Author Archives - Gabriela Vatu
By Gabriela Vatu • Sep 3, 2021
Traditional houses look different in various areas of the world. For instance, in South Africa, in traditional villages, family homes were decentralized. This is exactly what the Midlands Pavilion, a home in Nottingham Road, tries to mimic.
Built by Nadine Engelbrecht Architect in 2020 and covering about 383 square meters, the house was based on the traditional “Zulu Umuzi.”
“Umuzi” is the name for the traditional village of the Zulu in South Africa. It consisted of a group of huts, each with its own purpose. In the same spirit, this weekend home features multiple dwellings.
One of the buildings features a bedroom, bathroom, and a living area, while another hosts a kitchen and living room. The biggest building, which the others surround, features a bathroom, kitchen, living area, indoor dining area, and an outdoor dining area.
One thing you’ll notice throughout the home is the concrete floors, ceilings, and the breathtaking stone walls. While each pavilion looks interesting on its own, it’s clear there’s a design line carrying through all of them, making it clear they’re part of the same building.
The inspiration for the home may go back centuries, but the building is very much rooted into modern days. The design plays a secondary role as it helps level the interior climate of the pavilions, eliminating the need for extra heating or cooling systems.
The pavilions use glazing, which in conjunction with the exposed concrete floors, allows passive heating of interior spaces. Also, the low emissivity glass prevents heat loss on the southern facade.
Since both the northern and southern facades have sliding doors, the prevailing wind direction can act as a natural source to ventilate and cool the buildings.
It’s a simple concept, and yet, it looks striking. Plus, the layout, sustainability, and low maintenance make it a cost-effective construction.
Located in Bharuch, India, this wonderful house covers some 14,000 square feet, and has just been completed. Built by the architects from Dipen Gada and Associates, the house is located in a dense chiku plantation.
Not only is the farmhouse in a chiku plantation, but it also makes one of these trees a main attraction, by allowing it to grow within the house, creating an inner garden of sorts.
While other trees surround the home, another peaks out straight through the terrace.
The house itself is a beautiful mix of wood, metal, and brick, with earthy tones everywhere. The impressive open plan allows for a beautiful flow.
Furthermore, the house was built for indoor-outdoor living, so there are lots of retractable walls to allow this.
The lower floor, for instance, features a perforated screen with jungle graphics punctured through. The screen folds in when desired, allowing the owners to have an easier access to the gardens.
Inside, there is a lot of exposed brick, which gives the house a lot of charm. The floors are mostly concrete, and there are lots of metal elements.
The Nirmal farm house features multiple bedrooms with their own bathrooms, a large kitchen, multiple deck areas, storage rooms, as well as a lift. There’s also a home theater and a pool to enjoy.View in gallery
Photos: Tejas Shah
Located in Belgium, this eclectic house is next on our dream home list, mixing in the old with the new in an extremely interesting way. The Villa Sept Petites was built in 2017 in Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes.
Created by Goffart-Polomé Architectes, the villa started as a restoration project to enhance the quality of the ground floor by making sure it reconnects with the garden.
Therefore, the semi-buried cellar was reconverted into living spaces leading out into the gardens, while the upper levels were turned into a parental suite.
Since the whole entrance was revised, a new floor was created for the whole house floor. The plinth houses a new function as the family’s life is more oriented towards the garden.
There’s also a beautiful patio on the ground floor, to bring natural light inside the home.
One of the most striking features of this home is the contrast between the old and the new. On the outside, that’s obvious in the way the plinth looks and the way the top floor does.
On the inside, you can find modern design, iron, wood, and rough concrete, an unexpected turn once you walk inside the home. There are clean lines and a minimalist approach to furnishing the place.
We find the Villa Sept Petites to be so interesting to look at and so surprising, both on the inside and the outside.
By Gabriela Vatu • Jul 19, 2021
Over in Melbourne, Australia, there’s not as much space as there is in the country, so house lots aren’t that large. This beautiful home, however, makes the most out of the space it does have and beautifies it too.
Built in 2016 by Craig Tan Architects, this 302 square meter home quickly got the name of the “Stepping Stone House.” The reasons for this are pretty simple – the walkway towards the house features numerous stepping stones over the narrow space.
The house plot itself is also fairly narrow, so the house has a tunnel shape. However, there’s also enough room on the plot for a green space so you can chill out outside as well.
The team of architects working on this house sought to create a deeper engagement with the natural elements and departed from the regular arrangement that features front and rear gardens. Instead, they consolidated the gardens in space that’s oriented to the North, at the front of the property.
A rustic fence separates the walkway from the garden, allowing even more privacy.
The home features a large entryway, a living room, a dining area and open kitchen, a study nook, and a studio, as well as a powder room and bathroom on the ground floor. Also, there’s a double garage at the back of the property.
The top floor features a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a laundry room, a study, a bathroom, and two more bedrooms.
The living area melts into the dining area where you can also find the crisp white kitchen.
The hanging lights give a cozy feeling to the area.
The kitchen is white and bright, featuring tons of storage space and plenty of countertop space too, thanks to the huge island.
The bathroom is a bit unconventional, featuring a slated sink with hidden drainage.
One of the most beautiful things about the house is the taut fiber cement panel rain screen. It also plays a privacy role as it masks most of the windows behind them.
You can check out the house plans below to better understand its layout and what makes it so special.
