Archives - 2018
By Courtney • Dec 28, 2018
At the base of the Swiss Alps, a local designer and building company have created a stunning winter escape called The Heinza Julen Loft. Inspired by fashionable decor schemes typical of bygone French eras, yet still with a slight twist of modernity, this love getaway, located in Zermatt, Switzerland, is at once grand and cozy.
The loft is decently conservative in size, spanning about 300 square meters, and yet the classic wooden chalet style of most features blended with contemporary shapes and lines when it comes to furniture and fine details works in combination with floor to ceiling windows to make the space feel quite open and airy indeed.
The element of “fashion” that comes into play is evident in the more unique features, like the loft stool seating facing the window or the curtained jacuzzi tub situated to one side of the second social seating area are what gives things an unconventional twist. This is particularly true in contrast with the chopped firewood case and other wooden elements, like railings and wall paneling, throughout.
Impressively, the loft boasts three quite spacious bedrooms, each with its own breathtaking view of the Swiss village beyond where it stands. This view is thanks to additional floor to ceiling French windows, just like those found in the living room. A cozy relaxation room, filled with contemporary but comfortable couches filled with cushions, is fortunate enough to have a similarly lovely view.
Besides the sheer stylishness of its aesthetic, the actual atmosphere within the loft apartment makes it stand out as well. This is thanks to the outstanding amount of light that floods each room on lovely, bright afternoons all year round. Together with the refined nature of how the apartment has been styled, an unique environment of sheer cheerful sophistication has been established.
La Ferme du Lac Vert renovation takes historical farmhouse from rustic to inspirational luxury in South-Eastern France
By Courtney • Dec 28, 2018
Near Morzine, in South-Eastern France, lies a small, picturesque village called Montriond. This is where a local French design and architectural company recently renovated a beautiful old farmhouse into a luxurious home that preserves all its beautiful history despite impressive and necessary updates.
The original wooden farmhouse, most of which has been incorporated into and preserved within the new design, was built in 1842. In 2010, however, it underwent a lovely transformation that turned it into the stately and distinguished (yet somehow still homey) Savoyard Farmhouse you’d see if you visited Montriond today.
Having repurposed and continued to use most of the original wood, in combination with locally sourced timber where new or additional wood was needed, designers kept much of the home’s original rustic aesthetic. This is bolstered by the inclusion of antique or ethically sourced furs and animal hides, much like you would have seen in the original 1800s home.
At the same time as this rustic aesthetic has been preserved, the decor team aimed to update the interior slightly to provide all the comfort of a more contemporary style of living. Social spaces boast large fire places and bar stool seating, while the deck features a large hot tub that provides a stunning view of the mountainous French countryside around the house.
In some of the best spots in the house, which are primarily those with a clear eye line of the hugely picturesque windows, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. Thats why some of the most impressive handmade furniture pieces are situated so they face towards the windows. The rooms are a lovely blend of vintage pieces, upcycled furniture from local places, and original furnishings that have a history in that very space, which adds and extra layer of character.
Breathtaking Lochside House provides off-grid highland haven and wins RIBA House of the Year for 2018
By Courtney • Dec 27, 2018
While Lochside House by Haysom Ward Miller Architects provides an undoubtedly unique highland experience thanks to its off-the-grid location and its breathtaking surroundings, it’s not the traditionally rustic experience you might be expecting!
As the winner of the RIBA House of the Year for 2018, this lovely house gives you a natural neutral experience that simultaneously combines into the landscape of the wild Scottish Highlands and provides a cozy yet modern escape inside its wooden walls, all at once. The effect is truly a feat in blending aesthetics and atmospheres!
Lochside House looks like yet another humble cottage on the edge of a lake, but you know there’s more to it the moment you learn that it was awarded the title of being the UK’s best house in 2018, winning out over a shortlist of seven other rather impressive projects.
Lochside House was created for a ceramic artist who desired private space amongst nature in which to create and seek inspiration. The house consists of three humble buildings and is hand crafted using traditional techniques and natural materials that perfectly complement the home’s beautiful surroundings.
In order to create the proper aesthetic, designers used charred Scottish larch to clad the building’s exterior, complementing sections that are shielded by traditional drystone wall. The wooden theme continues inside but in a slightly less intense way, providing a natural but lighter and more airy aesthetic. High ceilings are lined with oil timber, for example.
In the centre of the living room, a beautiful painted stone fireplace serves as a toasty focal point for guests and family gatherings. Large windows, running almost floor to ceiling, perfectly frame a vivid and wonderfully positioned view of the lake and the mountains outside.
Although the materials inside sound rather rustic and natural in their nature, the scaled back approach that designers took allowed for smoother lines and colour schemes that somehow make things appear more streamlined and contemporary inside, despite the consistency in materials.
Beyond the charm provided by slightly more contemporary colour schemes and shapes inside the home, there is beauty in the more detailed decor and layout as well. Remember that this home was created for a ceramics artist and then view how the home’s shapes and spaces merge with the artist’s own works and wider art collection. This establishes a thorough sense of cohesive style that is all at once impressive, comforting, and effortlessly homey.
Now, when we say the house is “off the grid”, we don’t just meant that it’s rural; we literally mean it’s off the power grids provided by local municipalities. Instead, Lochside House produces its own electricity using solar panels. It also sources clean water from its very own independent borehole.
Part of what influenced RIBA judges to choose this house as the UK’s best home of the year was the beauty and efficiency with which it was built despite the nature and weather challenges presented by its remote location. Not even the often harsh weather of the Scottish highlands during the winter prevented the team from achieving their vision.
