view?
Photography by Daaniel Moulinet