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First-time home buyers and veteran home owners alike look for ideas and vision when it comes time to look for a new house. Remodeling projects can also benefit from a spark of creativity spurred by viewing great houses that you love. HomeDSGN has gathered fabulous homes from across the world and design style spectrum to feed your need for beautiful house inspiration.

Top 5 Things To Improve Your Property When Renting 

By • Apr 2, 2021

What are the tenant's expectations from a living space

For a successful and peaceful living arrangement, it is very important for a tenant and the landlord to be in sync and respect the expectations they have of each other. A landlord looks for an honorable tenant who is responsible and financially stable and likely to be able to pay rent on time.

What are the tenant's expectations from a living space

But these expectations must be met both ways. For the prospective landlords out there, it is important to understand the needs of the renters and provide them with comfortable standards of living that attract trustworthy tenants and makes the whole transitioning into the role of a landlord, much easier.

What are the tenant’s expectations from a living space?

In advising any landlord for developing a lucrative rental property, we must understand what appeals to a tenant. These are some of the major features that a tenant seeks out in a rental property.

Location

A prime location is always sought after. It can often justify a higher rental quote and attracts better quality tenants. Proximity to a place of employment is primary in choosing a living space. Therefore, it is wise to develop a property with rental intentions, near a concentration of offices and work districts. The location should also ensure easy access to markets, grocery stores, departmental stores, hospitals, pharmacies, restaurants, malls, theatres and other day to day necessities, entertainments and luxuries. Long commute for daily access to any of these institutions, could be a deal-breaker to many tenants.

house location when rent

In building rentals for familial use, one must be able to guarantee the ease of access to school districts and healthy community space with parks and recreational pools. These properties attract young families and make for a relaxed homey living environment for prospective tenants.

Homeowners can also be liable to receiving insurance if their property undergoes destruction in case of any natural disaster. Homeowners should get their property insured in order to prevent their time and resources from getting wasted. However, before signing up for insurance, you should also be careful of the terms and conditions in the same as you might often be tricked by the insurance companies. In case you want to know more, you can get greater insights from here.

Safety and security

Location is very closely linked with safety. A safer district is more likely to motivate a desirable clientele for the landlords. Guaranteeing safety is one of the primary responsibilities that falls upon the landlord and there are several measures that can be taken to ensure the same.

Gated property and hiring security personnel is the foremost step in a safe community building. Researching crime statistics of the area where one intends to develop the property is crucial in making the right choice. In an existing property, steps can be taken such as installing efficient alarm facilities to alert in case of burglary or even fire. Installing CCTV surveillance is also of prime importance. When a tenant feels safe in a living environment they are more likely to be loyal and cooperative clients.

Move-in ready conditions

Tenants most often look for properties that are ready to move in. Rentals are usually temporary living options brought about by migratory needs and there is always a time crunch associated with finding a desired rental property. Tenants cannot be expected to wait out a time-consuming renovation project or completion of the property and are likely to lose interest and move on. It is very vital to ensure that a rental living space is fully equipped to accommodate tenants immediately before it is put on the market.

Inclusion of appliances and services offered

Not all rentals come fully furnished although furnishing a rental space may attract a larger group of younger tenants, like students or young employees, who are not equipped to undergo the hassle of furnishing and designing the living space themselves. However, furnished or not, it falls upon the landlord to ensure the availability of the basic essential appliances like a well functioning electrical design and water systems. Proper lighting and 24*7 water supply aside, it is key to ensure adequate power sources and electrical outlets on switchboards for the more digitally reliant tenant base. Adding washing machines, microwaves, oven tops, gas-lines, dish-washers, can be a great incentive for high-paying renters. It is also important to assure the quality of appliances to avoid and coordinate repairs.

As for services, tenants expect a few basic ones like parking facilities, adequate storage, elevator access, communal laundry, availability of employable labour to tend to house needs like cleaning, gardening, and so on.

Age of property, upgrades, and renovations

Tenants want to avoid the hassle of daily repair, therefore it is crucial to ensure a sturdy if not a brand new property. Timely upgrades and repairs or even undertaking dramatic renovation projects (read: Snazzy modern apartment replacing 1960s shop) help a landowner to ensure the property remains relevant and lucrative in the renting market.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most important thing a landlord can offer their tenants is cooperation and compassion. To keep good tenants, a landlord must hold up their end of the bargain and provide swift and efficient service, in addition to desirable living conditions. These are some of the things to keep in mind while developing a property for renting.

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Glass and Timber Home in Germany Offers Amazing Hillside Views

By • Apr 1, 2021

Down into the idyllic town of Margrethausen in the Albstadt district in Germany, we find a beautiful home that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and neighborhood.

Cozy Home in Albstadt
The home uses natural materials and blends in with the surroundings.

Designed by architects from Dietrich and Untertrifaller Architekten, the house is built with sustainable materials and beautifully integrates in with the surroundings. Yet, we find there’s something futuristic about the place, mostly thanks to the glass walls, the soft lights, and the design.

The home’s front is completely made of glass.

The built of the house was done with concrete at the base, but the structure is all timber.

Cozy and light, the home stands out.

As you enter the house, you meet more wood – wooden ceilings, wooden paneling on the walls, and wooden floors. The design is simple and stylish and the huge windows are a big statement.

The solid black kitchen stands out against the light wood on the walls, ceiling, and floor.

The outdoor space carries on the same wooden floor we saw inside, with a huge deck. The extended roof offers some coverage as you enjoy lunch outside.

The deck offers ample space for entertaining.

The furniture inside is also minimal – simple table and chair set, airy chandelier, massive kitchen island, and some comfy and fun poufs which offer a colorful accent for the room.

The minimal furniture makes the room seem even bigger.

The upper floor offers a wide-open concept with lots of storage on the sides and more floor-to-ceiling windows. The covered terrace also offers more ways to enjoy the outdoors.

The top floor offers even better views.
The views towards the hills make it easy to understand why they chose to use so much glass.

Wall dividers offer a lot of storage room, as well as some privacy. The owners added some curtains to the glass so you can get some privacy from the neighbors.

Wood is used to separate the living spaces.

The vertical wooden slats on the windows for the bathroom provide extra privacy and shading.

Some privacy is given by the vertical wooden slats.

The floor plans show how open the plan of the room is, and how you do not need a lot of things to have a beautiful home.

Main floor plan.

Photos: David Matthiessen

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Ralph Germann Architectes Design a Private Residence in Préverenges, Switzerland

By • Jun 11, 2020

House FFL by Ralph Germann architectes (1)

House FFL is a private home located in Préverenges, Switzerland.

Completed in 2014, it was designed by Ralph Germann Architectes.

