Dream homes – everybody has one. From cliff-side modern marvels to majestic traditional mansions and waterside homes with enviable views, a dream house has the elements to elevate your lifestyle. Look through HomeDSGN’s collection of featured dream homes and be inspired for your next upgrade or remodel…or just fantasize about living in them!
By Courtney • 8 hours ago
In the lush greenery of the rural areas right outside of Portland, in the United States, creative designers at Olson Kundig recently completed a new home called the Country Garden House, which actually boasts an impressive example of its namesake.
View in gallery
From the very outset, the primary goal of everyone involved in the home’s planning and design was to create something that could exist in harmony with its lusciously green and natural setting. This was motivated by the fact that the home was being custom built for a master gardener who wanted their greatest passion to inspire, be reflected in, and surround their living space.
Natural materiality, windows, and a nearly seamless-feeling blending of indoor and outdoor space became key components in how designers incorporated as many opportunities as they could within the house to take in and really appreciate views of not just the beautiful surrounding gardens, but also the rolling hills and expansive trees around the plot of land on which the house sits.
At the same time, the team wanted to make sure the space inside remained warm and comfortable, giving dwellers and visitors these views without feeling too much like privacy is sacrificed. The home was created with multi-generational use in mind, so the spaces are open concept, adaptable, and easy to move between, creating awesome flow of not only people but also energy, light, and air circulation.
Perhaps the number one tool used by the building team to allow the house real communication with its natural landscape was reclaimed barn wood. The facade of the house was clad durably in this material, giving it a look that’s reminiscent of old barns in the area. Its slightly more contemporary shape, however, also recalls that of a greenhouse, which is entirely appropriate given who the house was built for.
Inset into the wooden structure, beautifully high and energy efficient glazed windows serve several functions for the house. Besides being a key tool through which visitors access those breathtaking views we mentioned earlier, they also flood the house with natural light, giving it a cheerful and energized feeling and cutting down on power requirements. Of course, sunlight can heat things up quite quickly so, rather than just encouraging the owners to use air conditioning, designers used gridded glazing from floor to pitched ceiling, allowing UV resistant glass to handle residue heat.
The emphasis on beautifully stained and locally reclaimed natural wood doesn’t stop at the home’s frame and facade. This was also the primary material used on the floors, counters, shelving units, walls, ceiling, and most other furnishings. Rather than looking too dull in its monochromatic appearance, however, the wood perfectly blends with the view outside for a comforting sense of cohesiveness that other colours in the decor scheme and pop against very well indeed.
Where wood couldn’t be used, naturally sourced metals and stone were employed in order to keep all materiality consistent. The gardens outside the house, which bloom visibly all the way around and can be seen from every room, were a collaboration between the home’s owner and notable plantsman Dan Hinkley.
Designers chose to situate the largest windows near the most impressive gardens in order to visually invite them right into their home. They also made the metal finish on the roof, which is designed to withstand weathering, a very intentional shade of green, furthering the sense that the whole house has of blending beautifully into its surroundings so it doesn’t interrupt the gardens it was nestled amongst.
Rather than just letting the gardens sit around the house to be looked upon, designers actually chose to incorporate greenery into the home like an actual experience. This starts at the entryway where visitors pass under an expansive leafy trellis walking to the front door. From here, they move through a living room that boasts those big, view-rich windows we mentioned earlier, allowing them to drink in the sight of the rolling green hillsides just past the property.
Greenery in the public spaces is balanced out and contrasted against a lovely collection of artwork. The primary gallery is displayed in a long corridor that separates common spaces where the family might host guests from private spaces where the bedrooms and rest areas lie. The way the whole area presents art and greenery together as viewing choices simply heightens the beauty of each.
Art continues to be a theme throughout the house, making that beautiful contrast between its own colour and detail and the natural beauty of the ever-visible gardens consistent. Towards the living room, for example, custom shelving boasts an impressive collection of traditional Asian porcelain before guests encounter a stunning wall mural behind the table, hand-painted by Leo Adams.
Beyond the art, the interior space is intentionally designed to feel earthy, just like the gardens outside. Neutral tones and natural textures are paramount to this atmosphere, peppered throughout the rooms by a mixture of furnishings that all suit the aesthetic but that might be either antique or contemporary. The overall sense is one of rustic refinement.
Photos by Jeremy Bitterman
Sliding Doors house completed by CplusC Architectural Workshop with seamless indoor-outdoor experiences in mind
By Courtney • Nov 5, 2019
On a grassy plot in the sunny streets of Canada Bay, Australia, architectural and design teams from CplusC Architectural Workshop have recently completed a beautifully and naturally lit home project called Sliding Doors.
The actual Sliding Doors portion of the home itself is really an addition to a gorgeous pre-existing bungalow. The intention of the addition was to create some extra functional and diverse space where the young family dwelling in the home might seek out and bond in more beneficial natural sunlight than the home had to offer originally.
The family initially approached the design team with a request to help them expand their home in a way that was productive and might help them accommodate their every growing and changing needs. Abundant outdoor space at the rear of the property provided the perfect opportunity to build a new and innovative space that’s completely custom to the family.
Designers opted to use the new living space as a unique sort of transition spot between the original home’s interior and the lovely rear yard. This way, the parents could be afforded another place with plenty of sunshine and fresh air, but one that’s easier to keep an eye on small children within, unlike the much wider full garden.
The addition was built with duality in mind; once the children have gone inside for the day, or while they’re enjoying the bigger yard we mentioned, the addition can easily be turned into a place where adults might socialize and entertain company but keep track of their kids either inside watching TV or outside running through the flowers with friends. Flexibility was key.
That theme of flexibility encompasses the doors between the home’s interior and the new transition space as well; the expansion actually got its name from the pair of large sliding doors that rest between the living room and the new fresh air filled haven. These can be closed for privacy, quiet, and protection against weather or opened full and collapsed into the walls in order to merge the living room almost entirely with the green beauty of the addition. This capability makes both spots feel more dynamic.
The adaptable nature of the doors doesn’t stop at just their ability to be full opened or closed, depending on the time of year and the family’s needs. They can also be left partially closed or open to control the kind and amount of natural light and air that filters between the two spaces, and when. This is thanks to the materiality of the doors, which are made from a mixture of opaque, clear, and frosted glass.
