Author Archives - Gabriela Vatu
By Gabriela Vatu • Apr 29, 2021
Modern homes blend in with the environment, come with ingenious solutions to heating and cooling the rooms, and offering the inhabitants everything they need. The SL House in Australia proves that several times over.
Located in Aranda, a suburb of Canberra, the house needed to fit in with the characteristics of the location where you can find mature Eucalypts and Acacias as street trees and lots of other plants.
One of the things the architects from Ben Walker Architects sought to do was to create an internal living environment that perfectly embraces the views offered by the area the house is built on. Therefore, the kitchen, the living, and dining spaces have views of the surrounding trees and hillsides.
The house features a lot of thin vertical apertures but also large, broad picture windows. The outside of the house is covered in steel and hardwood to better enhance the idea that there’s a desire to blend in with nature.
The SL house also includes northern windows to provide passive heat gain in the window. At the same time, the windows include eaves or hoods to control heat gain during the scorching Australian summers. The walls are also built specifically for these jobs as they feature internal lining, stud frame, membrane, batten/air zone, plywood, membrane, and cladding. The floors and ceilings are also heavily insulated, and the windows feature high-performance glass to reduce thermal transfers from exterior to interior.
The house features a wonderful kitchen that mixes in black and rich wood colors. The ceiling of the kitchen comes in two levels, with windows inlaid between them, in order to allow even more light in.
The living room also comes with a wonderful feature where the wall retracts to allow access to the deck and the garden. The bedrooms also open up to the garden.
Photographs: Ben Guthrie
By Gabriela Vatu • Apr 23, 2021
In Whitefish, Montana, a gem of a house is hidden in the middle of nature – the Dragonfly House. This vacation house creates a great place for a young family to take a breather outside of the city out on the shore of the lake.
Built by the architects at Olson Kundig, the 6500 square feet home has been around since 2016, allowing the owners to live within the woods while overlooking the Whitefish Lake.
The vacation house features three levels, with the ground floor featuring a rec room, a TV room, a wine room, and a patio. The main level includes the pantry, kitchen, dining and living rooms, gameroom, and a screened porch, as well as a covered deck. The upper level includes the master suite and closet, as well as an extra bedroom.
The exterior of the house features reclaimed barnwood, which helps the house merge with the forest. Most of the house, however, is floor-to-ceiling glass, allowing for breathtaking views of the nature around it.
One of the best features of the house is the guillotine doors that slide up to allow an indoor-outdoor style of living, connecting the living room to the deck.
The house itself comes with furniture that’s in tones of gray, all blending in beautifully. You can view the plans for the house below.
Photos: Nic Lehoux
By Gabriela Vatu • Apr 15, 2021
The Casita House in Phoenix, United States stands out thanks to its modern design and attention to detail. It’s a beautiful home that’s not massive, yet plenty spacious, created by the architects at The Ranch Mine.
The name off this particular construction is spelled as such, with a capital T, because the shape of the house is of a T. We have two symmetrical bedrooms that hug the living space and the kitchen/laundry/bathroom area.
The whole house covers 974 square feet, but appears to be much larger since it features a massive pivot door that opens up the living area towards the covered patio. The patio itself comes in with another 255 square feet of living space.
A glass door is fantastic and it allows so much natural light inside, but we should also massive the massive walls that are also made from floor-to-ceiling glass on the South, North, and East elevations.
The massive door, however, is clearly the star piece of this house. Weighing 750 pounds and being 12 foot wide, it’s definitely imposing, but also so practical.
This construction was thought out to be a guest house, but the builders made sure that comfort was not forgotten. There’s an indoor fireplace and the glass walls are supposed to help everyone enjoy what nature has to offer.
The inside of the house is also super chic. The gray flooring fits well with the crisp white walls, the gray couches and the wood coffee table, table and chairs, and the available kitchen cabinets. It’s all pretty cozy and makes up a wonderful living space.
Photographs: Roehner + Ryan
By Gabriela Vatu • Apr 13, 2021
Built in 2018, this 615 square meters home in Merida, Mexico, is unassuming from the streets, but a real oasis once you step through the gate.
Created by the architects from EURK buildesign, with the project led by Roberto Diaz Braga, the home is located in a so-called “urban island,” an area that features everything inhabitants need to live in comfort.
