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 Stefan Gheorghe • Oct 21, 2020
Love smart conversions and nifty renovations that save energy and resources? So do we and they are the perfect way to also find new design ideas which blend the old with the new in a seamless manner. Designed by Fala, the Uneven House in Porto, Portugal is one such clever home that was previously a ground floor shop and basement in a complex that was originally built in the 1960’s.
It is easy to admire the brilliant design that turns the cramped old shop and dark basement into a lovely contemporary apartment that is filled with natural light. A large living area that extends from the front façade to the rear section is the heart of the new house with kitchen and dining space next to it.
The Uneven House functions seamlessly despite the different levels inside the house and a new marble floor, pink ceiling and mirrored sections add to its brightness. Life inside the apartment feels rich and relaxing. Step outside and the new private yard is equally inviting. Even the outdoors seems to embrace a black and white color scheme – something that work so very well on the inside of the house.
Wooden door with marble handles, luxurious bedrooms and modern bathrooms complete the fancy makeover. Smart and sensible, this Portuguese home appears sophisticated and yet eclectic at the same time – a rare quality to have indeed!
Photographs Credit: Ricardo Loureiro
In the stunning city of Lisbon in Portugal, architectural design teams at Atelier 106 have created a stunning apartment called Apartment in Rua do Arco to São Mamede as part of the city’s attempts to reinvigorate gorgeous historical buildings in the area and bring a new wave of residents and businesses to its oldest neighbourhoods.
The building in which this particular apartment now exists was originally built in the 19th century. It is located in a beautifully older part of the city called Principe Real, which is well known for its old fashioned partition walls and towering stone buildings. This building even still has its recognizable glazed tiles in the facade and entry features and its original floors have withstood the test of time.
In the apartment renovation itself, the kitchen received the biggest overhaul. Although the entire apartment was updated and refreshed quite thoroughly, this is where the most tangible work was done, while the rest of the spaces were pained all over and had their doors and frames recovered. In certain spots, the floors were also replaced, despite the originals holding up in the more public spaces in the building like the lobby.
Within the kitchen’s modernization, several new pieces were installed that improve its functionality. First, it was fitted with a wall-to-wall bench. Next, a generously sized stove was placed under the chimney where smoke and steam filter out with ease and effectiveness. A big modern fridge now stands between the two meal preparation areas to make reaching supplies and moving from space to space easier. A family sized dining table was placed in the middle, making the kitchen kind of a social hub or focal point within the apartment.
Although designers were certainly intent on keeping the integrity of the original building’s layout, materiality, and history, they still wanted to update the apartment enough to provide new residents with a fully equipped and modern living experience in terms of amenities and conveniences. As a result, the aesthetic actually quite opposes the look and style of the rest of the building, but in a way that is interesting rather than clashing.
Now, the apartment’s inner layout is a little more open concept than the one that originally stood there. It is also a little more streamline and minimalist looking in its fine details, with neutrally coloured palette consisting primarily of whites and creams, natural wood, and the occasional black metal feature for balance and contrast.
Despite the fact that the palette of the overall apartment is quite calm and neutral, there’s actually a specific intentionality to it. They involved two different types of ceramics with slightly varied colours and textures. These light differences mark certain delineations of space based on function and style between, say, a practical room like the kitchen and a social room like the living room.
Storage and organization was also paramount within the new apartment. It is by no means a micro-living situation, but it does have the slightly more modest sizing of an older apartment, even in its new open concept layout iteration. This need accounts for the presence of new shelves above the kitchen island and the diverse storage options of the island itself. The combination of metal and wood gives the space a sort of modern-rustic, lightly industrial influence.
At the same time, the apartment is cozy and takes advantage of all its little niches and corners. A little wooden bench by the window makes the perfect morning time reading and coffee spot, for example, but it also features cupboards underneath the seat that provides another additional little storage space. The house is full of convenient little spots like this.
Finally, lighting was made a large priority within the new space as well. Firstly, large windows were installed to get lots of bright, natural sunlight into the space in order to make it feel more cheery. Clean, white overhead lighting was included in every single room as well, giving the room a good brightness from above that keeps things bright on into the evening as well while the family finishes their routines before bed.
Photos by do mal o menos.
By Courtney • Sep 4, 2019
On the edges of a growing urban space in Vila do Conde, Portugal, designers and architects at RAS·A have taken the opportunity to turn part of a newly constructed building into a uniquely laid out living space called Patio Apartment!
What makes the building opportunity they took such a good one is the fact that the building the apartment was actually created in was under construction when they selected the space. This meant that walls, rooms, and spaces were being torn down, shifted, and rebuilt building-wide, meaning the space selected by the team was quite customizable.
Rather than being stuck working only within the confines of a specific unit, building teams for the apartment specifically had the chance to alter the physical layout of the unit and all of its rooms to better suit the owners’ vision. The apartment sits at the very top of the building, so the opportunity to create unique outdoor social spaces and provide the owners with fantastic views was there.