While this unique materiality might sound very decorative (which it undoubtedly is), we’re interested in the fact that it actually has a very practical use as well. By being able to increase or decrease how much light and air travels between indoor and outdoor spaces in the home, the family is given an eco-friendly way to more passively heat, cool, and light certain rooms in the house, easing the structure’s green impact.
Speaking of green initiatives, it was also an explicit priority of the family to teach their children, from a very young age, about food production and gardening, which is something both parents are passionate about. That’s why designers helped them conceptualize and build a beautiful, well stocked, and space efficient vertical herb garden along one wall of the new external courtyard. It’s decorative, agriculturally smart, good for learning, conveniently placed for use in food preparation, and a chance to boost the children’s sense of contribution to the home through how easy the herbs and their garden system are to cultivate.
Like the adaptability of the sliding doors, the vertical shape and placement of the herb garden is an example of how designers aimed to very simply improve the naturally based visuals of the home in simple, subtle ways. From the kitchen, you see, glimpses of the green herbs flourishing in the sun all up and down the wall can be seen in the mirrored backsplash of the kitchen.
Of course, this whole emphasis on green space and natural home elements can be found in the basic materiality throughout the whole kitchen, rather than just in the namesake doors. This creates a sense of grounded cohesiveness. The materials that compose the addition were locally sourced things like reclaimed timber, recycled brick, repurposed glass, and natural concrete.
The way the materiality of the addition suits not only the house itself but also the natural environment around the plot creates a sense of communication in the outdoor space that makes the new space see, very generous in size, even though it’s not actually an atypical square footage for an average bungalow. At the same time, the use of timber and neutral tones keeps the expansion feeling warm and welcoming.
Photos by Michael Lassman Photography
By Courtney • Sep 20, 2019
In the midst of the beautifully sunny wooded areas in Keowee Springs in South Carolina, innovative design and architectural teams at Dillard-Jones Builders have recently finished a grand and comfortable luxury family retreat called Rustic Home!
More specifically, this beautiful home is located in a small, quiet community called The Cliffs. It is a spacious building comprised of two storeys and it was specifically designed with the prioritization of outdoor living experiences, guest entertaining, and family bonding in mind, as well as seeking out the calming peace of nature.
One of the main structures that enables a seamless indoor-outdoor living style is a sprawling upper floor balcony with a beautiful view, the floor of which creates a lovely, shady covered patio underneath. These areas each offer space to store supplies for all kinds of outdoor activities, as well as comfortable lounge spaces fit for the owning family and any guests they might also be hosting.
Whether you’re spending time on the top or bottom floor, you’ll notice that each one has a stunning view thanks to the slight elevation of the plot the house was built on. These lovely outdoor spaces overlook the lakeside setting that was the original draw for designers and owners alike, letting guests see a boat dock and invitingly clear waters below. The whole scene is very picturesque indeed!
Inside the house, the living and social spaces are just as sprawling and comfortable as the outdoor ones, but with an added sense of warmth and luxury. The goal was to blend a rustic sense of style with all of the modern amenities of modern living in a way that feels cohesive and makes sense, rather than making a jarring or nonsensical contrast throughout the house. The finished product is rustic chic but also elegant in a way that creates a rather soothing atmosphere.
Just like the outdoor living spaces, the home’s interiors are afforded lakeside view that are nothing short of breathtaking. In nearly every room, large windows made from glazed, UV resistant glass (which stops the home from heating up too much) provide all kinds of cheerful natural light but also positively idyllic views of Lake Keowee’s beauty.
Around the other side of the house from the covered patio, another covered outdoor lounge area that’s even more specifically designed for relaxation sprawls luxuriously outward. This bluestone space is covered with large area rugs to add comfort and warmth and define its borders. To one side, a full outdoor dining set incorporates even more of the family’s daily routine into their impressive outdoor space and brings even more draw to hosting guests for dinner.
Throughout the social spaces and also in the private and guest bedrooms, vaulted ceilings sit high above all the furnishings and create a sense of increased spaciousness than the home’s impressive square footage actually already offers. The furniture choices, which alternate between wooden, grand, and very stately looking and more rustic and homey things like vintage wicker chairs, build a sense of comfort and variance.
Both inside and outside, fireplaces play a large role in the comfort the home provides. These beautiful central pieces become the focus of several lounge spaces, creating cozy central hubs that help the seating areas surrounding them withstand more seasons than they might if they didn’t feature an extra heating source. These also add another sense of rustic grandeur.
Two primary elements of the home in both the bedrooms and social spaces contribute to the irresistible blending of indoor and outdoor spaces. These are the consistent inclusion of stonework on all of the walls throughout the inner spaces and that facade alike, as well as the presence of large sliding doors that retract to remove physical barriers between the inner home and the fresh rural air on warm days.
Photos by Inspiro 8
By Courtney • Sep 17, 2019
Located on a stunningly green and natural camp property on the edges of Truckee, California, creative designers at Sandbox Studio have recently completed a gorgeous ranch style home called the Cozy Farmhouse.
The home sits prominently at one end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the quiet greenery of Martis Camp. It spans a total of 5,414 square feet and boasts five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and panoramic views of the valley that can be seen from nearly any room in the house.
The house was conceptualized and designed for a young family that still has intentions of growing and expanding. This influenced the size, but also the aesthetic and atmosphere as well. By going with a comfortably rustic and traditional farmhouse style, the family hoped to build a sense of coziness, spirit, and appreciation for family bonding and nature for their kids as they grow.
The mountain setting in which the house is built actually influences just about every aspect of the home’s style, layout, and function. The view and atmosphere is simply so naturally exquisite that designers and owners alike wanted to harness its beauty, comfort, and everything else it has to offer as extensively as possible. That’s why the house clearly prioritizes a blending of indoor and outdoor spaces, both visually and physically, so highly.
In all rooms, gorgeous high windows extend from floor to ceiling, giving nearly uninterrupted views of the surrounding scenery and giving each room plenty of natural sunlight. In most rooms, these windows are accompanied by full height glass sliding doors that work like a moving wall, physically breaking down barriers between indoor living spaces and the fresh air and outdoor living spaces.
