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!
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
Wellington’s Ostrich House completed by Parsonson Architects as a hybrid country-city living experience
By Courtney • Jul 18, 2019
On a hill outside of New Zealand’s notable city of Wellington, Parsonson Architects have recently finished a residential project that blends the beauty of living in the country with the convenience of living right on the edges of an urban space. The uniquely shaped Ostrich House sits atop a hill of its own and provides a comfortable escape for a young family.
Photos by Paul McCredie
By Courtney • Jul 16, 2019
In a quiet, sunny neighbourhood in São Paulo, Brazil, creative design teams from Studio Arthur Casas have recently completed a beautifully contemporary and nearly open air vacation home for a family of four with adult kids. The beautifully rectangular JY House stands high above a golf course with impressive gravity.
The home’s nearly blockish contemporary shape isn’t actually the only very interesting thing about the way the house is built. Rather than being one monolithic piece, the house is actually divided into two connected but distinct volumes that are slightly displayed from one another on the hill the house was erected on.
The first volume, which sits a little lower down on the hill towards the golf course, houses all of the home’s common areas. This part of the house includes social areas like the foyer, living room, family room, and kitchen, which are almost entirely blended with an outdoor porch area that feels more like yet another room.
This impressive blending of spaces is possible thanks to a fully retractable glass wall that provides a beautiful window view when it’s closed and a feeling of boundary-less living when it’s slid fully open. For privacy, a decorative screen wall with a swooping curved shape is built where the eye line from the golf course might otherwise see right into the home. This feature avoids making the home feel closed off, as it has no sealed edges and looks more like a piece of art than an actual room boundary.
In the higher volume of the house one finds the private and sleeping spaces which, despite still being fresh and quite open air, are built like more sheltered suites. They are decorated and positioned to be afforded a beautiful view of the golf course down the hill but they’re also intentionally more closed off to make them feel like each person’s own little escape.
At the other side of the house, where guest bedrooms and bathrooms lie, as well as some storage space, the house is absolutely more closed off. This is the part of the house that faces the street. It presents an impressive facade in its rectangular shape made of metal and stone, with a cobbled walk up from the drive, but it masks the relaxing spaces just behind.
In the upper floor’s master suites, an antechamber sits off to one side. This is a multi-purpose space that, depending on their needs, the owners might use in different ways; say, as an office or a private, intimately sized living room, for example. Past the bedrooms suites, the upper floor volume is also home to a fully equipped gym, as well as a games room.
One of the biggest challenges designers face in building this house was the way it inherently had to account for the slope on which it sits. They chose to use tactics that worked with the hill, rather than building against or cutting into it. Supporting inverted beams make each of the home’s volumes more solid by spanning the space between the floors.
The facade, which provides shade when the building is slid fully and solidly closed, was actually originally chosen by designers in order to meet the owner’s goals of building a house that differentiates itself in style from the rest of the dwellings in the neighbourhood in a big but pleasing way. It is made from grey leaded aluminum that is easy to maintain.
The the outdoor spaces, which were a huge priority to everyone involved, two extremely unique features set the house into a league of its own. The first is the way the roof of the lower level is situated right below the upper floor’s open wall, stretching across like a raised lawn thanks to the way it’s actually covered in lush green grass.
The second fantastic novelty feature is the gleaming swimming pool. This sits at the bottom of the house, down in the main yard where it can easily be accessed from the shared public and common spaces. The pool’s position makes the open-air structure of these spaces even more enticing.
Photos by Fernando Guerrera
1926 Georgian Revival house transformed by Sarah Bartholomew Designs from a childhood home to a dream escape for a grown family
By Courtney • Jul 15, 2019
In a beautifully sprawling neighbourhood in Nashville, Tennessee, experts at Sarah Bartholomew Designs have recently refurbished an old house called the 1926 Georgian Revival for a family that has lived there for many years indeed with one primary goal in mind- to transform it from a childhood home into a dream home fit for an adult family.
Within this transformation, it was incredibly important to both owners and designers that the original style and integrity of the old home despite the modernizations being made. That doesn’t mean, however, that they didn’t still make the place look quite contemporary, particularly thanks to their choices in colour and patterning.
Designers chose intentionally cheerful, bright, and eye catching shades and hues for the decorative elements of the home, set against creamy, neutral backgrounds. At the same time, an emphasis on fantastic, visually textured patterns partners up with those bright colours to really add some modern personality to the mix.
The kitchen is a perfect example of the way traditional shapes and neutral base colours preserve the classic style of the house while brighter colours add a modern pop to the space. We adore the way the bright blue topped stools and matching pendant light fixtures, which resemble old lanterns in their shape, create a stunning blend of contemporary and vintage within the room.
Moving through to the dining room, the location of the colour pops shift. This is to say that, rather than neutral walls and bright furniture, this room has simple, creamy furniture and bright walls! This is all thanks to visually exciting patterned wallpaper that involves intricate designs featuring the same blue you saw in the kitchen, just for a bit of cohesiveness.
In some spaces, design teams actually chose to use the owners’ own stunning belongings, which have been carefully chosen and accumulated over the years, as inspiration for some of the rooms, since the aesthetic fit the classic shapes and architecture so well. Their large collection of porcelain vases, for example, informed the way some of the transitionary hallways were decorated in terms of their patterning.
In other rooms, the blue that’s continued so heavily throughout the house is pared back slightly in order to let another colour take centre stage. The formal living room is the perfect example of what we mean! Here, a bright green throw pillow and coordinated piece of wall art, as well as several other details, create a whole different modern and classic aesthetic blend.