By Courtney • Dec 27, 2018
Using the seemingly regular concept of stacked boxes as inspiration, Brazilian studio Bloco Arquitetos has designed a wonderfully spacious family home that is, in essence, a series of stacked “boxes” itself. These form a series of courtyards and terraces that provide private and social spaces almost unparalleled in its beauty.
The House of Courtyards is located in the capital of Brazil, in a residential neighbourhood in the city of Brasilia. Totalling 950 square metres, the home sits on a flat plot that lacks a bit in vegetation. Designers built and stacked a series of “boxes” or volumes that sit at angles such that they appear to push outward and pull inward at once, all from their place on the home’s base.
The angles of the volumes and how they’re stacked do more than just look directionally intriguing! Parts of certain “boxes” also protrude over the edges of the parts of the house they sit on, creating a sort of covered porch area or shady shelter from the sun at different spots around the house.
Besides the unique shape, the first thing people often notice about House of Courtyards is how incredibly stark white it is. The exterior walls of the volumes and main house are made of carefully white-painted ceramic brick, which contrast quite well with vast, inset glass. These expanses of glass are provided some shade thanks to a recessed window structure. Short eaves, also formed by the edges of the stacked volumes, give the windows a bit of shade so the rooms inside don’t take on too much solar heat on long Brazilian summer days.
From the main windows and doors, a lovely view of Brasilia’s city centre can be enjoyed. A little closer than the city, which lies 10 km away, a pretty view of the house’s own yard with its stunning swimming pool can be seen with ease. The neighbourhood the house sits in has undergone a bit of a green overhaul to counteract all the flat land and the abundance of paved surfaces. Residents have fostered large stretches of lush grass, young trees with space to grow, and lovely flowering shrubs; all plants in species and types that are native to the local area.
Inside the house, public rooms where guests might visit or where the family might work from home are all located on the ground floor for easy access. Private rooms, like bedrooms and bathrooms, on the other hand, are built across the upper level, distributed throughout the stacked volumes or “boxes”.
The volumes where the bedrooms are located are positioned according to what’s best for each area specifically. By this, we mean that there is no hierarchy of rooms; no “master bedroom” or “small guest room” that might have more or less value in experience. Instead, each room has a perfect level of view, privacy, and orientation according to sunlight based on where it sits in the stack.
In addition to fantastic views, most of the rooms are also afforded direct access to one of the house’s six courtyards. On the upper floors, this is through lovely patio doors that open onto grassy terraces. The top of the home even features a rooftop “sightseeing terrace” accessed by a beautiful white stone, open air staircase.
Following the stark white theme, the interior decor scheme also includes white walls, light wood flooring, and white cabinetry. Though the furniture was brought from the owner’s previous residence, most of it also fits the white theme quite nicely, rounding out the whole visual experience well.
Photographs by Haruo Mikami
By Courtney • Dec 24, 2018
Fig Tree House is a stunning example of how longstanding city buildings can be updated and modernized without losing their old fashioned, more traditional appeal. Located in La Haya, The Netherlands, this tall home recently underwent a small transformation in the back in the form of a beautiful open concept extension designed and created by by Bloot Architecture.
Because the house is located in an historic area, namely The Hague’s Vogelwijk district, the style of the house extension was kept a minimalist, making it contrast sharply but beautifully with the slightly more rustic red brick of the 1927 house.
In the front, the house maintains its original structure while, around back, the lovely old fig tree it was named after stretches its branches across the yard. Previously to the extension, however, that namesake wasn’t actually visible from inside the house, something the owners lamented. This is why owners and designers agreed that a full glass extension, with floor to ceiling window walls, was the best solution!
Because the new section extends beyond the perimeter of the original house into the yard, and also because its glass walls can be slid back to open the room entirely into the open air, it appears to create a more cohesive relationship with the house, the fig tree, and the environment around the two.
In conceptualizing the extension, designers aimed to bring sharp contrast to the old building. The brick house, which hearkens back to older elements of Art Nouveau styles and the Amsterdam School, stands out masterfully agains the black and glass of the new section, outlining its stunning minimalism.
The new structure is built from seamless glass with subtle framing, meaning that there are virtually no visible barriers between the house’s warmth and comfort and the natural space around the fig tree if one looks out from inside the house. This means that daylight is given free reign throughout the bottom floor, keeping spaces bright and cheerful. When the walls are slid back and the sun shines in the evening, dinner at the regular dining table can feel like a picnic outside in the fresh air!
Perhaps the most stark meeting of old and new aesthetics and materials takes place in the kitchen. Here, the concrete floor of the original house meets the new kitchen walls that the extension frame is rooted in, creating a beautiful blend of materials and design styles.
Photographs by Christian van der Kooy
By Courtney • Dec 21, 2018
Nestled in the countryside of Highlands, North Carolina, design professionals at RMT Architects have transformed an old, weathered, and rustic barn into the breathtakingly comfortable Timber Frame Barn House. Built in partnership with Ronnie D. Waller Construction, the vintage looking farmland home features 3,587 square feet of inviting living spaces and down home comfort.
Upon walking into the great room, you’ll encounter a stunning open concept layouts and an impressive metal spiral staircase traveling upward to the mezzanine. Rather than being airy, the great room stays warm and cozy despite its layout thanks to a beautifully placed stone fireplace that covers the full height of the room from floor to ceiling. The floor is kept warm as well in the home’s current decor scheme by a spacious area rug. This cushions the feet of guests while also adding pattern and texture to the room. The rug also marks a visual separation between the living room seating and the dining room without actually cutting off the nice open space between the two.