Part of the home’s biggest draw is actually the extensive outdoor living space it offers. Designers wanted to be sure that the family really could take full advantage of their gorgeous chosen setting. They built a full BBQ space, a sunken hot tub in the sprawling wooden deck, and a fire table surrounded by lounge seats that are perfect for hosting guests on warm evenings.
The outside deck isn’t the only space that offers a lot of opportunity for hosting and entertainment! Inside, ample space has been included for guests, social gatherings, and family bonding time as well. Spare bedrooms, kids’ bunk rooms, and plenty of cozy seating space are plentiful. The house also boasts a media room for movie nights and an indoor gym. The master bedroom even has its own indoor-outdoor shower, taking that blurring of spaces and boundaries we mentioned earlier to a whole new level.
The inclusion of modern amenities is something that helps with the whole blended nature of the house itself. Sure, it has a rustic atmosphere and a more traditional materiality, but owners still wanted to provide their kids with all the cutting edge amenities of modern living. The finish result is, therefore, comfortable and accommodating almost to the point of decadence; an undoubted forever home that the couple will eventually retire to permanently.
Photos by Vance Fox Photography
By Courtney • Sep 13, 2019
Amidst the dips and mountains of a rocky area called Paradise Valley in Arizona, Creative design teams at Kendle Design Collaborative recently put the finishing touches on an expansive, angular house called Rammed Earth Home.
This home was born from the unique goal of combining modern, almost minimalist architectural and decor styles with a celebration of the awesome natural environment surrounds it. Through creative shapes and organic materiality, design teams were able to create a stunning blend of elements that, thanks to a breaking down of borders and colour palettes that mirror the valleys and mountains, pay tribute to the very ground on which the structure was built.
The house itself spans 6,100 square feet and every last inch of it is inspired by the rolling desert around it. The materials used in the building process itself were sourced locally, letting things that are actually indigenous to the land provide dwellers and guests with not just home comforts and amenities, but also unparalleled mountain views.
True to its name, the walls of the house are actually made of layered rammed earth in combination with metal, concrete, and glazed glass. The large number of expansive windows, sliding glass doors, and transparent walls helps break down visual and physical barriers between the home’s interior and the natural environment around it. At the same time as the home almost feels like a cohesive part of the beautiful desert, the glass walls also allow it to stay bathed in cheerful uplifting natural sunlight for most of the day (without overheating, thanks to UV resistant glass coatings).
Upon approaching the house, the most notable feature is clearly its roof. This angular structure, which appears to float above the house, is a canopy roof. The underside of this roof is made of a tectonic-like plates which are inspired by both the local geology and how the rocks historically formed, as well as how the monsoon clouds form in certain seasons.
Besides just looking decorative and interesting, almost sculpture-like, the canopy roof actually serves several practical uses as well. The angle at which each part sits provides weather resistance against the occasionally harsh desert climate changes. It also provides shade to certain outdoor living spaces, giving those lounging there a bit of protection from the hot afternoon sun.
The roof is also a place where, in the owner’s goal of harnessing both coziness and grandeur within the house, grandeur briefly takes centre stage to welcome guests. The roof’s structure rises dramatically towards the mountains in a way that’s almost as breathtaking as the natural view in how it mirrors the rocks, crags, and cliffs themselves.
Both in and outside of the house, designers made the choice to conceal all lighting, figures, and mechanical devices smoothly within the walls, ceilings, and built-in structures unless they were chosen and included to be purely decorative within themselves. This allows the shape and form of the roof, facade, and interiors, as well as the materials used in building, to remain the focus.
Another notable element of the structure lies in the way several interior living spaces are arranged carefully around a central outdoor atrium. This lets daylight and fresh air (when walls, doors, and windows are opened) to pass simply and easily from room to room, providing maximum comfort.
In fact, light was intentionally considered within the design of each room and in the placement of the swimming pool. Designers wanted to harness the beauty of how it might bounce off reflective surfaces and water, light dark corners, and change the look of certain spaces as shadows move about the house during the day’s progression. The entire pool area, for example, is dynamic but also remains zen-like throughout the day.
From the modern, almost minimalist bathrooms to the home office, this home is so clearly inspired by and blended into its surroundings that the overall sense is one of pleasant cohesiveness. Despite its contemporary nature, no warmth or coziness is lost in the home’s interior; in fact, it is quite the opposite.
Photos by Alexander Vertikoff
Wyoming Mountain Home created by KAM Designs as a perfect blend of modern and rustic style and living
By Courtney • Sep 10, 2019
Nestled onto a stunningly green mountainside area on the edge of Teton Village in Wyoming, KAM Designs has recently completed a sprawling and beautiful holiday home called Wyoming Mountain Home.
This impressive looking house is lovely through and through for more than just its location (which is undoubtedly breathtaking). From the outset, the goal of both the owners and the design teams was to create a space that perfectly blends modern living and amenities with rustic styles and settings as seamlessly and comfortably as possible.
The actual mountainside plot that the home itself sits on is part of a beautifully rural housing community called The Shooting Star. The whole area, which is quite exclusive in an attempt to preserve its quiet, peaceful nature, is positioned at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
On one side, the plot sits next to an award winning golf course, which only bolsters the home’s already unbelievable view of the Grand Tetons, as well as the Gros Ventre Range. The home itself encompasses a whopping 8,000 square feet, boasting five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and stunning open concept shared living spaces.
Inside the house, the rooms are open concept and spacious. In an attempt to keep the modern and rustic blend of styles and functions consistent all throughout the home’s experience, designers used mixed materiality. A perfect example of this is the mix of antique hardwood flooring that contrasts beautifully with glazed stone and skip troweled walls.
The floor isn’t the only interior feature that involves wood. The formal dining room, for example, also features large, locally sourced reclaimed timbers across the ceiling, which extend downward to frame the great room next to it as well. Similar themes, with the addition of wooden furnishings, are found throughout the kitchen.
Rather than succumbing to a bit of darkness as so many rustic, heavily wooden houses seem to do, this house accounts for the abundant inner shade provided by its sturdy structure by also boasting expansive windows. This lets dwellers and visitors enjoy mount and valley views that are nothing short of mesmerizing.