Elsewhere in the house, that same pretty eggshell blue continues from space to space, standing out or lying back in different ways depending on which other shades are present. A daughter’s bedroom, for example, features that blue with an exciting bright pink in the details, while an office and hallway feature the blue set against a cheerful, sunny yellow.
The outside of the house is perhaps the most traditional looking aspect of the house in terms of what was preserved. Having been refurbished entirely to counteract years of weathering, the house still features its original columns and entryway canopy, on top of which a stunning balcony stems off the spacious master bedroom.
The contrast between the beautifully traditional brickwork on the home’s exterior and its clearly maintained architectural shape with the bright, playful patterns and colours make the space feel dynamic and full of life.
Photos by Traditional Home Magazine
By Courtney • Jul 9, 2019
If there ever was a space that perfectly combined elements of vintage, rustic, stylish, weathered, and colour popping, then it’s absolutely the recently made over Acorn Falls Cottage by Ballard Design.
Located in Highlands, North Carolina, this mountain home is positively infused with colour in a way that follows contemporary decor trends at the exact same time as it harnesses natural and rustic aesthetics to suit the woodland surroundings designers nestled it comfortably into.
Originally built in the early 1900s, the cottage has long been an historic vacation spot, with countless families renting it out over the years to enjoy the mountain air and benefit from a relaxing escape while still remaining close enough to the town of Highlands to be convenient and not isolated.
Missy Woolf, an iconic designer famous for her cottage renovations, is responsible for the slightly modernized but still undoubtedly weathered vintage chic aesthetic of the newly overhauled cottage. Her aim was to preserve as much of the building’s original charm as possible while still giving it an update that looks and feels fresh and perhaps even luxurious, in a grounded sort of way.
This mixed atmosphere was achieved partially through the use of a combination of furnishing choices ranging from high end and designer to locally made artisan pieces that are natural in their materiality. Local artwork is also a large part of the cottage’s revamping, giving it a newfound charm and character while still tying it to its place right there on the mountain.
Besides these design choices, the element of the newly redone house that is perhaps the most important is the way the space now plays with colour, particularly turquoise. Besides being very trendy in fashion and design right now, turquoise is a colour that invokes calm, cheeriness, and an upbeat attitude. In the particular muted shade you see in these photos, however, it stirs the same feelings but suits the landscape without seeming to scream too bright against all that natural wood and rock.
To incorporate the use of so much turquoise into the house more thoroughly rather than just having the exterior and a few painted pieces bear all the weight of eye catching on their own, we appreciate the way the designer chose to balance the colour with other fun, colourful fabrics that contribute to the sense of having a “pop” where there isn’t just natural wood and plain white.
On the porch, which features a failing made entirely from branches, a shaded but warm and comfortable seating area has been built. The cottage still has its original layout, which is slightly more traditional than the open concept homes you see more commonly now that usually feature blended indoor-outdoor spaces, so the establishment of a good, solid outdoor place to sit combats the cottage feeling closed off from its beautiful outdoor surroundings.
White and turquoise follow you throughout the house, from the wicker swing seats on the porch, through the kitchen and living room and on into the bedrooms. Rather than using precisely the same muted turquoise as you see on the cottage’s fashionably faded exterior, however, you’ll notice that some pieces feature a deeper shade of the colour, bordering almost into teal. This grounds the aesthetic and makes it feel more dynamic.
The kitchen and its accompanying dining room are perhaps the part of the house that feature the most delicious blend of rustic and modern. All of the essentials and amenities are modern and gleaming new, but the use of reclaimed local wood is still heavy in many large features, like the island and the high bar style table, keeping that rustic feel that’s so essential to a mountain cottage.
Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only place that boasts impressive rustic features built in natural materials. We’re also in awe at how much we adore the way the fireplace in the central living room look as thought it has been pieced together right there in the heart of the home, stone by stone. In the winter, this becomes one of the coziest places to gather with loved ones.
Of course, the outside of the cottage is a wonderful space to enjoy as well, beyond just the deck and porch swings! Designers also incorporated a firepit area nestled in the leaves on the lawn, with a safe place to relax in large wooden chairs while the embers glow and the kids roast marshmallows.
Photos by Sarah Ingram
By Courtney • Jul 8, 2019
On a breathtaking wooden plot in Charlotte, North Carolina, creative designers at Pike Properties have recently finished an expansive and truly stunning residential project aptly named the Modern Farmhouse.
In a small community on the borders of Charlotte, a beautiful countryside plot boasts its own cluster of trees like a miniature forest. The new house built there spans an impressive 4,315 square feet of combined living space. Boasting a total of five bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, it’s perfect for a sizeable family and also their guests.
As guests approach the house, they’re greeted by a classic country home style porch that wraps all the way around the house. Here, you’ll encounter the inviting seating of an outdoor social space used for bonding with family and friends. This is the first place where, despite the clear and obvious style influences of the countryside setting, a modern twist has been added in the finer details of the furnishing and decor; the porch furniture is very clearly newly designed.
Inside the home, this blend of original rustic features and modern details and amenities continues in a way that provides lovely contrast and unique style. The floor is white oak and most of the trim is made of locally sourced and upcycled cedar beams, while the tiles and lighting fixtures are all new and high-end.
The layout of the actual living spaces themselves are open concept and free flowing in terms of movement, energy, and also light. In fact, the flooding of natural light into each room was an intentional priority. Thanks to glass walls and floor to ceiling windows, natural sunlight flows freely through the living room and kitchen, past its multi-use island, and on into a cozy breakfast nook.
