Author Archives - Courtney
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
By Courtney • Dec 13, 2018
Allotment House is a stunningly simple modular home project by Kristian Olesen that blesses any visitor with a fragrant wood aesthetic and a cozy atmosphere that immediately makes them feel right at home. It is located in Aarhus, Denmark, nestled right into the scenic area around the Brabrand lake.
The house itself was inspired by a Nordic tradition that eventually became its namesake. Allotment houses are classically self-built wooden cabins that are extremely space efficient and leave you wanting for nothing despite their small size. They are typically built entirely recycled materials and this particular Allotment House follows that custom to the letter.
The purpose of the little house was to give owners a place to escape city life so they can enjoy spending some time closer to nature. Designers place this home on a lovely green patch that’s perfect for gardening, allowing dwellers to grow their own vegetables. These gardens also help connect the little house better to the landscape, helping it look much less like it was just placed down on a patch of grass to stand out.
On the southwest side of the modular home, folding terraces extend, letting dwellers open up the interior space like a continuation of the living room. This blends indoor and outdoor experiences in a beautiful way that lets people take in the view even better than they already can naturally from the setting of the house.
In terms of its shape, the house is purposely compact, which works well in the limited size of the plot. To avoid making it seem too small (or being buried in the snow in Danish winters), the house is raised slightly on a stilt foundation. This provides a better view as well and protects the floors from spring flooding.
Inside, the house features a singular space that spans the whole length and width of the building, like a fully open-concept home. A vaulted ceiling gives things a unique shaped by mimicking the actual exterior structure of the building closely. In the centre, visitors encounter a divided volume that visually separates the open space into main rooms like a living room, a kitchen, and a bedroom.
Just in case open-concept living isn’t your thing, Allotment House actually also features interior sliding doors. These come out of pockets in the walls, pulling across the room on either side in order to create more physically distinct spaces. This is useful for hosting guests who want some privacy when they’re sleeping, for example.
When designers first conceptualized the house, they aimed to place the functional features and spaces in a continuous line so as to foster seamless movement that reflects the owners’ needs and lifestyles. This is why storage, the kitchen, the utility room, and an outside shed can be found all organized in a linear fashion called “the function-line”. With the practical features all kept in a company solution, extra space is created and saved for socializing, relaxing, and leisure!
As you’ll notice immediately, the house is rich in smooth, light wooden surfaces. This lines up with Nordic building traditions and creates a calm cohesiveness all throughout the house, both inside and outside. Continuity and interesting geometric shape is created by the way the wood travels all across the floor, up the walls, and undisturbed into the peak of the roof, both inside and outside. Galvanized wooden furniture keeps things consistent and traditional as well.
Between the lovely pine minimalism of the whole interior and the fully glass walls and doors at each end of the house, designers created a sense of vast spaciousness despite working with a limited square footage. This lets the owners take in a stunning view but also keeps things natural and in line with the landscape and the design’s traditional Nordic roots.
Photographs by: Kristian Olesen
Retro House, Dubbed Re-Open House, Updated With an Appealing Open Concept by Matt Fajkus Architecture
By Courtney • Dec 12, 2018
Re-Open House is a recent transformation project planned and completed by Matt Fajkus Architecture. Located in Austin, Texas, this dwelling harnesses all the retro style of the original home but gives owners an updated structure to enjoy with increased comfort.
During this transformation, designers prioritized several things. First, they made sure the house would get plenty of natural light no matter what room you’re in. Next, they strove to use simple materials that would provide lots of style with minimal cost and ecological impact. Finally, they aimed to created a free flowing space where guests and family members could move seamlessly between spaces without feeling cut off from one another.
At the same time as they wanted to update the house, designers sought to remodel the structure in a way that still preserved the original mid-century mod style it came with. They worked on an interior design scheme that had a slightly retro feel, while also adding features that established a direct connection with nature to offset city living.
In order to open the space up more than the original structure offered, builders raised the roof and knocked out some walls to unify social and common living spaces. This consolidated practical portions of the house used by all members of the family, making the spaces more positive to spend time in, but also letting private bedrooms become more desirable by establishing them as more of a haven than before.
Thought they raised the ceiling, designers did not change the unique angle it sits at. This point of the house remained the same as part of their efforts to preserve some of its original style. The sharp angle also gives the house a little bit of privacy from the street as it nestles behind its bordering trees and hedges.