The area of the house with perhaps the veery best view is the master suite. Here, a large window in the social wing on the edge of the bedroom provides breathtaking views while dwellers sit in comfort by a gorgeous fireplace. This space also includes a home office, a luxury bathroom with a spa sized bath, a boutique walk-in closet, and even its own exercise room! Should the owners wish to enjoy the sunrise before they’ve even left the bedroom in the morning, the master wing also has its own beautiful (and impressively sized) porch.
Besides being a place where one can seek the convenience of modern amenities alongside the comfort of more rustically traditional settings, the house is also a retreat. This puts relaxation, social and familiar bonding, and entertainment at the forefront of its functions as well. Designers made sure it had plenty of special features to offer as a result.
For example, the Wyoming Mountain House is home to not only a stunning stone deck with a secluded outdoor seating space for quiet personal time and a home office just in case real life does come calling, but also four cozy fireplaces, a wet bar in the great room, and even a home movie theatre, fully equipped with HQ surround sound.
Photos provided by the architects.
On a stunning waterside plot in the beautifully rural cottage country around Lake Tahoe in California, creative design teams at Sandbox Studio have recently completed a stunning, sprawling family holiday home dubbed the Lakefront Mountain Cabin.
The plot itself is located on the calm, peaceful waters of a little community called Carnelian Bay. The impressive home spans 6,168 square feet and also boasts 200 feet of its very own beachfront. The property is just as impressive on the outside as it is on the inside, with a facade that looks just like a traditional, old fashioned lodge.
The mere fact that this beautiful home is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials is unique in itself, but that’s not actually the most interesting part. Much of the timber upcycled from the local area to build the structure was actually taken from cabins that once housed athletes who were cimpeting in the 1960 Winter Olympics at nearby Squaw Valley!
Primarily thanks to these reclaimed materials, the lodge harmonizes very well with its natural rustic surroundings. It was also intentionally built to take stunning advantage of nearly panoramic views of not only the lake but also the Sierra Nevada foothills. In fact, designers specifically oriented windows so that some kind of breathtaking nature view is afforded to guests from every single room in the house.
Another very intentional element of the house is how certain spaces were both sized and organized. For example, smaller social living spaces were included in the centre of the home with the intention of giving a home to intimate immediate family gatherings while much larger living spaces were built adjacent with more seating and an atmosphere of slightly increased grandeur, where larger gatherings of extended family and friends might take place.
The theme of reclaimed items continues throughout each of these social spaces and doesn’t actually stop at the timber taken from the Olympic cabins. Various items and materials were also sourced far and wide, from naval shipyards right in California to rural barns all the way across the country in Pennsylvania. Some of the heavier timbers were even imported from British Columbia in Canada!
Of course, with a natural outdoor space like this one, the house already comes with an abundance of available outdoor activities practically by default. Designers equipped the home with plenty of deck and patio space to take full advantage of the warmth and fresh air, including seats and open air lounge spaces for family bonding and hosting guests.
Naturally, if one is going to have guests, they’ll need somewhere to sleep, particularly since just about everyone who visits this gorgeous space ends up wanting to stay and enjoy it for as many days as they can. That’s why the house was specifically equipped to handle plenty of overnight visitors. On top of the primary master bedroom and a stunning room for the owners’ children, the cabin also boasts five additional guest suites that rival the master in size.
Perhaps the loveliest of the outdoor lounge spaces is the upper level sun deck, since it gets the most natural light an a gorgeous 360 view. Inside there are plenty of relaxation spaces too, built to include every member of the family no matter their age. Designers even built a kids’ lounge space and a shockingly cozy and unique reading loft with views of its own.
All of these different elements combined in one place have a very particular kind of charm to them. They might be various things ramshackled together, but that’s precisely the intent, and they’re combined in a sensical way that tells a story and has plenty of charm. Designers used the house as an opportunity to find beauty in the rough and discarded and they succeeded to such an extent that the whole place now has an aura of rustic sophistication to it!
Overall, the house welcomes people to each room, from the expansive kitchen to the kitschy guest rooms, with an air of traditional, down-home, old world Lake Tahoe warmth. Every detail is planned and executed in such detail that, even in the most haphazard and reclaimed look parts of the cabin, things fit just right as the lodge itself appears to grow right out of the land it fits so well on.
Photos by Vance Fox Photography
Brazilian Campinarana House created by Laurent Troost Architectures with the need for climate protection in mind
By Courtney • Aug 29, 2019
On a beautifully green plot of land in Manaus, Brazil, a stunning, almost treehouse-like residence was recently completed by innovative teams at Laurent Troost Architectures, dubbing it Campinarana House!
Building a home in the Amazon’s surrounding area comes with its own unique set of challenges. Firstly, it is absolutely necessary for environmental protection and climate change purposes that architects and building teams use low impact strategies in the construction processes in order to protect the crucially important natural landscapes around the plots they’re working on.
Additionally, the actual local climate present in places like Brazil, and Manaus specifically, makes it important for design teams to account for the possibility of extreme weather conditions, since the whole area sits in an equatorial zone. Impressively, the teams working on Campinarana House achieved both of these goals and prioritized all of the needs covered by these challenges!
Throughout the house, the architectural practices and building techniques used and featured are all ones geared towards effective thermal comfort and passive (and therefore “green”) sustainability. Campinarana House is built from an unique and cutting edge combination of protective eaves, cross-ventilation openings, and preservation mechanisms for the local ecological systems surrounding the house itself.
In fact, the entire house was actually inspired by, and not just named after, local environmental elements. Campinarana is actually a type of small tree found in the Amazon, known for growing in shallow, clay-like soil. The concept of preserving these trees and the soil they thrive in was central to the whole design of this housing project!
The minimization of deforestation required by building this project was absolutely paramount to both the design teams and the owners. Instead, they wanted to preserve as much of the surrounding forest as they possibly could. This is partially what determined the shape and layout of the house; designers wanted to build between, around, above, and through the trees rather than clearing them out to build in the space where they once stood. The effect was that they aimed to work with the space that was naturally provided rather than making any new space.
