Author Archives - Courtney
1926 Georgian Revival house transformed by Sarah Bartholomew Designs from a childhood home to a dream escape for a grown family
By Courtney • 9 hours ago
In a beautifully sprawling neighbourhood in Nashville, Tennessee, experts at Sarah Bartholomew Designs have recently refurbished an old house called the 1926 Georgian Revival for a family that has lived there for many years indeed with one primary goal in mind- to transform it from a childhood home into a dream home fit for an adult family.
Within this transformation, it was incredibly important to both owners and designers that the original style and integrity of the old home despite the modernizations being made. That doesn’t mean, however, that they didn’t still make the place look quite contemporary, particularly thanks to their choices in colour and patterning.
Designers chose intentionally cheerful, bright, and eye catching shades and hues for the decorative elements of the home, set against creamy, neutral backgrounds. At the same time, an emphasis on fantastic, visually textured patterns partners up with those bright colours to really add some modern personality to the mix.
The kitchen is a perfect example of the way traditional shapes and neutral base colours preserve the classic style of the house while brighter colours add a modern pop to the space. We adore the way the bright blue topped stools and matching pendant light fixtures, which resemble old lanterns in their shape, create a stunning blend of contemporary and vintage within the room.
Moving through to the dining room, the location of the colour pops shift. This is to say that, rather than neutral walls and bright furniture, this room has simple, creamy furniture and bright walls! This is all thanks to visually exciting patterned wallpaper that involves intricate designs featuring the same blue you saw in the kitchen, just for a bit of cohesiveness.
In some spaces, design teams actually chose to use the owners’ own stunning belongings, which have been carefully chosen and accumulated over the years, as inspiration for some of the rooms, since the aesthetic fit the classic shapes and architecture so well. Their large collection of porcelain vases, for example, informed the way some of the transitionary hallways were decorated in terms of their patterning.
In other rooms, the blue that’s continued so heavily throughout the house is pared back slightly in order to let another colour take centre stage. The formal living room is the perfect example of what we mean! Here, a bright green throw pillow and coordinated piece of wall art, as well as several other details, create a whole different modern and classic aesthetic blend.
Elsewhere in the house, that same pretty eggshell blue continues from space to space, standing out or lying back in different ways depending on which other shades are present. A daughter’s bedroom, for example, features that blue with an exciting bright pink in the details, while an office and hallway feature the blue set against a cheerful, sunny yellow.
The outside of the house is perhaps the most traditional looking aspect of the house in terms of what was preserved. Having been refurbished entirely to counteract years of weathering, the house still features its original columns and entryway canopy, on top of which a stunning balcony stems off the spacious master bedroom.
The contrast between the beautifully traditional brickwork on the home’s exterior and its clearly maintained architectural shape with the bright, playful patterns and colours make the space feel dynamic and full of life.
Photos by Traditional Home Magazine
Stunningly modular Stray Bird Boutique Hotel created by STUDIO QI for a relaxing but cutting edge oasis experience
By Courtney • 13 hours ago
In the stunning rural greenery of Ningxia, China, innovative designers at STUDIO QI have recently completed and opened a stunningly conceptual and beautifully laid out escape called the Stray Bird Boutique Hotel.
This wonderfully modern boutique hotel sits in a sort of countryside oasis that is nestled right between the Yellow River and the Tengger Desert. This unique spot lies in the heart of China’s Ningxia Autonomous Region; a rare spot of greenery and flowing waters before the sand and sun take over the landscape.
The site of the hotel itself is an actual blossom orchard, which runs all along the horizon where the scenery changes and the desert beings to stretch in the distance. Since the location of the plot is so unique already, designers opted to follow suit and create an equally unconventional staying experience that somehow also still suits and jives with its green surroundings.
The main goal of the design team became to challenge the typical architecture in the remote, sparsely populated area in order to create something incredibly airy and open feeling. They took great inspiration from ideas of transparency, letting a contemporary sense of minimalism provide breathtaking views that allow one to feel like their newly sought out private space is one with the surrounding landscape.
The hotel is made up of several separate volumes dotted closely enough to one another to avoid feeling isolated or cut off, but far enough from one another so as to feel private despite their openness. Each small respite space is made from a pre-fabricated frame that was brought in and erected on site in order to interrupt the topography as little as possible and preserve it.
Despite the simple, pre-fab frame of each little building, the interiors of the units are nothing short of sophisticated. The details and finishes are sleek and modern looking, equipped with full amenities, but also subdued enough to allow one’s concentration to lie fully with the beauty of what lies outside.
Part of what makes the outdoor areas so easy to appreciate and connect with from within each of these lovely little escapes is the Low-E glass curtain wall technology that is installed in three sides of each. This lets the walls fold back entirely as though they have been opened by curtains, creating a stunning blending of interior and outdoor spaces, as though fresh air is limitless.
Within each serene unit, the interior spaces are quite open concept in terms of their physicality. In terms of their function, however, they are organized according to three different actions: sitting, standing, and sleeping. Since the whole focus of the hotel is relaxation and seeking peace, the actions of sitting and sleeping are regarded as being the most important, so these are the actions that are most catered to within each unit.
In order to facilitate maximum relaxation, designers placed spaces for sitting and sleeping in each of the four corners of the units, nearest the large windows and retracting walls for maximum sunlight, fresh air, and access to nature. Other functions of the space, or the parts that require standing and things other than relaxation, are compartmentalized to the centre of the room, facilitating easy flow of space and energy.
This is quite opposite to how most retreats and hotels are built. Normally, the most private spaces, like the sleeping quarters, are removed from view and kept on the most private side. Here, designers have moved the resting areas to the edges on purpose, giving them clear paths to the outdoors, and prioritizing visual and open air connections to nature.
The units are not, of course, completely devoid of privacy. On their back walls, where they face each other most directly and would therefore lend the most view to others staying at the boutique hotel, each one features a playful looking perforated wall. This allows semi-privacy in that onlookers cannot see into the unit, but guests are still afforded the natural play of light and shadow as the sun moves across the property.