More…

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RS+ Robert Skitek Design a House in Krostoszowice, Poland to Fit Into the Surrounding Topography

By • May 27, 2020

House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (14)

House in Krostoszowice is a residential project completed by RS+ Robert Skitek.

The home is located in Krostoszowice, Poland.

House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (1)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (3)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (4)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (5)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (6)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (7)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (8)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (9)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (10)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (12)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (13)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (14)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (15)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (16)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (17)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (18)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (19)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (20)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (21)
House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek (22)

House in Krostoszowice by RS+ Robert Skitek:

“The surrounding landscape interested us more than unexciting development context. Hilly area and forest in the background has become a main point of reference. The building fits to existing topography, coincides with the landscape. House is open towards the most interesting views and separate from the nearest buildings. From the street we can see single-storey building with garage and glass foyer between. This characteristic body of the buildings have a required by the local law sloping roofs, they are covered totally with slate. Concrete fence wall marks platform with building, entrance area, driveway and wooden terrace suspended over the ground. Bedrooms are located downstairs. This part of the building is partially covered by ground and invisible from the street. Under the upper terrace, at the ground level is second, fully covered terrace. Exterior cantilevered stairs link both terraces. In interiors, white surfaces of walls and slanted ceiling are complemented by glass, polished concrete and natural wood floors, wooden stairs and dark accessories. On the top level there is open living room. Pantry, study room, toilet and kitchen were hidden in white cuboid. Above cuboid there is mezzanine with bookcase. Wooden stairs are a conspicuous part of the living room. When we go downstairs we can walk out directly to lower terrace. On this floor there are 2 rooms for children, main bedroom with dressing room, toilet, technical rooms with laundry room and climbing gym. In addition, a storage accessible from the outside is located on the lower floor.”

Photos by: Tomasz Zakrzewski

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How to Update Your Old Home While Preserving Its History

By • May 15, 2020

To many homeowners, older properties are just more fun than new construction. While some buyers focus on the flaws of a 50-year-old home — the inefficient windows and doors, the outdated appliances and light fixtures, etc. — others revel in the property’s unique quirks, believing them to be beloved relics of the past. Older homes have history, and it is a homeowner’s duty to honor and preserve the history that first attracted them to a particular home.

However, that doesn’t mean that homeowners should be resigned to living in any outdated space they purchase. As long as a property isn’t protected as historic, homeowners are and should be allowed to make whatever changes they feel necessary to make their homes feel comfortable, functional and valuable. But — how can homeowners balance the drive to make their homes look and feel up-to-date with the charm and character that inherently comes from an older property?

Understand What Historic Features Have Value

Most old homes aren’t particularly historic. Few homes stand the test of time; most fall down or are demolished after about a century, at the point when they are no longer as functional or aesthetically pleasing as homebuyers expect. Even so, almost all older homes have features no longer built into new construction properties, and some of these features are inherently valuable due to the character they impart. In general, the older the home, the more of these features will be present.

For example, colonial and Victorian homes tend to be teeming with valuable elements, like wood flooring and wood molding, built-in shelving and cabinets, wood-burning fireplaces, plaster walls and the like. In contrast, old homes from the ‘50s and ‘60s might have mid-century modern architectural elements, like sunken rooms, large windows, atriums and asymmetrical floor plans.

It might be useful for homeowners to consult a home appraiser with experience in homes of a relevant era. Appraisers should be able to point to elements of a home that have inherent value, so homeowners can keep these elements intact while renovating other, less desirable aspects of their property.

List the Historic Elements You Love in Your Home

It is important to preserve the elements of a home that have value, but it is also important to protect the elements of a home that bring homeowners personal joy. Homeowners should take inventory of the aspects of their older home they most appreciate, which might not be features that homebuyers will be able to identify or care much about on the first pass. As long as these elements aren’t inherently unsafe or remarkably unappealing to other people, homeowners should strive to retain these features during their renovations. This will help homeowners maintain the character that first attracted them to the property, even if other elements change drastically.

Research What Updates Might Be Covered

Some homes, as they age, develop weaknesses that endanger those who live inside as well as their belongings. Usually, these weaknesses can be remedied with some remodeling — but before homeowners shell out for the full cost of the renovation, they should check with their insurance and warranty providers to see if they can help cover the costs.

Typically, homeowner’s insurance only covers damage that occurs in an unanticipated and unpreventable disaster, like a tornado, hailstorm or flood. Homeowners who recently suffered some catastrophe should consider filing a claim, especially if the event has led to increased safety concerns in their older home. Any insurance money gained can be put toward repair and renovations that add value to the property.

Many homeowners wonder: What does a home warranty cover? Warranties are a different type of coverage to insurance, which protect different systems around a home from lifetime wear and tear. Warranties are essential for homes older than 15 years because they help homeowners manage costs associated with repairing and replacing appliances, electrical and plumbing elements and more. Homeowners who have recently experienced issues with covered systems can seek quick, easy and inexpensive aid through their home warranties.

Remember to Match the Historic Style With Renovations

Finally, perhaps the most critical note for homeowners hoping to retain the charm and character of their older properties is the importance of matching renovations to the existing style of the home. Most everyone has seen additions or renovations that don’t exactly suit their surrounding structure; mismatching styles are jarring to the eye and the atmosphere of a home, making it feel like a patchwork of old and new as opposed to a charming historic space. Homeowners should do their best to identify the era and style of their home and make design choices that are appropriate for the property and their modern sensibilities.

Some properties are designated as historic homes and require special permits to change in any way — but most old homes don’t fall into this category. Still, homeowners should be careful to remodel and renovate with an eye to the existing charm and character of their homes, especially if they appreciate the quirkiness of aged spaces.

 

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Modern Ryokan Kishi-ke Guest House In Japan

By • Feb 12, 2020

Modern Ryokan kishi-ke operated by Kishi-ke Co., Ltd is a coastal small ryokan in Kamakura, the former capital of Japan, in the suburbs of Tokyo.

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Netherlander cottages created by Qurios Zandvoort by 2by4-architects

By • Oct 9, 2019

In the seaside city of Zandvoort in The Netherlands, a recreational park featuring a series of cottages that are collectively called Qurios Zandvoort recently opened thanks to some architectural expertise on the part of 2by4-architects.

Even if the unique little cottages didn’t hold quite so much stylistic and comfort based appeal, their mere location would probably be enough to pull guests in! The park is situated in a prime spot between the Formula 1 tracks, the Kennemerland national park, and Zandvoort’s most beautiful beach. It is also close to exciting cities like Haarlem and Amsterdam, but not so close that the peacefulness of its surroundings are interrupted by busy city life.

The unique location of this part attracts quite a diverse crowd, so designers wanted to avoid striving for a homogenous style of resort space for guests to stay in. After all, city dwellers looking for a peaceful escape to the beach might not have the same kind of holiday stay in mind as race track fanatics who came to see her roaring cars!