In order to really drive home the connection to nature we mentioned earlier, designers also built several patios into different parts of the house. First they added some shared patios in the common areas of the house and then they included smaller patios behind sliding glass doors that extend off the bedrooms. This lets dwellers access nature close to where they sleep and enjoy private outdoor moments more easily if they wish.
Inside, wooden ceilings and piled stone walls bolster that sense of natural material used and the incorporation of the landscape. These materials were gathered a purchased locally. The overall decor scheme is kept light in vast colour palette but features several pops of colour in each room, letting those pieces stand out like mod accents. Occasionally, guests will find an entire accent wall as well, as in the kitchen and the guest bathroom, where a brightly coloured, mod patterned wallpaper draws the eye and reminds everyone that this house has a history in its list of influences.
Photographs by: Charles Davis Smith
By Courtney • Dec 12, 2018
Sydney Street House is a stunning transformation project planned and carried out by innovative design teams at Fouché Architects. Located in Brisbane, Australia, this project remodelled an original pre-1946 house that was a boarding house once upon a time.
The original structure of the house was raised and segregated when it was taken over for boarding. Renovators at the time closed all of its verandahs and internalized a lot of what was previously a more open-concept layout. Places where outdoor and indoor areas were once connected were closed off almost entirely and most functional spaces were internalized in ways that reduced natural lighting.
As a result of those changes, this latest renovation sought to reverse much of the closed off work and literally, as its name suggests, re-open the house! Designers aimed to bring light back into the overall space, reinstate the connectivity between rooms and also between the indoor and outdoor spaces, and general add an airier and more cohesive atmosphere to the whole property.
Rather than expanding in their transformation, builders and designers wanted to work with the space they already had but take better, more open advantage of it. They decided on taking a tactile approach to structure and decor that, in addition to making the house’s living spaces more enjoyable to spend time in, will make people actually want to use the rooms. After all, houses are truly meant to be lived in!
In addition to the internal re-opening, designs made sure to invest time and effort in re-opening the outside space in a better connected way as well. They began this process by rebuilding the upper floor verandah that gave the master bedroom a relaxing outdoor connection with a little bit of privacy.
Next, a back verandah was re-added with an extension, making the two areas feel like one thanks for the ability of dwellers to move seamlessly between the two. This makes the primary living space feel much grander and more open-concept. An entire sense of establishing verbal and physical communication was built throughout the home as a result. This is even evident in the way the pool fence was made from durable glazed glass, as though there’s no barrier at all!
Finally, spaces were opened up and better connected visually in the use of natural materials to build the home. This is particularly true in the way wood and stone are incorporated both internally and externally, particularly since the colour finished coordinated with the landscape around the house, blending it into its surroundings rather than making it stand out from its environment too harshly.
Photographs by: Cieran Murphy
Haddock House, a Famous Historical Designer’s Personal Project, Brought to Life Years Later by Taliesin Associated Architects
By Courtney • Dec 11, 2018
Haddock House, recently brought to life many years after its inception by Taliesin Associated Architects, is a beautifully built, stunningly retro inspired home located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The original design for this house was conceptualized, sketched, and planned by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had created the image of this innovative home as a one-of-a-kind customized masterpiece for a northern Wisconsin school teacher and friend in 1938. The house, however, was never actually built before Wright passed away.
Forty years after Wright designed the plans for this house, a University of Michigan professor named Frederick Haddock purchased it from Wright’s widow. He then partnered with the architectural firm Taliesin Associated Architects, founded many years earlier by Wright himself to manage his legacy, to bring Wright’s masterpiece to life.
With the help of Taliesin, Haddock chose a 10 acre plot of luscious green lawn and wooded areas sloping gently down towards Honey Creek. This met not only what Haddock wanted, but also the kind of site that Wright’s original design was conceptualized to exist in. Once the house was built, it was named after professor Haddock himself.
Now, Haddock House is a stunning structure with unending visual appeal and lots of artistic angles and texture. It was designed in the style of Wright’s classic Usonian homes, known for their efficient living capabilities and the way they’re built specifically to blend in with their natural surroundings.
Haddock House is build with slanting layers of wood, panels of shining glazed glass, and high ceilings intended to increase feelings of spaciousness even farther that its actual square footage. Personal rooms, like the bedrooms and bathrooms, are designed to appear as cozy and warm as possible, heavily featuring natural woods and materials that follow the aesthetic of blending in with the house’s wooded surroundings.