Across these perforated back walls, designers created beautifully painted themes in subdued colours that look like shadows and light play in and of themselves. Each unit features a different theme, ranging from pear trees to the birds the hotel is named after. The images create a sort of nature inspired backdrop to the peace being sought inside.
Photos by Qingshan Wu
By Courtney • Jul 12, 2019
In the rolling countryside in upstate New York, design teams at Chango & Co. have recently completed a stunning family getaway modelled after the farmhouses of auld, but with the interior decor and amenities of a modern country home. The aptly named Country Farmhouse stands out modestly but beautifully in the residential fabric of Dutchess County!
The home is notorious for its beauty amongst the residents of Amenia, the little country town it actually nestles on the border of. It was built for a family of only four, but with the intention of hosting family and friends whenever possible in mind. Designers wanted to make sure the country home had a clear sense of its relaxed location, while also feeling comfortably modern.
Because the family has two children, who they very much allowed an active involvement in choosing certain elements of the home, designers made the choice to create spaces the specifically cater to adults or kids, allowing the rest of the house to be blended spaces where the two generations can come together.
Of course, the house does bear an undeniably farmhouse influenced atmosphere, with clear elements of the aesthetic throughout just about every room. This rings true from the wooden X-frame detailing in the front door right to the table legs in the dining room and elsewhere. Carlisle style hardwood flooring spreads across each storey, adding a sense of rustic warmth with its ever so slightly uneven planking.
The walls contribute to both the farmhouse aesthetic and the concentration on visual texture as well. In rooms where statement wallpapers haven’t been chosen for a slightly more modern pop of colour, V-groove cladding is featured on the walls, giving the appearance of old fashioned boarding like you’d have seen in a working farmhouse in the area earlier in the century.
In the common spaces where the adults mainly occupy their time, a calming neural palette has been selected to carry on the sense that this is a serene place where people can truly relax. Natural materiality follows the palette’s suit, contrasting beautifully with the gleaming metal of things like the kitchen appliances.
In the rooms intended for the children, however, natural aesthetics take a back seat! Here, pops of colour own the space and help create an atmosphere that’s playful and full of cheer. Eye catching wallpapers have been chosen to take the colour palettes and visual textures to a whole new level.
From the shared spaces where the family might spend time together or with guests, floor-to-ceiling glass doors provide the family with a seamless feeling connection between the indoors and outdoors. This lets visitors go from a formal living room with a stone and reclaimed wood fireplace and surround straight out onto a lovely patio where the same wood that was featured in the reclaimed reclaimed ceiling beams is then mirrored in the beams outside as well.
The furnishings in the outdoor spaces follow suit of those inside; natural in materiality but with a touch of modernity when it comes to shape. The rounded porch swing with a cutout looking seat is a perfect example. The view from here is one of countryside bliss and rolling lawns where the kids can enjoy time outside of their colour popping indoor spaces.
Despite the fact that the home is supposed to be an escape, designers also wanted to make sure that all possible responsibilities and needs the family might have can be met by the space. This is why they built a homework space near the children’s bedrooms. When it’s not being used for school work, it’s a great hangout space away from the hustle and bustle of adult life.
Photos by Sarah Elliot
By Courtney • Jul 11, 2019
In the midst of the Stockholm archipelago, design and architectural teams at Tham & Videgård Arkitekter have recently completed a small but magical escape called the Summerhouse.
Located in Norrtälje SO, Sweden, the house sits at the centre of a remote island. It is small but intentionally so, built to make sense for its very unique context. Part of the reason it makes sense with the land is that it is made primarily with resources that could be either found in the directly local area or transported extremely easily.
This is, of course, due to the fact that the island, like all islands, is difficult to access in terms of transportation. Not being able to access the building site by car or truck presented several unique challenges to the design and construction teams, but the ways they found to work around those limitations are part of what gives the house its charm.
The small house is built around a central hub, which is a large multi-purpose room laid out to be the primary social space. With the living room in the dead centre, a corner is reserved for a fully functional but space efficient kitchen and small seating area. Different areas around the edges of the room have been built to look out of floor to ceiling glass walled alcoves from different directions, each one offering a view of the surrounding island from a differing vantage point.
All around the edges of the central room, designers built four small sleeping rooms. Two of these are sleeping rooms, which are conservative in space and designed purely for rest and repose, as the focus of the house is truly centred on the communal spaces. The other two rooms are a storage and a bathroom. Each of the four rooms sits at one of the four corners of the main space.
Besides the full window walls we’ve already described, light enters the central part of the home through a sizeable sky light, as well as several glazed niches throughout the house and in the sleeping spaces. The aim here was to create a sense that the great view outside the home’s walls is accessible from all angles, all the way around the house.
To one side, sliding glass doors have been built into the wall not only for light, but also to blend indoor and outdoor spaces. Visitors can travel from the interior of the home through to a small covered terrace where outdoor dinners often take place, then further into the yard. These spaces, in combination, create a sort of transitionary experience.
The interior and exterior of the house are actually built from the same material at its base, despite their quite different looks. On the outside walls and the rood, the wooden slats are covered in a black slate bitumen that is standard for the area. On the inside, however, the rooms are surrounded walls to ceiling in natural looking sawn wood panels painted in a pleasant light grey.
At present, furniture in the home is understated and quite minimalist. Some of it provides a subtle pop of colour while other pieces give the room some interesting shape in a house that is otherwise quite cubic.
Photos by Lindman Photography
By Courtney • Jul 10, 2019
In the quiet green spaces of Charlotte, in North Carolina, Fusterio Design recently finished the large and impressive Traditional Home to provide a family with a comfortable living space that hearkens back to classic and somewhat old fashioned architectural and lifestyle elements typical of the local area.
In total, Traditional Home encompasses 3,694 square feet on an expansive plot of green land right outside the city. In addition to beautiful shared spaces for the family to bond and host guests in, the home boasts four large bedrooms and three bathrooms throughout the house.
One of the most interesting aspects of the house is the way design teams intentionally chose to create a notable contrast between the home’s exterior and the style inside. From the street, the building is a striking example of traditional local architecture, and much of that continues inside, but a shift towards modern shapes, materials, and furnishings is visible the moment one enters the front door.