Besides having an open-space aesthetic that creates a sense of harmony between the rooms and makes hosting guests easy, this barn house also features pocketing glass doors in the dining room that open right out onto a comfortable patio seating area. This helps create a sense of cohesiveness between indoor and outdoor settings as well. Dwellers and guests can flow easily from room to room and from indoor areas to fresh air seamlessly.
In contrast with the warm, pleasant interior, which is undoubtedly rustic vintage influenced but feels whole and new, the exterior of the house is quite clearly the actual facade of an old barn. The original timber is still in place, but safely bolstered by frame updates and renovations.
The barn house’s exterior isn’t the only place you’ll find wood! Inside, the floors are actually a unique combination of wood and concrete, keeping things solid but natural. First the wood was installed and then the concrete was poured, using the wood as a framework, and stained to create a cohesive colour story.
In terms of decor, you’ll encounter all kinds of homey touches throughout the house that really drive the whole “rustic farm” aesthetic home in a way that’s beautiful and explicit rather than tacky and overdone. Cowhide rugs and homemade patchwork quilts in the bedrooms are the perfect example of this. These are things you might have seen in any old farm house, modern or vintage, but they make particular sense here in the way they play off the rustic wooden interior that follows from the floor, up the walls and supports, and right across the ceiling.
The part of the home that perhaps makes the “barn house” concept most explicit and whole is the authentic remaining barn door itself. On the outside of modern doors with glass insets and safe locks, an actual set of large, wooden barn doors closes just like they might have when the barn housed farm animals and farming tools and supplies originally. Once the barn doors have swung open, the glass doors can roll like sliding panels to disappear entirely on warm days, giving the entryway and even more authentically rustic feel when only the big barn doors remain.
In oder to stop the large, wooden home from feeling too dark at any point, bright ceiling lights abound all throughout. Designers place inset lamps and stylish pendant lights in each room and on the porch to make sure guests and dwellers are never in the dark, even on days that are too chilly for indoor-outdoor experiences and leaving the barn doors open for a nice breeze.
Mimicking the beautiful fireplace and seating in the great room, this barn house’s porch also features fantastic rustic inspired seating and a beautiful stone fireplace! This lets guests enjoy the surrounding woodland area any time they please without getting too cold, making the fire both functional and great for ambiance. This setup sits on a beautifully solid cedar deck that overlooks the yard bordered in natural greenery.
Photographs by Eric Morley
Stunning Swedish Home Villa Wennerström Blends Wood and Natural Granite Thanks to Max Holst Arkitektkontor
By Courtney • Dec 20, 2018
In order to create the breathtaking Villa Wennerström, designers and architects at Max Holst Arkitektkontor harnessed the beauty of the topography Stockholm, Sweden. The result was a grand home structure that perfectly blends and contrasts natural granite and woods like oak and pine; a combination which is reflected in the scene around the house as well.
The goal in building and decorating this house was to draw guests’ eyes to the similarities and differences between not only the natural materials used in building, but also between the house and the land it sits on. Clear, strong architectural shapes were also used, making the house stand out from its surroundings despite being built from those very things. The stone coloured wooden facade and the way the building splits into two distinct looking but connected structures are the perfect examples of these goals being achieved with great beauty.
In the first portion of the house, you’ll find the more functional aspects of a home and the areas where you’d typically do things together as a family or host guests. These include the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Moving onto the second “volume” of the home, you’ll encounter spaces that might be used for more independent things, like sleep, work, and media or private relaxation. The rooms and parts of the house are far from cut off from each other, and yet the areas remain distinct in a way that makes sense. After all, separating public and private areas offers a logical change in atmosphere from room to room!
In terms of the home’s physicality, each of the two volumes of the house is angled slightly in a way that not only simplified the construction of the house, but also gives guests and dwellers a better view of the lovely natural topography surrounding the home.
Besides the granite flooring and the wooden walls and furniture, Villa Wennerström incorporates nature in a way that feels almost cohesive between interior and exterior thanks to stunning floor to ceiling windows. This gives one side of the house what essentially looks like a glass wall, which in turn allows sunlight to spill into the central living and eating areas. This is also partially thanks to the way the volumes of the house are angled, as we mentioned before.
Overall, the entire project is a stunning example of how functional and whimsical elements can be blended un innovative ways to create experiences in all kinds of manners, including architecturally!
Photographs by Lars Grafstrom
By Courtney • Dec 20, 2018
Recently, innovative Vietnamese design team Mét Vuong Studio took on an architectural project in Dong Hoi, Vietnam that had a slightly more unique goal than usual. Rather than just building an average family home, these designers sought to create a haven where family members can escape the hustle and bustle of busy life at the end of the day and thoroughly enjoy their space and each other’s company, letting them feel rejuvenated and refreshed to tackle each morning. That’s how PH House came to be!
PH House is a two story dwelling built for two married professionals and their children; a son and a daughter. Despite being located in the thick of fast paced, urban life, giving the family access to everything they need in their modern lifestyle, it is also an escape for the mind, body, and soul when the day is done.
In their design process, this team made their primary goal one of shared time and calming space. They strove to create a home where the family might return from a long day of work and study and gather together to catch up, eat, or relaxed and recollect. This intent is clear in the presence of a beautiful central room that features a comfortable seating area, distraction free space, and calming koi pond right in the middle of the house.
Besides providing the family with great shared space, these designers also emphasized the value of comfortable and cheerful personal space as well. As such, each family member’s bedroom has been customized to reflect their personality and style, making each room really feel like a home within their shared home.
