Beautiful living rooms in natural homes around the world, part:

 
 
   
   

Denmark

 
 

The living room is where people go to relax, sit, stretch out, read and socialise. It's often the centre piece of the house. A place that tells your visitors who you are, your style and taste. It's a place where people often display 'things from their life', one of the design patterns, No. 253. It's a place that must cater for all sorts of different people's shapes and sizes which should be reflected in the seats on offer; Alexander's design pattern No.251.

 

 
       
   
 

Many of these living rooms have seats built in to the structure of the building but also have occasional chairs to add variety to the room. A living room looks at its most homely if, as Christopher Alexander recommends you, "never furnish any place with chairs that are identically the same. Choose a variety of different chairs, some big, some small, some softer than others... some old, some new".

Poula-Line built her straw bale home (left and above) in Fri & Fro (Free and Happy) ecoVillage in Egebjerg, Denmark. It's one of a collection of unique straw bale homes in the village. Her home was inspired by a conch shell she found on a beach in Malaysia. This is her living room which sits beneath the spiral of the roof with light streaming in from every direction. Before Paula built this home she built a tiny straw bale house that she calls her Smurf House.

 
     
   
   

England

 

This is the bed-living room of a wattle and daub oak framed gatehouse that has stood the test of time for over 500 years. The gatehouse was built in around 1467 in Bolton Percy, England.
 
   

   
       

It originally formed the entrance to a courtyard of medieval buildings. The buildings, with the exception of the gatehouse, were sadly demolished in the early 19th century. The base of the gatehouse is limestone and sandstone with an oak frame above and walls of wattle (lattice of hazel branches) and daub (sand, clay and animal hair). Inside are some elaborate carvings. Outside are plaques with finely-detailed carved green men. During the 20th century the building deteriorated and was in danger of being lost. Thankfully it was restored by the Vivat Trust in 2009 and is now a holiday let.

 
     
 
     

USA

 
   

This stone house was built by Clark Sanders in East Meredith, NY, USA. He began building it when he was 19 years old with stones from tumble-down stone walls. Clark thinks of houses as sculptures you can live in and has built eleven beautiful straw bale homes. Notice the patterns in this picture; the circular door within the thick walls [pattern No.197] with thickened edges pattern [No.225] and the deep reveals pattern [No.223] in the windows that soften the sunlight at the edges of the window.

   
           
   
   

Canada

 
   


This home carries a whole fallen tree, including the root, forming part of its wobbly roof. The rest of the home is made using sand, clay, stone and roundwood which all came from the surrounding land in Mayne Island, Canada. Light from the living room, which opens up to the eave of the roof, fills the space with indoor sunlight that draws you forward through a tapestry of dark and light. As you walk forward to the living room, you'll pass the cob fireplace on your right. The house is full of design tips.

   
       
   
   

Wales

 
   


Simon Dale, photographer and fine artist built the iconic Woodland Home seen on so many websites as an example of a 'hobbit' house. He now lives with his family in the Lammas ecoVillage in Pembrokshire, Wales. The house was built by Simon and his father in law with help from passers by and visiting friends. Four months after starting the family moved in. The house took about 1,500 man hours and cost £3,000 ($5,000) roughly £60/m2 ($9/sq.ft).

   
       
     
 
   

Turkey

 
   


This is a house hidden away in a fairy chimneys. It's the living room of a cave home in Ortahisar. It's one of the many villages that occupy this labyrinth of caves in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. The walls are very thick and keep the house cool in summer, while the temperature outside is more that 40C (104F), and warm in winter when it can be as low as -25C (-13F).