Author Archives - Courtney
Irresistible Watercolour Beach Home created by Geoff Chick & Associates as a holiday home with a dreamlike layout and colour palette
By Courtney • Jul 17, 2019
In the sunny dales of South Florida, iconic designers at Geoff Chick & Associates have built a stunning coast cottage that looks every bit the kind of serene escape a family might seek out to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and unwind somewhere that is truly calming.
The Watercolour Beach Home is aptly named for its unique use of colour and materiality, particularly in its interiors. In its details, shapes, and accents, the home already has a very coastal inspired aesthetic, but that’s undoubtedly driven home by the way the home grounds itself in a monochrome way in clean shades of white and cream, but then features pops of bright teal.
Those attention grabbing teal details don’t just happen in one room; it’s a theme that actually flows from space to space, extending throughout the entire house. Whether it’s a throw pillow, a simple blanket, a duvet, or a painting, a person walking through the house will absolutely find some kind of teal element in every single room.
Where there isn’t teal, there is greenery included in each of the aforementioned rooms, adding an additional colour pop to each space in a way that’s more natural and subtle. This not only adds another shade to the room against all that pretty cream and white, but it also creates a spa-like sense of nature throughout the house, bonding the interior experience a little with the home’s beautiful surroundings.
Those shades of cream we’ve raved about so much aren’t only present in the living and private spaces inside the home. The same cream neutral shades actually encapsulate the entire exterior of the house as well, making it at once stand out against and also not interrupt the greenery and coastline surrounding the plot on which the house stands.
Light, naturally finished wood also plays a huge roll in establishing the coastline inspired aesthetic and light backdrop colour scheme. It’s featured across the floor, on most tabletops, in several side furnishings, and even across the ceiling between white painted cross beams. The effect quite closely resembles driftwood, making the house look cleanly rustic even in its luxury.
Amidst its many bedrooms, ranging from spacious master to impressive guest, are several kids’ bedrooms built for not only the kids of the owning family, but also their friends and young relatives, since this is a vacation home. Designers continued their work with wood by building shelf style bunkbeds hat are inset right into the wall. Interesting wicker basket chairs add a slightly contemporary shape to the room to keep things friendly for the kids’ space.
The beautiful watercolour inspired house has several novelties for the adults living there as well, and not just for the kids! Down a set of wooden topped stairs, visitors can find a glass encased wine cellar that is not only well organized and impressively stocked, but even temperature controlled to ensure the perfect flavour when each bottle is opened.
The house also offers a whole plethora of beautiful balconies, giving every person in the house a place to relax in peace, alone or together, outside in the sun. Being elevated on the top floor and placed all around the front and back of the house provides several different stunning views of the seaside countryside surrounding the whole plot.
Finally, the house offers an ultimate sunny afternoon spot around the back in the form of a poolside that feels like a private getaway. The raised wooden deck features couch style point swings and sprawling day beds, some in warm sunlight and some under a shady pergola. Each one gives stunning access to the sparkling waters of a large pool.
Photos provided by designer.
Playful Chatterbox House by de la Guardia Victoria Architects & Urbanists, Inc. uses pink and turquoise to create colour pops in a perfect seaside home
By Courtney • Jul 16, 2019
Along the stunning coastline of Harbour Island in the Bahamas, forward thinking designers at de la Guardia Victoria Architects & Urbanists, Inc. have recently refurbished an old beach cottage with bright colours and beachy furniture in order to create the gorgeous Chatterbox House.
Located near the beaches of a little island village called Dunmore Town, the original building was a cottage that was first build in the late 1800s. It was the picture of old world Bahamian charm, but it was also in desperate need of some refurbishment when designers came across it.
Since they were already updating its actual structure, teams opted to update the style and atmosphere of the cottage ever so slightly as well. While they absolutely wanted to say authentic to the original history and classic integrity of the old house, preserving as much of it as they could, they also wanted to add a quirky sense of contemporary cheer to the space.
Once the three storey house, with its expansive front porch and rooftop terrace, was structurally sound once more and ready to be inhabited anew, designers decided to decorate it with an undoubted sense of Caribbean influence but with an even more colourful twist than usual. A colour scheme heavy in light pink and bright turquoise was chosen, with several contrasting shades featured in fun, visually loud patterned pieces like hanging art and throw blankets.