In order to bolster this idea of home relaxation and winding down even further, Met Vuong Studio extended the idea of incorporating natural elements into an urban house even further than the featured koi pond. Guests will also find an abundance of refreshing plant life and greenery right there in the house, as well as structures and elements made from entirely natural materials. Throughout the house, materials such as wood, steel, concrete, brick, and stone play off each other and create both contrast and cohesiveness.
The drive to use as many beautiful natural materials in this project’s construction was actually two fold. Besides establishing a healthy, calming atmosphere in the home, these materials also enabled designers to buy supplies locally, eliminating unnecessary costs and boosting local economic participation.
As if all this wasn’t enough to create a place that’s perfect for unwinding in after a long day, features like skylights, large windows, and open-air transition spaces that blend interior and exterior elements of the home let a fresh breeze and sunlight permeate each room. Thanks to several cutout walls and the presence of stone based materials, however, no privacy or safety is sacrificed.
Photographs by Công Lý Phạm
Carney Logan Burke Architects Build Beautiful Fishing Cabin with a Sweeping View of the Teton Mountain Range
By Courtney • Dec 19, 2018
A new building project located in the mountainous lands of Jackson, Wyoming has wowed guests with its breathtaking views. Architect and design teams at Carney Logan Burke Architects nestled a fishing cabin amongst the rocks and trees, letting visitors breath in the fresh air as they absorb the surrounding beauty of the Teton Mountain Range.
Rather than creating a stereotypical fishing hut that feels temporary and makeshift, this team decided to build a structure on 10 acres of rolling land that feels like a true escape from busy cities and routines. The aesthetic and shape of the temporary home is somehow both contemporary and classic, giving guests an upscale experience without losing that mountain fisheries inspired charm.
Besides being a beautifully nature inspired structure, this fishing cabin is actually surrounded by natural features and wild lands that fishing enthusiasts and outdoor lovers will thrive in. The property that the home sits on has plenty of natural privacy thanks to the rock lands surrounding the mountain range. It also sits wonderfully close to a fishing creek and is a short distance from a calm and safe feeling wildlife habitat that is supported by the creek’s waters.
When designers procured the original site, there was actually already a home existing on the land. Rather than tearing the building down and starting again, the team decided to take advantage of the existing structure by stripping it to its barest bones in order to avoid having to move the home back from the water’s edge. You see, the house was nestled right into a stream setback that the land’s new owners didn’t want to disturb, nor did they want to put distance between their home and the water they so dearly wanted to reside near.
In total, the new home that those structural bones were transformed into encompasses 5,600 square feet of comfortable, open feeling living space. Rather than looking like a bit of a country western cliche (the way the original home might have been described), the new cabin features reorganized elements of the original building to create a country chic aesthetic that makes more visual and material sense.
To create a new, upscale but still homey escape, designers replaced the previous shellacked logs, shiny river rock decor, and scattering or separate buildings across the plot. They reorganized the plot of the cabin to create a more streamlined grouping of buildings, connecting the smaller cabins together with a long, classically Western styled porch that sits low but still lets guests enjoy their surroundings, as well as that incredible mountain view. This porch creates cohesiveness between the different structures, preventing any visitors from feeling cut off from social experiences or shared spaces in other parts of the house.
Of course, in a space that’s designed to let guests enjoy as much of their outdoor surroundings as possible and even get involved in nature based activities, it only makes sense to blend interior and exterior experiences and spaces! These designers achieved that through the presence of large window openings cut into the log structures, preventing them from feeling too dark and heavy.
While it was certainly important to the new homeowners to preserve a country western kind of aesthetic, they and the design team both agreed to tackle the challenge of blending that idea with a more contemporary style, just to put an interesting spin on things inside the home. Part of creating this new atmosphere involved a simple black scheme for the exterior facade, which was created using stained black logs, black steel in the detailing, and black painted wood in furnishings.
In great contrast, the interior decor scheme features a predominantly white colour scheme. This includes several elements that directly balance out what’s seen on the outside of the house, such as the whitewashed logs bolstering the ceiling. At the same time, a few exterior details are brought inside so that the two communicate. This can be seen in the presence of black steel elements and Belgium slate flooring.
Photographs by Audrey Hall Photography
By Courtney • Dec 19, 2018
At the height of the French Alps, near the village of Megeve, architect Lionel Jadot has designed and built the stunning Alpine Cabin. This cabin mirrors the beauty of its mountainous surroundings by perfectly blending natural materials, primarily stone and wood, in its exterior design.
This breathtaking cabin is nestled high up in the mountains themselves, giving guests and dwellers a clear view of Mont Blanc on the distant horizon. The new cabin has been restored from an already existing structure made almost entirely of natural, local wood. Rather than feeling like a mere cabin in the stereotypical sense, where one might stay for only a few days and feel a cold draft most days, this stunning structure was created with the intention of balancing its surrounding environment in a more idyllic, long term way.
now, the updated cabin is equipped with roofed carports, chimneys that warm the home and give off an old fashioned (but safe) smoke that creates a wooded aroma and contrasts against the crisp, white landscape. There is also an access ramp that makes the cabin safe and simple for any visitor to enter, but this feature is make of bamboo instead of wood for durability and strength. Overall, the exterior of the cabin resembles a lovely Christmas scene.