The rest of the house follows those stunning wooden guidelines too, getting creative with small details like lamps and art pieces that continue the grained theme. In contrast to all that wood, a beautiful space in the garden features a lovely landscape design that nods to traditional Japanese gardens.
Once the house was finished and put up for sale, Haddock made sure to include original drawings and blueprints, as well as letters of authentication from Taliesen Associated Architects. These confirmed to new owners that house was now just a Frank Lloyd Wright design, but a pristinely completed and incredibly unique one-of-a-kind Wright masterpiece.
Photogra11phs by: PlanOmatic
By Courtney • Dec 11, 2018
Located in the heart of Algemesi, Spain, Carmen House is an inspirational structure that was conceptualized, planned, and brought to life by teams at Carles Faus Arquitectura.
Directly inspired by a gorgeous Ibizan country house, this fantastic swelling features simple, clear lines, plenty of light, and a largely white colour palette among its prime features. Located in a desert-like setting, the goal of the house’s aesthetic was to stand out and look like a piece of art against the dry background, without looking entirely out of place.
To achieve this, designers featured cacti around the grounds and in the decor scheme, incorporating something that’s naturally found in that setting to create cohesiveness between the building and the land. This was bolstered by the building of a lovely rock garden, but the house was complemented in this piece as well by sticking to stark white rocks that matched the home’s exterior.
During its conception, designers aimed to build the house so that the path of someone’s day through the structure would follow the way the light hits it. By that, we meant that the light starts in the kitchen where you’d eat breakfast in the morning, spreads over social spaces throughout the afternoon, and ends high in the sky by the bedrooms on the top floor in the evening. The house, the natural sunlight, and the lifestyle of the dweller play of each other to tell a daily story.
Following the path of sunlight isn’t the only way that this lovely house builds a connection with its environment. The ground floor features sliding glass doors that open an entire wall to the back leisure space and bring the breeze right into the home, while balcony spaces built into the step-like structures higher up in the home give more private outdoor areas for relaxation near the master and guest bedrooms.
The way the structure of the house fosters a seamless interior and exterior relationship does more than just let a light breeze travel from room to room. It actually also works with the seasonal cycles by giving guests and dwellers a place plenty of places to go elsewhere in the house that stay cool and shady during the hottest month while the sun hits a very specific place, rather than seeping in all over.
In addition to letting fresh air and targeted sunlight pour into the home, designers chose to extend the rock and cacti gardens we mentioned earlier from the back leisure space and right into the home, tying the nature surrounding the house right into the faily experiences of those who live inside.
Upon entering the house, you’ll notice that most of the practical and social rooms are located in a central, open-concept space that makes everything one might need on an average day easy to move between. From there, the house extends upward in a nearly stacked fashion, with private and leisure rooms set at points that feel almost like platforms. Each one features a lovely window that showcases the view, but also clean, white curtains that will protect the interior from intense sun when necessary.
In addition to having an entirely white exterior outside of the presence of those green cactus plants, the house features a nearly entirely white interior as well. This is designed to mimic the fresh crispness of the kind of blank white canvas an artist might work on. In this context, it lets light play in each space, increases the brightness in each room, and keeps things bright and cheerful, making each piece of furniture and decor stand out in its own right.
Photographs by: Mariela Apollonio
Ultra Modern Swiss Mountain Hut by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes Provides Winter Haven on a Rocky Ridge
By Courtney • Dec 10, 2018
Atop a rocky ridge in the Swiss alps, New Mountain Hut gleams in the sun, catching the eye of any adventurer willing to tackle the slopes. Designed and build by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes, this unique housing project is located in Tracuit, Switzerland and boasts incredibly unique features that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
The New Mountain Hut sits high up, at an impressive altitude of 3256 metres. It belongs to the Chaussy sector of the Swiss Apine Club and is nestled into the rocks at the heart of the Valaisan alps. Besides affording it 360 degrees of stunning mountain views that are nothing short of utterly breathtaking, the Hut’s uniquely central spot makes it the perfect starting point for climbing expeditions up the Bishorn, the Weisshorn, and the Tete de Milon.
