the dune house

What better place to get away or if you're lucky, work remotely... This unusual Dune House has got our imagination flying with its homely warmth set in a tranquil and yet dramatic setting.



The outside of the house blends into the scenery, whilst the architects have channelled the interiors of a smart inner city loft indoors. The two perspectives marry perfectly in a unique getaway house with the possibilities of bringing together the natural world and modern world in at your whim.


The Dune House was inspired by the sand dunes that lay around it on Terschelling Island, one of the West Frisian Islands in Holland which edge the North Sea.  Marc Koehler Architects sunk the 'wooden diamond' into the sandy hills that looked out at the North Sea.

The local islanders are known for their resourcefulness, namely using materials washed ashore for construction. This is why most of the houses on the island are made of wood that has washed up from shipwrecks or mainland Europe. The island itself has very few trees and limited agriculture, so this resourceful approach has proved both necessary and sustainable.

The architects took into consideration the silhouette of traditional houses found on the island with a wooden-style turtle roof. However, the Dune House was put together using prefabricated wood panels designed on BIM software in Amsterdam and this allowed the house to be put up very quickly once the design was confirmed and the wood prepared.



Because the house is almost entirely made of wood, the architects faced challenges when it came to harnessing the solar energy from the panels on its roof and warming the house with its bio-fuel central heating system. The problem was the way wood conducts heat and how this could cause problems in structure (bending) and with comfort if unmonitored and uncontrolled temperature were to rise.

On the other hand, using the properties of wood smartly and controlling heat gains has reduced the use of other resources, and is such highly energy efficient. The architect tested and treated the wood panels to ensure they would be an asset to the house's comfort and sustainability before they were transported to the island ready to assemble.




The contemporary loft-like open interior space makes it cozy and inspiring all at once. We just love the way this hanging chair faces out through the windows. We can definitely see ourselves sitting cross-legged and breathing in the views for long silent moments. 

It has been shaped, sized and positioned in a specific way to make the most of the natural light and shelter from the elements that will keep it cosy and energy efficient. The designers also had to follow local requirements and wove these into the overall plans by partitioning different parts into separate rooms.



Every level has its own unique connection with the surrounding landscape and the architects have recreated the sense of walking on dunes through the gentle raising and fall of platform to platform in strategic areas. The spiralling corridor also connects the underground private spaces (bedrooms) with the living, dining and relaxing areas on the upper levels



The dune house is also deceptively spacious from within, long lounges and dining areas were made for sharing in groups, which is perfect if you have someone working away in one area and kids playing in another. We can see days of fruitful bliss barely removing out slippers in this unique Dutch retreat.



It's odd angles are quietly beautiful in the twilight with its reflective soft woods and the huge window wall creating an orange glow. We can just image coming back from a long walk or some beach fishing, our cheeks beaten by the cold North Sea winds and feeling welcomed by the mere sight of this home with our slippers waiting for us in the doorway.

You can see more about this house and the work of Marc Koehler Architects at


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