Not everyone lives – or wants to live – in a house and millions of people are looking for examples of stylish apartment interior design. Across the globe, families make their homes in apartments that are polished, organized and beautiful. HomeDSGN brings you a collection of chic apartment interior design showcasing the possibilities. From contemporary neutrals and modern white designs to warm wood-filled interiors, inspiration for your apartment abounds.
By Courtney • Jun 27, 2019
On the charming outskirts of New Taipei City, in the heart of Taiwan, innovative designers at PENY HSIEH INTERIORS have created a uniquely shaped and decorated contemporary house that they’ve dubbed Lights and Lines House, naming it for the shapes created in its architecture and interior decor scheme.
Immediately upon entering the house, visitors begin to see the lines and patterns of light in question. The home’s aesthetic is based around staunch vertical and horizontal lines, swooping curves, and unique angular shapes that appear artistic and conceptual all throughout the house.
The square footage of the home might not be large, but its impressive height makes up for its conservative base. After all, many of the values of contemporary living spaces have been separated from an emphasis on expansiveness. Designers used this increased height to their advantage well, creating a vertical visual vector in their work.
A primary element in this vertical element is the stunning rose gold winding staircase. This piece serves as the demarcation and access point between the public and private zones. Helping denote the difference in functional space is an impressive wine cabinet that sits horizontally, creating a new line and appearing perpendicular to the vertically rising stairs.
In the living room itself, these plays on contrasting lines continue. For example, an attention grabbing iron bookcase built into the main wall presents a stark horizontal plane in the heart of the home, while double height windows contrast by rising vertically up past even the open-concept halls and stunning glass walkway of the floor above.
In addition to adding a lovely contrast of lines, the impressive windows we’ve mentioned help keep the space looking bright and welcoming despite its very contemporary appearance. At the same time, the provide dwellers and visitors with stunning views of the city, which can be seen stretching below, adding to the sense of verticality prevailing in the home’s atmosphere.
In the kitchen, an independent set of lines is established like its own network thanks to the way the furnishings are built and arranged. In this space, the island, counters, and table are all built to precisely the same height, extending horizontally outwards consistently with each other along the same plane.
Lines and light aren’t the only contrasts and mimics within the house; there are actually several notes of decor, materiality, and colour used to create a cohesive theme throughout the space as a whole. In the kitchen, for example, a stunning golden lined chandelier hearkens back to the living room where the rose gold winding staircase begins, as well as the upper floor where it ends.
Because the hallways and rooms of the second floor are quite open, feeling blended with the social living spaces but not so much as to lose privacy, a sense of dialogue between the rooms is created. Light flows freely from one to the other, something that prompted designers to comment that the two areas of the home resemble “lighting cases stacked together”.
In contrast (something so integral to the home’s aesthetic), the spliced wooden floors on the upper floor feel as though they ground the space. Rather than looking quite so bright and linear as many other elements in the home, these floors add a sense of warmth and a variance in materiality and colour palette.
The upper floor is where the most light and shadow play happens. Besides the shadows cast by the windows and clean LED lighting in the bedrooms themselves, the hallway also gets much of the residual light and shadow from the lower floor thanks to the open-air balcony style of the passages and the glass floor of the bridge-style walkway to the stairs.
Photos by Kyleyu Photo Studio
Modern Urban Apartment in Tel Aviv created by Studio Perri Interior Design from a previously untouched 1970s apartment
By Courtney • May 9, 2019
In the north end of the city of Tel Aviv, Israel, designer at Studio Perri Interior Design recently completed a renovation on an apartment from the 1970s. Now, the newly updated Modern Urban Apartment is home to a young couple who needed something a little quieter than their previous apartment right in the centre of the city.
The renovated apartment, which occupies 135 square metres, boasts a living room, kitchen, dining room, and balcony in the public paces, as well as four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a storage space, and even an entire room for the family cats in the private wing. Originally divided into two units- a larger apartment and a delineated smaller wing- in the 70s, the space has been joined for better flow and use of space.
Previously to this brand new project, the apartment had never been renovated before after it was built in the 70s. The new owners, though in love with the building’s history and location, desired something a little more spacious with better light flow. In terms of atmosphere and aesthetic, clients and designers like chose a modern but minimalist scheme that effectively blends both beauty and functionality.
Inside, the renovation destroyed and rebuilt almost every single wall, keeping only the original support pillars and two wall’s in the couple’s young song’s room. In the space that use to be a separate, smaller unit, designers left walls out to blend it into the main apartment and built the kitchen and storage unit here, maximizing on that space for useful and essential home functions.
Now, the kitchen is blended right into a bright open living space that sits on the edge of what was originally the main apartment volume while things were still split. Further towards the back of the home, a kids’ play room now sits where the old kitchen used to be. This space is very open as well, with all of the original walls removed and only visual delineations set in place to denote its borders.
Along the same vein of creating new space in efficient ways, designers actually used existing features of the building’s facade to make their client a new balcony space that wasn’t there before. By taking advantage of a strategically place bulge in the building’s exterior facade and building a small extended, open air space outward from the apartment’s outermost wall onto where it juts the furthest.
Large renovations took place towards the master bedroom as well. Leading up to the beautiful escape, the original corridor, which was quite narrow in nature, was enlarged and made wider so that more light can easily flow throughout the private spaces. The bedroom itself was also redesigned. Now it features two massive built-in wardrobes that sit parallel to each other and adjacent to the master bathroom, which received an updating treatment from its original state as well.
Moving back out towards the main living space, visitors encounter the way that furniture, which was all custom designed for the room, does more than just provide seating and comfort. It also acts as a visual delineation between the main family room and the entryway and front door itself. Here, multi-function furniture provides custom storage for things like shoes and coats.