In practice, this resulted in a sort of “layout flip” to what’s typical, or a reversal of more classic housing typologies. Within the 20 x 40 square metre plot, the house grows upwards into the trees, rather than outwards through their trunks and roots. The private and sleeping rooms, which are more typically put upstairs, are located on the ground floor, while the shared living spaces, outdoor seating areas, kitchen, and swimming pool are all located on the upper deck, where they could be created a little more spaciously without interrupting the natural and crucial landscape.
The house, which exists as two distinct but cohesive volumes, was strategically divided to harness the power of natural heating and cooler powers offered by the climate it exists in. For example, the top portion of the house was purposely built to house functions that benefit from sun exposure, like the pool, the entryway, and the laundry. The lower volume, however, was built as a refuge for those places that would do better with protection from harsh sunlight. This keeps the bedrooms, for example, cooler, quieter, and more private.
Effective cross-ventilation is also essential to the passive heating and cooling systems of the house. This accounts for the strategic placement of closed and open-air spaces on the top level, as well as the presence of large windows or glass walls and how they move on the lower floor. This keeps thermal elements of the house under control, which in turn keeps the house as a whole very low in its energy consumption levels, and therefore enables it to have a lower impact on the environment.
The decor scheme of the house is simple, natural, and clean. Glass is used heavily in order to create a visual blending of indoor and outdoor spaces, letting the house exist in and around the trees in a way that feels and looks impressively seamless. Polished concrete, black marble, and wood make up most of the rest of the home’s natural materiality. Decor is quite minimalist, but not in a way that feels cold or under done. Instead, it lets the lush greenery right outside the glass walls feel like a part of the home and take centre stage in establishing the colours and aesthetics of the home’s experience.
Photos by Maira Acayaba
Stunning beach house called Point Lonsdale House finished by Edition Office in Australian city of the same name
By Courtney • Aug 19, 2019
In a sunny neighbourhood, on a quiet street in Point Lonsdale, Australia, design teams at Edition Office have recently completed a beautiful beach house, aptly named Point Lonsdale House. From a distance, Point Lonsdale House looks very linear in its shape and basic structure. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the house is the way designers built it as four distinct pavilions that are all interlinked, making them simple to move between but clear and organized in overall layout.
Each pavilion is clearly defined by its own vaulted roof, each one sitting at a jaunty angle that at once keeps the attention of onlookers but also suits the natural ebb and flow of the land the house sits on. These roofs mark out the different parts of the home, each of which has a separate function of its own.
The site upon which the house sits allotted a space for it that runs east-west. The front of the house runs along and sits close to the property’s southern border in order to leave space behind for the enjoyment of the long, lush gardens that sit towards the north side. Each of the four pavilions that make up the larger house features its own in a series of private courtyards.
In these courtyards, visitors find smaller gardens and decks designed for outdoor relaxation and escape. Each of these decks is part of an extensive relationship that the house has with blended outdoor spaces; designers intentionally built several different access points to the beautiful outside environment from each pavilion, making the beach-y outdoors easily accessible at all times no matter where you are in the building.
When the beach house was first conceptualized, designers pictured it as an island in the midst of their chosen coastal landscape. From a distance, it does, indeed, look a bit like its own floating piece, elevated above most other houses in the area. Part of the house is cantilevered slightly over the ground in an effort to level out the terrain while doing minimal damage to the natural area.
Although building teams avoided clearing the local land in order to build the home, previous loss of brush and plants from weather and other changes to the area took place in a small, non-permanent way. As such, designers created the home with the expectation that, in coming years, the natural gardens from outside the plot will grow back up to its perimeter and blend visually with the gardens that belong to the actual home.
The house itself, which appears slender thanks to the way the four pavilions are situated along the linear plot, looks monolithic on first view. The use of rough timber establishes a particular aesthetic suitable to a beach house. While viewers from the street can certainly get a sense of the home’s style from the street, most of the dynamic spaces that are used by the family living there now sit amongst the gardens towards the back of the plot, hidden from view by the angled roofs we mentioned previously.
The house boasts two separate sleeping zones, each slightly removed towards the calming gardens at the back in order to establish them as places of respite. These two zones are linked by a central common area that draws owners and any overnight guests visiting into a more public living space together towards the beginning and end of each day.
This common living space is entirely covered in timber boards, continuing that monolithic sense from the exterior of the home right on inside the doors. The central placement of this room serves to spatially define the different functions of the building, besides just facilitating bonding with family and friends, helping the space make sense.
Rather than having its own deck and courtyard, like the rooms in the two sleeping zones do, the living room joins seamlessly directly into the wider back gardens through sliding glass patio doors. From there, the heart of the house has easy access to the coastal scrub and wider landscape beyond the home’s own lawn.
On the other side of the central room is another outdoor space, but one that is much different. Rather than leading straight into the gardens and greenery, the longest timber wall on the western end of the room opens right up, thanks to a pivoting wall panel, into an actual outdoor living space that’s more like an open air room than just a patio or deck.
Designers organized this space to intentionally feel like the interior of the house is spilling right out into the sunshine and towards the beach in a way that’s free flowing and informal. The aesthetic overall, both inside and out, is traditional, rugged, and suitable to a beach house, shedding most of the separations and limitations of urban housing so that it feels almost more like camping out in a tent, despite the fact that it has all the amenities of modern living.
Further down from the outdoor room is another pivoting wall that leads from the common room into a slightly more private deck than the others that sit on the edges of the house. This deck sits between the kitchen and the lounge space, providing owners and visitors with a space for shade and quiet that isn’t visible from elsewhere on the land. Throughout the house, this whole system of decks, patios, and outdoor rooms link up the four pavilions of the building.
Besides just providing great flow of movement physically from room to room, the linking of indoor and outdoor spaces also facilitates good airflow thanks to coastal breezes, as well as great flow of natural sunlight. This actually makes the home more energy efficient, eliminating the need for an air conditioning system.
Photos by Ben Hosking
Concrete and iron SB House built by Pitsou Kedem Architects as a modernist, open concept escape home
By Courtney • Aug 12, 2019
In a beautiful suburban neighbourhood on the edges of Tel Aviv in Israel, creative and modernist design teams at Pitsou Kedem Architects have recently completed an industrial inspired family home called SB House that was specifically designed to blend minimalist, contemporary living with outdoor spaces.
