Singer Yulia Chicherina may not be a household name outside of her native Russia, but I was interested to see photos of her country house. Located outside Moscow, the distinctive structure features two rows of triangular floor-to-ceiling windows, uniformly distributed on the faces and edges of the off-white cubic edifice.
The singer’s two-storey house has been designed as a cube with 24 triangular openings for mirror-glass windows and a glass entrance door. The Live House, an exceptional project by Yulia Chicherina and her architect husband, gives plenty of room for creativity and leisure. It was originally conceived as an art laboratory to give inspiration, to originate fresh ideas, and to create new songs. Now Yulia Chicherina’s Live House is not just a creative laboratory, but a countryside house for back-to-nature recreation far from the urban hustle, noise and stress.
Roughly one-third of the walls are windows (each of which weighs in at 150kg), but the original design included a single exception: an iron door. Frustrated that it didn’t match the windows, Chicherina turned to UK-based building materials company Deceuninck—”the world leader in the sphere of production of PVC systems for the construction industry”—who developed a custom glass vestibule to match the windows. “The square-shaped entrance door in the triangular doorway opening is made of shockproof hardened glass and enclosed by a reinforced-plastic transparent prism.
The “Live House,” as it is known, is certainly a striking silhouette against a bucolic backdrop for what looks like as far as the eye can see, but it’s certainly lives up to its purpose as a remote private residence. So too is it expressly designed to withstand its environment:
Its design takes full account of all particulars of the Russian climate, including frost, short but extremely strong heat, temperatures going through the zero point back and forth, as well as intensity of the use of profile systems and high aesthetic requirements of consumers with regard to windows’ and doors’ exterior…
The house is built like a Lego set: it is made of huge heat retaining blocks that we assembled on our own very quickly. Triangular windows as high as the walls themselves are made of Deceuninck profiles. These are the widest profiles we could find, and they retain heat best. As a result, the house is very warm. We came here several times this winter when the frost was the hardest. After the fireplace heated the house, it remained warm for yet a couple of days.
A Rustic Farmhouse in Wales
Above: A view of the 200-year-old farmhouse with sheep freely grazing on the mountain slopes. The previous owners, architects Hackett Holland, had renovated the house using traditional building techniques and materials.
Above: Cotton lined and interlined curtains keep the cold at bay. Brightly knitted Alpaca Pie toys sit on an old crate box which doubles up as a shelf and extra hanging space for a Peruvian-inspired Alpaca Pieembroidered calico dress.
Above L. The children’s bedroom in the converted hayloft adds a burst of vivid color, with appliquéd Alpaca Pie cushions and a brightly colored woven Peruvian rug. Above R: The candle-lit ensuite bathroom is clad in tongue and groove panels. The hot water is heated by the Aga and wood burning stove.
Above L: Exposed wood beams line the ceiling in the kitchen. A wooden plate rack made by local craftsman Ian Willis is within easy reach of the butler sink. Above R: “We picked up the Welsh dresser at a local antiques shop; the side cupboards are still lined with charming old wallpaper,” Holland says.
Above: Holland designed the pitted iron four poster bed and commissioned a local blacksmith to make it. A headboard has been fashioned out of a length of coarsely woven linen draped over the head end of the bed.
Above: “Lit by candles and a temperamental antique paraffin lamp, the kitchen is heart of the house, with an Aga cooking up heat and treats such as hearty stews and homemade scones,” Holland says. “The kitchen table is where everyone congregates after a long walks and cycle rides.” The farm house table and chairs were purchased from auction houses and the curtains are from Aleta, custom printed on heavy linen with original mogal fern designs.
Above: The large ingle nook fireplace houses an original bread oven. The sofa has been covered in a plum-colored linen fabric from Romo and draped with impala skins. The worn antique carpets were sourced by Joshua Lumley.
Above: A portrait of a young girl hangs above an old Welsh grain chest inherited by the family. A milk urn displays foxgloves, oak leaves, ferns, and wild daisies, while an old oil can has been converted into one of the few low-wattage lamps in the house.
Above: “The flagstone hall way is typically brimming with wellies and footballs,” Holland says. “Sun hats and raincoats are always ready for the varied weather conditions North Wales throws at you.”