Throughout each space in the house, a careful palette of materials and colours is established and maintained with continuity. There is an emphasis on careful carpentry and colours that suit the wood finishes chosen. Maple wood shines throughout the spaces, accented and complemented by shades of grey, white, and black. To add depth, details in a deep blue, gold, and rich red are also featured like colour pops all throughout the home.
The brand new kitchen we’ve spoken of so fondly wasn’t moved solely for the sake of larger spaces. It was also positioned to more positively influence the flow of the house and how rooms are accessed. Now, rather than being cut off from the main living space, a person working in the kitchen has a clear site to the living room and play room. This allows for daily functions and family time to become a shared experience.
Photos by Gidon Levin
By Courtney • May 7, 2019
The neighbourhood of Vilnius, in Raugyklos, Lithuania, a dilapidated local warehouse has been transformed into a beautiful building of studio apartments by DO Architects as part of a revival project.
Besides simply updating the local landscape and making better use of space, this particular project was designed to prove how low-value architecture might be upgrade into inspiring new spaces with a bit of forward thinking and conceptualization. Now, buildings like the one in Vilnius revitalize several local streets where before their abandoned frames made them look run down.
This piece is particularly exemplary of this because instead of choosing to demolish the warehouse and simply start again with a new structure where it once stood, this architectural team opted to use strong qualities of the existing building to their benefit. For example, good outer space around the warehouse has been turned into space for private entrances and public terraces for ground floor apartments that enhance co-living for those units.
On the second floor, draw is created by the sprawling loft-style apartment rather than access to outdoor terraces. These units are still afforded the appeal of outdoor space, however, in the form of direct access to a share rooftop terrace, which is gorgeous and enjoyable to experience despite it not belonging to one’s unit alone like the others.
Certain aspects of the warehouse that withstood the test of time and didn’t show too much wear and tear can be seen throughout t the building, letting its new layout feel authentic to the project’s goals. For example, exposed concrete columns and ceilings remain and are now an important part of the slightly industrial chic aesthetic throughout the building. New walls have also been built, and their shining smoothness creates an appealing contrast with the rough texture of the original concrete ones.
In the common spaces outside the units, views of a lovely, lushly green inner courtyard are afforded through continuous glazed walls, where sunlight floods in freely and lights the inner spaces naturally. The idea here was to allow family life to include a sense of flowing seasons in their daily routine, as though their regular tasks are one with their environment.
Upon entering each apartment, dwellers and visitors are welcomed by more large windows in each unit, continuing that sense of cohesive environment. Common living spaces for each unit sit not far off, designed to act as the heart of each apartment thanks to how they’re situated. Aside from this space, other spaces that, in a large house, might be distinct rooms are fit together cozily with a free flow of space.
This is how the upper apartments maintain their loft influence. In these units, you’ll find the kitchen, dining area, and more social seating to be a continuous space that allows free movement and presents differences in texture to delineate between “room” functions, rather than actual divisions breaking the apartment into stifling compartments.
Still on the upper floors, each unit contains its own tiny patio, which is where access to the larger rooftop terrace is found. This makes the common space on the building’s top feel like an extension of each person’s private home and enhances the relationship between interior and exterior spaces.
In terms of materiality, a great contrast exists between the warehouse’s facade and the warmth found inside each unit, which was precisely the intention of the designers. On the outside, dwellers are confronted with authentic industrial materials, primarily stainless steel, glass, and exposed concrete. Inside, however, ongoing concrete is balanced by wooden details and even a fully wooden wall in each unit, which grounds the space.
In each unit, designers opted to include precious art pieces, particularly ones from local artists. These are placed sporadically and strategically but are also essential to the design of each apartment and the dwellers’ experiences of those spaces. Designers wished for people to feel like they have constant access to art that is worth their appreciation.
At one end of each apartment, the first real delineation is found in the form of a white painted brick wall. This helps the apartment continue to feel open and bright but still keeps the more intimate spaces, the bathroom and the bedrooms, private. The bathroom is accessed through semi-transparent glass doors, keeping it well lit, while the bedrooms are afforded all possible privacy, unlike the rest of the spaces. They are purposely modestly sized to let dwellers focus wholly on their main function: resting.
Photos by Laimonas Ciūnys
By Courtney • Apr 30, 2019
On the first floor of a Pombaline style building in the middle of Lisboa in Portugal, innovative architectural and design teams at SER-ra recently refreshed a stunning apartment called The Apartment in Santa Apolonia.
In its original condition, the apartments in this building had fallen entirely to the whims of time, showing great marks of wear and tear or the ways that owners from days auld had made changes according to their needs. Not that this particular apartment had been taken on by brand new owners from outside the area, it was time for a fresh start for both them and the space.
Because the apartment was being all but stripped and rebuilt in terms of materiality and aesthetic, owners and designers were quite free to establish the kind of space they pleased. They opted for one that is slightly Scandinavian inspired, with lots of clean, white surfaces and smooth wooden details and finishes.
The combination of stark and warm materials creates a stunning contrast within the space before it’s even been furnished or decorated. Character is added by cross braced wooden columns that hearken back to older styles of interior decor in the area but look more like a modern throwback against the white around them here in this context.
These crossed columns might look like they’ve been installed for support, but that’s not entirely the case. At the same, they’re not purely decorative either! These beams are demarcations of space; rather than install doors that might close off living spaces from private spaces in a small apartment meant for singular persons or those who want to share closely, these beams provide visual delineation from room to room.
In fact, the emphasis on openness and freedom of flow in this apartment were so important that flexibility and transparency were listed as the top priorities. Even so, everyone involved understood that sometimes privacy is absolutely necessary, so sliding doors between the living room and bedroom are installed, left to recede into the wall more often than not.
On top of being flexible, the space is also very bright. This is helped along by the presence of not just sizeable windows but also glass doors leading to a small private balcony. This little outdoor space ensures that the apartment gets enough fresh air and natural light and, despite the fact that the apartment is only one floor up from the ground floor, it provides a lovely urban view of the buildings surrounding its inner space.
