Country House Mommsen

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Country House Mommsen

Flensburg | Germany
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Maret Riemer
Architect
Maret Riemer
"This individually architect-designed home has been carried out following a sophisticated health and energy efficiency plan, using sustainable and climate friendly building and insulation materials. Just a few steps from an ideal beach, one relishes holiday athmosphere for 365 days of the year. The modern architecture caresses the senses with its generous glass elements, allowing dream-like views over the Baltic Sea. The cosy sauna- and guesthouse is just as relaxing on a stormy day. The sun decks were cleverly positioned according to the direction of the wind, so that the occupants may always find a sheltered space outdoors."
 

House data

External Dimensions 16.33 x 7.58 m
Living Space 1850  ft²

Additional information

country House Mommsen

 

Seeing nothing but the sea

 
Whether during mealtimes, showers or cook-ups: In this holiday home every single window opens up its views to the Baltic Sea. Only by exchanging solid ground for space in a boat would one be more surrounded by its waters.
 
At times smooth as glass, glistening in the sunset, then again roughened by wind and rain, an inky black or a luminous blue and green: Holger Mommsen* is simply forever lured by the waters. He had been dreaming about his holiday home by the sea for a long time. In 2012 he found his ultimate spot – in the North-East of Schleswig-Holstein, near to Kappeln an der Schlei. It is taking the business owner around 75 minutes by car from his home in Hamburg to the grounds that are in excess of 150 hectares – a former naval base. On the site, that extends to about as much as Hamburg's port city, a new holiday resort is being created, with a marina at its centre. From the insolvency assets of the former developers the now 54-year old purchased two adjacent plots of altogether 1000 sqm. His plot is situated on the northern outer breakwater, that is around 800 m long and hardly wider than 50 m. To the north and south the Baltic Sea streches out in front of the house of the Mommsen family - unobstructible by future buildings.
 
Down into the last details Holger Mommsen and his wife Inga* have planned the house by themselves. A private passion for architecture and professional skill in the planning and design of kitchens and bathrooms, heatings, ventilation systems and ovens meant, that in this house nothing was left to chance. The design idea had quickly formed in the minds of the couple once the distinctive location was set: "We wanted a house that would sit well in its surroundings and the area. It was important to have a maritime feel, simple lines, with no obsctructing flourishes", says Holger Mommsen.
 
With his plans made the Hamburg business man then came to Baufritz to bring dream to reality. It had also been a long-harboured wish by the couple to cooperate with the eco-home experts: "As early as 1999 I had wanted to build with Baufritz. Their wooden houses are of superb quality, and combined with the healthy living concept, they were just very appealing." But back then the eco-home-specialist from Bavaria did not yet deliver to Northern Germany. Thus, the tremendously long search for the right plot also became a stroke of luck for the house's construction, now much enjoyed by the 5 members of the family since autumn 2013 on a great many weekends and holidays.
 
The family and their guests enter the property from the south, just a few steps across the small access road and the sandy beach. On a walk around the house, the building changes its character: More and more of the white wooden panelling makes way for floor level windows; having arrived at the back, the gable roof seems to float above the fully glazed façade. Generous patios and sun decks frame the two-storey building. "Outside we move around the different spaces during each day – following not so much the sun as finding shelter from the sea-breeze and winds", explains the 54-year-old: For there is no shortage of wind in this eposed position at any time of year.
The glazed façade at the back of the house, which is merely separated from the sea by a slender stone embankment, is an imposing eight meters high and around seven and a half meters wide. "When in winter the storms soar and the wind roars from the north-east, the surf pounds the windows quite a bit." But while the wind thrashes the waters, inside the house it feels all the more homely. The generous living area, with the kitchen at its centre, becomes where family and friends gather. The wood-burning oven offers comforting heat while people cook, eat and natter. The extensive wooden table invites long evenings with games. "Despite having such large window façades, we do not feel a thing of the storms outside. The house is like a rock standing in the surf." This is not only guaranteed by the triple-glazed windows, but also by the 37cm thick complete-solution-wall from Baufritz. The permeable wall system offers exceptional thermal insulation and is further equipped with a layer providing protection from electromagnetic pollution.
 
Patios, garden, beach, water and house – given this much choice it is hard to commit to a favourite place. But routine is anyway not popular in the Mommsen family. Accordingly, there are no fixed bedrooms: "Whoever sleeps in which room, we decide spontanaously. If for example you would like to be woken by the rays of dawn, you move into the bedroom in the second floor." Enough room to roam is a given in 160 sqm of living space. On the ground floor, apart from the open-plan living, dining and cooking areas, there are two bedrooms and two bathrooms. An elegant spiral staircase is leading to the second floor, where one is presented with the master bedroom, with dressing room and en-suite bathroom. Moreover, in the gallery lives a small office. And should the space in the main house run out, a small guest-house in the garden will then offer further accommodation: On the ground floor of a small tower the family has located a wellness area, including sauna, shower and toilet. On the second floor, visitors may rest their heads or gaze over the vast expanse of blue from their own balcony.
 
As flexible as the family may be when choosing rooms and places to stay - their principles of comforts and convenience are firm. "At work I think a lot about logistics. That means, I develop workflows that are fast, simple and efficient and avoid unnecessary tasks" That is why the father designed a variety of smart storage solutions for their holiday home. For example, on the western façade, a partly-closed lean-to has been errected. Here, two compartments house outdoor furniture, BBQ and equipment. Its specifications were guided by functional thinking: laundry trolleys made from aluminium, such as are used in hospitals and hotels, determined the size of the two shelters and their sliding doors. "Since we did away with any stairs, the trolleys can be manouvered around the whole house, picking up everything that will then be kept in the lean-to."
 
The installations and house technology also provide the desired easy comfort and handling: Thanks to a fingerprint door opener, keys stay at home on a jaunt to the beach, mobile phones operate lighting, alarms and heating. A visitor ringing the bell at the garden gate is put through to Holger Mommsen's phone, who can speak directly to his guest; a camera, installed at the gate, delivers a picture with it. And if you happen to pass, you could quite rely on another guardian of the house: The family's dog lies in waiting in his favourite spot on the second floor balcony. From here, the three year old Bernese mountain dog has an excellent view of beach and road and doesn't hold back when announcing any discoveries.