One particularly neat and surprisingly authentic detail is the tile inlay that adorns the front porch. Although it looks shining and new, it was actually a feature of the original house that has simply been redone in a precise reproduction of the first, which was damaged after years of seaside weathering.
The riles aren’t the only interesting thing about the porch, of course. Besides the fact that the beloved colour scheme follows visitors out into this open air seating area, there’s also the novelty of a comfortable and unique looking porch swing! A similar outdoor seating space exists at the top of the house as well, on a small, wooden rooftop terrace. Here, a full airy lounge area is afforded a beautiful view of the surrounding town and waterline.
Inside the house, the bedrooms are afforded stunning views as well. The master bedroom and both guests sleeping areas have large, breathtaking windows on each wall, giving dwellers an almost 360 degree view all around as they move through the house from room to room.
Perhaps the absolute best view in the house, however, is above even the terrace we described with the outdoor escape style seating. Near the barn-style door that leads to the terrace, there’s actually a wooden staircase that leads to a “bird’s nest” at the very top of the house, giving visitors an actual 360 view without the interruption of window frames!
From the street, Chatterbox House presents an irresistibly fun sight that stands out from and yet, thanks to its whimsy and brightness, also somehow suits the beachy surroundings amidst which it is nestled.
Photos by Annie Schlecter
By Courtney • Jul 16, 2019
In a quiet, sunny neighbourhood in São Paulo, Brazil, creative design teams from Studio Arthur Casas have recently completed a beautifully contemporary and nearly open air vacation home for a family of four with adult kids. The beautifully rectangular JY House stands high above a golf course with impressive gravity.
The home’s nearly blockish contemporary shape isn’t actually the only very interesting thing about the way the house is built. Rather than being one monolithic piece, the house is actually divided into two connected but distinct volumes that are slightly displayed from one another on the hill the house was erected on.
The first volume, which sits a little lower down on the hill towards the golf course, houses all of the home’s common areas. This part of the house includes social areas like the foyer, living room, family room, and kitchen, which are almost entirely blended with an outdoor porch area that feels more like yet another room.
This impressive blending of spaces is possible thanks to a fully retractable glass wall that provides a beautiful window view when it’s closed and a feeling of boundary-less living when it’s slid fully open. For privacy, a decorative screen wall with a swooping curved shape is built where the eye line from the golf course might otherwise see right into the home. This feature avoids making the home feel closed off, as it has no sealed edges and looks more like a piece of art than an actual room boundary.
In the higher volume of the house one finds the private and sleeping spaces which, despite still being fresh and quite open air, are built like more sheltered suites. They are decorated and positioned to be afforded a beautiful view of the golf course down the hill but they’re also intentionally more closed off to make them feel like each person’s own little escape.
At the other side of the house, where guest bedrooms and bathrooms lie, as well as some storage space, the house is absolutely more closed off. This is the part of the house that faces the street. It presents an impressive facade in its rectangular shape made of metal and stone, with a cobbled walk up from the drive, but it masks the relaxing spaces just behind.
In the upper floor’s master suites, an antechamber sits off to one side. This is a multi-purpose space that, depending on their needs, the owners might use in different ways; say, as an office or a private, intimately sized living room, for example. Past the bedrooms suites, the upper floor volume is also home to a fully equipped gym, as well as a games room.
One of the biggest challenges designers face in building this house was the way it inherently had to account for the slope on which it sits. They chose to use tactics that worked with the hill, rather than building against or cutting into it. Supporting inverted beams make each of the home’s volumes more solid by spanning the space between the floors.
The facade, which provides shade when the building is slid fully and solidly closed, was actually originally chosen by designers in order to meet the owner’s goals of building a house that differentiates itself in style from the rest of the dwellings in the neighbourhood in a big but pleasing way. It is made from grey leaded aluminum that is easy to maintain.
The the outdoor spaces, which were a huge priority to everyone involved, two extremely unique features set the house into a league of its own. The first is the way the roof of the lower level is situated right below the upper floor’s open wall, stretching across like a raised lawn thanks to the way it’s actually covered in lush green grass.
The second fantastic novelty feature is the gleaming swimming pool. This sits at the bottom of the house, down in the main yard where it can easily be accessed from the shared public and common spaces. The pool’s position makes the open-air structure of these spaces even more enticing.
Photos by Fernando Guerrera
1926 Georgian Revival house transformed by Sarah Bartholomew Designs from a childhood home to a dream escape for a grown family
By Courtney • Jul 15, 2019
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 • Jul 15, 2019
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