Besides these social spaces, the ground floor of the Modern Farmhouse also boasts a beautiful home office, as well as the master bedroom, set aside for some quiet. This bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, two walk-in closets, a spa bathroom, and a quiet reading nook of its own. It is specifically designed with escape and tranquility in mind. Kids’ and guest bedrooms sit upstairs on the second storey.
This impressive house doesn’t stop at only these two floors! Designers face the family a third floor to use as a diverse and flexible space for whatever their needs are in the moment. Off to one side of this space is a small but fully equipped additional bathroom and powder room.
In both the home’s interior and exterior, a sense of balance and contrast is present in the way the colour schemes and materiality play off each other. Nowhere in the house could be described as dark by any means, but the exterior is slightly deeper and rich in tone than that found inside. In both places, however, painted walls and wooden details create a sense of light and dark in terms of their colour and stain. Outside, darker walls are anchored by lighter wooden features while, on the inside, lighter walls and contrasting stained wooden sidings create balance.
Photos provided by designer.
On a lovely corner lot in a neighbourhood in Purkersdorf, Australia, the space and bright family dwelling called L House has received its finishing touches by designers and architects at Juri Troy Architects.
Located on a southern facing slope, the house looks out over the village, giving visitors a breathtaking view of the Vienna Woods surrounding the area. This unparalleled view can actually be seen from almost anywhere in the house thanks to the emphasis on large floor to ceiling windows, which was an intentional goal of the designers from the earliest stages of planning.
In an attempt to blend the dwelling smoothly with its natural surroundings and make it appear as though it really does belong right there on the hillside, designers chose to construct the entire upper floor, both in its exterior and full interior, entirely out of stunning light wood timber. To do this, they used locally sourced whited fir.
This lovely upper floor features its own sprawling terrace that gets plenty of sun all year round, enhancing the cheerful brightness of the whole plot and inside the house itself. The wooden portion also creates a cozy enclosed space around a courtyard and joins into the hillside on one end where a calming natural pool sits.
To create the wooden facade, designers chose to situate the smoothed board vertically, establishing an almost striped effect all around the outside. The boards that make up parts of the facade turn sideways to become slats that will let in sunlight and fresh air, closing again to provide those areas with privacy whenever it’s needed.
Inside the house, the white fir materiality continues. In fact, the entire interior is clad in white fir, from the floors to the furnished features, walls, and ceilings! The effect is a calming monochromatic aesthetic that travels right down the staircase from the wooden encased top floor and down into most aspects of the bottom floor as well. Here, some cupboards and storage features vary, but white fir is still the most prominent feature.
On the side of the house that extends to naturally merged with, or at least sit near, the hill’s natural slope sit the sleeping areas. This location in the house provides them with the most privacy from the driveway and public access spaces and lets them open into the fresh air without losing any of the relaxing solitude found within the lovely wooden rooms.
Extending from the sleeping areas (in particular the master bedroom) is a lovely covered terrace. This space lets dwellers and guests wander right from their beds into the fresh air and sunshine, but still seek the solace of a bit of shade. This terrace leads directly into a lovely green garden. Both of these outdoor spaces are barrier free, adding to the sense of nature blending.
Besides being quite innovative in the materiality and aesthetic aspects of its design, L House is also quite cutting edge in the systems that run it. For its main heating source, the building features a pump rooted in geothermal energy sources. This contributes to its green nature along with the fact that it was constructed almost entirely from raw and recycled materials.
The stunning patch of green lawn you see on the extended part of the roof contributes to those green systems as well! This space buffers rainfall, using that water source to provide temperature regulation in hot summers. The ventilation provided by the turning wooden slats in the facade also helps with regulation and avoiding over heating in the summers.
Photos provided by architects
The geometric Drift House on Little Much Farm created by Shonan Purie Trehan + Language.Architecture.Body(LAB) as a lakeside escape
By Courtney • Jul 1, 2019
In the heart of Nandivali, India, a plot of land that has been dubbed the Little Much Farm provides view to a new housing retreat by Shonan Purie Trehan + Language.Architecture.Body(LAB) that are nothing short of breathtaking. The house itself, named Drift House for the way its angles resemble the edges of driftwood washed onto a beach, overlooks a lovely lake.
The prime purpose of this stunning family villa, right from the very outset, was always relaxation. The building sits atop a small, remote hillside plot that overlooks Mulshi and its rolling Sahyadri Hills, as well as the lake that sits at the base of them. When the owners approached the creative team, they stated that they were looking for a place where their family might retreat to reconnect with friends and benefit from engaging with the countryside surrounding Bombay, where they’re from.
The house, interesting right from the first time you one lays eyes on it, was built specifically to be laid out like a series of spaces where things will happen. Each room is created with purpose, layered over and connected with rooms that are different but related, and designed to give family and friends to find a good, comfortable space to do whatever it is they please on their holiday.
The different floors and angles of the rooms also give each one a different view of the stunning natural area surrounding the house. No two windows will give you precisely the same perspective of the beautiful, nearly panoramic views afforded by the hilltop location.
The way the sections of the house are situated is also a method of protection against the kind of harsh weather found only in hills closely situated to water. The design strategy of the roof provides shelter from harsh suns in the summer and monsoon rains in the wet seasons. The way the rooms and sections overlap forms strong enclosures in all the right places to end off winds.
