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Tiny Homes: A Dream Holiday Cabin in Latvia becomes a Reality


Originally from Latvia, Ilze Upatniece and Gunars Upatnieks have lived in Berlin for ten years. They have long harboured a dream to own a house in Latvia as a place to return to for vacations with their children.  Three years ago, their dream became a reality when they found a plot of land near Saulkrasti on the east coast of the Gulf of Riga. Read on to find out more about the build and see pictures of the fabulous holiday cabin they've created! 

What was the plot of land like before you started?
It was a forest plot which meant we had to do everything from scratch. The electricity was already connected but we had to arrange water and sewage as well as countless other things! 

What was your vision? 
Originally, we wanted to build a larger house, but soon understood that with two full-time jobs on the side of Europe and two young children, a prefab tiny home was perhaps a better idea. For inspiration, I spent half my life on Pinterest, reading different interior blogs and following numerous cabin and tiny homeowners on instagram.

Who did you work with for the prefab cabin?
We chose a small, young, local company in Latvia to help us develop the idea of having three tiny houses connected to one another via terrace. 

(The cabin as built through My Cabin in Latvia - also available in the USA).

What is the idea for having three different houses connected? 
My husband is an orchestral musician, so it was important for us to have enough space for practising his double bass. So, we decided on a 'living house', a 'sleeping house' and a 'sauna house'. Despite working with a prefab, we made a lot of personal changes including adding a triangular window, installing a second toilet and upgrading to higher quality materials.

How long did it take to build? 
Altogether it took over a year. I think evert building project has critical moments. Ours was no different. But looking back, we can say that we learned a lot, met great people along the way and are really happy with the result! 

The result is beautiful, it would look equally in place in Scandinavia, would you say there are similarities between Scandinavian and Latvian design?
In my point of view, Latvian design has developed in a very exciting direction. It has many similarities with Scandinavian design, for example, minimalist and clean shapes, and also the choice of material such as wood, glass, linen etc. At the same time, Latvian history also brings in other tones - the close existence with various eastern nations during the Soviet period, or Latvian folklore and the tradition of pagan mythology, which is relatively actively lived here. 

How big is the cabin, and can you tell us about the layout? 
Our 'living house' is about 25 m2. It has a well-equipped kitchen with all modern convinces. In the bathroom we have walk-in shower, washing machine, washing machine and a water filtration system. Furthermore, we have a living room area with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the garden and forest. There's also a sleep loft one rate kitchen. 

Our 'sleeping house' is 15 m2 and has a bed, wardrobe and guest WC with washbasin as well as a second sleep loft. 

Our Finnish sauna with a woodburning stove is about 12 m2. 

Can you tell us about the interior design and the inspiration behind it? 
We wanted to keep the design simple and functional. Most of the furniture is custom made from solid wood and was made by regional carpenters. Since we sometimes spend as much as 6 weeks at a time at the cabin and like to cook together with family and friends, a well-equipped kitchen was important. 

We used a lot of natural materials, natural colours but since we rent the cabin on Airbnb we were also keen for the furnishings to be resilient and not too expensive, so we have also bought furniture from IKEA, Jysk and H&M Home

Can you tell us more about the garden?
Since our plot is 2300 m2 and we like to do outdoor sports together, my husband said 'let's build a beach volleyball court'! So we did! We also added a basketball court and hot tub. Then the small terrace grew to 170m2 and our garden was made! We planted hedges and foliage as well as many grasses that like to grow in forested coastal areas. We also plan to grow fruit and vegetables. 

What are you most happy with? 
Although building the cabin became a bit too challenging at times, w are super happy with how everything turned out, it's our little paradise! We love the secluded beach and watching deer roaming the garden. We also love our summer evenings on the terrace, playing games together and cooking. For us, it's the opportunity to slow down from our fast-paced life in the city and enjoy moments together as a family in a conscious way. We hope that through our vacations at Cabin Jūrada, our children will also call Latvia home.