One constant example of traditional materiality all throughout the house is the heavy featuring of white oak. It can be seen in cupboards, decor detailing, trim, and all across the floors throughout the house. These wooden elements contrast beautifully with high end lighting choices, cleanly modern looking tiles, and contemporary plumbing features.
To match the white oak featured all over but withstand changes in weather, the bulk of the home’s exterior is built from brick that has also been painted a clean, stark white. These bricks contrast further with even more wood in the form of cedar columns and a pleasantly naturally stained cedar porch.
Although it is intentionally styled along an old fashioned, not-quite-rustic aesthetic, the kitchen is possibly the most obviously modern looking room in the house. Here, brand new appliances made from gleaming stainless steel play off shining white marble countertops. Decor elements and continued wooden details, however, keep a sense of the traditional ever present for cohesiveness.
Despite the fact that the layout of the home follows a more classic sense of room building, with more delineation between common spaces than you might find in very modern looking open concept spaces, the house still manages to feel open and airy, rather than closed off or uninviting.
This is partially due to the colour choices (white is absolutely the dominant shade throughout all rooms), but also the design choice to prioritize large, gorgeous windows. Every room features beautiful casings and glazed panes, many that extend clear from floor to ceiling. This is just one example of the kind of incredible attention to detail that went into designing and building the house.
At the heart of the home is a grand looking living room where the bulk of the family’s bonding time is spent. In this room, beautifully old fashioned style furniture is arranged comfortably around a stately looking fireplace, close to which designers built a set of impressive French doors. These lead to a shaded and very pleasant covered deck at the back of the house.
The covered deck is built more like a fully equipped outdoor living space rather than simply a patio where people might spend a few minutes. For example, the family regularly eats dinner out there on warm days. The house already boasts two different dining rooms as well, one formal and one informal, giving the owners flexibility of where to dine depending on the occasion.
Besides the double dining room situation, the house boasts several other spots where classic looking decor and styling gives off a traditional feel even though the concept of the space is actually quite contemporary. The mud room is a great example, as is the “zero entry” shower, which resembles its own open concept room!
Overall, the colour scheme house-wide is very light, which is part of what keeps things feeling so light and airy. That’s not to stay, however, that the rooms feel to monochrome of that they’re not dynamic! In each space, darker features like cabinets or siding ground the room while gold decor pieces keep things interesting and slightly upscale.
Photos by Charlotte Imagery
By Courtney • Jul 10, 2019
On the edges of Austin, Texas, design and construction teams at Cornerstone Architects recently finished and impressively expansive and bright dwelling called the Gorgeous Mediterranean Home.
This home was heavily inspired by the architecture and lifestyles of homes in the sunny Mediterranean. Nestled onto a stunning plot in the neighbourhood of Rollingwood, the home was erected from an older structure that had become run down and dilapidated before the plot was sold.
Despite the inhabitable building, however, the land was still of top quality. One of its biggest draws was actually a cluster of mature live oak trees, which were the first thing that caught the new owner’s attention. In fact, the team held these trees in such high esteem that their placement and the path of their roots largely determined the layout and situation of the home itself.
Besides working with the primary goal of not disturbing the trees, designers were also tasked with incorporating several of the new owner’s architectural fascinations. This resulted in an aesthetic that is at once quite traditionally Mediterranean in its shapes and proportions, but that also has a clean looking elegance to it that’s slightly more modern and personalized.
In every single room of the house, natural light was made a high priority. Rooms were built with an open concept layout to encourage the easy flow of sunlight from the windows and all throughout the spaces, and between them as well. The owner desired every room, right from the public spaces straight through to the private areas to be, in his words, “awash” in light.
Besides letting light flow from space to space, the open concept layout of the home also also facilitates good airflow and free movement of people and things from space to space. The goal here was to create a harmonious feeling from one space to the next, making the home feel cohesive and sensical; comfortable to be in but easy to use.
We’ve already mentioned how the large, impressive windows allow the free flow of natural light, but they serve another purpose within the house as well. Designers intended these to work in partnership with several sets of sliding and disappearing doors to create a sense of blended space between the home’s interior and its outdoor spaces.
On the other side of the biggest glass wall sits a sunny lanai that provides a breathtaking view of the very oak trees that attracted the new owner to the plot in the first place. Indeed, the way that this outdoor space situates those who sit there, where they can relax underneath the trees’ shady branches, makes one feel as though they are part of the natural scenery swaying in the soft breeze.
Beyond the kitchen, which the glass wall sidelines, visitors will also find a grand but very cozy great room. This flows easily into a library that boasts its own breakfast nook, as well as several nooks for quiet reading or sitting and socializing with friends. All of these rooms roll into one another intentionally, without any harsh transitions between them, and each features, of course, its own iteration of that same stunning oak tree view.
Photos by Buff Strickland
By Courtney • Jul 9, 2019
If there ever was a space that perfectly combined elements of vintage, rustic, stylish, weathered, and colour popping, then it’s absolutely the recently made over Acorn Falls Cottage by Ballard Design.
Located in Highlands, North Carolina, this mountain home is positively infused with colour in a way that follows contemporary decor trends at the exact same time as it harnesses natural and rustic aesthetics to suit the woodland surroundings designers nestled it comfortably into.
Originally built in the early 1900s, the cottage has long been an historic vacation spot, with countless families renting it out over the years to enjoy the mountain air and benefit from a relaxing escape while still remaining close enough to the town of Highlands to be convenient and not isolated.
Missy Woolf, an iconic designer famous for her cottage renovations, is responsible for the slightly modernized but still undoubtedly weathered vintage chic aesthetic of the newly overhauled cottage. Her aim was to preserve as much of the building’s original charm as possible while still giving it an update that looks and feels fresh and perhaps even luxurious, in a grounded sort of way.
This mixed atmosphere was achieved partially through the use of a combination of furnishing choices ranging from high end and designer to locally made artisan pieces that are natural in their materiality. Local artwork is also a large part of the cottage’s revamping, giving it a newfound charm and character while still tying it to its place right there on the mountain.