Originally built in its first iteration in 1929, this mountain hut has been enlarged and restructured several times throughout the years. This was largely done to cope with a constant increase in guests seeking its peaceful, unique accommodations and the surprising level of comfort it offers. Now, the hut has had to be changed in a big way once more in order to meet lodging requirements based on health and safety, staffing, facilities, and environmental protection.
Because of the drastic requirements the club had to meet, the decision was made to abolish the original structure and start again in its place with an entirely modernized and refurbished version that pays homage to its predecessor. This was actually a cheaper project than outright transformation would have been and it also gave the club a chance to hold a riveting architectural competition to choose a design and professional team.
Working at this site presented several unique challenges, since the plot of land intended for building sits between a cliff and a glacier. This defined the shape and position of the new, more modern hut, which fits perfectly along the ridge above the cliff, settled right into the natural topography there. On the south side, the upper facade of the shining new building extends further from the cliff and functions as a solar panel, collecting clean energy to power the whole building.
All around the rest of the building, the metal facade reflects the stunning landscape around and glints in the sun in a way that makes it nothing short of stunning to look at. Out front of the building, guests can stand in an area called the Refectory, a flat social space where they can enjoy an “uninterrupted and plunging view” out over the Val de Zinal.
Because the building sits at such a high altitude, constructions method had to be adapted slightly from how they’d be performed elsewhere. This was also influenced by adversely cold and occasionally harsh weather conditions during the process of transporting building materials to the site. Even so, the structure was completed flawlessly and with impressive modern style.
Many of the wooden frame pieces, floor components, wall supports and insulated beams that went into building the house were actually prefabricated and airlifted to the site by helicopter. The outer panels of shining stainless steel arrived the same way, but the protection they provide the inner structure from weather and wind was entirely worth the trouble.
Between the compact shape of the building and the efficient way it’s insulated, the Hut has a hugely reduced rate of heat loss compared to its predecessors. A special low-tech ventilation system has also been put into place, letting the building recover heat emitted by the people staying in the building. This system also makes the inner environment more comfortable and, additionally, it prevents mould growth during the annual months when the lodgings are closed for the season.
Photographs by: Thomas Jantscher
Swiss Holiday Home Designed by alp Architektur Lischer Partner Gives Visitors Unbelievable Hillside Views
By Courtney • Dec 10, 2018
In the mountainous countryside of Vitznau, Switzerland, a stunning and space efficient hillside cabin, dubbed Holiday Home by designers alp Architektur Lischer Partner, has captivated locals with its simplistic beauty. From the beginning, the client’s primary desire was to live in a homey timber house reminiscent of the holiday cabins of their childhood memories. Because of the topography of the area they fell in love with, which sits on a hillside surrounded by exceptionally natural environment, designers had to get rather innovative in their approach.
First, teams designed and built a hard shell of concrete that would eventually become a durable facade, encasing and protecting the timber inside which exists within it like a soft core. Next, they built a the inner house from a pre-fabricated timber frame, which was erected, sealed into place, and insulated on site. This method is referred to as a “house in a house” approach.
The outright cubic shape of the Holiday Home helps anchor the structure down into the hillside’s slope. From the edge of the land’s plot line, a small bridge leads from the entryway into an open courtyard. This features a garage and the entrance to the home itself.
Because the concrete facade we mentioned before was created from a Wesen gravel found locally, it adopts the same sort of graininess and reddish tone that you’ll see on the natural rock face situated directly behind the house. In contrast, the wooden floors, walls, and ceiling are all made from light larch wood. Thanks to several open insets in the concrete where the large, view-framing windows placed to look out over Lake Lucerne, the timber can actually be seen from the outside of the house as well, creating lovely contrast.
Inside, the common spaces and most practical rooms, such as the dining and living rooms and the kitchen, are positioned a little bit differently to the average houses you might have visited before. That’s because they sit on the top floor instead of the ground floor!
On the two lowers floors, you’ll find bedrooms that are accessed by staircases on opposing sides of the main entrance. This unique structure creates a central corridor off of which various rooms can be found, sitting in different orientations to give each one a view that’s entirely unique to that particular space.
Moving into the common spaces, you can see how island style units (also built in larch wood) have been used to provide storage and also divide the space according to function, zoning out the main rooms. This space features a cloak room near the rear of the kitchen, as well as a comfortable living room that boasts both an impressive fireplace and a media cabinet.