In a sprawling feat and a valiant (and rather successful) attempt to accommodate these diverse crowds, the park now boasts 100 cottages, two multi-faceted public pavilions, and a unique design that resembles that of a dune park. This mean that staying in the buildings is rather experiential as the sand shifts and flows quite literally against the sides of the dwellings and structures.

For both practicality and visual appeal, the cottages are situated on natural plateaus that all sit at different heights. This is partially to give different visitors varying views of and experiences in the natural landscape they’re visiting, but it was also an authenticity and building choice, since working with the plateaus let designers interrupt the land less in their building process.

This concept of working with the land is what influenced the choices in colour scheme, decor, and materiality. Designers wanted to create buildings that made sense with their surroundings and suited the natural atmosphere, rather than ones that contrast too heavily or stand out so much that they detract from the environment’s beauty. They chose an unpolished wood for the cottage facades, for example, that suits the rough dunes around the, so well that it almost looks like they’ve always been there. They’re slightly modern in their shape, which makes them unique, but not so contemporary as to look out of place.

Another part of making the cottages look like they’re one with the landscape was the choice not to fence them off. Of course, designers wanted to give guests lots of private space, but that applies mostly to creating interior havens. On the outside, the idea was to create a sense of limitless exploration and lack of boundaries, which fences would have counteracted.

This idea of fostering a “haven-like” atmosphere was of the utmost importance to everyone involve in the project, which is why planners chose to locate all parking offsite, outside of the park. Past the parking and through the entrance, guests encounter the visitors centre and, beyond that, nothing but gorgeous landscape free of city-life reminders.

The visitors centre is almost pavilion-like and bears a gorgeous floating style roof. In addition to providing all of the information and services guests could dream of, it also gives them a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire park first thing. Like the cottages, the visitor centre suits the natural space well thanks to the choice of black wood planks for the facade and light concrete for the interior.

Besides offering a gift shop and bike rentals to guest, this main pavilion is also on-site housing for staff! The basement boasts bedrooms and a common living room. These are entirely separate for the sake of staff privacy and, despite being right below halls for guest social functions and the like, they’re peaceful and quiet, letting staff truly feel at home and not like they never left work.

All of the buildings situated on the park were constructed, both in terms of shape and also material, with the intention of becoming naturally weathered. Designers purposefully chose materials that would withstand the test of time well in terms of endurance and damage resistance, but also things that will only look more charming with a little bit of wear and tear as far as exposure to the elements is concerned. The buildings will only begin to look more and more like they really belong.

Each of the individual cottages is designed with a different type of specific theme or experience in mind, accounting for the variety of guests that the park’s location attracts. These themes are communicated through and incorporated within details like the layout, the facade, and the interior decor of the cottages.

The “adventure cottages” are small, compact sheds with less space and modernity, intended for those who love the great outdoors and plan to spend most of their time there rather than in their accommodations. The “family cottage”, on the other hand, gives guests spacious social rooms, like the living and dining room, where many loved ones can gather. In order to keep them feeling connected to nature, however, sliding doors help these rooms open completely to the outdoors.

The “royal cottages” are all about luxurious comfort in a peaceful setting. These feature two floors, softly sprawling beds, and fully equipped large kitchen and dining rooms featuring all contemporary amenities despite the rustic setting. Finally, guests might choose the XL cottage. This space is intended for large groups of family and friends and is centred entirely around maximizing space.

Besides choosing a cottage that is tailored to their party, guests can choose specific themes and decor schemes to suit their interests as well! For example, they might consider inspirations like coffee, racing, denim, or nature. No matter the varying interiors, designers kept the cottages consistent enough to “speak the same visual language” and suit each other upon first glance, like different parts of a large family.

Photos provided by the architects.

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PH José Mármol House created by Estudio Yama with ideas of zen and peacefulness at its core

By • Oct 2, 2019

On the outskirts of Boedo in Argentina, creative design teams at Estudio Yama recently completed a renovation and updating project on a classically shaped home called PH José Mármol House.

In cities surrounding the area, a particular shape and style of home is quite typical to Argentinian culture. This is the “casa chorizo” that is often found not just in Boedo, but all the way across certain parts of the country. It’s even characteristic of Buenos Aires, which was one of the first places homes in this style were built. This is the shape and architectural style PH José Mármol House bore originally before its renovation.

The casa chorizo style is one that most contemporary housing parameters challenge. Residents aren’t necessarily interested anymore in the way this style of home, which is left over from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, bears predictably distributed, concretely consecutive rooms that are connected but also lacking in natural sunlight and airflow.

Moving away from a casa chorizo layout was part of what prompted the owner’s desire for a transformation. In fact, like many of these older houses throughout Boedo, this one has actually undergone two different renovations; one to make it better accommodate the needs of a young family and one to change it stylistically, aesthetically, and atmospherically.

Initially, the primary point of this transformation project was actually much simpler and more specified. Owners mainly wanted the design team to find and transform or create a space within the property for a new yoga studio to be built. They wanted a home studio in which the residents themselves could unwind and the owner might even teach some classes.

Once designers had seen and analyzed the space, however, they quickly saw a complete renovation and redesign opportunity that they wanted to take, so they made a much more ambitious proposal than the original plan to the owners. Taking a risk, designers pitched the idea of a transformation that would change the look and function of the whole house thanks to only a few strategic changes.

Firstly, designers set their sites on the outer courtyard. A simple renovation to this space enabled them to improve and open up the rooms situated around it, creating an easier flow from space to space on the inside, as well as a much more effective breaking down of barriers between indoor and outdoor spaces. These changes counteract that darker, more closed off layout typical of the casa chorizo style we told you about earlier on.

In the centre top of the house, the yoga studio was designed and installed, but designers by no means wanted to limit it to being a space that might only be used for one thing. Instead, the yoga studio was design as a flexible room and multi-purpose space with a natural light filled, welcoming atmosphere, decent temperature control, and a good amount of space. Floor to ceiling glass walls invite sunlight throughout the day, but the windows can be covered for privacy or shade thanks to micro-perforated sheet blinds.

The house also received an aesthetic and decor makeover as well, keeping in the theme of lightening things up and making them feel more free-flowing and expanded. After the space came together physically, rooms were also made to feel cohesive through the use of common natural materials and neutral colours all throughout the house. Some visual patterning was added in the form of things like accent tiles and mats to keep things interesting, but over all the new scheme is fresh and very calm.

Photos by Javier Augustin Rojas

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Unique square home called Cube in a Cube created by boq architekti in the Czech Republic

By • Sep 30, 2019

In a quiet neighbourhood in the urban area of Dobříš, a city in the Czech Republic, innovative architectural teams at boq architekti have recently finished a housing project called Cube in a Cube that is named for the unique nature of its actual shape and construction.