Besides these design choices, the element of the newly redone house that is perhaps the most important is the way the space now plays with colour, particularly turquoise. Besides being very trendy in fashion and design right now, turquoise is a colour that invokes calm, cheeriness, and an upbeat attitude. In the particular muted shade you see in these photos, however, it stirs the same feelings but suits the landscape without seeming to scream too bright against all that natural wood and rock.
To incorporate the use of so much turquoise into the house more thoroughly rather than just having the exterior and a few painted pieces bear all the weight of eye catching on their own, we appreciate the way the designer chose to balance the colour with other fun, colourful fabrics that contribute to the sense of having a “pop” where there isn’t just natural wood and plain white.
On the porch, which features a failing made entirely from branches, a shaded but warm and comfortable seating area has been built. The cottage still has its original layout, which is slightly more traditional than the open concept homes you see more commonly now that usually feature blended indoor-outdoor spaces, so the establishment of a good, solid outdoor place to sit combats the cottage feeling closed off from its beautiful outdoor surroundings.
White and turquoise follow you throughout the house, from the wicker swing seats on the porch, through the kitchen and living room and on into the bedrooms. Rather than using precisely the same muted turquoise as you see on the cottage’s fashionably faded exterior, however, you’ll notice that some pieces feature a deeper shade of the colour, bordering almost into teal. This grounds the aesthetic and makes it feel more dynamic.
The kitchen and its accompanying dining room are perhaps the part of the house that feature the most delicious blend of rustic and modern. All of the essentials and amenities are modern and gleaming new, but the use of reclaimed local wood is still heavy in many large features, like the island and the high bar style table, keeping that rustic feel that’s so essential to a mountain cottage.
Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only place that boasts impressive rustic features built in natural materials. We’re also in awe at how much we adore the way the fireplace in the central living room look as thought it has been pieced together right there in the heart of the home, stone by stone. In the winter, this becomes one of the coziest places to gather with loved ones.
Of course, the outside of the cottage is a wonderful space to enjoy as well, beyond just the deck and porch swings! Designers also incorporated a firepit area nestled in the leaves on the lawn, with a safe place to relax in large wooden chairs while the embers glow and the kids roast marshmallows.
Photos by Sarah Ingram
By Courtney • Jul 9, 2019
In the Mueang Udon Thani District of Thailand, innovators at TOUCH Architect have created a unique coffee experience that was conceptualized as a way to make the most of small urban spaces where no other business might successfully run. That’s how the Option Coffee Bar came about!
This little coffee shop is located in the inner city area of Udon Thani. Despite its small square footage, it can be accessed directly from the main street, which still makes it a prime business spot that other companies might not have taken advantage of so successfully. All together, the little space has three main functions: a cafe, a restaurant, and a bar.
Rather than being split up into different sections for these three functions, the whole spaces works within itself as a timeshare might. In the mornings, the spot is a cafe, bakery, and health food restaurant and store. The afternoons become less about coffee and baked goods and more about serving full nutritious lunches, while the evenings add a full craft beer menu to the repertoire.
The timesharing functions of the space presented designers with unique challenges in terms of organization and layout, but they handled them magnificently and with max efficiency. Besides being built to suit all of the different functions it features, the coffee shop was also built in a fluid, open concept way that is diverse and allows constant evolution of function.
There are two floors in the building. The first boasts the cafe and a counter bar, which see the most traffic in the mornings. On the second floor, referred to as the mezzanine, one finds only customer seats, but these are spaces intentionally created to suit studying and socializing, depending on the time of day, and customer needs.
What really makes the mezzanine floor unique is the fact that most of the seating provided is free floating and without defined form, rather than being arranged in booths and rows of tables. This lets customers organize it however their social groups require, depending on why they’re visiting and during which part of the day.
Filling the mezzanine with loose furniture serves another purpose too! This lets staff clear the space out entirely every once in a while to host events, like temporary art showcases. Once the chairs are removed, the upper floor becomes the idea party space, giving serving staff and those ordering a slightly removed area for clearer communication away from the party.
From the outside, the coffee shop looks like a simple, quite unassuming white box. This was intentional because designers wanted to create a contrast between the new business and the otherwise tall, grey urban context of the street. Besides that, keeping the shop’s exterior minimalist and light shifts focus to the artists elements on the inside without distraction.
The colour scheme inside the building is another way in which designs kept things interesting and contrasting without drawing so much attention that customer attention is drawn away from the artistic displays or even each other. The entire colour scheme of the furnishings have been kept to black and white so that they contrast well within themselves but draw little attention from the people visiting and things taking place in the space at any given moment.
At night, when owners want to draw attention inside the building and towards certain places, they have the built-in ability to play with light. Already, a translucent visual “void” exists in the front facade of the building. This is built of clear-colour polycarbonate, which manipulates the natural light coming into the building from either the sun or the streetlights.
At night, staff can turn on a series of multi-coloured interior lights when they open the bar. At this point, light flows out of the translucent void in the facade, drawing more attention from the street and intriguing the public so that they come in, visit, and see whatever art might be on display.
Photographs by Metipat Prommomate
By Courtney • Jul 8, 2019
On a breathtaking wooden plot in Charlotte, North Carolina, creative designers at Pike Properties have recently finished an expansive and truly stunning residential project aptly named the Modern Farmhouse.
In a small community on the borders of Charlotte, a beautiful countryside plot boasts its own cluster of trees like a miniature forest. The new house built there spans an impressive 4,315 square feet of combined living space. Boasting a total of five bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, it’s perfect for a sizeable family and also their guests.
As guests approach the house, they’re greeted by a classic country home style porch that wraps all the way around the house. Here, you’ll encounter the inviting seating of an outdoor social space used for bonding with family and friends. This is the first place where, despite the clear and obvious style influences of the countryside setting, a modern twist has been added in the finer details of the furnishing and decor; the porch furniture is very clearly newly designed.
Inside the home, this blend of original rustic features and modern details and amenities continues in a way that provides lovely contrast and unique style. The floor is white oak and most of the trim is made of locally sourced and upcycled cedar beams, while the tiles and lighting fixtures are all new and high-end.
