A Gaudi-inspired sparkly art nouveau summer house

By on Jan 24th

After discovering the found-material playhouse, I've stayed on the hunt for interesting backyard edifices — and here's a fruit of that labor: Russian John's summer house in the UK.

Russian Summerhouse

This is the story of the Russian-style summer house he crafted in his backyard in Newcastle Upon Tyne. In ten months, and for less than £5,000, John took it from clay model a to stained-glassed, mosaiced den place to drink a Guinness whilst foxes run in the garden.

Russian Summerhouse

In designing the cabin, he looked to Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, the US' Louis Sullivan, and Russian Gavril Baranovski for inspiration.

John made all the windows in the house.

Russian Summerhouse

When he finished this window, he says, "It was two centimeters larger than the workshop door…I had to remove the doorframe to get it out! The design is based around a Sullivan window in The Merchants Bank in Grinnell Iowa, which opened in 1915."

Russian Summerhouse

Russian Summerhouse

Russian Summerhouse

The walls are constructed from 110 mm concrete blocks and brickwork on cast concrete foundations.

Russian Summerhouse

The roof is made from 19 pre-fabricated plywood beams with around 15,000 timber laths, to form the curved shape. The surface was concreted on chicken wire and covered with old ceramic tiles.

Russian Summerhouse

Russian Summerhouse

John covered the walls with old roof tiles, scavenged from his neighbor's renovation.

Russian Summerhouse

The internal walls were plastered, the ceiling decorated with broken ceramic tiles. The floor is made from broken floor tiles.

Summerhouse Ceiling detail

He dug an underground land drain, as there are no gutters. It has electric lighting and heating. John built this place without assistance over about ten months, at a cost of less than £5,000, which included the furniture.

Stepping Stones

Russian Summer House

Rose Window Russian Summer House

He calls his haven, "A great place to relax…drink a Guinness, read Chekov or listen to Chopin… whilst the foxes run around the garden!"

Russian Summerhouse



About Cat Rocketship

I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things.