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Patryki Mill - for those seeking respite

05 of April '20

Not far from Olsztyn, in the direction of Pruda, stands a mill. Once lonely and abandoned, after the years of its glory had passed, it was waiting for new owners. Bozena and Andrzej Szymanowski came to the rescue. Today the mill has not only been expanded with a terrace, but the mill wheel, perhaps the largest such preserved in Warmia, has also been uncovered.

At the Patryki Mill, time slows down, flows lazily, slower than the water in the Kośna River. Despite a lot of renovation work, introduced modernization and conveniences, the mill has not lost its charm. One can confidently say that it has only gained! The house has five rooms, filled to the brim with books. Large windows in each of them allow guests to enjoy the view of nature and look into the river. The hosts also have a sauna at their disposal.

Basia Hyjek: How did your adventure begin?
Bożena and Andrzej Szymanowski: We knew for a long time that we wanted to move out of Warsaw. You could say that the mill in Patrykia was waiting for us. Andrzej found an ad in the newspaper: "I will sell a watermill near Olsztyn." He took a look, told us about his impressions over the phone, and so began the biggest adventure of our lives. And, as it turned out, the biggest challenge for Andrzej - he was the one who personally supervised all the work for three years, and did and still does much of the finishing work himself....

Młyn Patryki przed pracami remontowymi

Patryki mill before renovation work

photo by Andrzej Szymanowski, 2003

Basia: What were the most difficult moments - a house placed partly on water certainly throws up many challenges.
Bozena and Andrzej: The renovation of an old building is never easy, and the conversion of an old mill, standing partly in the river, for residential purposes was full of constant surprises. Every step you had to come up with solutions to deal with the foundation (which had never been insulated), with old beams, with insulating three floors, with building a chimney shaft, with building pillars in the flowing river, with installing huge windows.... If it hadn't been for the extraordinary design and cooperation with our architect friend Piotr Majewski, as well as the Brysek family's excellent construction team, which was able to find a way out of any trouble, we wouldn't have been able to build the house of our dreams. The reconstruction of the mill took almost four years. The most difficult work - construction - was in 2011-2013. Then the laborious finishing inside began.

The modern structure of the mill building has existed in its present form since around 1880, and we know that the mill was in use until 1983, including a drive from the surviving waterwheel until 1967. Also dating from around 1880, the backhoe drive wheel, due to its size and the nature of its technical solution, is probably the last such large one (it has a diameter of five meters) in existence in the Warmian-Masurian province!

The mill building, part brick and part wooden, was - as the inventory showed - in quite good technical condition. Initially, we planned not only to renovate the building, but also the water facilities. We also wanted to renovate the bridge, strengthen the river banks at the level of the mill, and clean and decongest the riverbed, as well as do a major overhaul of the water wheel - consisting mainly of sandblasting and corrosion protection of the iron structure and replacement of damaged wooden blades. However, it turned out that our finances only allow us to renovate the mill for now. With the revitalization of the wheel - this unique monument of technical art - we must wait until funds are found.

Młyn Patryki

Patryki mill

Photo: Jacek Sztorc

Basia: What was particularly important to you in creating this place? How do you want your guests to feel here?
Bożena and Andrzej: Professionally fulfilled, we couldn't imagine "doing nothing" in retirement. Well, and how can you not share such a beautiful place with others?
Hence the idea of hosting guests. In the mill. In our HOME. And to create such conditions so that they would feel here, for these few days, as we do - simply GOOD. So that they would cut themselves off from the city, reset (there is no TV or Internet at our place!), calm down, saturate themselves with nature, peace, quiet, books, treat themselves with dishes they will not forget for a long time... Because our mill cuisine, is not simply cooking (we feed our guests ourselves). It is slow cuisine. Based on natural ingredients, avoiding preservatives, using traditional local products. We celebrate the meals, savor the dishes, let the conversations flow lazily and let the senses enjoy the flavors.

We are happiest when our guests become our friends, when they come to visit us for the next time, when they recommend us to their friends, when they are reluctant to leave us, and when they write in online comments that a stay at Patryk's Mill is magic....

The author of the remodeling project is architect Piotr Majewski, who is also the author of the design of the chimney shaft (fireplace with water jacket + bread oven) in the kitchen. We designed the interior of the rooms and bathroom ourselves.

Młyn Patryki

Patryki mill

Photo: Michal Przeździk-Buczkowski

As Piotr Majewski himself recounts:

A major influence on the concept of the mill's reconstruction was its location in a charming place, in a small valley, by a river meandering among lush greenery. Hence the decision to preserve the character of the mill and open the interiors of the upper floors to the surrounding views, which are captivating in every season. To achieve this, we left the brick first floor - the base of the new building with small existing windows. We covered the facades of the floors, in the footsteps of the original, with boarding, replacing the weathered pine with larch. We uncovered, previously encased in masonry, the monumental water wheel.

We covered the roof, as before, with standing seam metal sheets. We left all the elements of the mill's mechanisms - gears, shafts, joints - as decoration for the clubhouse arranged in the ground floor. We used all the old wood to the maximum, as we found in the mill. The only "extraneous" elements - are a brick-built chimney shaft, allowing the construction of a fireplace, bread oven and kitchen, and a wooden terrace hanging over the flowing river. To open up the interiors to wonderful views - we placed new, large windows only in the gable walls, overhanging the first floor. Through the windows placed in this way, views of the river meandering somewhere below open up from the interior, creating a relaxing sense of suspension in the space between the trees.

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