Photos by emontenegro / architectural photography
By Courtney • Apr 25, 2019
In the city of Tuzla, in Turkey’s Tepeören Region, a beautiful new apartment project was recently completed in a lovely modern complex by theCATwork. The newest interior dwelling, which was updated from the original 1990s space, is perfectly sized for a small family. It is also the stuff dreams are made of for those who adore marble finishes!
The complex itself is comprised of approximately 100 different spaces constructed within impressive looking light steel buildings. The way the clean, white marble interiors contrast with the outer steel frames of the building itself are nothing short of breathtaking. Inside, conceptions of where certain rooms and functions should sit in the average house have been handled flexibly, giving the space a bit of a sense of unconventionality.
For example, rather than establishing the kitchen as the central functioning room of the ground floor, like you’d see in most homes, designs chose to create an open concept, free-flowing, and flexibly functional space that allows dwellers to drift easily between the drawing room and dinner area, which are connected entirely. Rather than creating a lack of delineation, this space builds a sense of cohesiveness between the home’s rooms.
Despite the emphasis on open spaces in some rooms of A 620, there is clear, effective delineation of space and function elsewhere. The drawing room is the perfect example of what we mean! Here, a lovely atrium is separated from a social lounge room by a beautiful raise fireplace, creating a difference in space even though the rooms are not closed off from one another.
This sense of lovely finishes, cohesive aesthetics, and free flowing space doesn’t just exist within the walls of the home; it actually extends into the outdoor spaces as well. The veranda, which sits off the social living areas, is a semi-open space with a barbecue station and swimming pool. The doors leading to this space open fully wide, giving the indoor areas amazing natural light and allowing the indoor and outdoor spaces to be melded together as one on warm days.
The materials used to build this home were selected carefully and chosen based on their natural qualities. Obviously breathtaking grey marble was a huge feature, but light wood and darker granite are also alternated in certain spaces to give a sense of balance and grounding and give the marble something to stand out against so its beauty shines even more.
To keep things looking homey but modern, designers purposely changed aesthetics in certain rooms to really delineate personal spaces and add a pop of personality depending on who will dwell there. This is evident sweetly in the use of pastel pink in a little girl’s bedroom; aesthetics from the rest of the house can be seen but her own style is prominent as well.
Despite the emphasis on natural light, which is abundant in A 602, designers also chose to include several unique and modern looking light fixtures in all kinds of places; as wall mounts, ceiling pendants, and even under some stairs. This keeps extra light bounding off the pristine marble in a way that is subtle and glamorous.
Photos by Altkat Photography
Classic examples of traditional Scandinavian architecture styles in apartments across the world get raving acclaim worldwide
By Courtney • Apr 23, 2019
Across the world, stunning Scandinavian style influenced apartments have been garnering praise for their layout and decor. Innovative designs in new cities have been harnessing lovely traditional techniques and pieces in order to create apartments and living spaces that are charming, comfortable, and nothing short of stunning.
Although there are hundreds of apartments across the world that might fall into this unique category, three in particular stand out as shining examples of Scandinavian architecture and decor located in other countries. While an apartment in Vietnam employs typical Scandinavian colour schemes like pops of teal mixed with deep browns, another located in Poland interprets the same style through darker colours blended seamlessly with natural wood tones. A third space keeps that classic wooden element in place but replaces the bright and dark colour hues with brushes of soft greys and blush pink, for a modern take on the style.
The first apartment that beautifully exemplifies Scandinavian influenced styles in international spaces is this on in Vietnam, designed and created by Puzzle Studio.
Here, stunning pops of bright, jewel toned teal contrast starkly and beautifully with rich brown shades and finishes, adding dept to the space in a way that’s very typical of Scandinavian inspired home decor techniques. Geometric shapes are also paramount to the style and this is incorporated here in the form of several uniquely shaped coffee tables.
Straight-edged geometry isn’t the only shaping typical of a Scandinavian home, however. Many contain rounded, circular, and spherical shapes instead of or alongside those angular pieces. This particular apartment features both themes, as you can see in the circle pattern backsplash in the kitchen or the elliptically shaped wall sign that’s been hung for a bit of whimsical detail.
To take the element of rounded shapes and lovely curved lines even further, designers included several stunning arched panels that make up a decorative screen as you move towards the dining room. Rather than contrasting, for once, these complement a lovely modern chandelier that hangs over the dining set and features spherical glass globe shades that mimic the shape of the table.
That arched shape concept extends from the dining room and flows down the hallway in the form of pretty alcoved entryways from room to room. Similarly to how the chandelier lights the arching table, now some wall cupboard lighting gives a warm glow to alcoves and spaces elsewhere while also providing mod looking storage.
In the kitchen, the warmer shades in the fantastically visual backsplash are highlighted by the warmer tone of the kitchen cupboards. Contrasting light and dark tones is, of course, are another central tenet of Scandinavian style, and this space is a fantastic example of those. White shelving units provide storage along the full height of the room but also created balance with the darker base cupboards we mentioned previously, both making the backsplash pattern pop.
Sitting right between the actual cooking space of the kitchen and the lounge where the colour pops draw the eye is a casual island that is often used as a breakfast spot. This space features high bar stools that are very mod looking and convenient, but is also home to a wonderfully bright teal shelving unit. This piece gives a sort of decorative transition between the kitchen and living room, blending teal tones in before you get to the bulk of the accents or the place where they phase out.
This next stunning apartment was a collaboration between several different designers, furnished with their most recent works created in the proper decorative style to suit the aesthetic. Located in The Ukraine, it was put together by entirely local teams who wanted to showcase their work but all sought to work with minimalism as their core concept besides Scandinavian style.
In this home, Scandinavian influence is primarily seen and felt in the way that colours, textures, and lighting are played with and contrasted throughout each room. Created for a young, female professional, the space was designed to be efficient and well organized but still youthful and a little bit whimsical. The multicoloured sofa, in stunning soft greys and blush pinks, is the perfect example of pieces that were chosen to hit this balance.
