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Forget Cozy Cottages: Dune Cabin is a Gritty, Minimalist Getaway

Åke Eson Lindman / Arch Daily

A beach house in the sandy dunes, just steps from the water. It’s a dream vacation home for many. And when we think of the location for that dream beach home, tropical places like Hawaii, Belize, or Cabo come to mind. But Sweden has its own sandy dunes, perfect for a secluded cabin. Tucked away in a tiny fishing village on Gotland Island is The Dune Cabin, a private getaway in a country known more for its quaint villages than its beaches.

Gotland is a unique place. As Sweden’s largest island, it is completely surrounded by the Baltic Sea. This results in a marine climate with mild seasons controlled by winds coming in off of the sea. With comfortable temperatures and little rain, the island makes an ideal place to build a holiday home.

Located on the east coast of the island, The Dune Cabin sits at the end of a private road, just steps from the beach. Built by architectural firm Murman Arkitekter, the home is a blend of historic architecture, traditional Swedish simplicity, and a touch of urban industrial ruggedness.

Beyond being Sweden’s largest island, Gotland is known in the design world for its distinct historic architectural style. Post and plank, known as bulhus in Sweden, is a traditional style of building homes using horizontal wooden planks stacked between wooden posts. It’s a method the predates both brick and stone and was used widely throughout southern Sweden, but particularly in Gotland. Honoring the island’s history, the folks at Murman applied this method to The Dune Cabin. Putting a modern twist on it, they chose to leave the planks visible on the interior, rather than covering them with drywall. This helps create the basis for the beachy, relaxed style of the home.

Inside, the home is built around a central, open-plan lounge space that act as in interior courtyard. Flooded with natural light thanks to a wall of windows that slide open and enormous skylights in the roof above, the lounge features a wood-burning fireplace and looks out to trees and sandy dunes. Off of the lounge is the master suite (complete with private sauna because Sweden), two bunk rooms, a kitchen, TV room, and the entry hall.

The interior style of the home blends the historic bulhus architecture with the minimalist style Sweden is known for. Ceilings are clad is rough sawn pine planks to match the walls while the floors are polished concrete. Sliding panels of raw plywood close off the bedrooms from the lounge for privacy. Corten steel panels were used in the lounge adding a gritty urban industrial feel to the space. These same panels were also used as accents on the exterior. Throughout the home, large windows frame views out to the surrounding brush and sand dunes.

Outside, the home mixes wood, concrete, and steel for a unique and unexpected look. It’s not what you expect to see for a beach house, but it still feels right at home, surrounded by the sand dunes. While it may not be the quaint villages that come to mind when you picture Sweden, The Dune House still speaks to the area’s rich culture through historic architectural details and the minimalist, serene style we love.

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