There’s a lot more to this house, however, than meets the eye. Besides being an adorable looking winter cabin retreat, this building is actually also an important rehabilitation project. This is because design teams made sustainability and ecology in the natural space an absolute top priority while they built and restored the cabin. Professionals were specifically requested by the homeowner to updated the cabin, originally built in 1870, in a way that preserves and respects the history of the place, rather than just abolishing it and replacing it with something new and out of place.
This special renovation took two years to complete. This is partially because teams had to heartily winterize the dilapidated older structure and reinvent it in more environmentally and stylistically efficient ways. This required installation of a new roof, new floors, and new walls. Space was reorganized in the interior according to the homeowner’s wants and needs but builders ensured that the wood used in all aspects of the rebuild was local or harvested from the original structure. This ensured that the house fit in with the schemes and traditions seen in other houses in the area.
Inside, this wintery villa has two levels. While the ground floor features lovely guest bedrooms that are spaced to allow visitors free movement about the house, the master bedroom resides in a spacious upper loft. High ceilings there make the room feel opened almost right into the mountain range itself, particularly in combination with large, bright windows that continue all the way up to meet the ceiling. This stops the cabin from feeling dark and stuffy even on the shortest winter days.
In interesting contrast to the more traditional wooden log and stone foundation exterior that makes up this cabin, you’ll find a surprisingly unique interior decor scheme within its walls. Rather than looking even more like a Christmas hideaway inside, the decorative details reflect the adventures of the homeowner, telling an adventurous story through interior art! Furnishings and figures hailing from all different cultures and eras cover the walls and surfaces, harnessing beauty and stories from visits to Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Besides being garnered from all kinds of fantastic places, many of the pieces used to decorate the inside of the cabin are also garnered from antique sales and vintage stores. These two things in combination contrast beautifully with the wintery, wooden scene outside, giving the entire place a cheerful, warn, and intensely interesting atmosphere. Walking inside from the porch is like traveling from a nostalgic mountain home into a sophisticated New York loft!
The decor scheme isn’t the only thing that makes the cabin appear interestingly contrasted and wonderfully updated despite the strong remaining cabin atmosphere. Designers also installed solar power to the home, placing discreet but powerful panels on the roof to make it state of the art and energy efficient.
Photographs by Nuevo Estilo
By Courtney • Dec 18, 2018
Usually when one thinks of how a mountain cabin might look, they will picture something small, wooden, and designed for temporary stays throughout the winter. The designers at Skylab, however, had very different ideas when they took on the task of building Owl Creek House in Snowmass, United States!
Rather than using natural woods and materials that reflect the scenery around the home, Skylab chose to create interesting, geometric, and captivating contrast by sticking to metals, straight lines, and corners. Instead of looking intimidating or out of place, however, the ultra modern looking structure appears grand, impressive, and intriguing.
Besides its shaped and materiality, Owl Creek House catches the attention of anyone passing it thanks to the way it perches so perfectly atop a hillside. The angles the windows are placed at provides guests with a panoramic view of Snowmass Mountain. This means you can absorb the stunning scenery around you whether you’re sitting inside or outside, and no matter which room you’ve posted up in for a cozy evening.
The angles and metal posts that you see in the structure might look like awesome aesthetic choices, but they actually serve a functional purpose as well. Because the site chosen for the home is so mountainous and rocky, builders wanted to ensure they overcame rocky surfaces and slope constraints safely and effectively. By anchoring the structure directly into the rocky landforms it sits on at different points around the house, builders overcame all obstacles provided by the chosen site.
At the inception of the project, designers and owners decided that the primary goal of the space would be to prioritize the way a physical place can actually deepen connections between friends, families, and the natural world around all of us. Owl Creek was designed to give people differing spaces to relax together, converse, eat, or be active with one another while also interacting with nature in ways that they might not get to regularly at home.
The social goals involves in building this fantastic house make even more sense when you learn that the dwelling was actually build as a singular but shared home for two families together, rather than just one. The structure is built as a collaborative home with one primary building for everyone, but there are also several small lodge areas clustered together outside the main building. These are intended as communal spaces meant for shared social time. Being able to travel from space to space with friends and family makes the entire home feel somehow both intimate and open all at once!
The walls of Owl Creek House might be made of thick materials and angles, but that doesn’t stop sunlight from sleeping in at all points! In fact, the involvement of natural light was a top priority along with shared social space during the entire building process. Designers purposely aimed to minimize visual separation between indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing natural sunlight to reach all parts of the house and land alike. Each of these things in combination makes the house a fantastic place for recharging your relationships, reinvigorating your soul, and reconnecting to the earth around you.
By Courtney • Dec 18, 2018
Located in the beautiful French village of Le Puy-Sainte-Reparade, PietriArchitectes‘s project MaisonP nestles right into a cosy, sunny hillside. offering a panoramic view over the Alps. Surrounded by lush, dense greenery that makes the space feel refreshing and cheerful, the home looks mod and stylish on the outside but actually provides a private haven behind the bordering leaves.
During the design process, creative and building teams aimed to alter the natural land around the home as little as possible. Instead, they wished to incorporate the house into the landscape in a way that’s attractive and eye catching without detracting from the present beauty of the hillside cove. In building the actual foundation and structure, teams changed the natural slope of the hill minimally, leaving the space with a raw, wild feeling character and preserving its original appeal.
The house itself is made up of two separate parts with distinct features and purposes. Guests encounter the main house first, followed by a drystone outbuilding that serves as a relaxation area, social space, and pool house. Within the main house itself, there is also a neat division of space, just to make sure that guests make the most of everything it has to offer.