From the street, what visitors see is an outer “layer” of the house. This is a simply shaped cubic frame made from pieces of naturally finished wood that hang suspended between metal supports running along the bottoms and tops of the boards. The process of developing this particular structural project was dubbed “Za Vetrnikem Dobris” throughout its creation.

The purpose of the boards was multi-faceted. Firstly, designers wanted to create a house (which eventually became a series of houses within a cohesively designed neighbourhood) that had a clear identity and style. The goal was to create the buildings to be simplistically eye catching, standing out for their minimalist shape and natural materiality in order to catch people’s eye.

Secondly, the purpose of the boards around the house was to give dwellers an opportunity to enjoy the view of the landscape surrounding the neighbourhood. Designers wanted to ensure that people might seek a new vantage point to enjoy that view from nearly anywhere around the circumference of the house, gazing out in any direction from the home as a base. The view is clearly visible through the angled slats in a way that builds a cohesiveness with the shade of the natural wood and the land beyond.

Additionally, designers wanted to provide the home with a sense of privacy. Although the house doesn’t necessarily sit as close to other buildings as, say, a tightly packed downtown city dwelling might, the team still wanted to create a sense of escape for the residents, letting them enjoy outdoor spaces without feeling watched. The spaces between the wooden slats let them see beyond the boundaries of the plot while also protecting them from public eyes so they might feel relaxed and at home.

Finally, the wooden frame around the house (which is also cubic behind the boards, hence the home’s name) was built with a very intentional materiality. Although the neighbourhood is part of an urban landscape, it is not devoid of nature and a nice view. The natural wood of the frame helps make the house blend into its natural surroundings ever so slightly rather than detracting from the greenery.

Right now, the whole cubic project consists of three different semi-detached houses. The first was such a success of design, function, and aesthetic that the project was expanded into an entire residential compound, which will have additional stages in the future. Six more units are planned as part of ongoing development efforts on the outskirts of Dobris City.

Inside the house, an airy entryway leads to a cloakroom. Just beyond that, a guest bathroom is paired with a nice, bright lower level room that might be used as either a guest bedroom or a study for those who work from home. Moving past these, guests encounter the central social spaces of the home, closer to the back of the house.

The home’s primary social spaces are shared and open concept. Rather than being closed off from one another, the living room, kitchen, and dining room all have a free flow of movement between them, constituting them as a sort of central hub for family activity and daily routine.

Moving upwards, guests encounter two wings. The first is for the children or visitors, consisting of two bedrooms and a bathroom. Further down the hall is a separate wing intended for parents. This has a master bedroom with its own walk-in closet and dressing room and en suite bathroom. The spaces on this floor hit the mark well between privacy and open concept living.

In addition to working in concepts of open concept layouts, designers also wanted to break down barriers between inside and outside spaces. This is why there is some kind of sliding door patio access to an outdoor courtyard or activities area in every room on the ground floor, while every single room on the upper floor has direct access to a terrace or balcony of its own.

The outdoor spaces are just about as multi-faceted as the home’s wooden facade. Some areas are garden spaces with storage for tools. Some spots feature patio furniture and are intended for socializing or quiet moments in the sun. Others, like the spot with the gymnastics inspired rings, are dedicated to physical activity and movement. The goal is to provide residents with a few but also give them privacy, all while encouraging them to enjoy the fresh air whenever possible.

Photos by Alexandra Timpau

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House Extension Along the Dike created by Walden Studio to provide young family with better views

By • Sep 24, 2019

Located on a stunning country road, in a “ribbon” of houses in Everdingen, The Netherlands, creative designers at Walden Studio have recently completed a beautifully modern rustic addition called the House Extension Along the Dike, intended to give a young family a little more space and better views of the beautiful pastures behind their home.

Near Utrecht is a beautiful river called the Lekt. It is on the banks of this  river that a stunning old house was originally built along a row of others in 1910. Now, however, the house is owned by a young and still-growing family who needs a little more space than the house had to offer.

The house is situated outside of the winter dikes, meaning that is only safeguarded on its sides by a lower summer dike. These water variances, of course, influenced and determined certain choices in the building of the original home, as well as in how the new extension might be built.

The first houses built in the area measured a modest 70 square metres, making them a perfectly comfortable home for two. When the new owners’ family began expanding beyond two, however, they realized that they’d fallen too far in love with the stunning floodplains around their house, as well as the gorgeously friendly atmosphere to leave.

That’s why they decided to stay and simply adapt their little house to accommodate their new clan! They wished to do so, however, in away that would respect the integrity and history of the original house, rather than interfering with or overpowering it.

From the outset, the owners wished to expand two rooms and also add two. They wished to increase the size of their already existing dining room as well as their living room. Besides that, they also wished to add an extra bedroom and bathroom on the first floor of the little house.

Because of the beautiful natural land that the house sits on and next to, there were several environmental limitations that the designers and construction teams had to work with. For example, the maximum possible width that the extension could possibly be was only four metres because a very important natural reserve exists just past the home’s borders and respecting that was crucial.

On top of that, designers also wanted to leave “flood space”, or a slight border of land around the house between the solid land and the marshy areas around the dikes below the house in order to protect the house from flooding. This space acts as a buffer between the potential rising waters and the foundation of the house. Accounting for this space determined a very small available area in which to create the addition.

Although this little house sits in a “ribbon” of homes that are arranged along the main road like a strip, there are several openings between the houses that were intentional in their original conception. Even decades ago, architects valued the scenery around the neighbourhood so much that they knew it was integral to keep the houses from pressing up against one another in order to give the inhabitants of each one the space to take advantage of their beautiful setting.

The designers of this new extension took inspiration from the setup of this row of houses and opted to include open spaces that show off the view within the house itself. This accounts for the inclusion of large glass windows and sliding glass doors. The intent here is to provide a seamless feeling experience between the bright, cheerful feeling inside and the stunning outdoors, which the owners wanted to let their young children enjoy whenever possible.

Another unique element of this extension that sets it apart ever so slightly without interrupting the rest of the neighbourhood’s visual aesthetic is the fact that it was built on columns. This makes the extension look as though it is floating above the dike slightly, which the designers hoped would add a sense of extra suspense to the overall visual.

Putting the extension on columns also created a lovely sheltered area underneath. This provides a small patio like space where the family can enjoy an outdoor area with some cool shade and protection fro, the sun. At the same time, the jaunty asymmetrical gable roof stretches towards the sky and accentuates the view of the stunning floodplains.