From the street, this house doesn’t necessarily scream “look at me!” but once you pass through the gates, that changes completely. The walkway towards the house doesn’t tell the whole story of what you’ll find within the home or the inside garden, which is nothing short of breathtaking.
The entry hallway has an extremely tall ceiling, with the upper floor only taking up a portion of the area with a narrow hallway.
The house “revolves” around the inner garden where you’ll find lots of trees and greenery, a sitting area, and a pool.
On one of the sides of the house, you’ll find the living area, with cozy couches that allow you to chill out in front of the TV. In another area, you’ll find a round table you can sit around and play boardgames, or chat with your favorite people. One of the best features of this area is the slide-away wall that enables the inhabitants to enjoy the outside weather, while inside.
The open kitchen is in another area, featuring a beautiful island with a cooktop and stools for those who want to help around or chat up the cook. On the other side of the house from the kitchen, circling the massive tree in the yard, you’ll find another large table you can sit around alongside tons of guests. The wall nearest the table also opens up towards the garden.
Outside, the garden is gorgeous. Mature trees give plenty of shade, allowing the inhabitants to enjoy a green oasis. A beautiful pool is also present, enabling those who want to take a swim. In the beautiful weather from Merida, Mexico, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a perfect time for a dip.
The home features multiple bedrooms, all of them on the upper floor. The rooms are spacious and so are the bathrooms that are spa-worthy.
You can check out the plans for the home’s right here so you can draw inspiration for your own oasis.
Photos: Tamara Uribe
Situated in an oceanside paradise in Portugal, this Comporta home is absolutely stunning; the perfect mix between comfort, luxury, and everything that makes a beach house idyllic, even if not necessarily on the side of the Ocean.
Created by the architects at GSS architectos, this beautiful home is located in an urban subdivision in a plot that’s not necessarily extremely large. Bordering a pine forest on one side, and surrounded by vegetation, the home is a true oasis.
The house features an inside-outside dining and living area, with a simple retractable wall separating the areas, closing off when necessary.
The house comes with a massive open space featuring a living area with cozy couches, a dining table, and the kitchen. Just to the side, beyond the retractable wall there’s a secondary area where you can eat.
The kitchen itself is sleek and shiny, contrasting to the muted colors used in the rest of the areas by making use of dark shades of gray. The simple wooden stools offset the dark color and soften out the area.
The living area is separated from the bedroom by functional storage cubes that also permit the light to filter through.
The house comes with a massive bathroom that features a glass ceiling, allowing tons of natural light inside. Minimalist in design, the bathroom features a stand-in shower, a massive mirror, and his and hers sinks.
The main bedroom in the house is also decorated in the same muted colors and you can notice how much natural light filters in.
The outdoor area is even more impressive than the house itself, featuring a sitting area, a deck, and a pool to chill out in.
There’s even an outside shower you can enjoy. Thanks to all the vegetation, it seems as if you’re out in the wild. The sandy walkway towards the pool is also a particularly nice touch.
You can also check out the house’s plan so you get a better idea of the layout.
Photographer: Gui Morelli
Down into the idyllic town of Margrethausen in the Albstadt district in Germany, we find a beautiful home that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and neighborhood.
Designed by architects from Dietrich and Untertrifaller Architekten, the house is built with sustainable materials and beautifully integrates in with the surroundings. Yet, we find there’s something futuristic about the place, mostly thanks to the glass walls, the soft lights, and the design.
The built of the house was done with concrete at the base, but the structure is all timber.
As you enter the house, you meet more wood – wooden ceilings, wooden paneling on the walls, and wooden floors. The design is simple and stylish and the huge windows are a big statement.
The outdoor space carries on the same wooden floor we saw inside, with a huge deck. The extended roof offers some coverage as you enjoy lunch outside.
The furniture inside is also minimal – simple table and chair set, airy chandelier, massive kitchen island, and some comfy and fun poufs which offer a colorful accent for the room.
The upper floor offers a wide-open concept with lots of storage on the sides and more floor-to-ceiling windows. The covered terrace also offers more ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Wall dividers offer a lot of storage room, as well as some privacy. The owners added some curtains to the glass so you can get some privacy from the neighbors.
The vertical wooden slats on the windows for the bathroom provide extra privacy and shading.
The floor plans show how open the plan of the room is, and how you do not need a lot of things to have a beautiful home.