From its conception, the SB House was always intended to be an experience. It is a blended space that combines interior and exterior spaces, industrial materiality with natural elements, and open concept public spaces with private resting areas designed as singular places to seek peace on one’s own.
The walls of the house rise up from the ground like a concrete envelope, wrapping around the interior spaces even as those flow through the spatial delineations in a way that feels sensical and very free. On the bottom floor, you’ll find social and public spaces designed for hosting family and friends while the more meditation and rest driven areas where one might like to escape to exist upstairs.
Of course, just because a space is designed to be private doesn’t mean it has to be dark or enclosed! Privacy can be opted into in the form of lovely curtains, but otherwise the bedrooms are surrounding on at least one side each by stunning floor to ceiling windows that open entirely to lead to a concrete balcony with an iron railing for each.
Most of these balconies can be walked along from one to the other, like a series of hard stone paths in the air, looking down onto a lovely backyard that features its own swimming pool. Here, the public spaces downstairs open onto seated patio areas around the pool as well, contributing to the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Although the decor is intentionally minimal, which was a choice made to let the wonderfully simplistic materiality of the house stand out, there are several details inside that are both functional and eye catching. The bright red side tables and shelves dotted throughout the space are a great example.
Elsewhere in the house, wooden surfaces and furnishings are used to sort of ground and create contrast with the concrete and iron that generally rules the space. This wood is stained slightly darker than its natural finish to keep the colour palette consistent in a way that is earthy and comforting. This can be seen in in the floors, coffee tables, and many window shutters.
All together, the slightly industrial and slightly open concept style dotted with contemporarily shaped furniture takes on a rather mod feeling. The spaces looks as though the 1950s underwent a suburban modernizing of some kind, but in a way that is more organized, typical of more contemporary buildings and homes.
Photos by Amit Geron
By Courtney • Aug 8, 2019
On a peacefully secluded site in Amagansett, in the United States, creative and building teams at Jerome Engelking have recently completed the Wuehrer House; an impressively sized residential home that is surrounded on most sides by stunning nature preserves. Nestled into a clearing in the small Stony Hill Forest, sat away from view of the street, is a large house that can only be accessed by a private gravel path. The plot on which the building sits has a slight natural incline that slopes gently downward. This entire slope, and most of the land at any height surrounding the house, is covered in tall white oaks. The area also, however, features a number of eastern red cedars and even some pines.
Photos by Nic Lehoux
Angular Bentes House built by CoDA arquitetos to take unique advantage of all of its spaces in creative ways
By Courtney • Aug 5, 2019
In a quiet and sunny neighbourhood in Para, Brazil, innovative design teams at CoDA arquitetos have recently finished a uniquely contemporary family home called the Bentes House that aims to take advantage of every little inch of space it was afforded in unique and pleasant ways.
Besides the goal of giving the family wide spaces in which to enjoy time together, as well as with extended family and friends, designers also built this house with the goal of integrating it into the suburban landscape. The location they were afforded was subtly unique in that it appears strangely natural despite technically existing in an urban space.
Besides being built like a modern looking house, the space was also designed in terms of its layout to feel social, alive, and full of references to local art and culture. Between that and the materiality choices that were intentionally made to blend the building with its terrain, the house has this overall sense that it is simply supposed to be there.
Part of the reason designers aimed to take advantage of all possible space was precisely because the family they were building the house for is so young. This means their needs and numbers might change over time based on whether or not they choose to have more kids and what their interests become as they grow.
Within their aims to make a diverse and adaptable space, designers created a single family home that is so well organized in terms of space that it almost resembles a condominium in the way the spacial flow makes complete and natural sense. At the same time, the open concepts of those same spaces and the fact even the top of one roof is put to good use makes the home feel free, open, and part of its surrounding area right to its very essence.
From almost anywhere in the house, residents and visitors are afforded stunning views of the nearby valley that sits to the north of the plot. Nowhere is this more true, however, than on the rooftop terrace, where the second floor of the house leads clear onto the extended roof of the bottom floor like a secondary patio.
Perhaps the next most notable feature of the house besides the rooftop is the way that greenery is incorporated into just about every room in unique ways. For example, rather than just potting some plants on the ground floor patio, designers surrounded the space in a concrete cubby wall that gives some privacy but also creates a perfect opportunity for a plant wall.
This cubby plant wall surrounds a small gravel yard that leads to a back lawn with its own swimming pool. The space with the rocks, despite not looking like a comfortable place at face value, has actually been catered to form a relaxing outdoor space. It features a nest of cushions in the centre and two hammock style seat swings placed perfectly together for conversing.
This green theme follows you inside the house as well. In one transitionary space, there is actually a “living wall”, or vertical garden that entirely spans the space from floor to ceiling. This, in combination with the open concept layout and open air feel when all window walls are slid back, contributes once more to the blending of interior and exterior spaces.
Inside, the ground floor of the house features all of the public, social, and common spaces, just like a condominium building might. This is where you’ll find the kitchen, dining room, living room, and even a home theatre, making this floor all about family bonding and hosting extended family or friends, depending on the day.
On the upper floor, bedrooms, bathrooms, and resting spaces are laid out in a way that feels slightly removed and private without being cut off or sequestered, which is once again thanks primarily to the open concept layout we mentioned before. This space was imagined like units in a condo as well, but with a slightly less harsh delineation of space since it is, in fact, a private family home that is not shared with strangers.
What really makes a distinction between the upper and lower volumes is that outdoor rooftop space itself. It is left intentionally empty and open in order to make it feel like a diverse activities space, intended for use however the family prefers in the moment. Sometimes it is a place to sit with friends and others it is a quiet, solitary place for one to seek solace and read.
Photos by Joana Franca
Stunning Freestanding Pool House designed by DAG Design using shades of blue to reflect its beautiful surroundings
By Courtney • Aug 2, 2019
The city of Boston, Massachusetts might not be a seaside or sit along a coastline, but that doesn’t mean the homes there can’t or don’t have their own water features! One design team from DAG Design decided that the luxurious swimming pool they planned to build in the backyard of their latest home was such a draw, in fact, that the rest of the house might as well complement it. That’s how the wonderful and thoroughly blue aesthetic of the Freestanding Pool House came to be!