The roof is actually more than just an angular structure meant for modern style. In reality, designers included it as a nod to the shape of historical barns of the local region, re-incorporating a bit of rustic charm that makes even more sense in the immediate context and environment,

In the interest of preserving as much of the original house as possible in its first form, since it was good and whole outside of the need for more space, designers used the existing stairwell as a base for anchoring it to the side of the home. At the top, they added a skylight that helps keep this previously slightly dark space bright and cheerful, making things feel even more open.

On the outside of the house, you’ll notice a charmingly dark facade that suits the environment rather than making the structure appear too dark. This is black pine wood that actually did come from the old barns in the region that we mentioned before. These reclaimed pieces get their colour from tar that is applied to protect the wood and increase its durability against weathering.

The reclaimed wood isn’t the only sustainably sourced material that went into the building of this extension. Pieces of the wooden frame and the steel columns and beams of the “table” it was placed upon to make the shady overhang are also locally reclaimed. Inside the walls, renewable materials like flax insulation and accoya wood window frames have been used. On the underside of the extension, where a roof over the patio has been created, naturally stained Douglas-fir planks make things feel durable and cozy at once.

Inside, the spaces within the extension vary ever so slightly from the rest of the original house. The older spaces are slightly more historically inspired in their details and furnishings, while the new rooms are cleanly detailed and a little more fresh and minimalist looking. They are styled with a materiality that suits the rest of the house for cohesiveness, but designers didn’t hide the refreshed, updated nature of the spaces. Instead, they let them shine, seeking beauty in the contrast and how the space marks the lovely little village as one that’s still ideal for raising families in decades after the neighbourhood was built.

Photos provided by the architects.

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Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects creates modern art inspired Striking Contemporary Home in Texas

By • Sep 18, 2019

In a lush suburban neighbourhood in Dallas, Texas, creative design and construction teams at Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects recently completed a beautiful rustic modern home inspired by art and the beautiful natural area surrounding it. The house was dubbed Striking Contemporary Home for its unique shape!

The house puts a particular unique spin on the idea of “rustic chic” in the way it unconventionally combines style and materiality. Each room and the home’s structure itself was created using strikingly contemporary shapes and layouts, but also done so using organic, natural, and raw materials, which builds a relationship with the land and grounds the space in that whole concept of rustic living.

The home also puts a huge emphasis on the idea of blended indoor-outdoor living experiences. Because the home’s chosen plot is lucky enough to have a stunning natural setting, designers wanted to ensure that the family living there gets to enjoy it as thoroughly as possible. Large glass walls and expansive windows break down visual barriers between interior and exterior spaces, while several sliding glass doors actually physically open most of the rooms onto beautiful decks, balconies, and patios.

These seamless elements in combination with the fact that the main social rooms feature gorgeous soaring ceilings makes the home feel even more spacious that its generous square footage already accounts for. The presence of stone in the mantels and structural details, as well as natural wood elements in the beams and furnishings, ties in the beautiful view outside the large windows, once again visually blending the home’s inner features into its surrounding environment.

All of this, of course, takes place in a home that has quite a modern cubic shape to it. This shape and the presence of polished and stained concrete floors (which is a natural material but looks high end with this shining finish) creates a modern vein throughout the rooms that the more natural and rustic influenced elements contrast with and stand out against beautifully.

In addition to being stylishly appealing, the home’s materiality is also unique in the way it was gathered and sourced for building. Rather than importing fabricated and synthetic goods or using only things they procured elsewhere, design teams did their best to use locally sourced natural goods and reclaimed things wherever possible, keeping things in the immediate area.

The layout of the home was another intentional element designed for the comfort and bonding of the family. Besides keeping colour and decor schemes consistent, the way physical and visual spaces flow fluidly into each other gives the sense a comfortable atmosphere of connectivity and accessibility. Here and there, pops of colour in the form of the very kinds of art pieces that inspired the modern aspects of the home’s shape briefly pull a pleasant, interesting focus as one passes from room to room.

No matter where in the house you choose to sit, a stunning amount of sunlight can reach just about every corner in a way that’s cheerful and uplifting. The high quality UV resistance of the glazed glass windows and doors stops the rooms from heating up too much, but the open concept of the spaces lets the light spill through the house beautifully.

Perhaps our favourite feature of the house is the pool. Rather than just building a standard shape and size of pool like you’re probably used to seeing in friends’ backyards, designers opted to make this one resemble more of a water feature, giving it a stone border and unique steps at once end leading either into the main pool or a hot tub and relaxing spa section. The pool is built into a lovely deck area that has plenty of seating for hosting guests.

Photos by Nathan Schroder Photography

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Japanese House in Kyoto created by 07BEACH for a mediative family living experience

By • Sep 16, 2019

In a quiet neighbourhood in the suburbs of Kyoto, Japan, innovative design teams at 07BEACH recently completed a beautifully wooden and naturally peaceful feeling residential project called House in Kyoto.

The house was not only built but also completely conceptualized from the beginning for a couple and their three small kids. Although the house is surrounded on all sides by other houses in its residential neighbourhood, designers worked to create an inner space that feels all its own. Rather than feeling isolated, however, it feels quiet and relaxing, like a retreat.

Besides a peaceful home that would provide the family with a safe, calming space in which to live their lives and recharge from their busy days, the owners’ requests were few and simple. As the planning process progressed, more desires and home goals became clear, like an open concept floor plan and lots of space for the kids to move in.

This added goal was what really influenced the blueprints for the house in the end. In fact, it’s what responsible for the complete open main interior chamber. By placing the living room in the very centre of the house and making it double height so that most spaces are easily accessible to one another if one tries, without sacrificing all privacy, designers created a space that’s ideal for keeping an eye on kids (but also family bonding, movement around the house, and energy flow).

Besides the wide open layout of the house itself, the most notable aspect of this home is absolutely the fact that there’s a tree growing right in the middle! This feature was multi-purpose. The first reason for including the tree was for aesthetic and energy purposes; the green leaves add a colour pop to the otherwise primarily natural wood scheme and the overall presence of the tree helps establish an almost spa-like atmosphere in the primary room and anywhere with a view into it.

The other reason for putting a tree smack in the middle of the house was actually slightly more practical. Rather, it was a practical way around the limitations presented by the plot of land the house was built on. You see, the only place large enough for a parking area to be built was at the front of the plot. By the time this was completed and the rest of the house was built to a satisfactory size behind it, very little space for a garden (which was one of the owners’ late arising desires) was left.

Instead of leaving the house devoid of plant life in the absence of a garden, or simply including many plants in the decor scheme, design teams opted to treat the very centre of the main interior room like a courtyard. They even included skylights and plenty of natural lighting through large windows at the top of the house, ensuring that beautiful sunlight pours down over the tree in the very centre of the house.