View in gallery View in gallery View in gallery
Photo: Jaime Diaz-Berrio
By Gabriela Vatu • Jun 30, 2021
Over in San Pedro Cajones, in Mexico, this architectural gem is keeping things interesting. The Silkworm Sanctuary is like nothing else you’ve seen, with the rooms spreading on different levels, the buildings connected by outdoor stairs and pathways.
Created by the architects at LAMZ Arquitectura, with the project led by Luis Alberto Martínez Zuñiga, the Silkworm Sanctuary molds perfectly to the topography of the location. Since this isn’t a home, but rather a government building where anyone can visit to find out more about the silkworm cultivation process, the architecture is that much more impressive.
The biggest challenge of this project was to find the right way to create the volumes of the home and the pathways connecting it all. Furthermore, they strived to respect the trees that were already there, building in a way that doesn’t disturb them. Of course, this makes the home have a unique shape, which is the very element that makes it stand out.
In order to get inside the home, you have to walk on a brick pathway. If you continue on the pathway, you’ll get on a ramp that takes you to the roof terraces.
The different rooftops are also connected through bridges and inclined roofs, allowing you to walk through the canopy of the trees, enjoying the views of the Sierra Norte Mountain range.
The insides of the home are equally impressive, with high ceilings, window walls, and stone floors. The materials they used had multiple purposes. First, they had to have a structural function. Secondly, they had to generate transparency, allowing light to go between the volumetric bodies.
Given how this is a government building that can be visited by loads of people, the inside of the home was created in such a way to ensure that everyone can move between the areas – young and old, abled or disabled.
By Gabriela Vatu • Jun 24, 2021
While some folks seek to make their homes as large as possible, others are more into the minimalist, tiny living. Over in Australia, we found the “shack in the rocks,” a home that’s tinier than most and an inspiration to many of us.
Created by architects from Sean Godsell Architects, this brand new construction covers 102 square meters and is located in the Victoria region, about an hour off from Melbourne.
The home features everything you need in the Australian outback – a roof parasol that provides some shade and protection from the rain, an outdoor area where you can cook, eat, and entertain, as well as a sitting area and a sleeping area.
There are two translucent sheds that are positioned to the east of a monolithic concrete plinth. One of the sheds is used for cooking and eating, while the other holds the sleeping quarters and a bathroom.
The inside is also pretty minimalist with wood and steel furniture. The wrap-around glass walls offer a great way to feel like you are in the middle of nature, while being protected from the scorching heat.
One of the most intriguing things about The Shed is its placement. The shed is placed among numerous rocks, offering an impressive view.
By Gabriela Vatu • Jun 21, 2021
Those who live in busy neighborhoods know that privacy and views are somewhat of a luxury. The Roofless House solves that problem rather well, giving the owners everything they need.
The Roofless House was built in 2018 in Atherton, California, US, by Craig Steely Architecture. In the heart of Silicon Valley, homes sit on large plots, but they are still somewhat crowded.
Yet, the Roofless house seeks to fix two problems for the owners – live outdoors as much as possible and avoid looking at the boring walls of the neighboring houses.
So, the architects went out and created a novel-shaped house that would direct the view upwards, towards the ever-changing sky. Since the owners seek to spend lots of time outside, enjoying the Californian climate, this seems to be the perfect solution.
Although it doesn’t look like a traditional house, it certainly serves all the purposes of one, featuring lots of rooms and plenty of outdoor spaces, peppered in between. The best part is that the house is seemingly roofless, thanks to all these areas full of greenery.
The curving wall that surrounds the building fully encloses the house and makes sure that the owners get the feeling of freedom by directing the view upwards. Plus, including birch trees pulls our eyes upwards, too.
The house features glass walls leading into the inner courtyards, allowing lots of light to come in and the feeling of indoor-outdoor living.
Another cool thing about the roofless house is that it has no fence at the street perimeter, instead featuring a meadow, redwoods, oaks, and brand-new birch trees.
Photographer: Darren Bradley
By Gabriela Vatu • Jun 16, 2021
Sometimes, the best way to enhance the functionality of your home is to extend it. When the house was built some 90 years ago, however, that may prove to be a bit more difficult as you have to maintain the spirit of the house intact, and that’s what the experts from Scullion Architects managed to do.
Located in Dublin, Ireland, the Churchtown house was built in the 1930s in the town’s suburbs. The clients wanted to create a new room that extended from the main house rather than build an annex.
As it happens with many old homes, the kitchen was not seen as a focal point in the house but was shoved into a corner, pretty much closed off from the rest of the house.
The kitchen was repositioned so that it reflects the rightful central spot in day-to-day family life. Alongside the kitchen, we also have the perfect dining nook.
The dining area overlooks the garden through huge windows. The coolest thing is that the dining room is circular and wrapped with curved glass. Inspired by the Victorian glass conservatories at Ballyfin and Dunfillan of Richard Turner, the spot comes with a certain sense of calm.
The entrance hallway was also redone to better fit in with the feel of the house, perfectly creating the passageway towards the new kitchen. The vertical wood paneling on the walls and the terrazzo steps lead into the kitchen, where you’ll notice the same materials being used.
A really cool thing you can find in the lobby is the wet bar which is concealed by the oak panels. The same wood is extended throughout the kitchen, including the beautiful massive island in the middle of it.
On the outside, they used forest green metalwork to support the gutters and conceal the downpipes, helping to better incorporate the new addition in the original house.
Photographs: Fionn McCann
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