An opening of space also took place within this apartments renovation as well, which makes even the layout a little more typical of truly Scandinavian styles. Rather than a thin, closed off hallway, a more open space now exists that enables freer flower from room to room without sacrificing privacy. This also makes the living room feel more spacious!
To add some extra pops of colour, that same stunning blush pink that you see in the mixed hue couch is mimicked throughout the house in decor and accessorizing. A wonderfully modern looking accent chair, for example, sits perfectly placed to visually divide the entryway from the living room while still remaining a key element of the seating area. It is, of course, entirely upholstered in that same dusty pink we love so much!
To keep the heavy versus light and colours versus neutral contrast alive, since its so pivotal to the Scandinavian style, we’re in love with the way darker grey lead columns define the living room area, with that grey mimicked elsewhere in several lattice appliques and veneer panels throughout the apartment, like in the decorative but functional shelving unit used to house some stunning greenery that contributes to how the place feels light and lively.
The third apartment in this feature is the stunning Scandinavian Apartment by Karolina Wekko, located in bustling city centre of Warsaw, Poland. This space plays with shape, texture, and visual pattern in myriad interesting ways, keeping that deep Scandinavian wood element all through the rooms
Although the primary feature of the living room, which is the focus of the social space, is a very dark section of wall near the sofa, a light paintwork piece has been included directly across from that, in the kitchen, for balance. This contrast wall is a mosaic effect granite piece in the kitchen that is repeated again in the bathrooms for continuity. Although the kitchen and living rooms are different spaces in terms of functionality, the open concept floor plan lets them communicate.
One of the first things that will draw your eye when you walk in is the stunningly sculptural Shell chair by design Branca Lisboa. This is, in fact, the centrepiece that much of the apartment was designed around. Around it are several multipurpose furnishings that are quite innovative indeed, including a narrow bench near the TV that can support media consoles or be used as extra seating when guests come to visit.
In the dining room, that same Scandinavian idea of light and dark contrasts continues in the way dark chairs surround a lighter wood table. The space is further lightened by a long, full length mirror that catches natural sunlight from the picturesque windows and reflects it even further, making the space feel very bright indeed and causes it to feel perhaps a little bigger than it really is.
Smaller decorative details are paramount to the space as well. Around the kitchen, where a dark island contrasts with light cupboards, you’ll also find an impressively lush number of lovely green plants to make the space feel lively, and several light and somewhat delicate decorative elements, like a hoop pendant in fine gold in the bedroom that plays off the bigger, bolder shapes of the contemporary furniture.
This apartment truly is a case of all things in balance!
Photos provided by the designer.
By Courtney • Apr 22, 2019
Every once in a while, a home that is quite correctly named comes onto the market and impresses everyone with its accuracy, but none are quite so aptly dubbed as the truly sunny and ever cheerful Sunny Apartment, recently completed by Svoya Studio. This space prioritizes sunlight as it plays off colour pops and stunning patterns and lets the beauty of natural light work its magic in every space available.
In the construction of this apartment, sunlight was literally the muse of the designers. The warmth provided by it as it streams through the massive, pristine windows even played into the way the heating systems work. In fact, designers actually originally referred to their plans for this apartment’s layout as Miracle Morning, that’s how big a priority the sunlight was!
Stemming from the idea that the morning is the most special time of day, designers made sure to situated windows and rooms so that sunlight is able to hit just about any corner of the apartment. Even in places where the light can’t directly reach from the windows, like the small entrance hall, some solution has been found; here, it’s a stunning hanging mirror ball that catches an edge of light and reflects it down the hall off its mirrored surfaces!
Traveling from that hall and down to the private areas, you’ll follow along a concrete hallway that, in its own polished shine, also carries light quite well. These floors mimic the cityscape right outside the windows, making the space feel urban and modern despite its whimsical concentration on sunshine. At the end of the hall, a sprawling master bedroom features a beed in front of a beautifully decorative partition, all facing towards huge picture windows that, once again, showcase the morning’s first light.
Throughout the rest of the apartment, including in the kids’ room, the colours of a sunrise and the warm hues of dawn are dotted throughout the apartment in the form of decorative pieces. The sofa, for example, is upholstered in a breathtaking sunrise orange that draws the eye immediately, which is lovely since that same sofa actually divides space between the lounger and the kitchen and dining areas. Pristine white cushions rest atop the orange fabric for contrast, playing off the matching bright white of the kitchen cupboards in order to tie the open concept space together and as it’s divided by function.
To play on the sunlight themes, interior decorators made sure to include all kinds of plant life as they completed the apartment. They chose plants that thrive in sunny indoor spaces, so the greenery is lush and vibrant even though you’re sitting several floors up in the middle of a city. Between the bright natural light and these, it’s as though the plants are breathing life into the room.
These plants also service to soften up the more industrial and city inspired parts of the urban living setting. A concrete column in the middle, for example, looks less harsh thanks to the way a planter sits next to it, with leaves fanning out against the concrete.
Plants and bright pops of colour aren’t the only elements that work with the concrete to keep things urban but cozy and homey. Wood is a large component of the space as well! For example, wood effect cabinets to the side of the kitchen, which contrast well with the main white cupboards, add a little warmth to the space. All of the apartment’s doors and some panels down the hallway are made from a matching wood, creating a sense of natural continuity.
Photos provided by the designer.
Mitsuhiro Shoji completes the stunning two-level Modern Wooden Apartment amidst the bustling city skyline of Shanghai
By Courtney • Apr 4, 2019
In the heart of busy Shanghai in China, Mitsuhiro Shoji recently completed the stunning and surprisingly serene Modern Wooden Apartment for a young family with an active, bustling lifestyle.