One of these enclosures has been purposely allotted as something practical and interesting, rather than just being a waste of space between volumes of the house. This is where designers chose to build a covered monsoon bridge, giving visitors a way to get from volumes of the house that aren’t connected anywhere else within the house without getting wet.
The materiality of the house is important as well. The roof, which appears from a distance to float above the various interior and exterior spaces, is made from mild steel dia-grid. It was shaped and installed by a ship building fabrication team right there on site. The various planes of the roof are held up by exposed concrete columns, which is part of what gives the sections that particular drifting effect. They are positioned intentionally to provide shade to certain indoor and outdoor spaces as part of passive heating and cooling systems throughout the well ventilated house. These materials also look natural enough to interrupt the natural feeling of the surrounding plot as little as possible!
At its based, the house is built starting with three distinct blocks in a way that minimizes the number of retaining walls. These are connected and have free flowing space but still feel quite individual. In the middle block, you’ll find a double height volume that connects to the upper floor of the block to its west and the lower floor of the block to its east. Angles are a great thing!
This middle space where the three blocks all connect and overlap on one level is where the social and bonding spaces of the house are located. A bit of blending between inner and outer spaces even happens here where part of the middle space turns into a deck that connects to the outside ground on the hillside of one block. Here, there is a garden, a pool, and a ramp leading straight to these leisure spaces from the entryway for visitors who want to meet you right there at the poolside rather than traipsing through the whole house.
Continuing the quite natural materiality, the outside spaces of the house and the building’s facade walls are made in things that all bear a calming silver grey. These are primarily a mixture of different slabs of slate finished in different ways; raw, rough cut, and polished. Keeping the outer (and also much of the inner) colour schemes neutral like this lets the shapes and angles included in the house stand out without the eye getting distracted from their unique properties.
Like the outside, the interior spaces are practical in layout but still with a sense of playfulness. After all, how could a house that has a polished timber slide connecting the first floor and the social space on the ground floor not be a lot of fun to stay in? Even just moving from room to room in his dwelling is a good time.
There are plenty of other elements dotted around the house that are intended to bring joy to those who stay there. For example, there are cheerful quotes engraved in the concrete slabs that hang above the beds in the guest rooms, designed to start everyone’s day off just right. Laser etched art throughout the home’s furnishings, ceramic lil pads built into the deck’s floor, and a sunset set in the swimming pool are just a few more ways that designers aimed to give the owners the best possible experience of modern relaxation by the lake.
Photos by Sebastian Zacharia
By Courtney • Jun 25, 2019
Nestled in some greenery in Almancil, Portugal sits the stunning Villa AH. This beautiful new dwelling was created by CORE Architects according to its owners very own designs, with the goal of bringing a true housing dream that was years in the making to life.
Right off the bad, designers prioritized attention to detail in order to make the finished product as authentic to the owner’s vision as possible. In partnership with that, they paid great heed to the surrounding area and weather, noting that the finished house must withstand harsh beach winds and climates.
At the same time, designers wanted to avoid building a dark fortress; they expressly maintained the goal of letting as much stunningly bright natural Algarvian light flood into every single room. This goal helped bolster the stunning view provided by the chosen plot’s vantage point, giving dwellers constant sight of the ocean.
Perched atop a subtle slope and erected amidst the lush pine trees of an Iberian forest, the house has a very distinct and beautiful location. Designers chose to pay this setting the utmost respect by orienting the house in a way that creates a lovely flow of light, air, and energy, enacting a sort of architectural Feng Shui and then following that suit with decor and interior furnishings.
In combination, these elements give the house an atmosphere of natural living and directly local authenticity. Designs also made sure to extend the values that the house was built on out into its exterior spaces. For example, they built the stunning entrance patio with the specific intention of making it feel like an ethereal connection between heaven and Earth.
Visual connections and spaciousness were central tenets in letting air, light, and energy flow. An open concept layout was chosen, allowing, for example, free flowing movement between the patio, the kitchen, and the smallest bedroom, as though these are all one shared space. At the same time, visual markers delineating space based on function avoids a loss of privacy from room to room.
This kitchen, patio, and sleeping area isn’t the only place where open-spaced living was prioritized. In fact, plans were shifted and re-jigged more than once to ensure that this layout extends outward and upwards, encompassing both floors of the house. At the same time, owners and designers alike aimed to use finishes and materials that, though gorgeous, are hardy enough to withstand a large, very social family of adults who share many pets between them and love to host friends.
The effect of this authentic, spacious, and practical desire, all rolled into one, was an aesthetic that is slightly rustic in its prevailing glamour. Natural stone counters and wood flooring play off rough linen fabrics and un-manicured concrete staircases to create a sense of locally respectful and naturally worn sophistication. Although all amenities within the house are cutting edge, the appliances chosen all have a slightly vintage sense about them to create cohesiveness, right down to the old fashioned toilets with their high tanks and pull chains.
Because of its physicality and the open layout designed for good energy and air flow, the house is actually largely self-cooling. This is helped along by the presence of concrete and stone. Similarly, the very specific position of the windows plays a large role in temperature regulation as well. The heat here in combination with the fresh air gives the primary living spaces a fantastic cross ventilation, keeping things extremely comfortable and reducing the home’s energy usage.
The only place where energy efficiency was taken a little less seriously is in the upstairs bedrooms, where the windows sit. Here, the windows should have been made much smaller, but this would counteract the owner’s adoration of sunsets, which would make their “dream home” less close to their vision. This area is now the only place with powered heating and cooling systems to regulate the atmosphere, which designers decided was well worth a good view of the breathtaking Algarvian sunsets, particularly since the rest of the house is so incredibly energy efficient.