The Freestanding Pool House might not actually be the main house in the plot itself, but it’s certainly stunning enough that you might actually think it was if we never told you that it was actually only a secondary building to an entirely separate Bostonian family home. In reality, this gorgeous space is designed specifically to be enjoyed by pool bathers on sunny days.
Despite the rather upscale aesthetic of the pool house, it was actually designed with a young family dynamic in mind. Created for a family of four with two small boys, designers kept fun, versatility, and an ease in use and cleaning at the forefront of their actual material and structural choices, keeping the decorative elements a little more pretty and adult for some balance.
At the time that the pool house was conceptualized, the main house and pool were already existent and the family wanted a useful space close by that would stop the kids from tracking water through the house, but that would still suit the luxurious home they spent so much time building a comfortable and beautiful aesthetic for.
The base idea for the overall style of the pool house came from the desire to have it feel like an extension of their home. The goal was undoubtedly lovely but also casual and comfortable to spend time in. They wanted it to be more than just a place where kids might throw their towels down or change their clothes; it should also be a place where the family might entertain friends and family on warm evenings where the sun stays out later than usual.
Undoubtedly our favourite part of the space is its colour scheme. White and creamy in most spaces with natural and reclaimed wooden beams, the spaces is not without visual appeal and balance. Designers made sure to create a sense of contrast by adding some pops of colour in red and blue. Light grey tile flooring suits both the neutral and bright elements for cohesiveness.
While certain bits of bright red are certainly integral to the appeal of the rooms, those are in the minority, reserved mainly for throw pillows in the living room. For the most part, shades of watery blue are allowed to take centre stage from room to room. These vary slightly in shade just like actual rippling water does, suiting well in each place but also adding depth.
In some rooms, blue is dominant and quite permanent in features like patterned blue and white wallpaper. Elsewhere, light blue pendant lights keep the room looking light and airy looking, contrasting off cushions, chairs, and rugs below. In the main room, the blue here appears to bounce right off the water right outside the large windows and sliding glass patio doors, creating a unique blending of indoor and outdoor spaces not only in lacking boundaries and open air spaces, but also in the way colours pick each other up visually across short distances.
Photos provided by the designers.
By Courtney • Jul 31, 2019
In a stunning village, nestled in the heart of the Long Bay Beach Club in the Turks and Caicos, a vacation home called Villa Helios was recently refurbished as the ultimate escape to paradise.
Every aspect of the beach house is bathed in luxury, both inside and outside the house. Because the villa is oceanfront, designers made the choice to feature turquoise heavily in the colour scheme in terms of art, furnishings, and other decor. This was intended, and perhaps even prioritized, to play off the stunning blues and teals of the water that splashes right outside the doors.
Thanks to the way that breathtaking views within the space were also highly prioritized in the house, there is a clear visual connection between that water and those colours in a way that is steady, as though the water itself is actually flowing through the house from room to open concept room.
In fact, just about everything in the house flows nicely. This is partially thanks to the open concept layout of most of the rooms, which are delineated more by visuals than actual limits that close rooms off. What makes things feel even more free flowing, however, is the fact that the house was intentionally constructed to blend indoor and outdoor spaces.
In nearly every room of the house, designers gave prime real estate to sliding glazed glass doors that provide a floor to ceiling view all the way down the beach and back. These also give residents and visitors what feels like nearly limitless access to the fresh air, beautiful patio seating, and even a stunning pool area that lets visitors enjoy water and sun in a way that’s slightly more private than the shared beach below.
Perhaps the best part of the private pool area is that it sits on a raised deck. This affords it an unparalleled view thanks to its vantage point that sits a little more forward from the rest of the house, down towards the beach. The view is free of obstruction, free of distraction, and simply full of sunlight and turquoise water so clear it hardly looks real.
The shades we’ve mentioned so much of sit against creamy neutral colours in each space, but designers made sure to use shades and hues in that same range to add dimensions, rather than getting stuck in an overly simplified dual colour scheme. The colours of the accent pieces dotted around the house vary around that same turquoise of the water, ranging green to blue in different pieces of furniture, art, and detail.
In terms of organization, the house is laid out in a way that makes complete sense. Sure, it’s intended to be a holiday home that people can escape to, but that doesn’t mean designers didn’t want to provide every amenity that a regular house in the city might have. The public and social spaces like the kitchen, living room, and a media space make up the ground floor, while the master suite, guest bedrooms, and master bathroom can be found upstairs.
This is where the best access to the outdoor deck and pool can be found. Of course, there are wooden stairs that leads from the ground floor to the deck and then down to the beach, but there’s something freeing and relaxing about being able to wander straight from one’s comfortable bed to an absolutely perfect sunrise view over the water in just a few easy steps.
Photos by Provo Pictures
By Courtney • Jul 31, 2019
In the lush forests right outside of Moscow, Russia, creative designers at ARCHSLON have recently created a contemporary and uniquely shaped but natural looking cubic residence called the Black Villa.
As its name suggests, the villa is made with an entirely black facade that at once makes the house stand out but also blends it right into the trees in certain lighting, preventing it from really interrupting the scenery around it. In fact, the distinct Russian landscape is actually what provided the direct inspiration for the designers’ original conceptualization of the house.
The house was made with the intention of integrating it right into its natural surroundings. In the process of building it, they also wanted to make sure it had the smallest impact on the environment within the plot as possible. The trees around the building’s perimeter were preserved throughout building, contrasting well with the home’s modern shape, which appears to add depth to the forest.
In terms of its structure and decor, the building is quite intentionally minimalist. It consists of two blocks, which function as separate but cohesive volumes according to what the rooms are used for. The halves of the home are linked by a beautiful terrace and a rooftop space that provides delineation without interrupting flow or making any part of the house feel closed off.
Despite the dark colour scheme of the home’s facade, it’s actually quite bright and cheerful on the inside. This is thanks to a system of windows, skylights, and double storey columns that let light pass through the house from space to space with a natural ease and a sunny atmosphere. The windows are large and strategically placed such that they provide almost every room in the house with a nearly panoramic view of the forest beyond the plot.
