This tiny guest house by designer Will Beilharz sits on top of a lava field on Hawaii’s Big Island and overlooks the steam that is created where molten rock flows into the sea. The 450-square-meter house is called Phoenix House because it literally rises “from the ashes” of volcanic activity in the area. It is located in an off-grid community in Kalapana at the foot of the Kīlauea volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983.
The building is clad in wood that has been blackened using the ancient Japanese charring technique by Shou Sugi Ban to blend in with the dark surrounding landscape. The house is raised from the bumpy surface on short stilts to minimize the impact on plants that begin to seed the area. Recycled, rusted corrugated iron covers the roof to mimic the color of the hot lava. The design is minimalist, the development footprint light, and the look organic in its surroundings.
The house is divided into three levels and at its highest point reaches two floors – from where a double bed is accessible via a ladder. Large windows offer a view over the barren area, while the patio doors from the living room on the ground floor open onto a small balcony.
The interior is pretty simple and there is nothing out of the ordinary as it is all about the breathtaking views. The walls are left untouched, the floor is covered with dark wood and there are thick windows made of red wood. You can see a work area next to the window – it has a nifty desk and chair, and of course the view – the work here must be very unusual. Behind it is a gray sofa that is placed so that you can enjoy the view. A lot of dark wood is used for decoration and it goes with the dark lava fields outside. The textiles and upholstery are simple and neutral for a natural look.