Besides being a dream house, Villa AH is also actually an extremely safe dwelling. Designers chose to built the home’s frame using a concrete skeleton structure in order to account for the high risk of earthquakes in Southern Portugal. The strength of this frame is bolstered by the outer facade made of clay blocks, which also contribute to energy regulation thanks to their high thermal properties. This is beneficial in the rainy season, which, contrary to popular belief, can actually get quite cool in Portugal.
Perhaps one of the best features of the house is the way that the primary materials used in the structure, as well as most of the decor and furnishings, were all locally sourced. In order to build this owner’s dream, designers were able to support the local economy and pour their money back into the area. This, in combination with a decor aesthetic that suits the home’s immediate location and respects local traditions, makes the whole space feel authentic and, indeed, dreamlike.
Photos by Alexander Bogorodskiy
By Courtney • Jun 24, 2019
In a stunningly green suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, renowned designers at ARRCC recently completed a stunningly modern home called Hillside View, adding an impressively contemporary but appealing element to the community’s street scape.
The house sits on a lovely, leafy plot, intended explicitly to grab attention and make a statement in the way it contrasts with its surroundings. This is primarily achieved through a combination of awe inspiring and modern looking glass-fronted facades and interiors, visible to the street through said glass, that appear vibrant and full of colour and personality.
From the start, the house was intended to harness the owner’s well known affinity for colour, which designers wanted to blend with interesting materiality for maximum creative atmosphere. Because the owner already possessed a stunningly varied personal art collection, designers had something to base their interiors off of and centre them around, creating a sense of cohesion even where purposeful contrast exists.
In order to really drive the incorporation of that art home, designers chose to include alternative, geometric, and uniquely interesting furnishings for the spaces, using colour to create a dialogue between those and the art, which is hung all throughout the house. This is all perfectly exemplified in the marble entry way, where art pieces are complemented by a bright geometric cabinet, an interestingly shaped side table, and a two-toned sofa.
Once the designers had made the decision to centre the atmosphere of the house around colour, art, and shapes, they settled on the idea of extending those themes right into the home’s architecture as well. That’s why you can see such unique and pleasing shape in features like the staircase leading down to the basement wine cellar or the bright slatted wood ceiling above the family room.
Because the front facade of the house is entirely made of glass, the uniquely shaped features of the home’s interior appears to be framed within those windowed walls as thought the living spaces themselves are art. This is pleasant as visitors walk up the drive, but doesn’t sacrifice privacy thanks to the way the house is set back from the street itself.
Moving from room to room, you’ll gather a sense that each space has a little bit of a cohesive theme with itself, even if it’s not explicit and despite the fact that each still fits well within the overall colourful fabric of the home at large. The informal lounge is the perfect example of what we man. Here, everything bears shades of marine blue, teal, and ceramic green that establishes an overall aquamarine heavy feel. Pattern plays a role here too, as the room is heavy in bold Missoni fabrics in contrasting sorbet shades. Each room bears a friendly personality and helps create a sense that moving through the house is a journey.
Moving from room to room, you’ll gather a sense that each space has a little bit of a cohesive theme with itself, even if it’s not explicit and despite the fact that each still fits well within the overall colourful fabric of the home at large. The informal lounge is the perfect example of what we man. Here, everything bears shades of marine blue, teal, and ceramic green that establishes an overall aquamarine heavy feel. Pattern plays a role here too, as the room is heavy in bold Missoni fabrics in contrasting sorbet shades. Each room bears a friendly personality and helps create a sense that moving through the house is a journey.
To really help the house create a story, some rooms, like the dining room, have been intentionally pared back in their decorum and furnishings. This is to allow the most eye catching paintings in the owner’s collection to really stand out in a space without creating a clash that detracts from their beauty. In this particular room, a French oak table and black leather dining chairs, as well as wood panelled walls, set the scene for bright art, creating a familiar but still unique feeling.
These darker colours schemes with light art are common in the more functional and social rooms of the house like the kitchen, which is heavy in granite but still bright, while colourful combinations and attention grabbing schemes like we talked about before are reserved for the areas of the home that are intended to provide comfort and relaxation space.
Among the other notable features of the house are the kids’ bedroom and the home theatre. While the theatre is designed as a private space for bonding with friends and family, the children’s area is sports themed and made with built-in features like ball baskets and climbing nets to encourage activity and fun. If you think about it, the idea of enabling fun with the simple atmosphere of a room really is on theme with the rest of the house and its uses of art and colour!
Photos by Greg Cox
The contemporary Apartment in New York, created by Crosby Studios, gives us a stunning case of the blues
By Courtney • Jun 21, 2019
In the heart of Brooklyn, New York, innovative and artistic designers at Crosby Studios have renovated a small pre-war one bedroom space to make the impressive new Apartment in New York, notable for its contemporary style and pops of colour!
Of course, when one hears “pops of colour”, the mind might wander to a decor scheme featuring many bright colours at once. Instead, designers chose to make this home stand out for the way it communicates colour blocking through the use of a singular monochrome shade of royal blue in several eye catching stand out furnishings.
Blue might be the standout colour, but contrast is never a bad thing, even when you’re attempting to heavily establish a particular theme. That’s why, amidst all the blue, several shades of lovely pink can be found subtly peeking out. A pink glass window between the living and dining rooms counteracts the blue section sofa, while a pink bouquet centrepiece on the dining table balances the blue of the chairs.