In shape, decor, and layout, the whole house was specifically created to look and feel simple, clean, and concise. The main living area is shaped longitudinally, like a sort of art gallery featuring locally made pieces and furnishings of natural materiality. At the far end, the master bedroom features its own spacious study, both of which flood with sunlight in the afternoons (without overheating thanks to double paned glazed glass). The kitchen and comforting, welcoming living room sit opposite.
The outdoor spaces that complement the comforting interior of the home are just as stunning and pleasant to spend time in. Between the volumes, for example, there is a stunning courtyard heavy in natural greenery that was preserved during the building process and has thrived since. To one side of the courtyard, a glass wall leads to the master bedroom, as though the greenery is actually a part of the bedroom’s peaceful atmosphere, integrating the experience.
Photos provided by the designer.
Canadian Dessier Residence transformed by NatureHumaine from a duplex building into a single-family home
By Courtney • Jul 29, 2019
Located in a stunning looking and historical borough of Montreal called the Plateau-Mont-Royal, in the French province of Canada, design and architectural teams at NatureHumaine have created the impressively shaped and sized Dessier Residence.
This project was one of both transformation and expansion. The new owners of what used to be a duplex building contracted the team to turn it into a single family home which required a lot of restructuring of the inside areas and the way they’re defined. Originally two completely separate volumes, the new space has blended both and centred the functional spaces of the new house in the heart of the building where there previously would have been a split.
This spatial tactic leaves the corners, edges, and interestingly shaped parts of the house for more unique rooms and functions; those spaces that actually suit existing in an unconventional geometric shape. At the back of the house, a mezzanine has been added to give easy access to a rooftop terrace that towers above the trees and provides a stunning view of the surrounding landscape.
To balance the addition added at the top of the house, a small extension has been added to the back of the ground floor as well. It is just as angular as those that already existed, suiting the original structure seamlessly. From this extension, a beautiful private patio space can be accessed through two large panes of glass that fold back to connect the inner space with the outdoors.
The way that limits between indoor and outdoor spaces can be folded so simply away on both the ground and upper floors creates an almost constant visual connection between the comfortable seating spaces inside the house and the stunning garden sitting out back in the private space and down below the terrace.
In terms of decor, the interior spaces are quite monochrome in a way that is stylish and nearly minimalist. Colour pops provide some personality and dimension, but the scheme is intentionally centred on white, black, and wooden finishes all throughout to ground the very contemporary shape of the house and its new additions.
In the centre of the house, right at the heart where things would have previously been separated, is a stunning staircase that spirals upwards in a squared off fashion. Above this, a beautifully large skylight lets natural sunlight pour downwards, turning the very centre of the house into a column of light that touches nearly every room in the house and keeps them feeling cheerful and spacious.
This staircase physically connects the whole house in the same way that the sunlight pouring in from above it visually connects each floor and volume. These stairs provide access to every floor and room like a central vein, all the way from the ground floor up to the very top of the house at the rooftop terrace, which is intended to be an urban but peaceful escape for contemplation.
Photos by Adrien Williams
By Courtney • Jul 22, 2019
Outside the metropolitan area of Petrópolis in Brazil, creative designers at Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura have recently completed an absolutely dreamy family sunshine home called the House in Correas.
This stunning house was designed to be horizontal and sprawling rather than towering and tall. The intent here was to make it feel like a cozy escape, keeping everything low and nestled amongst the lush greenery in the surrounding area. Rather than being made of one monolithic volume containing many rooms, designers chose to create a number of buildings featuring separate suites; one for the owners, a married couple, and one each for a son in his 20s and a daughter just turned 30.
Inspired by prairie houses of previous decades, the house features traditional looking stone walls, steel frames, and wooden furnishings and details all around. It sits in a forested area and is flanked on all sides by lovely, lush gardens that provide each patio (of which there are several) a lovely floral view.
The first and largest suite of this impressive house features the master bedroom first and foremost. This is a stunning space centred on the idea of relaxation and meditation, with a beautiful view when the doors are flung open. This volume also features the living, dining, and playing rooms at one end and, towards the other end where a transitionary space to the other two suites sit, the volume has a fully equipped kitchen, a home theatre, and a stunning indoor-outdoor verandah.
The dining room is perhaps the first and most stunning example of the intentional materiality chosen by designers for the overall home scheme. Here, glazed but naturally coloured wood is used in a way that is nothing short of picturesque. Where the verandah begins, a beautiful home bad is covered like a pavilion and is fully equipped with its own barbecue and pizza oven.
The process of collecting the materials to build this house was an ongoing thing rather than a bulk haul. Designers began collecting local and authentic pieces of stone, reused wood, and even classic home pieces from demolitions in the area, like doors and windows. These lend a slightly rustic chic aesthetic, as though the home is a mosaic of beautiful elements that have been pieced together.
Besides the wooden and stone elements, the house deploys a calming colour of green to balance the breathtaking scenery surrounding the house. This shade is called “English green” and it creates a look that makes the areas in which it is included look as though they might have grown right up from the ground. Upon first glance they appear perhaps moss covered.
The direction in which the house and each of its suites were situated was highly dependent on the view. Designers wanted to ensure that residents and visitors truly get a chance to soap up the sight of the awe inspiring mountains looming in the distance from just about anywhere they might choose to spend time in the house or outside in the grounds.
From there, towards the other bedroom suites, the home features a fitness room under another pavilion, from which one can see a workshop and barn, two beautiful pools with naturally running water, and even a river that has always naturally flowed through the land, passing by the gardens and adding a calming trickling sound to the whole outdoor space.
Inside the guest bedroom suites, beautiful sliding wooden doors lead right into the sleeping area, each of which features a colour scheme of bright pops against neutral and coherently green backgrounds. These spaces are quite spa-like, set aside like their own little home pavilions where visitors might seek solace and thorough rest.
Perhaps one of our favourite features on the entire plot is the use of stone in the yard to create stunning decorative paths and walkways. These move in lovely patterns across and through the lush, green grass, occasionally leading to matching stone staircases that account for changes in terrain across softly sloping hills.
Photos by Andre Nazareth