This kind of natural lighting actually helps keep the home a little more energy efficient than the average dwelling as well, rendering the house green in some of its functions and systems. Green systems and a green tree, which the family expects to grow in the middle along with the family in order to create a very real bond between the members and nature, really drives home the whole natural feeling theme that reaches into every corner of the house.

Of course, just by looking at the house, one can tell that materiality is quite important to the over all integrity and atmosphere of the house. The clearly notable presence of natural wood is actually where designers took the opportunity to get creative in blending aesthetics. Here, the modern structure of the very squared house meets the traditional Japanese style of homes, which fit with the family’s own history. Most wooden aspects of the home are of the classic architectural style that has been seen in the area for centuries.

Since relaxation and peace are paramount elements of the whole home’s experience, we doubt you’ll be surprised to learn that even the bathroom placement, with its sprawling bath tub, was intentional and geared towards building a spa-like atmosphere. The idea behind placing the bathroom in the centre was that its placement in combination with the big windows that give a high up view of neighbouring trees gives off an “open air” feeling, as though one is perhaps bathing outside in a nice breeze and sunshine.
Photos by Yosuke Ohtake

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Vietnamese Bienhouse created by Nemo Studio for a leading luxury rental business

By • Sep 12, 2019

Along the shoes of a beautiful seaside setting in Vietnam, creative design teams at Nemo Studio have recently finished a beautiful housing project called Bienhouse for a leading rental company in the area.

More specifically, the beautiful new property is located in Ha Long Bay. Originally, the house was built and finished in an unfurnished way, as all houses for the company, Vinhomes, are. On the outside, this house is grand, modern, and stunning, but it does bear a brand recognizable resemblance to many of their other properties in the area.

In this case, it’s the interior that really sets the home apart and brings out the character of the place itself and the influence of the area surrounding it. Now that new tenants have moved in and added their own personal touches, the character of the home shines even more brightly and some of the best features are really showcased.

Of course, one of the very best things that the house has to offer is a stunning, broad view of the beach and its surrounding magnificent landscape. This view can be enjoyed from countless windows in the house and also from a lovely rooftop deck that provides plenty of fresh air and a veritable boat show of the boardwalk and yacht activity just a short way from the house.

Inside the house, the design is clean, neutral, and neat. The spa-like palette was chosen very intentionally in an attempt to make the atmosphere inside the house just as centred on relaxation as the one outside on the beach. The shapes and dimensions of the furnishings, structures, storage spaces, and so on, were created with calculation and great consideration because, at the same time as designers wanted the house to feel like a retreat, they also wanted it to be optimally arranged, organized, and efficient, minimizing clutter and making sense in order to reduce daily stress.

Another very intentional choice was the placement of large windows and big sliding doors that feel as though a barrier between the interior and the stunning beaches outside is being removed. The purpose of these many openings was to let residents feel as though they have access to the beach from essentially anywhere in the house.

For those places where beach access simply wasn’t possible, designers wanted to at least build a thoroughly beach atmosphere within the home, but not the stereotypically kitschy kind you’ve probably seen before. They aimed for more of an upscale, calming atmosphere communicated primarily through fluid shape and natural materiality. This theme  continues through bedrooms, bathrooms, corridors, and even simple stairways, extending right from the entryway all the way up to the rooftop.

Executives also wanted to keep the house feeling light, airy, and even more spacious than its generous square footage already grants, which is a central theme that they try to keep throughout all of their different properties. This is why designers chose to create an artistic looking steel staircase in the very centre of the house with a sizeable open space void around it, creating a highlight space that really feels like a focus. The uniquely curving shape and bright red colour of the staircase really draws the attention of guests, which is sensical in the space because those stairs allow access to so many important areas.

If we had to choose an area in the house that we thought designers might have prioritized the most, we’d say the bedrooms were treated as the most important! They were created with the most possible space they could possibly be allotted within the home’s overall square footage, but they were also intentionally made with a softer sense of structure, line, and style.

The bedrooms are where the spa-like sense we mentioned before really hits home. The furniture chosen is curving, natural looking, and extremely comfortable despite also being stylish. The materials were chosen intentionally for their organize nature and matching warm neutral tones and other details, like the rugs and curtains, were opted for to match that aesthetic.

If you ask us, easily the best part of the bedroom space is the master bedroom’s impressive concrete tub. Because it is polished and green in colour, it almost looks like it’s made of jade, making it resemble something you might have found in the royal quarters of an old castle. It ties into the rest of the house cohesively even as it stands out because designers included other decor pieces and details made from concrete and potteries elsewhere in the house as well.

At the vert top of the house, of course, is the stunning fifth floor patio. This was intended for family bonding, social gatherings, or peaceful solitary reading time in the fresh air. The space is set up well for groups or those looking to enjoy a bit of outdoor time alone and, no matter one’s company, it’s the perfect place to enjoy those beautiful beach sunrises and sunsets.

Photos by Vu Ngoc Ha

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AZL Architects’s Ultra-modern Song House created as a caring haven for a multi-generational family

By • Sep 11, 2019

In the quickly changing city of Fengxian, China, innovative construction and design teams at AZL Architects have recently completed a residential project called Song House that serves as a caring, supportive home for several branches of old and young within the same extended family.

Although the modernization of certain areas of China has been largely positive in terms of an increase in average wealth, it has certainly contributed to the unfortunate disappearance of innumerable very small natural villages throughout the country. This has impacted the cultural heritage in many of these areas as well. In response, many architectural teams and homeowners are aiming to once again take advantage of all that these abandoned rural areas have to offer, going back to some of China’s home and cultural roots while adapting modern living systems for those locations.

Song House is one of these homes! Originally, the home’s location was chosen by a family looking to escape ever-rising and increasingly unaffordable living costs in the nearby city of Shanghai. Instead, they opted to invest their money in creating a home that has all of the modern immediate home conveniences of their city home but in a more peaceful place.

The owner also had the large consideration of his elderly mother’s need for care. Already a resident of the Fengxian countryside, the mother needed the support of family but would not thrive as well in the hustle and bustle of the city as she would in the calmer rural setting where all of her needs were already convenient and available. This influenced the family’s decision to move back out to the village where their roots lie.

In returning to their hometown of Nansong Village, the family made the decision to demolish their first house, a dilapidated little cottage that they left behind for the big city but still owned. They aimed to rebuild a new house that was much more modern and more suitable for generations both young and old, all at once. In fact, the house was planned to be so accessible and suitable for all generations that a set of in-laws who were also in need of health assistance were invited to live with the family and receive mutual are and support within the home’s welcoming walls as well.

Designing and building the home was no small feat. As an average working class crew, the Song family invested all of their savings into this space with the intention of making it everyone’s forever home. Since the intention was always to built it for a full family of at least eight, the family also put extra money towards meeting the needs, desires, and styles of each person to ensure it truly feels like home for every single person.