Shape and materiality are important within this decor scheme as well. Some pieces are quite linear and modular, like the stacked rectangular spinning chrome book shelf in that same light pink, while others are rounded and make of something unconventional, like the circular chandelier over the dining table made from ballpoint pens with blue caps on them that match the blue everywhere else.
Now, to blend the senses of pink and blue even further, the pink plexiglass window actually does more than just look unique within an otherwise stark white wall. It actually also balances the colours in the room by bathing it in a very subtle pink wash when the light hits the wall and passes through the glass. This gives everything inside a lovely rosy tone while still letting the blue pieces pop as they should.
According to the designer, his colour choices were born out of a sense of loyalty to colours that he loves and that have served him well in past projects. He wanted to give each shade its chance to shine but also blend the ones he loves best in one place for even more visual appeal and cheerful atmosphere. The finishes and colours of accompanying details are chosen based on what suits the primary colours he has decided to work with best; that’s why you see more than one rose gold piece here.
Where most houses might tone things down in the kitchen and use it as a slightly more neutral place to ground the house a little, designers chose to do precisely the opposite here. Blue cabinets have been built around and under the appliances and the same with the sink, livening up the whole space more than just about any kitchen we’ve ever seen.
The blue spills over from the kitchen and dining room into the front room, of course, encompassing an impressive sofa that plays once more with materiality and finishes. While the sofa itself is an attention grabbing, easy to clean vinyl, the throw pillows that accompany it are a softer cotton material to make them differ slightly even though they’re exactly the same shade.
Overall, the use of duo-chromatic colour blocking in partnership with the creative pieces by several local artists on the walls gives the entire apartment an atmosphere of cheerful artistic appreciaton and high brow playfulness.
Photos by Mikhail Loskutov
By Courtney • Jun 20, 2019
In the sunny suburb of Campinas, Brazil, artistic designers at Padovani Arquitetos Associados recently completed a contemporarily stunning residential project for an adult family, calling it the Marubá Residence.
Sitting at the top of a small rise, the home suits its lush, green surroundings quite well. With its foundation and facade of natural, locally sourced concrete and stained wood, it appears not to interrupt the skyline of the neighbourhood despite the fact that its shape and structure are much more modern and geometric than most of the homes surrounding it.
The materiality that you see outside actually follows you into the interior as well; floors alternative between a polished version of that same concrete and perfectly stained floors made of the same wood you saw outside as well. This creates a sense of consistency between the inner and outer parts of the home, as thought they’ve been in communication.
The fact that the house sits on the highest point of the street’s land afford it quite a lovely view indeed. the area around the house, though quiet, has an urban influence, but the vantage point from the top of the rise through the home’s windows is still sunny and inviting, worth relaxing by the floor to ceiling casings in the bedroom or out on the patio for.
While most homes in the area are two storeys high like this one, they’re usually structured like semi-detached town houses. This home, however, stands alone and has a stacked, modular look about its top floor, rather than simply growing vertically in a way that’s seamless and more typical.
As is common in the area, the social and leisure aspects of the house are located on the ground floor, where visitors might easily come and enjoy those spaces with you. Here, you’ll find the living and dining rooms, the kitchen, and access to the backyard, which features a stunning blue pool that gets lots of sun. This poolside, however, is still afforded some shade thanks to the overhang at one end of that stacked top module we’ve spoken so much about.
Upstairs, in the top storey of the house, you’ll find the private resting areas. Here, the house features three bedrooms for their owners’ children and a master suite, with a bathroom at one end of the hall and an en suite for the parents. The bedrooms are designed to get as much sunlight as possible with more floor to ceiling windows, but they are also afforded privacy by a screen of movable wooden slats built into the home’s facade. These can be seen all across the long, flat side of the top module outside.
In terms of decor, designers aimed to keep things bright and cheerful but still sophisticated. Furnishings and decor details alternate between light and dark throughout each room, creating a sense of balance where things are at once uplifting and also grounded. The effect is a truly stunning contrast that suits the one created right away by the light wood and dark concrete both outside and in.
Photos by Evelyn Muller
By Courtney • Jun 18, 2019
At the edge of a peninsula in Newport Beach, California, and shockingly beautiful and expansive family beach house has been built up from the remains of a previously demolished house by Sinclair Architects & Associates in order to give a large family a fully equipped, contemporary version of their ideal sunshine escape.
Just like the original house did, this new beach house sits nestled snuggly between a lovely, sprawling beach and the edge of the bay at the Newport Peninsula, with a fantastic view of the boats docked at the pier. At a jaw-dropping 12,610 square feet, the house almost looks more like a resort hotel than a single family dwelling, but it’s rare that friends and extended family aren’t joining the owners, who extend invites with open arms.
Before this impressive structure was contracted, the plot of land it now occupies was actually separated into three separate lots. Now that those spaces have been amalgamated into one, the house is afforded a whopping 90-foot bayfront spot that provides sparkling views of the water and easy access to all kinds of sunny sports and activities.
When the owners first purchased the space, they originally intended to simply renovate the house that was already standing on the biggest central plot. After consulting with designers and discussing goals, however, the whole team decided it would be best to demolish the house and leave only the spacious basement, which the new house now stands on top of.
In total, besides the basement we’ve mentioned, the new house boasts five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a home theatre, a home office, its own gym, two on-site bars, and even its own games room! Additionally, it has an attached garage that spans 1,533 square feet of its own.