Photos: David Matthiessen
When you live by the lake, you need to mix in the useful with the beautiful. This striking home made sure to do just that by doubling as a boathouse.
Located in Lake Joseph, Ontario, this one-story wood-clad home by Akb Architects, is absolutely stunning, blending in with the surroundings. Douglas Fir timbers, cedar and torrified ash were the main materials used for construction.
With its own dock area, the house makes it easy to jump in for a swim or take off in your boat.
The house is made out of three pods which encompass four bedrooms, four baths, and a huge common living area. The boathouse is set at water level, offering this home that something “extra.”
Inside, the home features more wood paneling on the walls, while the floors are made of stone. It’s all built not just for beauty, but also for functionality, as the home needs to withstand the harsh seasons in Ontario.
Beautiful spot to admire nature and perhaps read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee, no matter the season.
The vast living room features a full kitchen and minimal furniture. Yet, it’s enough to entertain lots of people.
The bedroom also features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, offering views to the surrounding property.
The rocky outside make for an impressive view from this particular spot.
You can notice the separate pods of the house here, and how well it blends in with the surrounding nature.
The living area allows residents to huddle up around the fire as they cozy up on the couches.
Photographer: Shai Gil
By Gabriela Vatu • Mar 25, 2021
In the heart of Hanoi, Vietnam, lies the Eurowindow building, a fabulous tower with glass windows that’s full of little gems like this eye-catching apartment.
Originally built with a different layout, the owner wanted something different, something with a little bit more flow, something that allows for more enjoyment of the main area of the apartment while also making room for plenty of privacy.
Designed by the architects at DaoHo Studio, this 146 square meters apartment start off with an entryway in muted colors and natural wood furniture.
The entryway gives way to the open space that encompasses the kitchen, dining, and living areas. The star feature of this space is the unique kitchen island in chrome shades. Off to the side, the spacious dining table is simple yet impressive.
We have a small bedroom behind the kitchen, and another lies to the right side of it.
The room has a unique flor to it, especially given the large open space area. The floor to ceilings windows also allow lots of natural light, while the white curtains provide some privacy.
The bedrooms have all they need – storage room, a comfy bed, lots of light, and privacy.
The master bedroom is the special area where it’s clear that the owner put a lot of time and effort in. The bed is slightly up on a platform as the whole room dips.
The master bedroom features a massive master bathroom and a dressing area. The areas are perfectly split with a massive wall with this extremely interesting nook.
At night, the living area and the bedroom flow together beautifully, allowing lots of soft lights – nothing too bright.
The bathroom also features the same mirror motif we saw earlier, stylish black accessories, and muted tiling. The wooden elements in the show offer the room that little something extra.
A wonderful transformation that makes the most of the available space on this high-rise apartment in Hanoi.
By Gabriela Vatu • Mar 22, 2021
Perfectly nestled in the hills of Selfoss, Iceland, this holiday home is breathtaking. Private, environmentally-friendly, masterfully blended in with the surroundings, this home is inspiring.
Built in 2020 following plans by architects from Krads, this beautiful home covers 170 square meters. The home uses lots of wood and other natural materials as it seeks to take nothing away from the magnificent views of Lake Þingvallavatn.
Not only does the home use lots of wood paneling, but the roofs are also covered in local greeneries and moss.
Architects were careful to follow the local landscape, creating the house’s concrete foundation in three staggered planes that seek to imitate nature. This creates the wonderful slopes of the home in tandem with the hill.
The home’s insides are also filled with wooden paneling – on the walls, on the ceiling, and on there’s wood present in the floors too. Plus, the furniture perfectly blends it all together – simple, yet efficient.
In the living area, you can even take a dip while you take in the wonderful views of the lake.
This hallway also features a huge window which alows us to look into the terrace that overlooks mountains Jórutindur and Hátindur.
From higher up, you once more enjoy the view of the lake while relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea.
The living area is also breathtaking, while the muted colors of the furniture make it so nothing detracts from the floor to ceiling windows and the view it offers.
This may be a vacation home, but it could very well be one that you do not with to ever put an end to. The landscape was preserved as pristine as possible, making room for the home without disturibing the surroundings. Since you can easily stand on the roof here, it’s easy to see how architecture can be done right to allow the perfect balance between the needs of humans and those of nature.
Photographs Credit: Marino Thorlacius