The layout of the actual living spaces themselves are open concept and free flowing in terms of movement, energy, and also light. In fact, the flooding of natural light into each room was an intentional priority. Thanks to glass walls and floor to ceiling windows, natural sunlight flows freely through the living room and kitchen, past its multi-use island, and on into a cozy breakfast nook.
Besides these social spaces, the ground floor of the Modern Farmhouse also boasts a beautiful home office, as well as the master bedroom, set aside for some quiet. This bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, two walk-in closets, a spa bathroom, and a quiet reading nook of its own. It is specifically designed with escape and tranquility in mind. Kids’ and guest bedrooms sit upstairs on the second storey.
This impressive house doesn’t stop at only these two floors! Designers face the family a third floor to use as a diverse and flexible space for whatever their needs are in the moment. Off to one side of this space is a small but fully equipped additional bathroom and powder room.
In both the home’s interior and exterior, a sense of balance and contrast is present in the way the colour schemes and materiality play off each other. Nowhere in the house could be described as dark by any means, but the exterior is slightly deeper and rich in tone than that found inside. In both places, however, painted walls and wooden details create a sense of light and dark in terms of their colour and stain. Outside, darker walls are anchored by lighter wooden features while, on the inside, lighter walls and contrasting stained wooden sidings create balance.
Photos provided by designer.
On a lovely corner lot in a neighbourhood in Purkersdorf, Australia, the space and bright family dwelling called L House has received its finishing touches by designers and architects at Juri Troy Architects.
Located on a southern facing slope, the house looks out over the village, giving visitors a breathtaking view of the Vienna Woods surrounding the area. This unparalleled view can actually be seen from almost anywhere in the house thanks to the emphasis on large floor to ceiling windows, which was an intentional goal of the designers from the earliest stages of planning.
In an attempt to blend the dwelling smoothly with its natural surroundings and make it appear as though it really does belong right there on the hillside, designers chose to construct the entire upper floor, both in its exterior and full interior, entirely out of stunning light wood timber. To do this, they used locally sourced whited fir.
This lovely upper floor features its own sprawling terrace that gets plenty of sun all year round, enhancing the cheerful brightness of the whole plot and inside the house itself. The wooden portion also creates a cozy enclosed space around a courtyard and joins into the hillside on one end where a calming natural pool sits.
To create the wooden facade, designers chose to situate the smoothed board vertically, establishing an almost striped effect all around the outside. The boards that make up parts of the facade turn sideways to become slats that will let in sunlight and fresh air, closing again to provide those areas with privacy whenever it’s needed.
Inside the house, the white fir materiality continues. In fact, the entire interior is clad in white fir, from the floors to the furnished features, walls, and ceilings! The effect is a calming monochromatic aesthetic that travels right down the staircase from the wooden encased top floor and down into most aspects of the bottom floor as well. Here, some cupboards and storage features vary, but white fir is still the most prominent feature.
On the side of the house that extends to naturally merged with, or at least sit near, the hill’s natural slope sit the sleeping areas. This location in the house provides them with the most privacy from the driveway and public access spaces and lets them open into the fresh air without losing any of the relaxing solitude found within the lovely wooden rooms.
Extending from the sleeping areas (in particular the master bedroom) is a lovely covered terrace. This space lets dwellers and guests wander right from their beds into the fresh air and sunshine, but still seek the solace of a bit of shade. This terrace leads directly into a lovely green garden. Both of these outdoor spaces are barrier free, adding to the sense of nature blending.
Besides being quite innovative in the materiality and aesthetic aspects of its design, L House is also quite cutting edge in the systems that run it. For its main heating source, the building features a pump rooted in geothermal energy sources. This contributes to its green nature along with the fact that it was constructed almost entirely from raw and recycled materials.
The stunning patch of green lawn you see on the extended part of the roof contributes to those green systems as well! This space buffers rainfall, using that water source to provide temperature regulation in hot summers. The ventilation provided by the turning wooden slats in the facade also helps with regulation and avoiding over heating in the summers.
Photos provided by architects
The Candelaria House, created and designed by Llano Arquitectos, was recently completed in La Estrella, Colombia to provide a modern, open home to a young family.
The house, which lies in the area of Antioqua, sits in an upper subdivision. Despite its impressive appearance, it’s actually quite small, which was intentional. Within this project, designers aimed to preserve natural areas surrounding the new building while also taking advantage of the stunning sunlight that floods the whole land plot.
The standout feature of the home’s exterior is the parallelepiped aspect. This can be seen all around the outside of the home and used within the facade, most often supporting floor to ceiling glass windows. These windows and the way the sunlight spills through help create the sense of a beautiful isolated pavilion, wherein the open concept of the main living space seems limitless.
At the same time as the concentration on windows and sunlight breaks down division in the interior spaces, the lack of visual roadblocks also seems to dissolve the limits of the home’s exterior, making the dwelling feel like a blended experience with its surrounding nature. No matter what room you’re in, hardly anything blocks access to the home’s beautiful view.
The glass and glazed metal pavilion of a residence boasts two surprisingly spacious floors for its modest size. The flow of these floors is intercepted by a central vacuum space and this acts as a core towards which all of the rooms in the house are turned. This is intentional, with spaces situated towards the common areas where family would spend the most time together.
Nowhere exemplifies this emphasis on spaciousness and free flowing movement without division better than the master bedroom. It stands out in the fact that it actually doesn’t even have walls! To ensure a bit of privacy from the outer world, however, it does possess a covered terrace on its outer edge, where shade and stunning natural landscape provide a kind of blended, open air feeling screen from the home’s exterior.
In this way, the terrace blends into the main bedroom, becoming a calming place for relaxation, introspection, and contemplation. This sense of calm is carried throughout the rest of the house too in the inclusion of light wooden details in every space, as well as in the strong presence of fresh greenery.
Moving downward from the bedroom, across the open air bridge that connects it to the main landing, guests find a blended living, kitchen, and dining space that, thanks to full sliding glass walls, opens entirely onto the patio. In this way, the interior and exterior spaces are even further incorporated into each other while giving the family easy access to a stunning outdoor pool.
Photos by Alejandro Arango.