The compact storage theme continues down towards the bedrooms, with each one containing its very own en suite unit with a built-in clothes cupboard. The way the rooms are divided but still afforded access to everything a guest needs resembles an adorable, private holiday hotel experience.
Photographs by: Roger Frei
By Courtney • Dec 7, 2018
In the heart of Beijing, China, the brand new Modern Functional Apartment by Atelier Alter reflects the characters, values, and personal styles of both the design team and the young, professional family it was completed for.
The intent of the apartment was to specifically cater to the wants and needs of the contemporary Chinese family. Designers strove to include shapes and layouts that might satisfy the requirements of a busy working family with kids who wanted to preserve style and streamline functions in their household.
Additionally, the clients wanted this to be a place where their kids could not only live, but also learn and gain quality family based experiences. Social spaces are driven towards bonding and productivity with their interesting shapes, free flowing movement capabilities and lack of clutter. At the same time they wanted it to be welcoming, warm, and comfortable.
Because the family also has an elder living with them, designers strove to make the house simple to care for. The goal was lots of space for storage, but in discreet places. They also prioritized low maintenance surfaces for simple care. Surrounding all of these other goals, sunlight was regarded as paramount. The family wanted bright, cheerful spaces where all generations of the family could come together and equally find what they need.
In the kitchen and living rooms, countertops are abundant. This is intended to give members of the family ample space to do any kind of activity they please. In fact, even the window sills have been transformed into usable, productive counter space! This balances the abundance of stack, cubic storage that gives the family plenty of space to keep their supplies for those activities in. Great examples of this can be seen in the cupboards in the kitchen and also in the entertainment system and media unit area in the living room.
Moving towards the bedrooms, you’ll find the space linearly arranged off a primary corridor. This structure ensures that kids have private, comfortable spaces of their own but still within easy access to parents. The children’s rooms have things like magnetic drawing boards built right into the walls for the multifaceted purposes of playing, learning, and creating.
Though the apartment is average in size, designers ensured that the family has plenty of space by following that linear structure throughout the entire home. Storage is piled high, doors and walls slide back into pockets to divides spaces can be expanded for easier flow and access, and smooth materials like wood and marble provide a colour scheme and aesthetic that suits those linear shapes.
At the same time, the team sought to create some contrast and balance in terms of shape by adding the occasional accented curve where space allowed. Certain waving features stand out against the otherwise linear shapes found in rooms and hallways and give the home visual texture and interested without interrupting function and flow as the family goes about their day. The idea, after all, was for furnishings and units to appear streamline, not sharp and intimidating.
Photographs by: Atelier Alter
San Cayetano Mountain Residence Provides Stunning Stone Haven Thanks to Paul Weiner and DesignBuild Collaborative
By Courtney • Dec 7, 2018
San Cayetano Mountain Residence, conceptualized and brought to life by Paul Weiner and DesignBuild Collaborative, is a beautiful, industrial inspired home located in Santa Cruz County, United States.
This unique home sits on a bedrock formation that’s anything but even. Designers and builders were presented with unique challenges in navigating jutting rocks and outcroppings all over the plot, but that became part of the appeal in creating a home that suited the area. It’s not often one gets to build a haven in a place so remote, particularly one that is elevated above an actual desert!
The team sought to built a home that bore colours and materials suitable to blend with the dry grasslands. These lands are filled with oak trees, mesquites, seasonal wildflowers and lush riparian areas. The goal was to make a home that stood out artistically and had a lot of visual appeal without detracting from the natural surroundings or looking out of place entirely.
At the same time, elements in the desert and grasslands are harsh. The area at once bears a sense of calm and chaotic, expansiveness and intimacy, hard elements and soft plant life. The house needed to complement its lush surroundings but also withstand monsoonal storms, intense heat and sun exposure, and cold temperatures in the dead of night. In the end, each of these things is worth it for the view the area provides.
In the first part of the well anchored house, guests encounter a spacious living room pavilion. This room centres entirely upon capturing a view of the phenomenal landscape the house sits in. Out the impressively sized window, and also from the adjacent outdoor “room” that gives additional social space, Mount Wrightson is framed in all its magnanimity. Guests can soak up the view from the comfort of sinking couch cushions or a patio chair that sits between ocotillo and natural jagged rock faces.
The outdoor room isn’t the only exterior space designed to balance the comfort of the house’s indoor social and private rooms. Designers included an additional space in the form of a rooftop deck with a full 360 degree view. This space connects distant views and night skies with more immediate outcroppings on the house’s own hillside.
