‘My clients wanted to be a little closer to nature and design a retreat in the woods with open landscape, where they could cook and entertain,’ says Ström.
The couple had concrete ideas about what they did and didn’t want. ‘They gave me a brief about 20 pages long that detailed how they lived and what they like and dislike, and we worked from there,’ he says. Indeed, it was this flexibility that got him the job in the first place. ‘They interviewed something like 10 to 12 architects, some of whom are very big and trendy,’ he says. ‘But my approach is to build from the client’s brief and actually get into what they want in terms of a home, rather than simply offering them a designer house.’
And what these clients wanted was a house that made the most of some incredible views. They also wanted the new structure to nod to the home’s history – the original structure burnt down about eight years ago, and what’s left on the two-and-a-half hectare plot are the ruins of a foundation wall and a swimming pool. ‘The clients loved the romantic notion of the old building still having a presence,’ says Ström.
Finally, the designs are finished. It’s been a long process. ‘This is design version 24, I think,’ he says. ‘There have been so many variations to get to the right place. But I think that being an architect is like being a tailor – you have to keep altering until it fits the client like a glove.’