The first thing people notice about the house, besides its size, is usually the views that it offers. Because sunlight and beach atmospheres were such a high priority, the house is positively filled with glazed floor to ceiling glass walls, doors, and windows, making the views essentially constant from every room before you’ve even ventured into the amazing outdoor living spaces.
After that, the blended feeling, open concept connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as the open concept layouts of the interior spaces themselves, are usually next to catch a guest’s attention. This creates seamless flow of sunlight and keeps every space in the house bright, cheerful, just warm enough, and well lit. One can easily wander from room to room and out onto the sprawling patio, rooftop deck, or glittering poolside without feeling cut off from other spaces or isolated.
The beach-like atmosphere of the house, both inside and outside, is bolstered by the very intentional decor scheme, rather than simply being left up to the location itself. The entire house has been decorated to adhere to a casual, stylishly established “beach-chic” scheme, right from furnishings to small decor details. The effect is warm and welcoming, as well as somehow at once sophisticated and grounded enough to make guests and owners feel immediately right at home.
Where natural, beachy finishes aren’t centre stage, the house is otherwise clean looking and streamlined, keep its modern feel thanks to shining white surfaces and light marble accents, particularly in the kitchen, bathrooms, and bar spaces. The social spaces, like the living and games rooms, are adorned with seating designed for comfort and bonding, making them exciting but still relaxing to spend time in with friends, unwinding and having fun.
The bedrooms, on the other hand, are entirely centred around concepts of relaxation. The space are light, airy, and filled with sunshine, with curtains at the beds and windows in case one needs some privacy or a little alone time. Overall, there is a sense of being to reconnect, with others and one’s self, and also to benefit from the natural water and sunlight all around. A stay at this house is good for the mind, body, and soul.
Photos by Ryan Garvin Photography
Craftsman’s Farmhouse created by Brandon Architects to provide a beautifully blended and unique family experience near the seaside
By Courtney • Jun 13, 2019
Along the stunning Californian coastlines in the seaside town of Corona del Mar, Brandon Architects has recently finished a stunningly modern take on the idea of building one’s dream country farmhouse, this time with a beachy twist.
The careful craftsmanship that went into planning, building, and decorating this home is evident before you even step through the door. Inspired by the country farmhouses found elsewhere in the country, designers chose to recreate and modernize the aesthetic of such a thing a little bit, making it exude that down-home atmosphere in a way that still suits its seaside location.
The plot on which the house sits, which is nestled onto the coastline of a little Californian beach town called Cameo Shores, is the stuff dreams are made of. The newly built home relies on natural, traditional materials and architectural techniques for that authentic farmhouse feel, particularly on the outside. Designers then used certain areas of the interior to introduce a contemporary element, creating a perfect blend of eras and aesthetics- all while emphasizing those unparalleled seaside views!
While modern technology adorns the kitchen, bathrooms, and shared living spaces and beach life rules the outdoor living spaces, what the designers called “old-world craftsmanship” is evident in the home’s exterior and all of the bedrooms especially. The effect is a truly unique aura of coastal living spanning across the home’s five bedrooms (which are accompanied by six and a half bathrooms). That’s over 7,248 square feet of living space!
Because of the varying design elements that have been incorporated in one place here, the living spaces provided are particularly welcoming and warm feeling. They’re also literally pleasantly warm thanks to the way glass doors, floor to ceiling glazed windows, and skylights allow natural sunlight to flood just about every corner of the house, helped along by the stunning open concept layout. Air circulation and ventilation benefits from this as well, making the home a little less reliant on heating and cooling systems and therefore a little more energy efficient.
The open concept layout we’ve mentioned so many times is particularly noticeable in the ground floor’s primary social spaces. Here, the cozy living room blends seamlessly into a formal dining room with lots of space for guests, and on into a stunning chef’s kitchen that features an island for easy flow but a bit of visual delineation. On the edges, you’ll find a large pantry and a quiet home office, which is afforded a bit more space to itself without feeling too isolated.
The living room itself is a pleasant blend of contemporary and rustic elements, truly embodying the term “modern farmhouse”. It is fully equipped with stylish furniture and cutting edge media and entertainment systems, but it also features reclaimed wood ceiling beams and some stunning built-in wooden cabinetry that surrounds a gorgeous fireplace. It really is the perfect spot for gathering the family to unwind together after a long, active day.
Just in case relaxing outside is more your speed, there’s a sprawling private terrace that sashays guests and dwellers out to a sparkling negative-edge swimming pool that catches glorious amounts or sunlight and warmth. This pool ends in a heated spa pool and both bodies of water are positioned perfectly for soaking in island and ocean views that are nothing short of mesmerizing.
Just in case you’e looking for a statement piece or two ta really scream “farmhouse” to you, we’d love to direct your attention to the large wooden doors featured in both garages, each one made from locally sourced reclaimed wood. We think you’ll also appreciate the very authentic looking reclaimed wood sliding barn door that gives owners the option of closing off the dining room. This door isn’t just built as a simple, stylized element inspired by a bar door; it is literally a barn door that designers installed to work like it would have in its original location.
Photos by Jeri Koegel Photography
Nestled in the trees above a lake in Keowee Springs, in the heart of South Carolina, innovative designers at Johnston Design Group recently completed the unique, cutting edge, and rather divine looking Sustainable Lakehouse.
What makes the house so incredibly unique is the way designers combined the most modernized and state of the art home sustainability technology with architectural techniques and decor choices that give both the facade and interior a pleasant, nearly old fashioned feeling aesthetic despite the fact that the house is newly built.