From the beginning, the plan was to make a spacious four bedroom apartment that could be shared by friends or family comfortably, featuring lots of unified social spaces meant for bonding without sacrificing private spaces entirely. Designers also wished to create an apartment with more outdoor space than the average unit style living, which is where the whole idea of being built inside a building that was already under construction came in handy.
In the end, the new apartment was afforded a fantastic patio space that it wouldn’t have had before! This provides the owners with a lovely outdoor living, lounging, and entertainment space that also provides beautiful views of the city. The patio is placed quite centrally, which is quite unique for an apartment unit, with the kitchen, dining room, and living room arranged around it.
Having the main interior social spaces of the house arranged in a revolving or spoke-like manner around the outdoor social space creates a sort of blending of shared space. The whole central focus of the apartment becomes those places where the residents will enjoy time all together, leaving the bedrooms like an outer layer of the circle, slightly more removed and private, like personal havens for each person.
Diving space by function like this is actually quite practical for small space living. Rather than making the bedrooms feel isolated, this division of space strategy more so defines the areas of the house in a way that feels sensical and flows well. Easy access to social spaces at any time, but also the ability to opt out into one’s own quiet personal quarters actually fosters a better sense of living in balance with other people, reducing tension and creating cohesion and routine.
Just like the design team was able to take advantage of the convenience of the construction processes themselves, they were also able to take advantage of convenient access to on site materials. This reclaiming actually helped reduce waste production in the building’s overall project and made the process of selecting materials and bringing them to the site cheaper, quicker, and much more efficient.
Design teams chose to make more surfaces of the apartment from white lac, painting the walls and ceiling white to match. The effect was a bright and cheerful open concept space filled with natural sunlight and clean white surfaces. The apartment is also abundant in naturally stained wooden panels, creating a contrasting dialogue with all that pristine white we just talked about.
Overall, the neutral and quite calming colour scheme and materiality gave the apartment a sort of spa-like atmosphere. Decor teams took this idea one step further, adding a comfortable hammock in the living room surrounded by cozy, socially oriented lounge furniture. A bit of greenery on the patio and in the share living space hits the sense of natural relaxation home, as does the addition of a small, old fashioned looking wood fireplace in one corner.
Photos by do mal o menos
Californian San Vicente935 Housing created by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects as a modern adaptation of classic courtyard architecture
By Courtney • Aug 2, 2019
In the vibrant and exciting neighbourhood of West Hollywood, in Los Angeles, California, innovative designers at Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects have recently completed a uniquely open air shared housing project called the San Vicente935 Housing. Even before this project arose, this particular design and architectural team was already working on a general commitment to creating buildings and spaces that promote thoughtful design, even in cases where older, pre-built spaces are simply being overhauled or adapted, as is the case here.
The original building was erected along classic courtyard housing, which is quite typical of the area. This is where an open air courtyard sits in the centre of the building, like a shared, open air heart, while the individual units rise up around that funny column, providing individualized housing around the outer edges.
The building stands tall and square on San Vincente Blvd, nestled conveniently between Santa Monica and Sunset. Without spilling over the limits of the plot and the original building’s limits, designers restructured the inside to allow for maximum living space in each unit while also leaving as much space in the centre as possible for a large, beautifully sunny shared courtyard.
This outdoor common space is quite a common feature in Californian apartment style homes, particularly in this area. What distinguishes this particular building is the way that designers chose to open up the hallways entirely while still using creatively placed wooden slats to provide a bit of visual privacy from the street as each person approaches their own unit door.
The way the house rises vertically and amalgamates shared space rather than giving each unit cover a sprawling individual square footage arose from the need to get creative with how space in housing is used in densely populated urban areas. The units are by no means too small, but they are more personalized and geared towards good resting areas than the average apartment.
Quality outdoor spaces have also been prioritized highly within the building’s refurbishment. Building an open air spot in the middle of the building takes advantage of space that would otherwise be filled regardless, melding the indoor and outdoor experiences rather than having to extend yards and patios into the outdoor spaces around the building. It’s really all about space efficiency!
In addition to taking advantage of outdoor space in an interesting way, designers organized the units around that central outdoor space in a manner that puts large emphasis on social connectivity and access to the street and culture right outside the gates. Sure, privacy is important and is no doubt provided, making the courtyard feel like its own unique getaway, but the excitement and hustle of West Hollywood is never far off, with all kinds of fantastic amenities very close by.
Part of the social connectivity of the space is that the courtyard is more than just a place to relax; it’s also a space of convergence where people pass through to get all manner of places within the building, making it almost like a meeting hub, but one that is much less busy and overwhelming than, say, a public square or park. Instead of feeling like a place outside of one’s home, it feels like a spot for a very small community to interact with other residents and their visitors.