The new house is southward facing with an open-concept layout, enabling sun and fresh breezes from that side to enter the inner and outer spaces and maximizing lovely views of the surrounding area. At the front, the house opens out into a spacious atrium, which the family uses in myriad ways.

In keeping with the focus of re-adding traditional rural home elements to the space that have been lost from local architectural practice in recent years, designers built a large courtyard into the home’s outer spaces, centring it in the layout in order to establish it as the main hub of daily family and social activity.

Inside, the home boasts five bedrooms, each of which was custom designed for the actual family members using them. These rooms and the various shared spaces are arranged around the house’s central inner atrium in a way that creates easy flow, good accessibility, and interconnection but without sacrificing privacy and peace. The goal in arranging the rooms this was was to create an easy sense of daily ritual and a sense of belonging, as though the family and home are its own community.

On the ground floor, just off the lowest point of the atrium, designs built a lovely, welcoming living room filled with lots of light. Next to that, within easy reach, is Song’s mother’s room, giving her a short distance to travel from bed to another comfortable place for a change of scenery. A bathroom was place to the other side of the bedroom, with a high toilet and a specially designed shower large enough for two people, making it accessible and simple for personal assistance.

Across the atrium, on the north side, a large dining room and open layout kitchen feature plenty of seating room for the whole family. This kitchen was designed as an informal social space for family bonding or meal prep, chores, and regular daily routines. This is another space where updated pieces and tradition meet; the kitchen features both a gas stove for modern cooking and an earthen stove as was once traditional in the area, allowing older family members who have never used a gas stove before and would prefer not to use one to be just as involved in cooking family meals. There is also a small kitchen garden out back where the oldest grandmother grows vegetables for the family, as us customary.

The central location of the atrium has a spiritual function as well as a practical and convenient one. The room is built around a stainless steel rendering of the Chinese character for the family’s last name that has been inlaid into the floor. This positions the rest of the house as though it is embracing the family’s symbol, creating a true sense of belonging.

On the home’s second storey, two bedrooms have been customized for the two older couples in the family. These are placed near a beautifully open family room, letting the couples bond without having to go downstairs. A specially built accessible restroom is placed near by as well. The bedroom of the youngest couple, the owner’s daughter and her husband, is placed on the far side of the second storey, giving them their privacy to the extent of relatively independent living.

Although it does not have an elevator, the house is accessible for the in-law’s wheelchairs. There is a ramp that extends from the top floor, near their bedroom, outside the house and gently, safely downward, allowing not only accessible movement from one storey to another but also between indoor and outdoor living spaces, making sure everyone in the house gets fresh air and sun.

A unique system of openings, intentional holes in the walls between rooms, and mirrors creates almost seamless continuity between the rooms, ensuring that no elderly person ever feels isolated or cut off from the social spaces of the house and the rest of the family. The whole purpose of the home’s design truly is to enable young and old alike to care for one another fully.

Photos by Li Yao

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Modular dwelling called House in the Orchard creatednby LDA.iMdA architetti associati as a unique interpretation of shape and minimalism

By • Sep 10, 2019

True to its name, the House in the Orchard, located in San Miniatio, Italy, actually sits nestled amidst the trees in a real orchard! Design teams at LDA.iMdA architetti associati built the little home to explore space, shape, and natural context in unique, minimalist, and efficient ways.

Although the building is, indeed, a private home, certain aspects of its structure are built to mimic more public spaces’ function and shape, like its focus on open concept layouts and its transparent walled ends that create a visual blending of indoor and outdoor space, creating a feeling of increased square footage despite its actual modest but efficient size.

Speaking of efficiency, the actual systems used to power the house and make it run are highly efficient as well! This includes the hydro, the heating and cooling mechanisms, and even the home’s facade. The external coating around the whole house, which gives it quite a monolithic look, creating stunning continuity, was made by covering a wooden frame in an ecologically protective polyolefin sheet, which has a high solar reflectance, preventing the interior from becoming overheated.

The shape and structure of the house actually inspired by that of a classic greenhouse meant for plants, but wildly re-imagined and invigorated. As you might know if you’ve ever worked with plants, the average greenhouse (exception those used on high production farms and so on) is not a place fit for anything but a plant to inhabit. Here, however, the shape, level of natural light reaching the interiors, and temperature control technology has been updated and adapted for actual living in a permanent home.

The exterior of the house isn’t the only space that got a little bit innovative and green with its materiality. Designers ensured that the home’s interior followed suit as well! For example, the flooring of the main room is covered in a material that uses anti-infiltration, water resistant protective products to coat a prefabricated wooden floor. This is great for improving insulation and energy emissions and conservation. The floor is also built from “self-supporting” panels, making it sturdy and resistant to weathering or wear and tear; it is layered with larch wood, polystirene, and then fir wood.

The emphasis on plant life that surrounds and inspires this home doesn’t stop at its shape and location. Designers also wanted to integrate and enable the dweller’s favourite hobby as best they could. You see, the owner absolutely adores vegetable gardening! This is part of the reason the house was kept modest in size and green in function; they wished to make the most of the available plot as far as gardening space was concerned.

The emphasis on smalltime agriculture and modern home technology creates a beautifully blended home experience both within and directly surrounding the house itself. The whole place has a sense of green prioritization, as well as a strong relationship between energy conservation and natural production.

Originally, designers briefly considered a much larger design that would have included an extra interior gardening space that was intended as a winter gardening plot or greenhouse. Upon reflection, however, they opted to create just the little house you see here, basing it in part on classic children’s drawings of houses in its bare shape. Cutting out the additional building process and square footage stopped the structure itself from leaving too big a footprint on the land. After all, clearing natural land to create indoor spaces for gardening, instead of just gardening the land, seemed counterintuitive on this small scale.

Speaking of reducing impact on the land, designers found another way to make this happen physically as well! Instead of building the house so its entire ground floor lays flush on top of the earth beneath it, building teams created a raised frame in which the house appears to sit on solid, strong stilts. This allows natural growth right underneath and minimized the amount of clearing that had to be done in order to erect the building.

Over all, the house exists as an example of the design team’s ongoing study and prioritization of the way that architecture can build and maintain relationships with the land, as well as how fluid combinations of modern technology and the natural world can benefit home and societal experiences.

Photos by MEDULLA Studio

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Uniquely shaped Efjord Retreat Cabin created by Stinessen Arkitektur in the waterways of Norway

By • Sep 9, 2019

On the Lofoten archipelago in Northern Norway, creative designers have teamed up with esteemed local architects at Stinessen Arkitektur to conceptualize and complete the unique holiday home called Efjord Retreat Cabin. Located in Narvik in Norway, the actual plot on which the cabin sits on a small branch of water right off the Ofoten fiord. It is nestled onto a little island called Halvaroy, on a natural ledge that affords the little home breathtaking views in essentially every direction and from every room.