What a lovely project - and such a beautiful result too! Id' happily wile away my summer here, how about you? 

In case you're tempted, you can rent Jūrada on Airbnb here - and see more pictures at @cabin_jurada.

I was fascinated to hear about the garden as I'm starting to plan our tiny cabin surroundings soon, no easy feat! I'm now thinking we need to add a few fun things - even if it's just an outdoor table tennis! 

Looking for more inspriation? See more cabins and tiny homes in the archive. 

Happy mid week friends - half way there! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Cabin Jūrada


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Anna and Martin's Tiny Handbuilt Cottage Floating on a Swedish Lake

"I've never tried that before, so I'm sure I'll manage it" - so said Pippi Longstocking, and these are the words Swedish florist Anna Starrén and her husband Martin live by. Martin had always dreamed of building a floating cottage from which to explore the lake beside their country home. And when his friend passed away, he put all his effort into turning his dream into a reality. Read on to discover more! 


The starting point was to build a floating pontoon (measuring 5 x 10 metres), upon which the little red and white cottage (measuring 4 x 3.5 metres) was built.  The pontoon is attached to the mainland using a series of mooring lines. 

The house has everything you might need for a relaxing day by the lake including a sleep loft, sauna, isolated floor, wifi, fridge, gas stove, shower, water converter, shower, dry loo, binoculars, bird book, ceramics for 10!, a coffee maker and an anchor! 

Oil lamps are dotted around the little cottage, providing light and heat. The cottage is also powered by 2 x 160 solar panels and a 3x 90 amp battery. 

The kitchen, sofa and ladder have all been hand built to fit the space. 

Anna says: "building this house is one of the best things we've ever done, it's become our year-round refuge."

Come winter, the lake freezes over and the little cottage becomes a perfect spot for ice bathing. 


A whole is cut into the ice so that they can still take a dip after a sauna. 

BRRRRR! 

Could you imagine winter bathing like this? 

If you're ever in Sweden during winter, you must try it - it's such a crazy yet wonderful experience (especially afterwards once you're all wrapped up warm again and nursing a mug off glögg!). Studies have shown it has numerous health benefits! 

See Anna's inspiring instagram feed @starrensannan for more pictures of the floating cottage, as well as their main house. You might also like to stop by Anna's homepage for more information about her work as a florist and upcoming workshops (how I'd love to do one of those - I wonder if she holds any at the floating cottage?). 

Would you like to see a few other unusual properties today? 


Happy lillördag! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Anna Starrén with thanks 

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I Found The Perfect Table and Chairs For Our Tiny cabin!


Paid partnership with  Skovby, all words and photos are my own and I only ever work with brands I love

Tjena! I hope you had a great weekend! We spent some time up at our little cabin and I'm really excited to share some snapshots of our new dining area with you. I can't begin to describe the feeling when we all sat down for our first family meal there (take-away pizza, so glam!).  

When it comes to furnishing a small space (30 m2 / 322 ft sq.) I've quickly learned that choosing less and choosing right is key, otherwise the space can quickly become cluttered.

These were the criteria I had in mind for our dining area:
1. The table needed to be small but still easily seat four
2. The table should be round to save space and avoid knocking into the corners
3. The table needed to be extendable for extra guests 
4. There should be extra seating which could be stacked to one side 


Danish brand Skovby has been a My Scandinavian Home partner for many years now - and I've always appreciated the high quality craftsmanship of their Denmark-made furniture (you might recall the glass cabinet, Per's deskthe coffee tables as well as countless other pieces). This little gem of a #120 dining table with white oil oak legs and a black laminate surface was the first to spring to mind for our cabin! 


The round table is a compact 102 cm in diameter and extendable with up to two leaves (available to buy separately), which means you can comfortably seat 6 or 8 people depending on how many leaves you add. Perfect! 

Chair wise, I chose the #807 dining chair in oak white oil. You know me, I love wood, it has such a warm feel, and the shell shape has some flex which makes it comfy. But if you want to go all out on the comfort, this model is available with upholstery for a soft touch, and the #802 version also comes with armrests.