Queen’s Lane Pavilion created by Carney Logan Burke Architects blend traditional and modern styles in a five-building complex
By Courtney • Jul 2, 2019
On an expansive 180-acre plot of greenery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, innovative designers at Carney Logan Burke Architects have collaborated with the land’s owning family over a total period of 20 years to make the Queen’s Lane Pavilion; a stunning five-building project designed for avid hosts who love to blend traditional and modern aesthetics in one beautiful place.
The land on which the buildings sit is part of a riverine ecosystem that is more than a little bit rich in its own wildlife. The compound of buildings is anchored around the first building you’ll encounter, which is a timber lodge made from stone and Parkitecture-influenced log.
From there, visitors can move towards the second building, which is both a combination office-shop and also a wine silo. This building is building on the more traditional side as far as local style is concerned. Between its interior spiral staircase and its sunny rooftop viewing platform, affording visitors a breathtaking view of the surrounding land, the silo features a wonderfully rustic influenced modernism heavy in oxidized steel details and a sense of sculptural expression.
Moving on from the office and silo, you’ll find yourself wandering through a charming covered bridge that has become iconic in the area. This bridge ends in a thoroughly modernist glass pavilion with a flat roof, sitting clearly on the more contemporary end of the whole area’s style spectrum.
This glass pavilion was built specifically for the owners, giving them a retreat of their own within their hosting space. It is a streamlined building that somehow still manages to look nature-oriented, paying homage to its location with big, lovely windows. This building sits nestled between two spring creeks, perhaps the most pleasant spot on the whole plot.
The final building in the compound is a two-bedroom guesthouse. This was built on the precise spot where an older structure used to sit, long before the current owners took over. To stay within preservation limitations placed on the land, designers built the new guesthouse on the precise footprint of the older structure.
The new guesthouse has an L-shape, the short end of which houses a garage. The longer section is where the bedrooms lie, next to a lovely, open concept kitchen, living room, and dining space combination. Glass walls along the north and south walls give the guesthouse a sense of airiness while visitors gather around the central fireplace, which anchors the rooms. White oak floors and ceilings work in partnership with the window walls to create wonderfully private experience of nature.
Of course, it only makes sense to provide an outdoor space to enjoy on such a lovely plot as well! Outside the guesthouse, a minimalist style patio appears to merge right into the surrounding landscape. This is provided a bit of privacy by a pierced steel curtain that looks almost like an art piece.
Designers and owners alike took care in the details and materiality of each building to make sure they all relate back to one another, as though they’re communicating. At the same time, each is unique, as though it functions in its own micro-ecosystem. Surrounding the five-building pavilion, a small but thriving wildlife refuge and a fishery have grown throughout the two decades it took for Queen’s Lane to be finished. This refuge is home to eagles, moose, elk, deer, and even coyotes.
Because the guesthouse boasts all of its own amenities right down the a laundry, some people choose to enjoy it as an isolated, meditative experience. Others wander down through the cottonwood trees to the serene glass pavilion and enjoy a view of the local wildlife with the owners. This space is always welcoming people; a comfortable retreat during the day and a glowing glass lantern peeking through the trees around it after dark.
Photos by Matthew Millman
Pereira Miguel Arquitectos finishes Monte House, or the Dune House, as an architectural tribute to sand dunes
By Courtney • Jul 2, 2019
Nestled into the sandy beaches of Comporta, Portugal sits the impressive and uniquely shaped Monte House. This modern but natural looking structure, built by innovative designers at Pereira Miguel Arquitectos, has been nicknamed “The Dune House” for the way is harnesses the beauty of the sand dunes surrounding as an inspiration for its shape.
The original aim of this project was to try and establish a clear visual and functional relationship between a new building and the landscape on which designers chose to build it. The goal was to create a home that looks like a fixed point where the natural world and the human one meet and intersect as seamlessly as possible.
One of the ways in which designers tried to enable this seamless meeting of worlds was by building artificial sand dunes, one on either side of the actual dwelling space. These help establish a physical relationship between the structure itself and its surrounding landscape as well as a visual one.
Nestled in between the concrete and sand hills lies the main living space of the house, encased in four natural concrete walls, one of shining floor to ceiling glass, and accessed by beautifully smooth stained wooden doors. These materials at once blend into the landscape but also provide solid shelter in a location where beach weather can become quite harsh quickly when the sun isn’t out.
As if bearing its own faux sand dunes didn’t make the house interesting enough, an extra element of visual appeal is added by the undulating shape of the roof. Like the sand dunes surrounding it, the monolithic and monochromatic concrete roof of the main house ebbs and flows, rising and dipping in the same rounded off shapes as the sand hills piled around the beach.
Inside the house, the ceiling actually undulates right along with the roof! This creates interesting but entirely different visual an spatial experiences inside and out based around the same element of the house. The waves of the ceiling and roof almost become and experience in and of themselves as you cross the house on the interior or outside.
In fact, one can even walk from one end of the house to the other on top of the roof, climbing up and down the slopes of the faux sand dunes on either side. Standing on the different hills and dips will actually give you a different view of the surrounding beach area from a different level, depending on where you’re situated.
There is actually one more thing that the shape of the roof and house is intended to pay homage to besides just the sand dunes. Once upon a time, an old winding road was paved through this area. Though long gone, it was a point of access for many people to enjoy the beach, so now the home’s roof winds like its own little concrete road, allowing visitors to see the beach like the road used to.
Extending from the central volume of the house, the actual living spaces protrude in three remaining volumes, built on four arms that raise them from the uneven ground a little and make them feel slightly detached from the front of the house for more private relaxation. Thought the sleeping areas lie in a different wing from the public ones, natural wooden platforms leading from space to space and to the stunning pool out back make everything feel cohesive and far from closed off or hard to access.
Photos by Fernando Guerra
The geometric Drift House on Little Much Farm created by Shonan Purie Trehan + Language.Architecture.Body(LAB) as a lakeside escape
By Courtney • Jul 1, 2019
In the heart of Nandivali, India, a plot of land that has been dubbed the Little Much Farm provides view to a new housing retreat by Shonan Purie Trehan + Language.Architecture.Body(LAB) that are nothing short of breathtaking. The house itself, named Drift House for the way its angles resemble the edges of driftwood washed onto a beach, overlooks a lovely lake.
