THE DUNE HOUSE
Sometimes a ‘staycation’ can be just what the doctor ordered. A weekend away, with our without the kids, and a change of scenery can be a real breath of fresh air. But forget dingy B&B’s or grotty caravan parks, the UK has SO much more to offer, including some outstanding architectural gems that will set any design-lover’s heart a-flutter. For those of you looking for a little luxury closer to home, then this week’s peek inside the Dune House with photographer Anushé Low and her family could be just up your street.
DESTINATION: Thorpeness, Suffolk
WHERE TO STAY
We went for a winter long weekend to the gorgeous ‘Dune House’ which is nestled in amongst the rolling dunes on an idyllic part of the Suffolk coast. The house is designed by Norwegian architects Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects in a way that really takes in it’s stunning beachside location. The ground floor living, dining and kitchen area is completely glazed all around it’s entire perimeter to create a strong inside/outside relationship whilst the first floor feels more cacooned in black timber boarding with strategically placed large window openings that almost feel like paintings perfectly framing the incredible North sea, beach and grassy dune views beyond. Although there is such a large amount of glass, it’s incredibly well insulated and very warm inside and has a central fireplace at it’s heart. Finishes include beautiful polished concrete floors and timber-clad walls. All the bedrooms are en suite and each one has it’s own free-standing bath. The Dune house sleeps up to 9 people.
The Dune House is one of a series of stunning pieces of architecture commissioned by an organisation called ‘Living Architecture’ who were set up 5 years ago to combine UK holiday rentals with remarkable pieces of modern architecture so that ordinary people can experience extraordinary buildings by actually staying in them. My savvy sister-in-law Flora discovered Living Architecture a few years ago and the Dune House was her second experience of booking with them. Due to the high demand, she had actually booked it well over a year before our long weekend there in November! We were luckily invited along with her and her sister and family to experience this stunning piece of architecture. My husband is a talented architect too and runs his own practice and I myself am also a qualified architect so we were in ‘architecture heaven’ the whole weekend!
WHAT TO DO
We went on this weekend to spend time with our close family and kids whilst experiencing a fantastic piece of architecture so we were very happy simply spending a lot of time enjoying the house itself and it’s surroundings. It was a November weekend so winter had set in – a perfect excuse to cook lovely roasts in the fully kitted-out kitchen complete with my favourite Milele appliances! Evenings were spent enjoying glasses of wine and some quality ‘adult’ time catching up in front of the crackling fire whilst the kids slept upstairs. We also had long walks on the beach and dunes during the day.
WHAT TO TAKE
Usually a weekend away in a private house involves packing bedsheets, duvets and towels – one of the great things about staying at any of the Living Architecture houses is that they are a bit like hotels: all the beds are made up in crisp white sheets and lovely fluffy towels are provided and included in the cost! This is great as car journeys with little ones usually means you can’t see out the rear window for the amount of stuff in the boot!
I woudl certainly visit again but I’d also like to experience some of the other houses commissioned by Living Architecture designed by some of my favourite architects including MVRDV, FAT, John Pawson and Peter Zumthor.