The first floor of the main house features a spacious garage, which comprises the first “volume” of the house and sits on the main floor. Wandering towards the second volume, you’ll find a welcoming entryway, a gorgeous kitchen, and a cozy living room area with seating set up for conversation. The third and final volume of the main house features four relaxing bedrooms, including the master bedroom, each decorated in a way that’s clutter free so as to appear calming rather than minimal.
Moving on from the main house and its three sections, you’ll find the outbuilding. This is a smaller structure of about 95 square metres and it sits slightly higher on the hillside than the main house. Here, you’ll find another lovely, socially driven seating area but within walls that slide back in order to create a very open concept space that blends interior and exterior experiences. This is convenient since it’s right next to the luscious pool!
Between the two main buildings of the house, you’ll encounter a stunning, plant-lined canal that reflects the land around it beautifully and causes a sense of quiet calm. Between that, the pond near the entryway, and the lengthy pool out back, it becomes clear that water plays as much of a role in establishing the way this house pays tribute to the nature around it as the luscious greenery throughout and around it does.
The way that MaisonP is divided, rather than being built as a monolith, might seem stylish or modern, but it’s actually conceptual and referential. The idea is to create an architectural composition by building things around valuable empty space, rather than just filling spaces with buildings. This idea is reminiscent of historical architectural styles in Provence, which are referred to as being “bioclimatic”.
Inside the home, colour and decor schemes are kept just as light, airy, and natural looking as the sunshine and plant life outside. Very light wood floors and light spilling in through countless windows keeps things bright and cheerful, eliminating the need for crowded decor or overwhelming colour. Instead, a few bright art pieces are scattered throughout in order to bring personality, but furnishings are otherwise kept to a clean white.
Photographs by Philippe Biolatto
By Courtney • Dec 17, 2018
The Woodsy Farmhouse Cabin by Wade Design Architects is a beautifully sprawling structure located in St. Helena, California. This project blends stone foundations and supports with smooth wooden interiors in a way that looks sleek and stylish but still entirely influenced by a down home, woodsy rustic feel.
Built on a breathtaking wine country property, the Woodsy Farmhouse Cabin was originally built as a guesthouse to the main building nestled into the trees and fields there. The primary homeowners intended to live in the main house when they vacationed in California at length, but they built the lovely Farmhouse Cabin in order to share their lovely wine country summers and experiences with friends, family, and guests in equal comfort.
The longer the original homeowners spent time in the vacation home, however, the more they realized that they actually preferred living in the stunning Farmhouse inspired guest house themselves! Something about the slightly smaller but much more efficient design of the building appealed to them and made them feel more comfortable and at home.
Boasting a comfortable 1,200 square feet, the Farmhouse Cabin greets guests with a warm aesthetic that feels just as comforting and welcoming as coming home after a long time away might. The primary goal in both designing and decorating the cabin as to make it appear as though it was built directly from the land it sits on. They also wanted to prioritize the stunning views their particular land plot offers; the working vineyard and mountain range in the distance are not to be missed!
In combination with those goals, designers also strove to achieve a relatively open-concept structure for the cabin. They wanted it to feel quite large despite its average size. Between this and the emphasis on large windows that frame the gorgeous outdoor view, the Farmhouse Cabin is flooded with lovely natural light and plenty of sun, without getting too hot during the day.
High ceilings inside the cabin help those feelings of spaciousness as well. The main living room, for example, features 24 foot vaulted ceilings supported with wooden pillars that add to the farmhouse aesthetic. This atmosphere is bolstered by a simple, clean decor scheme that sticks to woodsy, neutral tones and natural, clean material palettes. Reclaimed wood on the siding, walls, and ceilings pairs with naturally coloured concrete flooring to create a space that’s both durable and low-maintenance.
In contrast to the wood and stone, several steel elements can be seen dotted throughout the house. The most noticeable of these is, of course, the impressive fireplace in the middle of the living room. Besides drawing the eye and keeping the space warm on chilly evenings, this piece creates visual texture in comparison to the wooden walls and vaults around it.
Sticking with the spacious, open-concept theme, the living and dining rooms and the kitchen are all blended as a central space, allowing free movement between the three. The dark neutral colour scheme that’s predominant here was chosen specifically to make the rooms feel as though they blend with and come directly from the surrounding landscape, making the whole house feel cohesive with the beautiful scenery it’s nestled into.
As is the inside of the Farmhouse Cabin wasn’t appealing enough, it also features a wrapping verandah with a lovely, surprisingly comfortable seating area. This entices dwellers and guests out into the fresh air to listen to the soothing sounds of nature around them whenever the weather allows, which is often thanks to its fantastic Californian location.
Photographs by Paul Dyer Photography
Located in the hear of Sofia, Bulgaria, a wonderfully stylish and sensually dark dwelling called Villa 29 offers guests and owners a calmly modern experience in every room. Innovative architectural studio STUDIO LTD designed and decorated the space using “nothing absolutely new”, making the villa a unique combination of sleek aesthetics and vintage appreciation.
The villa was designed with the intention of creating endless connections between artistic shapes, natural or upcycled materials, and cutting edge technologies. The goal was to use elements that have been seen and experiences previously in new blends, ultimately creating something entirely unique and never before seen.
The villa was created specifically for a young professional couple and their two children, both under the age of ten. Because the villa is located within a city centre, in the heart of a residential complex, the goal was to make it at once stand out and blend in; the structure of the apartment must make sense with the needs of someone living a cosmopolitan lifestyle and yet also give them a place to retreat to at the end of a busy urban day.