The prime purpose of this stunning family villa, right from the very outset, was always relaxation. The building sits atop a small, remote hillside plot that overlooks Mulshi and its rolling Sahyadri Hills, as well as the lake that sits at the base of them. When the owners approached the creative team, they stated that they were looking for a place where their family might retreat to reconnect with friends and benefit from engaging with the countryside surrounding Bombay, where they’re from.
The house, interesting right from the first time you one lays eyes on it, was built specifically to be laid out like a series of spaces where things will happen. Each room is created with purpose, layered over and connected with rooms that are different but related, and designed to give family and friends to find a good, comfortable space to do whatever it is they please on their holiday.
The different floors and angles of the rooms also give each one a different view of the stunning natural area surrounding the house. No two windows will give you precisely the same perspective of the beautiful, nearly panoramic views afforded by the hilltop location.
The way the sections of the house are situated is also a method of protection against the kind of harsh weather found only in hills closely situated to water. The design strategy of the roof provides shelter from harsh suns in the summer and monsoon rains in the wet seasons. The way the rooms and sections overlap forms strong enclosures in all the right places to end off winds.
One of these enclosures has been purposely allotted as something practical and interesting, rather than just being a waste of space between volumes of the house. This is where designers chose to build a covered monsoon bridge, giving visitors a way to get from volumes of the house that aren’t connected anywhere else within the house without getting wet.
The materiality of the house is important as well. The roof, which appears from a distance to float above the various interior and exterior spaces, is made from mild steel dia-grid. It was shaped and installed by a ship building fabrication team right there on site. The various planes of the roof are held up by exposed concrete columns, which is part of what gives the sections that particular drifting effect. They are positioned intentionally to provide shade to certain indoor and outdoor spaces as part of passive heating and cooling systems throughout the well ventilated house. These materials also look natural enough to interrupt the natural feeling of the surrounding plot as little as possible!
At its based, the house is built starting with three distinct blocks in a way that minimizes the number of retaining walls. These are connected and have free flowing space but still feel quite individual. In the middle block, you’ll find a double height volume that connects to the upper floor of the block to its west and the lower floor of the block to its east. Angles are a great thing!
This middle space where the three blocks all connect and overlap on one level is where the social and bonding spaces of the house are located. A bit of blending between inner and outer spaces even happens here where part of the middle space turns into a deck that connects to the outside ground on the hillside of one block. Here, there is a garden, a pool, and a ramp leading straight to these leisure spaces from the entryway for visitors who want to meet you right there at the poolside rather than traipsing through the whole house.
Continuing the quite natural materiality, the outside spaces of the house and the building’s facade walls are made in things that all bear a calming silver grey. These are primarily a mixture of different slabs of slate finished in different ways; raw, rough cut, and polished. Keeping the outer (and also much of the inner) colour schemes neutral like this lets the shapes and angles included in the house stand out without the eye getting distracted from their unique properties.
Like the outside, the interior spaces are practical in layout but still with a sense of playfulness. After all, how could a house that has a polished timber slide connecting the first floor and the social space on the ground floor not be a lot of fun to stay in? Even just moving from room to room in his dwelling is a good time.
There are plenty of other elements dotted around the house that are intended to bring joy to those who stay there. For example, there are cheerful quotes engraved in the concrete slabs that hang above the beds in the guest rooms, designed to start everyone’s day off just right. Laser etched art throughout the home’s furnishings, ceramic lil pads built into the deck’s floor, and a sunset set in the swimming pool are just a few more ways that designers aimed to give the owners the best possible experience of modern relaxation by the lake.
Photos by Sebastian Zacharia
Sabará Residence created by Padovani Arquitetos Associados to blend indoor-outdoor spaces with family experiences
By Courtney • Jul 1, 2019
In a beautifully sunny and calm residential neighbourhood in Campinas, Brazil, innovative designers at Padovani Arquitetos Associados recently completed a house for a couple and their two small daughters, named Sabará Residence.
The structure of this house is intentionally compact. The primary goal, before adding personality with decor and furnishings, was to make it functional so that it’s conducive to the busy life of a modern family. Additionally, designers and owners alike decided to prioritize the integration of interior and exterior spaces, creating a house that, while secure and private, still blends the two aspects of the home experience in a way that feels seamless and comfortable.
Luckily for all involved, the landscape of the plot on which the house was billed lends itself well to that sort of indoor-outdoor setup. Brazil’s climate also provides enough sunlight year round that natural sunlight pouring in through the large windows and glass doors that the house features also help the place stay energy efficient by providing both warmth and light to every room.
The unique shape of the home’s structure is most noticeable on the right side, where two panels with cement flooring lead upwards towards the entryway, de facto supporting the upper block of the house as well as the edges extend past where the ramp stops. Those supported rooms, built like dorms for each member of the family, open out in two different spots to outdoor areas thanks to huge sliding panels of wood, like patio doors.
The upper outdoor area opens upward to form a lovely rooftop seating area. Because designers chose to border it in glass siding all along the edges, the space is child safe but still looks limitless, since the railing doesn’t cut off the otherwise panoramic view. This lets the nature surrounding the house feel like a true part of the experience of sitting up there, on the sofa in the sun.
Underneath the upper supported block we’ve mentioned, the living and dining rooms reside, each one open concept to meld with a kitchen and another outdoor patio space. The rooms open right out into an outdoor seating area that is so lush with local plants in its garden that this space is actually what got the house its name!
Just past the patio, designers built a series of natural stone bench seats around a relaxing in-ground fire pit. This mimics the shape of the atrium found in the centre of the house, where a double height space features a staircase leading to the upper floor. Throughout this vertical space, an indoor tropical garden grows lush and green right in the heart of the home.
The bedrooms of the house keep up this theme of greenery and neutral colours, resembling a sort of relaxing spa while still providing all the amenities of contemporary living. The only space that varies greatly is the children’s room, which is adorned in pretty pastel colours and cheerful, childlike decor.