The first thing visitors usually notice about this innovative residence is its size. Simply put, the apartment is very small! In fact, if takes up only 47 square metres, which is a feat even for the more space efficient standards typical of city life in Shanghai.
The main concept that designers worked with in the making of this apartment was that they wanted to build maximum subtle and space efficient storage into the walls and available spaces in order to make a small home feel a sense of spatial richness through lack of clutter.
To make this happen, designers had most of the furniture included in the photos custom made for the space in order to get the dimensions that would work best. This and their carefully selected materiality helped them build an aesthetic that feels carefree and sophisticated all at once.
The primary materials the designers chose were primitive. They stuck to quite natural feeling things like bamboo, iron, and laminated wood. This incorporates some element of the traditional in with the very contemporary city feel of the apartment’s layout. This is actually a combination that is quite typical or urban spaces in Shanghai, but Modern Wooden Apartment takes that atmosphere to an impressive new height.
In the main living spaces, you’ll find wood used heavily. One of the most noticeable pieces (besides the stunning cut wood dining table) is the retracting kitchen door that gives the dining room some privacy and delineation. This is made from slats of wood that slide right into the wall when you want to keep the space open.
Despite its very small space, the innovative little apartment actually features two levels. The first floor is home to the communal, social, and hosting areas while the upper floor features a bedroom and tatami room. Although the company is based in China, they chose to work with the family’s heritage and follow traditional Japanese culture by including the tatami room, which is actually quite typical in the area.
The stunning tatami room, which sits to the side of the master bedroom, might be used to host guests, conduct tea ceremonies, or serve as a sort of home religious altar.
Photos by Kenta Hasegawa
By Courtney • Apr 2, 2019
The beauty of the stunningly fresh looking and very newly finished Oasis Apartment by Lim + Lu might sit partially in its lovely aesthetic, but it’s also largely due to the story of its origins. You see, this impressive new home in Hong Kong, China, was refurbished from an abandoned apartment that was left empty to age and deteriorate.
Taking up 1,200 square feet, the apartment is now a peaceful, lovely haven that looks like the kind of place you might take a vacation in, which is even more wild to think about when you consider that is sat uncared for in the quarry bay neighbourhood for over 15 years before the new designers transformed it.
Originally owned by a man who spent nearly his whole life in the apartment itself, it was abandoned when he suddenly traveled away from Hong Kong, leaving everything behind in its place and never returning. About a year ago, designers visited the site and noticed how it looks as though time had simply been standing still the moment you walked through the door. They remarked to each other that the outdated but incredibly authentic scene inside was reminiscent of an old Wong Kar Wai movie.
In the newly transformed apartment, designers chose to keep a few original elements untouched in order to give the home a sense of unmatched character. Primarily, visitors might notice a series of old concrete beams visibly covered in chipped orange and green paint. These were preserved in their original condition from the abandoned apartment to give it some detailing that simple cannot be replicated in modern spaces in quite the same rustically kitschy way.
The shades of orange and green, long faded over time, create a lovely visual contrast with the pristinely new white walls. They also complement the warm, neutral palette of the wooden walls and details, which are made of oak, and play off the various brass accents that are found in nearly every room throughout the apartment.
In terms of its layout, the apartment is quite open and contemporary. Designers opted for a mixture of materials to offset the fact that they intended to keep some old painted concrete anyways. Now, besides that, the apartment features the oak and brass we already mentioned and also a heavy element of marble. The goal here was to mix old and new through materiality.
Besides wanting to simply make the apartment look nice, designers adored the idea that the home’s story and the act of keeping a few elements in their original condition almost made the very concept of time part of the material palette. The team and the new owners alike found this incredibly poetic.
Outside, the owners are afforded several lovely views of the apartment’s surrounding urban area. In order to give owners something besides a cityscape to look at, however, designers aimed to make the interior of the apartment artistic enough that it might feel like a view as well; one private to the owners’ enjoyment.
This is part of why clear elements of nature have been incorporated into the apartment in lovely ways. Greenery helps to make the home feel a little more like an escape from busy life, taking one’s mind off the hustle and bustle of the city. It also gives the apartment a fresh atmosphere that feels at once clean and sophisticated.
In the places where the most greenery is present, designers opted to include a few additional materials, just to really drive that sense of nature home. Here, in addition to the warm oak you see elsewhere, visitors encounter volcanic slate and woven wicker as well, giving parts of the apartment the peaceful island feel that begot its name.
Photos courtesy of the designer.
Illustrious Modern Apartment created by Corpo Atelier is such a feat of architecture that it borders on sculpture
By Courtney • Apr 1, 2019
In the heart of Vilamoura in Portugal, a stunningly minimalist and contemporary apartment, aptly named the Modern Apartment, was recently finished by Corpo Atelier.
Originally a little, old studio apartment, the space was renovated by the innovative design team to become a beautifully simplistic but fully equipped space that features such a clean visual appeal that its existence practically blends the lines between architecture and sculpture.
The room is very simple; it looks almost like a plain white box upon entering. The first thing that draws your eye, however, is a set of three bright yellow objects that are configured into interesting geometric shapes and placed about the room. Even before it was furnished, these shapes had such a presence to them that the otherwise empty room felt anything but.
Thanks to the bright colour pop of the yellow, the interesting presence of the shapes, and the large window that draws the eyes’ focus towards the far end of the apartment, the room feels almost limitless despite its small size. It also feels incredibly contemporary despite the fact that, if you consider them together from a wider perspective, the shapes scattered about actually resemble elements of classic architecture, like a fallen column and a plinth.
Knowing that small spaces requite surfaces and storage, designers built the shapes such that, beyond their visual functions, they can also serve as furniture. They fully expected that owners would place small trinkets on top of these and store things inside them and on parts of their irregular surfaces. This creates a blending of purpose that seems to suit the home’s contemporary feel.