I also picked up some #840 stools (in oak white oil) which can be stacked to the side when not in use (we've also already used them as a bedside table, sofa side table and a footrest!).  

I love that its sustainably made from leftover production wood (I first spotted it during my visit to the Danish Skovby carpenter workshop earlier this spring and picked one up there and then!). 


I hope you like the table and chairs as much as we do! In case you're interested in any of these pieces for your own small space, Skovby is available almost worldwide (find your nearest stockist here).

Incidentally, the table is available in 9 different finishes including oak white oil and white laminate tops - you can see all the variations here

In case you're wondering about the ladder, it can be removed and placed elsewhere when needed - but I guess someone could perch there too!

Give me a shout if you have any questions about anything in these pictures -I'd be happy to help! If you'd like to add any small space tips and tricks of your own, I'm all ears as the cabin is far from finished! 

I hope to be able to share a post about our kitchen - including all the details - soon (look closely and you'll see the knobs are missing). Watch this space! 

Wishing you all a great start to the week! 

Niki 

Photography: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home

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This Little Swedish Allotment Cottage is a True Summer Oasis!

It's that time of year in Scandinavia when everyone is falling over themselves to enjoy the long-awaited warmer weather (we're talking 16 C/ 60 F today - we'll take it!). While some will be looking forward to hanging out in their garden or local parks this bank holiday, there are others who will be cycling across town to their 'kolonistuga'. Nestled on koloniområdes or 'allotments', these, small and often simply-decorated cabins offer a perfect opportunity to grow your own veg and relax in a green oasis without heading out of town. In spring the water and electricity are turned on for the season and the allotment communities spring to life! This beautiful allotment cottage in Slottsskogskolonien, Gothenburg is a perfect example. Located on a plot far from the road, the 27 m2 / 290 f2 cottage offers all the silence and stillness of the countryside as well as comfy beds for an afternoon siesta or overnight stay - a true oasis! 

The exterior gives the impression that the cottage is rooted in the past, so I was somewhat taken back when I saw the interior pictures! On closer examination though, the cottage was actually built in 2020 and the older appearance lends itself to upcycled windows and doors - a wonderful nod to the previous property on the plot. 

The owners have added modern comforts and contemporary touches such as marble countertops in the kitchen and a wood burning stove by the sofa. However, to use the loo and shower you'd need to navigate the short distance to the communal bathroom nearby. 

I love how the wood floor has been painted different colours which help to carve out zones within the open-plan space. The storage is also really clever - doubling up as room dividers. 

When not in use, the ladder hooks to one side (we've emulated this in our own little cabin, it's important as they take up way more space than you think). 

It might be small, but the clever design allows space for four berths in twin beds and a sleep loft. I've had first-hand experience of sleep lofts recently thanks to the one we have built at our cabin. I also love the bed in the beams above the kitchen in this little cottage! When floorspace is tight, it makes sense to make the most of the height of the room. 

During the day, the twin beds double up as seating to form an indoor dining area. 

Naturally, the most important feature for an allotment cottage is the garden. This charming place benefits from a mature garden with plum, apple, and pear trees as well as favourites such as roses, tulips and daffodils and the more unusual Japanese snowball, Amer maple and flowering dogwood plants.  


So idyllic! 

Fancy one of these allotment cottages? I've got good news; this lovely abode is for sale. And if you happen to be in Gothenburg this Sunday or Monday, you can pop along to the open viewing! Maybe you'll be the lucky one to snap it up! 

Who needs a country estate when you can have a green oasis right there in the city centre?

See other little allotment cottages here: 


Do you have something similar to this in your country? I'd love to hear about it if so! 

It's a bank holiday here tomorrow so I'm planning on spending some downtime with Per and the girls - hopefully up at our little cabin but we'll see! I hope you have a lovely, relaxing few days. 

Vi ses på Måndag (see you on Monday!). 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Svensk Fastighetsförmedling, found via Nordroom with thanks. 

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