Exclusive longhouse in the heart of the countryside
In woodlands south of Randers in East Jutland sits a home in a class of its own. The Nordic Barnhouse Project was conceived by the designer and architect Bruno Jakobsen – who lives in the house with his family. A great deal of care has gone into the floor plan and the choice of materials, and the design solution Troldtekt line is key to the new Nordic look.
A newly built longhouse in exclusive materials, in the new Nordic style and with untamed nature extending all the way up to the patio – combined with panoramic views of the surrounding woods. This is where the designer and architect Bruno Jakobsen lives with his wife Dorte and their two children, 14-year-old Silje and 11-year-old Tristan.
Bruno Jakobsen designed the house himself, and channelled his energies into creating the perfect floor plan, a wealth of fine details and an interesting interplay between the various materials. One of his previous projects was the family summerhouse on Mols – Sølvhuset, or ‘Silver House’ – which is also designed as a longhouse. The summerhouse became a springboard for the design of a brand-new home designed and built according to the same principles.
“A house shaped like a longhouse has a number of unique properties, especially when it is surrounded by nature. Thanks to the highly transparent architecture, no matter where you are in the house, you can enjoy the same views. We discovered this with Sølvhuset, and decided that we really wanted to live like this all the time,” says Bruno Jakobsen.
Goodbye residential district
The family moved from a modern architect-designed single-family house in a well-established residential district – quintessentially Danish, as Bruno Jakobsen describes it.
“It was nice while it lasted, but suddenly we grew tired of lawns and privet hedges. Now we have a patio all the way around the house, and beyond that just woodland. It’s fantastic.”
Bruno Jakobsen stumbled upon a woodland plot that was being put up for sale by an 84-year-old architect, but with the proviso that the seller had to approve what was going to be built. In addition, municipal regulations banned any construction in the area. However, a dispensation had been granted for this particular plot. The retired architect’s only comment on seeing Bruno Jakobsen’s plans was that he could not have done a better job himself – which in effect was the green light for the family’s new home.
Part of nature
On the site there are three structures – a 180-square-metre house, a 56-square-metre design studio and a 128-square-metre workshop. There is also an orangery. Each structure is staggered with 7.5 metres between them, and the central structure is made of glass.
“The materials are characterised by their verticality, to blend in with the surrounding trees. The laws of nature reign supremely out here. Even along the edge of the patio, vertical lines have been created by cutting the wood to short lengths.
Inside the house, there is a section for the parents at one end and another section for the children at the other. Between the two and at the heart of the house are the kitchen, sitting room and dining area.
Bruno Jakobsen terms the style ‘new Nordic’, which is stringent and modern, yet still warm and personal.
“I always think about the details, and am always searching for the perfect floor plan. Once I’ve decided on that, everything else simply falls into place. When people commission an architect to design a house for them, once the exterior design is complete, the architect is usually out of the picture. However, that still leaves the interior, and this is really my forte – creating a sense of continuity with regard to the materials and how they’re mixed and matched,” says Bruno Jakobsen.
He always works with three or four key materials.
“Imagine an ordinary house with typical floors, walls and ceilings. In order to create the right atmosphere, you need to work with a number of recurring elements, and quite often they are simply missing. On the other hand, if this is the approach that has been taken, you will find that the recurring materials create a warm and personal space, and a home which does not come across as being brand new, but somewhere that has been occupied for a long time.
Bruno Jakobsen has chosen Italian natural stone tiles for the floor, as they last for ever – and never go out of fashion. The walls are made of Douglas fir instead of white plasterboard, with there being only a few white walls. In addition, fixtures are integrated – and are also intended to last a lifetime.
Homely feel with black ceilings
The last recurring material is the black Troldtekt acoustic panels. The choice fell on the design solution Troldtekt line which, with its longitudinal grooves extending across the entire ceiling surface, adds a visually calm look. As the house is more than six metres tall and has many hard materials such as glass and concrete, effective sound absorption was paramount. The choice of Troldtekt was planned from the beginning, says Bruno Jakobsen.
“Back when we designed our summerhouse, we discovered that black-painted Troldtekt panels produce a special ambience – they create an inviting atmosphere by tying everything together. Often, it can take ages to create a sense of hygge, but the colour black actually contributes to a homely feel. Consequently, I nearly always incorporate black acoustic ceilings in my solutions for clients, because the ceiling is such an important element in the overall project.”
“For us, being surrounded by nature means everything, and the orangery is our best investment ever. However, on a daily basis it’s the Troldtekt ceiling we appreciate the most. The acoustic ceiling ensures an air of calm throughout the 37-metre-long house. Everyone who visits us notices the quietness. Instead of indoor racket, it’s the sounds of nature we hear.”
- Bruno Jakobsen, designer and architect, has been running his own design studio for 16 years, and now specialises in residential architecture and wooden houses. In woodlands between Randers and Aarhus, he has designed the family home and his design studio on the same plot.
- He also designed the family’s summerhouse, Sølvhuset, also in the longhouse style.
- The house is attracting a huge amount of interest, and @thenordicbarnhouseproject has more than 15,000 followers on Instagram.