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.
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.
John made all the windows in the house.
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.”
The walls are constructed from 110 mm concrete blocks and brickwork on cast concrete foundations.
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.
John covered the walls with old roof tiles, scavenged from his neighbor’s renovation.
The internal walls were plastered, the ceiling decorated with broken ceramic tiles. The floor is made from broken floor tiles.
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.
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!”