In choosing their materials, designers decided to keep things local and use things that complement and even come from the surrounding nature they intended to nestle the home right into. The frame is built from locally sourced stone, pigmented plaster (for colour consistency), and oxidized steel. This establishes a sort of industrial aesthetic that suits the environment so well that it comes off as surprisingly homey rather than intimidating or cold.
In total, the house is composed of three separate buildings. First, guests enter the main house, which bears all the primary social and functional spaces of your average home. Next, you’ll find a detached studio and a separately build carport, which protects the family vehicle from the harsh desert elements we mentioned previously. These structures are built to extend the space and the shape of the entire house towards the plot’s bordering rock spine, serving to further blend the house with its environment.
Shape and materiality aren’t the only methods of blending space that designers used to keep the house cohesive with its habitat. Dwellers can move almost seamlessly between interior and exterior spaces thanks to the pairing of outdoor components in almost all of the main rooms (including the living room, dining room, and kitchen), as well as secluded outdoor sitting areas for every bedroom and even an outdoor, rock built shower paired with the master bathroom!
Because the house exists in an area that experiences intense sun, designers made sure to built the house such that plenty of shade is accessible to family members and guests. This only further their goal of simultaneously embracing and building a distinct haven within the plot’s rugged terrain. First, they built angled or cantilevered roof planes that cast shadows strategically on certain outdoor social areas. They also affixed trellises fro shade and definition in each outdoor “room” and adjacent to the calming lap pool in the back of the house. Finally they installed horizontal shade screens that fold down and secure across glass surfaces for privacy, shade, or home care in the event of long absences.
What’s our favourite feature of the house, you ask? The impressive fireplace is actually rendered from crushed lava! This is unique in materiality and aesthetic and pays direct homage to the geological origins of the land, making it a central piece within the house’s overall decorum.
Photographs by: Liam Frederick Photography
The innovative design process that went into Kino House, a project brought to life by Le Atelier located in Moscow Oblast, Russia, is nothing short of inspiring in the way it plays with shapes and visual textures.
This house, which is surrounded on all sides by ancient Russian pines and sits on a steep slope, was specifically designed to blend into its natural landscape rather than interfering with it. Designers vowed not to fell any trees, not to dig too far into the hillside, and to only source natural resources that can be found in the local terrain for maximum cohesiveness.
The overall goal of the house was to create a natural place of rest while still bringing a sort of sleek, modern aesthetic to the area, rather than working within typical woodland design frameworks that look more down home and rustic. This isn’t simply a countryside retreat; it’s a modern home experience established atop the hillside.
The house features three semi-levels, with an entrance on the middle level. In the entryway, guests encounter a hallway with a ceiling height of only 5 metres. Right in the centre sits a “black column”. This is the interior element in almost all rooms throughout the entire house; it’s the feature that creates consistency. The entrance level also features bathrooms, storage and utility rooms, and nursery rooms. Within each room, particularly the nurseries, you’ll find sizeable windows offering lovely forest views.
In the master bedroom, which sits on the lower semi-level, a lovely window nook offers a similar chance to take in the surrounding scenery. A king-sized bed spans the middle of the room for comfort. Inside the central “black column”, where the stairs run up and down, a cloakroom and a bathroom are situated.
On the highest semi-level, the last of the three, a private work or study room with a lovely fireplace and perfect forest view rests above the master bedroom. The kitchen also exists here, with a breathtaking view similar to the one from the entrance hall, since the kitchen sits right over it, but from higher up. Parts of the kitchen extend into the “black column”, making it spacious and giving it plenty of storage space.
On the exterior of the house, a large balcony wraps around above the bedrooms. Placing the balcony here rather than level with the sleeping quarters raises the outdoor space high enough off the ground to keep it from interfering with the environment its meant to facilitate appreciation of. This balcony is still accessible from all three areas of the house thanks to the centrally placed winding stairs.
Although the house is hardly visible from the road, its beauty is known for miles around. People express appreciation for the way the black parts of the structure are linear and angular, which perfect balances and plays off of the blonde wood aspects which are smooth, curving, and light. Much like the rock and wood in the natural terrain strikes a lovely balance, so do the parts of this innovative home.
Photographs by: Ilya Ivanov