Designers hoped to help the family blend various styles and experiences in one place; they wanted spaces for comfort but elements of high-tech living. They wanted sophistication for guest hosting but also elements of being close to nature in order to benefit their children.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the house is that behind its vintage inspired and rather mod looking facade, it’s actually also a “smart-house”. This means that just about everything in the home can be controlled from a cell phone. This gives homeowners ultimate customizability within each room and ultimately saves physical and electronic energy alike. It also makes the home very accessible for those with varying physical needs or abilities.
Working with a unique blend of the designer’s visions and the homeowners wants and needs, the overall team established a space that’s unique in its physical construction as well, before you even consider its decor or how it functions. Asymmetrical ceilings opened up many possibilities for playing with symmetry, for example, so the team extended from that idea and built a space that features unique shapes and visual textures all throughout.
Once shapes and space definitions were established, material blends were chosen. The young couple owning the villa wanted a modern overall atmosphere but were intent on using a blend of soft, natural materials. This is why a combination of wood and stone offsets the sleek black colour schemes and mod shapes seen throughout the rooms.
Despite the strong presence of black in the decor scheme, designers and owners alike agreed that the darkness anchored the spaces in a comfortable way that was balanced by the lighter, natural materials and the impressively unique lighting choices. They also made sure to lighten the scheme in areas meant specifically for the children, instead building airy spaces that let the children physically enjoy the room by getting active on climbing structures and stairs built right into the walls and construction.
Overall, each party was pleased with the way the finished villa offsets itself in innumerable ways; a sense of calm and quiet is easy to find in rooms that are at once elusive and coherent, visually stimulating and technologically practical. The formulation of the villa’s aesthetic in itself was practically an artistic feat!
Photographs by Dian Stanchev
Sunny Teph Inlet House by Omar Gandhi Architect Gives Family Perfect Holiday Escape in Eastern Canada
By Courtney • Dec 14, 2018
Teph Inlet House is an impressively cubic, clean edges holiday home designed and built by teams at Omar Gandhi Architect. Located in Nova Scotia, Canada, it gives dwellers, guests, and passers by a fresh view from the street thanks to the way it differs in aesthetic and structure from surrounding buildings.
Originally designed as a holiday home for a young family, the Teph Inlet House sits not far from the ocean, nestled into its own little space in the village of Chester. The building is a two story main house with a nearby guest house, both impressively cuboid in their shape. These straight edges contrast agains the greenery and foliage around the border of the plot but also symmetrically complement the rectangular shape of the backyard pool and its paved outdoor space.
Rather than standing out in an unpleasant way, Teph Inlet House looks like a breath of fresh air, just like the kind guests might experience while staying there on a warm, sunny day. Thanks to an entirely glazed glass walling system on the ground floor, spanning all the way around the building, natural light and sunshine can flood the comfortable seating area for maximum relaxation.
Continuing that concept of being perfectly fit and linear, guests will notice how the garage at the front of the property lines up precisely with the pool house further back in the lot. This creates a sports area between the two buildings where the family can enjoy a whole range of activities, including (but not limited to) their very own working zipline!
After a long day of swimming in the sun, the family can enjoy warm summer evenings on the rear terrace, which provides an open view to the harbour beyond the property, with all its various docked and visiting boats. This terrace is also easily accessible to a grassy area with towering trees overhanging the edges, giving the kids some green space to enjoy when they’re not in the paved areas like the pool or the sports plot.
The way the main house, pool house, and garage are arrange on the plot establishes distinct sections of the property; a public entryway sort of area at the front and a more private, family driven area at the back. This is useful since the above mentioned glazed walls surrounding the ground floor actually slide back entirely, opening the bottom of the home into the leisure areas for a blended interior and exterior experience. This allows for very free movement from the terrace, sports plot, grass, and pool into the open-concept lounge, dining room, and kitchen area inside the glass doors.
Inside, guests will find an impressive doglegged staircase extending upward from the main living space. This is minimally furnished in a way that is clutter free rather than uncomfortable. Whitewashed marble and a pale colour scheme keeps things feeling light and airy, even when the fireplace at the end of the room is in action on chilly evenings.
Moving beyond the stairs, you’ll encounter a study, an ensuite bedroom, and a guest washroom. The way that a pocket door can be pulled from the wall, as well as a secondary entrance from the other side of the house can be accessed further down the corridor, means that this part of the house can be closed off or used as independent lodging from the rest of the house when guests stay for longer periods of time.
Traveling up the floating white oak stairs (which bolster the airy, light atmosphere), you’ll encounter an upper floor that’s equally sunny and bright thanks to continued emphasis on windows as well as several skylights. This is where you’ll see the master bedroom, complete with its walk-in closet and private bathroom. From the exterior, this section of the house is wrapped in a red cedar which looks stunning from the street.
Connecting from a long, sunny hallway, three more bedrooms and two additional bathrooms accommodate plenty of summertime guests, making Teph Inlet House the perfect social summer getaway for people of all ages. Each of these areas is perfect for taking in the surrounding landscape thanks to continued emphasis on windows and skylights, meaning no one gets ripped off of that harbour view.
Despite the minimal decor scheme and very light colour palette, Teph Inlet Home is by no means dull or monochromatic to look at. This is partially thanks to stone details and tiling that offset the copious white surfaces, as well as the herringbone pattern featured in the oak flooring all throughout the house.
Photographs by Ema Peter.
Spacious Modern Home La Serena Blends Textures and Lines Thanks to David James Architects & Partners
By Courtney • Dec 14, 2018
La Serena, designed and built by David James Architects & Partners, is a visually pleasing and structurally interesting home located in Canford Cliffs, United Kingdom.