The courtyard and the building’s open-air hallways do more than just look good and make room for unique outdoor space. They also play a role in reducing the need for powered heating and cooling systems; the natural sunlight and breezes do most of the work in the climate control department, making the building a little greener and less impactful on the environment.
While the individual units are certainly geared towards rest, the courtyard extends that idea outward and continues that theme thanks to its layout. It is presented like a place meant for meditation, featuring a water feature, natural stone seating that varies from individual and cozy to versatile and socially grouped, and lots of beautiful local greenery.
When it comes to the units, the building has two different types of apartment. This prevents things from feeling too repetitive and cookie cutter from space to space. The units appear to envelope the open space, which is undoubtedly the nucleus of the building. They benefit from its natural light, which spills into every space between the uniquely cut slats that form the “hallway”, making the building in general feel just about as limitless as a place with private residences can be.
The building is organized so that the apartments have plenty of space each thanks to the way they fit together like puzzle pieces behind the walls. on the ground level are the entrances to three walk-up style homes. The middle storey makes space for a series of two-story homes, while the upper floor features four single-story apartments. No matter its type, every single unit in the building features impressively large windows for natural lighting on at least three outer walls.
In keeping with being low impact and green, the building is actually made of primarily recycled materials, providing an aesthetic blend that is partially industrial influence, partially natural looking, and very unique indeed. In fact, designers actually had a special powder coated fibre cement board created custom for this building specifically because they needed it to be light in both colour and weight for the structure they wanted.
Photos by Paul Vu
Stunningly contemporary vertical condo called Qalma Building completed by Carazo Arquitectura in Costa Rica
By Courtney • Jul 22, 2019
In the sunny urban centre of San Jose in Costa Rica, contemporarily minded design teams at the firm Carazo Arquitectura have recently complete a beautifully modern vertical condominium collective called the Qalma Building.
Right from conceptualization, the Qalma Building was planned as an effort to provide more housing in the area while also maintaining a generally reduced environmental footprint. The structure was completed with the preservation of its surrounding environment in mind, leaving a beautiful green space in the immediate area untouched and healthy.
The plot of land on which the building was allotted building space is actually quite heavily wooded. Design teams wanted to interrupt this lovely space as little as possible, taking up only what space was absolutely necessary and repurposing the wood from any trees that were cleared. In the end, they managed to conserve 90% of the site’s original trees.
Because they wanted to take up as little space as possible, designers opted to build generous living spaces by working vertically in the free air rather than horizontally into the naturally inhabited woodland space. This worked well physically, but team members expressed a concern for those who might feel put off by the mere fact that the building extends quite so high into the air, leaving some of the apartments towering extremely high above the ground.
To counteract this concern, designers prioritized the building of residential units that are so incredibly welcoming, comfortable, and calming, and inhabitants’ every need is met. They strove to create an atmosphere that feels explicitly relaxing, like one is retreating to a safe place in the sky rather than towering above a city.
Another priority was to include elements into the building that really make residents feel as though their quality of life is improved by living there. This is part of the reason balcony spaces and floor to ceiling windows have been made such an integral part of both the private units and common spaces. Because the building sits high above the trees, the view from each window is stunningly all-surrounding.
Design teams also had several social priorities in mind when they started conceptualizing the organization of space within the building. Rather than simply creating individualized units with no shared flow, they opted to create several shared spaces within the building that might establish is as one that feels more like a community and less of just a residence hall.
These common spaces, which are intended to draw people out of their units and towards that stunning view, are located mostly in the highest three levels, near the very top of the structure. This positioning was intentional to incorporate the height of the building into the experience as an enjoyable element rather than something those living on lower floors shouldn’t explore.
Nature was also incorporated right into the building in a way that makes it part of the experience. Throughout the transitionary spaces and all common grounds leading from floor to floor or apartment to apartment, local greenery is included in the decor scheme, displayed in a way that contrasts beautifully against the building’s steel and concrete materiality.
The long garden boxes that are features throughout the inside and open air hallways of the building on each floor are also placed at the top, outer edge of every balcony, from ground level all the way up to the top. This not only creates a sense of fresh cohesiveness, but also makes greenery a visual part of the facade when you look at the building from a distance or from below.
The emphasis on greenery in an otherwise rather industrial chic inspired building was based on the scientifically proven health benefits that being surrounding by plants and vegetation has. Designers wanted to allow residents the chance of enjoying reduced blood pressure, lower blood levels of adrenaline, reduced anxiety, and improved concentration, among countless other wonderfully positive things.
Besides the focus on plants, the intentional choices in materiality were based on priorities rooted in strength, longevity, and anti-weathering, as well as chic, neat aesthetic. The choice to leave a lot of the steel and concrete structural elements exposed was made to present a contrast with the otherwise natural area, allowing residents to really see and experience the relationship between buildings and the land.
Photos by Fernando Alda
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