A Way of Life – click any image for full size
This is another delightful setting, carrying with it echoes of Elyjia’s previous designs, developed in co-operation with Brayan Friller (Brayan26 Friller), such as Tavana Island (read more here), the gorgeous Au Petit Jour (see here for more), the Heart of the Sea (see here for more); all of which have been wonderfully exquisite island / pastoral / coastal designs we’ve always thoroughly enjoyed visiting. But while it does carry those echoes, A Way of Life offers its own unique setting and sense of place and freedom.
Surrounded by open sea and with two of its buildings clearly of Tuscan design / heritage, A Way of Life seems to suggest a Mediterranean setting. Perhaps it might be a part of the Tuscan Archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea. But a further look across the undulating island reveals structures that are perhaps more American in nature: a water tower sitting atop a great steel pylon structure, a classic wood framed and clad barn, a broken wooden windmill. Together these push the mind perhaps to an island of mixed history and settlement sitting within a more temperature region of America’s vast coastlines.
When I say “island”, I should perhaps clarify: the setting is almost a mini archipelago in its own right. While dominated by two large landmasses to the east and west, separated by a narrow channel that’s spanned by a single bridge, the region presents a number of islands of varying sizes, some occupied by structures, others the home of grass and trees or rocks and sand.
Wherever it may reside, A Way of Life is clearly popular: sailing boats sit moored in the mouths of bay and channels while a large schooner appears to be passing close by to the east, sails fully unfurled in the light wind that ruffles the wave tops. The large villa to the east, with its paved terrace, folly and track winding west and south to a pavilion hiding behind the hunched shoulder of a low hill, suggests this is perhaps a holiday getaway point, or a stop-off on a coastal route followed by weekend sailors. The beach just below the villa, pointing a tongue of sand out at the sea certainly adds to this.
But then, close to the channel separating to two large islets, and on the land to the west, the presence of a workshop-like barn, together with the larger barn and water tower, suggests this might be a working island with the villa and nearby house sitting on its own small island perhaps the home to those who husband the sheep and horses under the squeak and clank of the sails belonging to a traditional European-style of windmill.
It is perhaps the nature of these contrasts that make A Way of Life appealing. The aforementioned juxtaposition of European and American influences, for example. Or the contrast of Mediterranean skies with the trees and foliage suggestive of more northerly European or American climates; or the wagons and old truck (and perhaps event the schooner) hinting at a bygone era contrasting with the modern lines of the sail boats nestled around the coast. These all draw the visitor into the setting.
Throughout the landscape are numerous places to sits and rest and appreciate your surroundings. In this, I particularly like the little cove between villa and island house, where a small deck and a stranded old rowing boat (now converted to a little snuggle point festooned with flags and lights) can be found.
Finished with a natural ambient sound scape, A Way of Life makes for an idyllic visit well suited to its name. Photographs taken within the region are welcome at the Hrodas Fen Flickr group, and should you enjoy your visit, do please consider making a donation at one of the tip jars to help towards the region’s upkeep and future design iterations.
With thanks to Shakespeare for the nudge to re-visit Hrodas Fen.
- A Way of Life (Hrodas Fen, rated: Moderate)