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Merry Go Round - A house as an escape from the daily grind.

You probably know the feeling. Holidays at last. No more thinking about work or school. And yet. Your cottage or flat is a miniature version of home. Whereas on holiday, you really want to live differently. Still, why those big bedrooms, the sparse plumbing and still the television central? So I stayed at the Merry-Go-Round house with the kids for a week this summer to experience how much impact a different layout of your home can have on your life.

It started with finding the door

Sometimes you just batten down a few hatches.

On arrival, a closed grey flat box awaited us. It did not look very friendly, despite a minimalist wooden porch surrounding the house. Our first task: find the door. However, the boys quickly mastered opening the shutters. They discovered a total of three doors. Interestingly, these were not on the side of the clearing. That proved a bit impractical. The boys soon had a solution. They could easily fit through the narrow windows ( and so could I with a little effort). And they were open anyway because of the nice weather. So we adapted the house to our own needs.

Running in circles

The facades of the cottage are composed on all sides of narrow high windows interspersed with narrow closed sections. On the inside, a corridor runs all around along the façade. This ties all the spaces together. Each space along the corridor is set up for a specific function. There are two bedrooms, a lounge area, a pink seating area, a kitchen and a dining area. In the middle of the house is the bathroom. There are no doors inside. The boys liked it all. Running around in circles. For me, it took some getting used to. At first, I kept trying to find the shortest way. Later, I adopted the boys' attitude. It was holiday after all. A little diversions is no big deal.

Inside is outside

The cottage is cleverly constructed. With lots of glass in the facade and the use of skylights in the dining area and bathroom, there is natural light everywhere. You can feel the weather change inside. You experience a passing thunderstorm so intensely. I encountered this delicacy again with the lighting in the kitchen. This lamp is simultaneously, on the other side of the milk glass, the light by the mirror in the bathroom.

The narrow high windows concentrate the view on some trees.

Film frames

In every room, your gaze is directed outwards. Because of the narrow vertical windows, your attention quickly turns to the individual tree rather than a view of the whole forest.

The irregular shapes of the trunk, leaves moving in the wind, a flash of a child running past; All these moments get a moment's extra attention. This is enhanced by the fact that the house has no curtains. The house challenges you to play with the shutters. Which shutters do you close in the evening? Which ones do you leave open? So we - or the boys - did this regularly.

Sleeping in a box bed

There are no impersonal bedrooms with standard bedside table, lamp and generic painting on the wall. You sleep in one of the two bedsteads equipped with nice double mattresses. No seam to get lost in here or beds that slide apart. Another advantage of a box bed with small children: You don't have to worry about them falling out of bed. Around the bed was a small border for the two b's: glasses and books. Under the bedsteads are drawers for your clothes and stuff (after nine years, the drawers are in need of renewal). Sliding walls close off the bedsteads if necessary. What also stands out here: the proximity to the outside. With the window open, you can sleep in the fresh forest air.

Bright pink seating area

Even with the shutters closed, it remains a pleasant house. And the cushions of the seating area were not only comfortable.

The minimalist design also has drawbacks. There is little storage space. As a result, there is nowhere to properly store groceries. All the stuff that wanders around ( and there are a lot of them with two kids anyway) therefore unfortunately results in a messy feeling. Fortunately, we managed to limit this to one corner of the house most of the time.

The pink sitting area is also really all bright pink. At the same time, it is the most secluded spot in the cottage. The U-shaped sitting area focuses attention on each other instead of on the forest outside. The TV hangs there a little awkwardly. It was probably added at the last minute. A shame on the one hand, of course, but nice for the boys. Lounging on the pink couches watching TV.

Bread, games and water

On the big table, everything can stay.

Playing was usually done at the huge table in the dining area. All the toys could easily lie there. Lego, bird memory, monopoly junior or drawing stuff; it could all be there at the same time. Before eating, you just slide everything aside. Because of the fixed arrangement of table and benches, eating with visitors was a bit crazy. Everyone would sit in a row. Of course, facing outwards again.

The bathroom is a masterpiece. Even now, it looks like new. The long corridor merges into the semicircle of the shower. The toilet is opposite, just out of sight from the long corridor. Above the bathroom is a large skylight. This makes the bathroom unusually light. And even better: showering with moving branches and clouds above you is beautiful.

New rut

An opening between the seating area and the dining area accentuates the curve of the shower. - And was a grateful climbing object.

The clean layout in different rooms gave peace of mind. Yet the boys were still a bit too young to find their own space all the time. We were often all in the same room together. At the same time, we had a good time. The corridor all along the outside wall makes you feel tremendously connected to being outside. Even when the weather is a bit less.

Do you have any suggestions for the next holiday? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.

The Merry Go Round cottage is at Lanka Bungalow Park and was designed by Ira Koers. In 2009, the cottage won a Dutch Design Award. ( all photos copyright Tim de Boer)

Tim De Boer

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