Photos by Evelyn Muller
By Courtney • Jun 28, 2019
In historic centre of the city of Mérida in Mexico, innovative designers at Taller Estilo Arquitectura have recently completed an impressive revitalization project, transforming an old, abandoned dwelling into a lovely new home called the Diaphanous House.
From the outset, the main goal of designers was to create a new building that pays proper, authentic homage to the historical surroundings of the plot the home sits on. In creating a fully equipped modern living space that pays respect to local heritage, the architects help play a role in revitalizing the actual city as a contemporary choice for new residents, rather than solely transforming what sits on the specific plot itself.
This goal of blending the new dwelling into the historical context of its street was partially met by keeping as much of the original Casa Diáfana’s exterior facade as possible, since this is what passers by see from the street. Rather than building new houses that interrupt the local context and wear down the history of the residential streets, local housing officials have been encouraging projects like this instead to work with what is already there, revitalize historical areas, and renew the city’s housing.
Once the facade was restored, teams moved onto the interiors. The lobby and guest bedroom area you encounter almost immediately upon entering were actually in such good shape that they have been largely preserved as they were, with only the most minor necessary updates. The blend of old spaces and new amenities creates an atmosphere as though the house speaks two languages; underneath the char, designers hoped their modern renovation of this space will make it more sustainable.
Towards the public spaces of the house, you’ll encounter a double height living area, kitchen, and dining room. Between this and the stunning floor to ceiling windows that were built into a wall that already needed reconstruction anyways, light is allowed to flow abundantly into the social spaces of the house, helping preserve power and keep things cheerful.
The house bears a certain fluidity in its renovation in terms of its materiality as well as its blend of contemporary and historical elements. This is in the contrast between the stone of the yard walls and the outer front facade (which has been repainted its original stunning shade of blue) and the lighter, more organize woods and materials used to transform the interior decor, as well as the modern and more streamline feel of the furnishings and appliances.
Besides being an absolutely lovely little place for relaxation, the patio pool actually plays a passive role in heating and cooling thhe home’s main living spaces. When the glass patio doors are slid open, the water, cool from the chilly night, helps reduce the temperate in the living and dining area. It then absorbs the heat during the day and gives it back off in those spaces when the temperature drops at night, until dwellers slide the doors closed again to sleep. The wind helps this whole process along too!
Besides being just updated visually and functionally, designers hoped that a new family moving into the house will help update the space and the neighbourhood a little bit socially as well. They wanted the revitalization of the space to be full and thorough, making the home open concept so there’s free flow of movement and energy, as well as space for activities and comfort for bonding.
Diaphanous House is truly a practice in blending modern living with urban culture that is thoroughly and authentically centred on the preservation of historical culture and context. Hopefully its success leads to more projects that value and revitalize existing neighbourhoods in the area rather than reducing them to ruins and making new ones that might result in loss of culture.
Photos by Verónica Gloria Hernández
By Courtney • Jun 28, 2019
on the Southwestern outskirts of Daejeon City in Seo-gu, South Korea, a new residential complex area has recently become home to the Urban Hamlet. This is a stunningly modern three storey home finished by Chiasmus Partners with the express purpose of putting a unique spin on all the needs and wants of a modern family with members of different ages and spatial requirements.
The house might have been commissioned by and designed with the parents, but it was absolutely conceptualized with the children’s needs and lives in mind. This is why all functional and private rooms are located on the ground and top floors, while the entire second floor exists as a unique and very diverse multi-purpose space to be used by the entire family however they need in the moment.
Beginning at the bottom, visitors approaching the patio will find it surrounded by a large garage and, through the front door, a living room, dining room, and guest room. When the family has guests who are not staying the night, this spare bedroom doubles as a quiet and pleasant tea room. This floor is where most of the functional spaces are located.
Moving up to the third floor (we’ll come back to that exciting second floor in a moment), you’ll encounter six bedrooms. Each of these is duplex in style, meaning that they adjoin in pairs like dorms. Surrounding the bedrooms is a lovely shared family room that extends through the rest of the floor, eventually opening onto a beautiful open terrace that features a jacuzzi and a long “floating” swimming pool.
The swimming pool is of particular note for the way it faces the mountains to the south, as well as for the way the glass plates in its bottom act as small windows, letting swimmers see the street below as they paddle. This isn’t the only cool rooftop space; each bedroom actually has its own accompanying little rooftop space. There’s also a larger rooftop space with a hammock that is often used for family gatherings.
The second floor of the house is intended to be an open-space, multi-purpose area where family members can do whichever activities they need space for. The ceiling of this floor is supported in its full weight by a central core, inside which is a staircase and and elevator, each of which will take you to and from each floor of the house.
This core is also put to good use on its outer surface too, rather than just inside. It is covered from floor to ceiling in media shelves, book shelves, and a television stand. It also features a fireplace for chillier nights, a projector screen, and even a desk! It truly is designed to be a space for all kinds of different people and purposes.
Beyond just giving the family member space to do their own thing, the multi-purpose floor is also designed to reinvigorate bonding and social time. It draws activities that have become isolated in modern families out of individual bedrooms occasionally and into a shared common space where people might spend time together, even if they are doing different things.
As the home’s name, Urban Hamlet, might suggest to you, the house is actually organized like a little village of its own. Each bedroom is designed to be like an individual’s house (complete with an adjoining neighbour). The multi-purpose floor, on the other hand, becomes like a town square where friend gather and people meet. This idea is literally reflected in the actual architecture of the house; from an aerial view, you might noticed that each bedroom has its own little roof, making the outside of the house resemble a walled village.
At the same time as it is clearly a priority to facilitate social spaces and family bonding, designers and owners alike wanted to give each family member a respectable amount of privacy as well. This is why the rooms are left like their own little worlds, individualized and closed without losing natural light. These elements make the house more of a community than a single faceted dwelling.
Besides giving the family amazingly modern social spaces to enjoy, it should also be noted that the outdoor rooftop areas and the open-air multi-purpose floor provide dwellers and guests stunning panoramic views of the surrounding neighbourhood and nature. It is classic Korean architecture to build a home that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces and rooms of different functions, without sacrificing the privacy that families find ever so important.
Photos by Namsun Lee