For additional function, the yellow pieces also serve to delineate space slightly in a wall-less apartment. Of course, the openness of the home is part of the main point, but that doesn’t mean a bit of spatial direction and understanding isn’t valuable. In particular, the yellow pieces mark off the bedroom (which has a stunning panoramic view, the entrance hall, and the central living room.
Photos by Alexander Bogorodskiy
By Courtney • Mar 29, 2019
In the stunning residential commune of Lille Metropolis, in Hem, France, a stylish and professional couple named Vivien and Marion have worked hard to make their very own housing dreams come true. The two have spent several years transforming a stunning loft that started as merely a large empty space into a veritable piece of art.
Designed and conceptualized entirely by the couple themselves, their priorities for the loft were quite clear from the start. One of the biggest challenges was adding a satisfactory number of windows to the solid, already formed space without compromising the walls or foundation because of the materiality and how the house sits. They wanted to be entirely sure that the rooms inside the home would get enough natural light.
Secondly, they wanted to create a space where art is at the forefront. They decided to use colours, patterns, art they made themselves, and locally created pieces from artists they know to decorate the space. The effect is so eclectic and full of personality that visiting their home feels like an actual experience.
To tackle the first priority of the windows, the couple helped themselves out with natural light a little by opening the roof entirely, letting light flow in from parts of the top of the house. They did this by creating a high patio and two terraces, all off ground level, and then installed several skylights and sprawling rook windows in the rest of the ceiling that wasn’t opened up for lovely indoor-outdoor space. Now the sun can simply just shine down on- and right into- their home.
On the ground floor, the rooms of the house are quite open concept, which was intentional. That’s not to say, however, that there’s not delineation of space at all. Stylish furniture and visual art pieces have been strategically placed to make some demarkation of rooms with different functions without sacrificing any space or open-concept flow.
Near the living and dining rooms and the kitchen sits a stunning open patio on the ground floor. This opens fully into the house thanks to receding doors and allows a flood of natural light that keeps the room cool or warm, depending on the season, and allows sunlight to reach every corner of the floor. On the outdoor portion of the patio stands a beautiful olive tree that was relocated from Portugal, where it was originally planted in one of the fields on Vivien’s grandfather’s land. Now, it grows perfectly acclimatized and thriving, like a natural family heirloom.
Although the interior decor and art features of the loft house are quite bright, shiny, and new, the couple purposely chose to keep some sense of weathering in the home’s structure itself. The natural concrete that the actual house is built from was preserved as is, which was beneficial to their budget but also serves a particular contrasting aesthetic. It bears marks of wear and tear that denotes the previous lives of the building, something the owners appreciate.
Visual art isn’t the only kind of creative appreciation in the home. The couple also built themselves a stunning library, which is a favourite space for everyone living there. It houses architecture and design magazines, musical vinyls, and even some stylish vintage furniture, like the LC4 chaise lounge and the infamous Pipistrello lamp. The space is nothing short of inspirational.
The theme of classically designed and mod styled furniture extends into other rooms too, but some pieces were actually created by the couple themselves as well. Much of the art featured on the walls is their own too, or that of their family members. The bright and colourful paint pot piece, for example, was created by Vivien’s father, who was a house painter by trade.
Of course, a “loft house” couldn’t be complete without stunning spaces being created on the actual loft itself! This is where the private and intimate sectors of the house reside. The loft is home to spacious bathrooms, guest and master bedrooms, and a bright, exciting child’s room. An increased touch of warmth is added to these spaces thanks to the way pine wood has been used to cover the original concrete floors that were preserved everywhere else.
The emphasis on fresh air, open space, and sunlight continues near the private loft spaces. The master bedroom, for example, features its own small terrace where the roof opens to the high patios we mentioned before. Here, views of the whole surrounding area twinkle in the sunlight as dwellers sit above their lower patio, on which an inflatable jacuzzi lives.
Photos courtesy of the designer.
By Courtney • Mar 19, 2019
In the heart of the stunning city of Barcelona, Spain, design and architecture teams at META Studio recently completed a stunning residential project in which they transformed an old textile factory into a unique and breathtaking loft home!
In Barcelona’s Gracia district, nestled into the urban, slightly industrial setting, sits the Textile Factory Loft, a project that a pair of the local company’s architects did for themselves and currently reside in. When they originally came across the factory, it wasn’t much more than an empty space with a solid frame for structure, but they saw nothing but potential.
When the main architects, a married couple, bought the textile factory in 2013, it was being used by a painter as a storage and studio space. Despite some natural wear and tear and the need for a good dusting, it was in quite good condition and the high ceilings, which would provide space for a floor of regular heigh and a small loft space, pretty much made the decision for them.
Besides the fantastic space the building offered, the couple were also beyond intrigued by the backstory of its life as a textiles factory before it became a studio and eventually their home. A building with a bit of history always makes for a more interesting project, after all!
The factory was built in the early 1900s when most factories in Catalonia were textile based. Dubbed Frabrica Grober, it was taken over about 20 years ago after its doors closed by artists looking for creative spaces. Over time, the area became primarily residential, so the loft actually isn’t the only commercial-turned-residential property in the neighbourhood.
Despite the open look of the current ground floor, which has a lovely flow, privacy was actually one of the biggest priorities when the loft was redesigned. This is why the public, social, and “day space” is all located in the double height areas downstairs, while the upstairs area is saved exclusively for more intimate spaces; in this case, two bedrooms and a bathroom.
The sleeping area in this loft is afforded a little extra privacy on top of the division in floors because, before you reach it on your journey upstairs, you’re greeted by a small library that sits on the mezzanine. Besides being a relaxing space, the library serves as a sort of barrier between the day space and the quiet upstairs sleep haven in the loft itself.
In terms of decor, the designers chose subtle, natural palettes that suited the materiality and made the space feel cozy rather than cramped where the low ceiling swoops over the loft to make room for the high ceiling in the day space. For example, industrial black metal brace beams are contrasted and balanced with wooden ones inset into the ceilings.
