Blind Whale – Traditional Korean Farmhouse Gets A Makeover

Called the “Blind Whale”, this project from Jeju-si in South Korea involved the restoration and redesign of two traditional farm house buildings. The work was completed in 2014 with the help of Z_Lab, and the houses can now be privately rented.


Blind Whale - Z_Lab - South Korea - Exterior - Humble Homes

The project consists of two small traditional farm houses that have a combined total area of 1,076 square feet (100 square meters). According to the village residents the stone houses have existed for over 100 years, and are said to bring good luck to those that reside in them. Needless to say, a lot of care and attention to detail went into restoring them due to their historic value within the village.


Blind Whale - Z_Lab - South Korea - Living Area - Humble Homes

The architects kept the traditional rounded roof which helps to inform its name, Blind Whale: “The roof  looks like two whales that have drifted far from the sea and washed up on the land.” Originally the roof would have been constructed of fishing nets, but here it looks to be finished in slate.


Blind Whale - Z_Lab - South Korea - Bedroom and Kitchen - Humble Homes

Special emphasis was placed on the roof, the stone walls, and the small garden that separates them. The floor level was lowered in order to preserve original features, and sea-facing windows were installed. Many items, including the flooring and gates, were upcycled to created tables, beds and other furniture.

Blind Whale - Z_Lab - South Korea - Bathroom - Humble Homes

At times they chose to reconfigure the interior, for example, an interior full-height wall was replaced with a lower wall that provided better circulation and introduced more natural light. Despite the grey of the stone walls and dark wood timbers, the interior manages to maintain its light levels (along with the aid of artificial lighting).

Blind Whale - Z_Lab - South Korea - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

The combination of old wooden structure, traditional render, and stone gives off the atmosphere of a cottage or farmhouse. Both houses are equipped with a single bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room. The larger of the two also contains a separate dining area, along with an air tub placed on the outside of the home.

For more small houses check out this 100-year-old barn that’s been converted to a cozy tiny home. Or, how about this sleep and stylish modern home with a curved roof. See all small houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Kim Jae-kyeong

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

1 Comment
  1. I like it and like the open roof but I would have painted the walls inside white or possibly light blue so that you feel that you are outside under the sky. The other I had was that the furniture seemed too dark. I have experienced that myself when I purchased a dark dresser and placed in the front of my window in my apartment. It felt closed in and when I sold the piece, the room opened up and felt fresher, not dark. Colors can affect us as much as where we place our furniture. The bathroom seemed gray.