Nestled into the very end of a peaceful cul-de-sac, the home offers a fantastic view of the Championship Parkstone Golf Course in the near distance, framing picturesque foliage and greens through just about any window. Designers achieved a unique goal in choosing that location because the way they framed the house all along the edges of the plot with maritime pine trees makes the course feel at once like part of the home’s experience but without sacrificing any privacy.
Despite the trees all around the house, designers ensured that sunlight still abounds on the grounds, as well as in the interior rooms. As the sun moves, it hits each point of the property at some hour, bathing that area in light for a time. Taking advantage of this in the placement and structure of the home was paramount for the owners.
Although the structure looks sparkling and new, it’s actually a restoration project that transformed a 1970s split-level house. If you think about some of the angles and waving lines in the construction and decor, this becomes less surprising to learn! The original structure had a driveway that the owners deemed two narrow and, while its two floors were a decent size, the physical design was uninspiring and bland to look at.
In their transformation, designers strove to take better advantage of the space and the stunning view it offers. They also aimed to explore how remodeling might create a house that better embraces its surroundings while simultaneously appearing to float above the landscape. In short, all parties involves wanted more visual interest that would also do the great natural setting more justice.
To do this, designers chose to work in a way that would create lines, textures, and shapes that are at once crisp and clean but also flowing. That idea of having good “flow” also translated into how they wanted the space to be used, so they aimed to create an interior layout that lets dwellers and guests flow from room to room during any point of modern living.
The goal of the house was to create a comfortable living space that was also dynamic, diverse in its function, and generally exceptional to experience. Their specific examples of how they could see the house being used ranged from a retirement home, a family getaway, or even a party house! Designers outlined four bedrooms, a number of relaxation and social areas, and several rooms specifically laid out for work or play.
Because it sits on a natural slope, designers were able to take advantage of that unique physicality by building a home that actually has three floors, despite looking like a two storey home. The house cascades gently but securely down the face of the slope, ending at the top in a stunning and rather large rear terrace.
Upon entering the home, a large foyer leads seamlessly into a formal lounge and an impressive study. From there, two staircases lead in different directions; one to the master suit on the top floor, as well as other guest bedrooms, and the other down into the primary living space and kitchen. This area is the space where the house’s layout and function really extends from and revolevs around. It features stunning floor to ceiling windows that perfectly frame the lovely golf course view.
In terms of decor, you’ll encounter a number of different materials and textures inside. Rather than looking haphazard, however, these contrasts play off the waving lines in things like walls and light fixtures, suiting the eclectic and cheerful atmosphere established all throughout the bedrooms and primary living spaces.
Outside the house, designers were intent on honouring the natural landscape by creating a garden that blends the structure into the surroundings more effectively. Here they placed a seating area from which guests can enjoy the fantastic view, but also seek some peaceful moments in green privacy. The exterior of the house is finished in basalt stone, Grespania wood ceramic tiling, and charcoal grey metal. These things help the house contrast less with the natural scene as well.
Photographs by: Tom Burn Media
Dry Creek Pool House Designed by Ro Rockett Design Give Guests a Perfectly Sunny Californian Getaway
By Courtney • Dec 13, 2018
Dry Creek Pool House is a lovely guest home project designed and built by Ro Rockett Design. Located in the most peaceful part of Sonoma County, California, it offers dwellers and guests a moment of respite and warmth, as well as the perfect opportunity for a cool, relaxing dip.
Sitting atop a hillside amidst a vineyard retreat, this weather timber pool house provides a perfect getaway space for those seeking to unwind and enjoy the coastal views. The pool house was built to accompany a particular holiday home near Geyserville after the owners decided that a specific space meant for total relaxation and enjoyment would greatly improve their experiences there, as well as those of their guests and neighbours.
The focus of the lovely plot outside the pool house is undoubtedly the gorgeous pool. Slender in width but gracious in length, this pool sits slightly above the main slope, hidden from a nearby road for calm privacy. This road, in turn, is hidden from view by the way the deck near the pool is raised, offering only a lovely green scenery in the eye line of anyone resting there.
In order to complement and blend with the surrounding greenery, the exterior of the pool house is made in a rustic style. Designers used wood and natural materials in an attempt to make the little house both stylish and primitive; something unlike what guests would experience in their regular homes in the city.
The roughly weathered timber mentioned above is a perfect match for its vineyard surroundings because it was actually sourced from grape stakes. This aesthetic is consistent in the first volume of two that comprise the pool house, while the second is a black pavilion style building feating large, sunny panes of glass. These panes let guests open the house entirely to the view while seeking comfort in the shade by sliding fully open.
Inside the pool house, basic amenities make it an extremely comfortable place to spend the whole day. Besides cushy sofas that make for good talks and great naps, the house boasts a bathroom with a full shower and even a mini-bar for entertaining. If additional privacy is needed, guests can draw a set of stark white curtains closed around the entire structure. These also provide more shade from sunlight in the most intense hours of the afternoon.
If you’d like the bit of shade but you don’t want to go in from the soft breeze on your skin, the patio that runs alongside the pool is the place for you! Here, a slatted canopy covers the pool deck, shading an outdoor dining table as well as two lounge areas. This is the perfect spot for people who want to enjoy the breeze and water but without sitting in direct sun!
In order to give guests a break from lounging but keep them from getting bored with the space, designers added an amusing little bocce ball court further down the slope from the poolside. Although this strip of grass is closer to the road, it’s still safe and private thanks to a row of luscious trees all along the edge of the space.
Photographs by: Adam Rouse