Believe it or not, the loft isn’t actually the highest point in the home! on the rooftop, accessed through a subtle staircase in the further top corner of the home, is a red tiled rooftop patio with a lovely, sunny seating area. This space gets a fantastic breeze and gives visitors a lovely view of the surrounding city.
Photos by Lluis Carbonell
By Courtney • Mar 18, 2019
In the heart of Paris, France, innovative designer and architect Vincent Eschalier has finished a stunning residential loft project that involved transforming an old industrial factory into a stunning home that let the team play with shapes and visuals in a way that contrasts elements of old and new.
Modernized French Loft, which stands tall in the X th arrondissement of the city, was rehabilitated from an old factory originally built and working in the late nineteenth century, when the area underwent an industrial boom. Now, instead of heavy machinery and busy workers, the old building accommodates 17 lofts in total, ranging in size.
The one that caught our eye in particular, which is Eschalier’s own, is situated on the third and highest floor of the original factory building. Being his personal space, this is where many of the architects talents can be seen in the most detail, as he was free to work in his most preferred styles, rather than prioritizing client needs and expectations.
In his loft, Eschalier included industrial influenced elements to stay true to the building’s history, but contrasted them beautifully with natural wooden details, contemporary shapes, and pops of colour. The most notable industrial feature is, quite obviously, the stunning black metal winding staircase in the very centre of the apartment.
Flanked on either side by two matching metal columns, that are both decorative and functional, the staircause leads from the main living space of the apartment up into the loft area. This is where the master bedroom, which is conservative in size but stunning, and a lovely, sunny private roof terrace can be accessed.
The black metal of the staircase is repeated in several angular art pieces hanging throughout the house, as well as some modern lighting options. Not much artificial light is needed, however, because stunning skylights in the ceiling let natural sunlight reach just about every corner of the apartment.
Rather than just sticking to black, white, and natural wood, Eschalier added some colour to the neatly detailed space in the form of carefully chosen accent pieces. The best example of this is the bright, concentrated splash of orange in the living room, found in the carpet, the vintage chairs, the wall art, and the lamp shade.
Overall, the loft has a stunning sense of cohesiveness and harmony between all things old and new. It’s a standup example of how contemporary refurbishments can harness modern interior decor inside without disturbing historical facades, and while also still paying homage to architectural histories!
Photos by Joan Bracco
By Courtney • Feb 27, 2019
In Japan, design company Horma recently got creative with the shape of a small apartment building featuring space efficient units in an attempt to avoid disturbing a stunning old garden that runs down one side. The result was a stunningly organized little renovation that disturbs almost nothing around it but provides a lovely dwelling for those who love innovative layout and living neat.
Comprised of two main towers, this project contains 6 single story apartments in total. A central courtyard connects the towers, giving you access to any apartment no matter which tower you enter from. This lovely courtyard contains a circular shaped wooden deck that gives additional access to 4 of the units by their terraces. These lovely little outdoor balcony areas, one for each apartment, are afforded some privacy by a pretty lattice that separates the building visually from its neighbours.
Terrace access is hardly the best part of the circular deck, however! In the very centre of the circle sits a stunning Japanese guava tree that extends nine metres in the air, making it visible from all common areas and the windows of each apartment. The tree provides the courtyard with shade and gives the whole place a relaxing atmosphere. Benches circle the tree so people can socialize while they bask in its beauty. There are also plenty of planters featuring other fantastic greenery.
At the northern end of the courtyard, where you’ll find in the bend in the building’s L-shape, you’ll also find a centre “core” that features stairs and an elevator. These provide access to all floors and all apartments. Rather than being underground, the basement and parking garage sit at street level, making them very accessible indeed.
In order to retain focus on that relaxing atmosphere establish by the courtyard, the common spaces in each apartment (like the living and dining rooms) face onto the windows that overlook the guava tree. The windows in each apartment’s three bedrooms, on the other hand, face the picturesque street outside. To keep them private and quiet and let dwellers adjust light, however, they are flanked by an inclined facade wall.
Each bedroom in the apartment features greenery and some lovely vegetation by default with the unit. These are built into the facade and placed near the windows, increasing privacy and acting as a sort of natural sound barrier between the bedrooms and the sounds of the street below. The plants also simultaneously contrast and complement that natural wooden furnishings and features that comprise the rooms and storage spaces all throughout each unit.
Besides being afforded a feeling of spaciousness by impeccably organized storage cupboards that retract into the walls, these units feel like they sprawl thanks to the additional features they have access to. Each apartment has terrace and wooden deck access as well as its own balcony or patio, depending on which floor it sits on. Finally, tenants have free use of a lovely private rooftop garden as well, adding a further natural place to escape to for some calm.
Photos by Mariella Apollonio
By Courtney • Feb 13, 2019
In the centre of a Taiwanese street featuring primarily neat, white houses, one homeowner has hired innovative designers to create a home for her that reflects her personality and love for bright colours instead! La Casa de Cathy was created by A’Lentil Design in Neihu, Taipei with the intention of turning a simple home into a happy haven.
Designers could tell the owner and her husband were exciting, eclectic people the moment they met. That’s why they took inspiration from their clients themselves in order to create as fantastic a space as possible, drawing on their love for bold patterns, bright colours, and fun shapes. Designers chose to work freely with colours and materials, making whatever matches they pleased rather than following any strict theme or scheme.
The effect of this wild colour “matching” technique (that purposely doesn’t really match at all) was to create a space that feels vibrant, energetic, and full of imagination. Even amidst what other people might view as colour “chaos”, however, the home somehow feels harmonious in itself. It’s special because it truly reflects and thoroughly belongs to the people living there.
The original home contained two bedrooms, two living rooms, and two bathrooms, but designers had other layouts in mind. After verifying that the owners had no plans to grow their family, they opted to open up some of the spaces and re-allocate the floor plans and rooms to better suit the new owners’ lifestyle. Knocking out a wall and replacing it with a kitchen island, for example, created a cohesive eating, sitting, and storage area that’s neat and simple.