The natural terrain of the island presented both challenges and opportunities to the design and constructions crews working on the project. In the end, they opted to orient the cabin to the west, giving it a primary view overlooking the wider fiord itself and stretching on towards two of the country’s most challenging climbing peaks.

This particular location might seem a little too far out there for some, but this was precisely the intention of the designers because it was actually the primary goal and desire of the owner. From the outset, the whole concept of the cabin was to provide them with a retreat experience that truly feels as though it has transported them into a place of peaceful isolation and total quiet privacy. As a person whose life is often engulfed by the bustle of big cities and the hectic nature of full time work days, the owner wanted a complete and drastic deviation from that experience for total healing relaxation.

In order to create that atmosphere, designers created a building that has a truly unique shape. The concept here was to build certain parts of the building so they feel as though they open and close in different directions, giving each area within those parts a different feeling, atmosphere, or experience, depending on the owner’s mood or needs at any given point.

For example, the eastern section of the cabin tapers and “closes” towards some neighbouring buildings not far in the distance, limiting views of those buildings (and those buildings’ views into the cabin) for privacy. At the same time, the cabin opens to a large glass wall towards a swooping ridge and some stunning close by terrain right across, creating the feeling that other structures and humans are truly far off the cabin is simply existing amidst calming nature.

The same tapering and expanding, or “opening” and “closing” techniques were built in elsewhere in the cabin as well. Magnificent views are established as a focal point of the main rooms by the way the front end of the cabin appears to open up towards the dramatic sight of the mountains and the flowing fiord below them to the west.

In terms of its layout, the cabin is split into two cohesive volumes that, despite being oriented differently, don’t actually feel cut off from each other. The two volumes do sit slightly offset from one another in order to let their angular edges provide a bit of shade and shelter to some outdoor areas that exist on their axes and ends. This also gives each volume its own end on all sides, letting designers incorporate more large windows with more extremely impressive views for a panoramic feel from anywhere inside the house.

The incorporation of outdoor spaces that blend nearly seamlessly with the indoor ones, as well as the way the cabin sits atop a high point in the terrain but has a clear view of the different surrounding peaks and valleys, makes it feel and look as though it truly fits with its natural setting. The cabin’s particular orientation and height also works well with the movement of the sun, which rises towards the open functional spaces and sets towards the private sleeping areas, letting the owner’s routine flow well with the natural course of the daylight.

The cabin also blends quite well with its surroundings in terms of its materiality. The exterior consists of primarily only two materials: core pinewood and structural glazing. For durability, the wood was treated with iron sulfate; this also gives it an even, pleasant appearance that suits its environment well.

The cabin’s exterior isn’t the only place where wood appears! Inside the house, many of the surfaces are clad in birch veneer, which contrasts beautifully with the granite tile and stone across other details. Inside the sauna and the bathrooms, which were built with relaxation and body healing in mind, the floors and ceilings are also clad in aspen slats.

Photos provided by the architect.

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Ultra modern Guaratinguetá House created by Ricardo Abreu Arquitetos using the beauty and durability of ceramic as the inspiration

By • Sep 6, 2019

In a lovely, quiet neighbourhood in the suburbs of Vila Paraiba, Brazil, Architectural innovators at Ricardo Abreu Arquitetos have recently completed a modern housing project with a slightly more traditional inspiration, dubbing it Guaratinguetá House.

At its very conception, the house was inspired by the idea of using ceramic, a material that can be both quite beautiful and quite strong. That idea was honoured all throughout the planning, designing, and building process, so it we’re sure it will make as much sense to you as it does to us that many different surfaces in the finished house feature or are made entirely from ceramic.

For the most part, a beautiful ceramic technique is used to cover a wide range of surfaces and facades within and outside of the house. Parts of the home’s facade feature ceramic in the details, as do the interior floors, walls, and some furnishing and decor details. Because there are so many different types of ceramic and ways to use it, incorporating this material so well allowed designers to explore all kinds of different textures, finishes, colours, and characteristics in each situation within this home.

Of course, the exterior facade of a durable home that will withstand weather can’t be entirely made from ceramic! This is why designers also chose to construct much of their structure using light bricks and dark bricks, alternated and grouped in ways that not only benefit the house in terms of which were placed where for density and durability, but also creating colour interest across the home’s facade and on several accent walls inside too.

In terms of its physical layout, the house is composed of three volumes. The first one is largely constructed of light bricks, with the next volume on top of that featuring the darker brick facade we mentioned before. The three volumes are distinct looking but still have good flow and cohesiveness between them inside, stopping any part of the house from feeling too cut off. The way they’re arranged in a staggered manner downplays how tall the residence actually is, keeping it low to the ground and modest looking.

The largest example of ceramic tiling in the house is undoubtedly on the floors, and this feature is consistent between all of the rooms in the house. The tiles look nice and uniform but also actually have a practical function as well; they help keep the house feeling nice and cool throughout the day, reducing the home’s impact on the environment in terms of heating and cooling systems by enacting a bit of passive cooling.

As you move through the house, you might notice that there isn’t actually a hard, limiting material barrier between most of the rooms. Of course, privacy was absolutely provided in the sleeping and personal areas, but the rest of the house is quite open concept and seamless feeling. A perfect example of this is between the living room, dining room, kitchen, and veranda.

There is a clear visual delineation of space based on style and function, of course, which helps the layout of the house make sense and keeps things in order. Overall, however, there is very little physical separation between rooms and spaces, in hopes that energy flow, movement, communication, and sunlight will travel through the house well, making just about every experience had there more pleasant for family members and visitors alike.

If you’re still following the presence of the porcelain tiles, then you might as well follow them right outside the house, through a set of wonderfully large sliding doors, and on into what designers describe as a “gourmet terrace”. This is a lovely outdoor lounge and social hosting space on the external top of the first volume, laid out like a patio in the air. The tiles in question continue across the floor out the door and all across the terrace, once again creating a dialogue between spaces inside and outside of the home’s walls.

The two floors (there are three volumes, but two sit on the same upper storey level) are connected by a concrete but modern looking floating style staircase described by designers as being “monumental”. This staircase has cantilevered steps and, across the facade of the concrete stairs, features a combination of black and white marbled porcelain tiles. The finished product was so satisfactory to everyone involved in the home’s creation that it has actually become recognized as a standout piece in the home!

Outside, the home has its own backyard space with a modest but lush green lawn. Here, designers built a beautiful swimming pool that, though sizeable, was primarily included for relaxation. The tiled theme continues even here, outside the house, where the edge of the pool is tiled in cool grey stone squares that add a calming but luxurious effect.

Photos by Andre Mortatti

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