One of the primary foals in building the house was to create a space where the stunning views its location is afforded can be seen from just about any place, inside or out. This explains the many beautiful outdoor living areas and balconies varying in size, as well as the large windows found all throughout, on every floor.
Because the house sits atop a rocky hill, the view of the surrounding greenery leading down to the lake’s edge is practically unparalleled. It stands several storeys high in addition to the heigh it’s already afforded, meaning that every different window and balcony or outdoor living space it offers gives guests a slightly different angle or view from which to enjoy soaking in the countryside.
In terms of its aesthetic and decor scheme, designers have stated that their choices in materiality and style were inspired by the English Arts & Crafts movement. The intention is for the home to appear hands-on, stately in a way that might have been built by one’s own efforts, and comfortable, while still bearing an air of sophistication.
Regarding the systems that make the home so sustainable as to be name after its leading features, designers installed systems and analyzed local standards in order to make the way the house runs and saves or uses energy meet the USGBC LEED for Home list of standards and requirements. This means the building is truly one that qualifies as being part of the “green living” movement.
Entering the house through a beautiful reclaimed wood door, the first thing guests encounter is the impressive great room. This is comfortable and traditional looking in a comfortable way, and leads right outside onto a beautiful ground level terrace. This is the first spot where picture perfect views of the lake are offered. On chillier days, one can stay inside and see a similar view through high, bright limestone cased windows.
On one side of the great room is a towering floor to ceiling fireplace clad in the same coursed limestone featured on the walls. The chimney section of this is adorned with a decorative and ornate looking 19th century iron door imported from Italy. This feature makes the space look nearly medieval, anchoring the sitting area in a space that, as you move towards the kitchen, starts to look a little more contemporary.
In fact, the energy efficiency systems that start in the kitchen and move throughout the rest of the house are so contemporary and up to standard that the house was awarded the US Green Building Council LEED Silver Certification. There might only be a few telltale visual markers of these things on first glance, but that’s part of the charm!
As you begin to move throughout the house, you might notice just how diverse but still rooted in nature and tradition the materials used in building the house are. The roof is a dark slate that ties things together visually. The walls and porch are a smooth limestone accented with intentionally weathered but impressive cedar siding on the inside. Other details are finished and added in metals; in different places, you’ll encounter copper and reclaimed wrought iron.
Both outside and inside the house, most lighting, heating, and water systems are solar powered, thanks to subtle panels installed on the side of the slate roof that gets the most light year-round. The house also has a rainwater harvesting system and Low-E aluminum clad windows.
In addition to the things that make the house energy efficient and globally low impact, designers also made several choices during the building and landscaping processes that lowered the localized impact on the environment. They made very intention choices in sourcing natural materials from the local area and they also used native plants that fit the plot’s ecosystem in putting together the yards and gardens.
Perhaps the best place to truly appreciate the mountain lake view we’ve raved so much about is the middle terrace, which is a cool stone spot amongst the trees that feels just secluded enough to be relaxed but not so much that it appears isolated. Here, a wonderfully old fashioned wrought iron staircase spirals upwards to the patio doors of the master bedroom, truly resembling something out of a fairytale.
Photos by Rachael Boling Photography
By Courtney • Jun 11, 2019
In the lush woodland greenery of Lake Tahoe in California, the Luxury Lake Lodge was recently completed by Ward-Yonge Architecture for a family seeking a sophisticated holiday home that might also help them share authentic, old fashioned experiences and benefit from nature with their friends and loved ones.
Built like a gorgeous sprawling lodge, this impressive stone home is located just north of primary Lake Tahoe itself. Spanning 8,900 square feet, its traditional looking expanse lets guests take in gorgeous woods filled and lakeland views from just about every room in the house. The location is secluded but relaxed rather than isolated, while the atmosphere inside the house is grand but comfortable.
Boasting five bedrooms, five fireplaces, a four car garage, and more than one stunning outdoor living space, the house is more than equipped to host all the guests the owners could wish for. The central spiral staircase that leads from one floor to the other is an attention grabbing piece every time, but not as heavily as the stunning main terrace that gives easy access to swim in the lake.
On the outside, the house features traditional Vermont style slate roofing, high copper panelled turrets, and a stone exterior that, despite being quite typical of the area, is breathtaking in this layout. Massive reclaimed wooden beams frame the house and mirror the wood in the door while wrought iron details make up the metal features. The material choices in this house were intentional, designed to reflect old fashioned craftsmanship of eras gone by.
Part of the appeal of the natural materiality this luxury home has to offer is that it blends wonderfully into the overall scenery and manages not to interrupt the view from other places nearby. It suits the landscape but, once you’ve laid eyes on it and identified its formidable structure, you can’t hardly look away from the feat of architecture that makes up its different parts.
The way that the same materiality follows you inside is intentional and impactful as well. The stone makes things feel authentically rustic and suitable for the setting while the wood draws together a send of warmth. Ornate decor pieces and state of the art amenities create a blending of aesthetics and establish that sense of luxury designers were aiming for from the outset.
Up the winding staircase, expansive bedrooms with kind sized beds covered in soft cushions make every guest feel like the laird of a medieval royal lodge. Despite the fact that most decor is set to adult tastes there are certain elements, like the authentically carpeted wood and wrought iron bridge that leads from one wing of the upstairs to the other, lined on each side with ornate wrought iron railings like something from a castle, is sure to enamour even the youngest visitors.
Photos by Vance Fox Photography