In contrast, designers and their clients chose to keep two separate bedrooms, just in case guests come to visit. In the master bedroom, red and green shades clash beautifully in a way that’s unexpected but entirely pleasant. Light is also a huge emphasis in the bedrooms, making the spaces appear larger and even brighter than they already are.
A similar tactic was taken with the bathrooms; designers kept them distinct but repositions the features inside, re-angling the toilets, sinks, and so on in order to take better advantage of space. As it did in the bedrooms and kitchen-dining area, this repositioning also helps open up the room and make it feel larger and more pleasant to use.
In order to balance all the colour and pattern happening in the house, designers actually did choose one or two elements that serve to ground the spaces and create some pleasant balance. White and light coloured woods are used because they complement every colour in the diverse scheme and some spots of black help achieve a sort of visual anchor here and there.
Overall, the effect of the layout changes, the playful shapes and materials, and the changes in hue throughout the house blends together to make the owners feel at home in a space that was not just custom designed for them, but specifically created to match their very essence. Guests enjoy it too because the aesthetic is outside the norm, making it a cheerful experience for all!
Photos by Chi Shou Wang
Transparent Townhome built in Bangkok by Black Pencils Studio, intended to live up to its name without sacrificing privacy
By Courtney • Jan 30, 2019
Right in the centre of Bangkok, in the stunning and fragrant country of Thailand, a residence called the Transparent Townhome was created by Black Pencils Studio to provide the illusion of an entirely transparent home without actually taking away the privacy needed for comfortable family living.
This project involved the renovation of an old townhouse that had actually abandon for 30 years and was quite run down indeed. The basic frame of the existing structure was preserved from the original, but designers essentially started from scratch besides that. For example, the basic square footage of the home mimics that of the original but the inside and even parts of the exterior were entirely remodelled because the roof and central staircase had collapsed.
Because they were starting almost entirely from scratch, the owners were able to choose their main priority. They instructed the design teams to put a huge emphasis on light. The existing structure was, in local fashion, quite narrow and deep, so they desired bright, natural light-filled rooms to counteract that structure and make things feel a little more open.
To achieve the desired amount of light, designers built a middle segment into the structure that acts as a light-well, cut clear through the newly placed metal sheet roof. Besides flooding all extending rooms with light, this bright volume also acts as a central courtyard, making it a sort of household hub that connects, defines, and separates other spaces in the house all at once.
Within the light-well, a steel staircase links all of the interior spaces that lead off of its central location. This creates great flow throughout the home and makes just about everything easily accessible in a way that feels very streamlined. Most rooms leading off the central volume are similarly open concept and lightly defined, so more closed in areas, like storage spaces and bathrooms, are built into the perimeter frame of the house instead.
Just because the rooms are very open concept, however, definitely doesn’t mean that the family sacrifices privacy all together. Thanks to a series of hidden pocket doors and roller blinds, each room can be closed off when necessary and then re-opened and reconnected with the other rooms and the almost entirely glass facade of the house’s front with ease.
At the front of the house, the goal was to create the effect that the rooms are opened right out into the street, letting light and shadows spill through, without actually preventing the family from seeking solitude when they want it. This is achieved thanks to a series of layered screening elements, including a fence, several different types of shrub, and a series of frames affixed to the townhouse’s facade.
Photos by Spaceshift Studio
Dutch loft apartment, called Loft Buiksloterham, created by Heren 5 Architects for maximum ease and space efficiency
By Courtney • Jan 25, 2019
Loft Buiksloterham is a high efficiency, low impact home created by Heren 5 Architects for total ease in living and bonding!
Located in Buiksloterham, Amsterdam in The Netherlands, this lovely, light wood loft provides a natural looking and smoothly functional space where dwellers can rest, socialize, or bond while living without wasted space or home related costs. The loft is a single-side design, meaning all functional features face outward from one primary back wall. Even so, the dwelling makes such full use of the width its afforded that the space isn’t nearly as limited as it sounds from that description!
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the loft is the entirely glass outer faced that acts as a door, window, and sky light all in one thanks to its expansive height ad width. Spaces designated for cooking and eating, and therefore public spaces where dwellers might often socialize, are angled such that they can always see a stunning view of the canal outside as they go about their day.
For the sake of privacy, the living areas that would naturally see less social and guest hosting time, like the bedroom, bathroom, and storage area, are located at the back of the house, behind and above the kitchen and dining spaces. In fact, the sleeping area (which comprises the feature that actually makes the home a true loft) is located directly above the kitchen, extending towards the high reaching ceiling. This lets each of those spaces, the bedroom and the kitchen, take up a maximum of space without encroaching on each other in essentially any way.
Because overnight guests are always a possibility, designers made sure to account for their need for comfort as well. A wonderfully soft extra bed can be pulled out from under the “living platform”, or the comfortable area featuring the sofa and seating space. This creates a sort of miniature bedroom below and to the side of the master bedroom loft.
Besides the way that all the living spaces fit together in this loft, which is thanks to an inventive architectural technique based on the concepts of switching and stacking, its beauty lies heavily in its materials. The interior unit, for example, is made from a gorgeously natural birchwood that is surrounded by accents (in the kitchen, for example) or white Corian. Together, the two give the interior of the loft a neutral feel that contributes to its surprising openness right along with the large window facade.
The function of the lofts you see in these photos are the perfect example of the kind of lifestyle the structure fosters. This owner moved into their ground floor loft with his daughter and mother, hoping for a home where three generations might comfortably share a life together without wasting money and space. They also purchased the loft next door so that the daughter, once grown, might have her own space and privacy without being too far or paying too much. Until then, the second loft is rented out to tenants. The ease with which the compact space can be both shared and divided is astounding!