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.
Breathtaking Lochside House provides off-grid highland haven and wins RIBA House of the Year for 2018
By Stefan • Dec 27, 2018
While Lochside House by Haysom Ward Miller Architects provides an undoubtedly unique highland experience thanks to its off-the-grid location and its breathtaking surroundings, it’s not the traditionally rustic experience you might be expecting!
As the winner of the RIBA House of the Year for 2018, this lovely house gives you a natural neutral experience that simultaneously combines into the landscape of the wild Scottish Highlands and provides a cozy yet modern escape inside its wooden walls, all at once. The effect is truly a feat in blending aesthetics and atmospheres!
Lochside House looks like yet another humble cottage on the edge of a lake, but you know there’s more to it the moment you learn that it was awarded the title of being the UK’s best house in 2018, winning out over a shortlist of seven other rather impressive projects.
Lochside House was created for a ceramic artist who desired private space amongst nature in which to create and seek inspiration. The house consists of three humble buildings and is hand crafted using traditional techniques and natural materials that perfectly complement the home’s beautiful surroundings.
In order to create the proper aesthetic, designers used charred Scottish larch to clad the building’s exterior, complementing sections that are shielded by traditional drystone wall. The wooden theme continues inside but in a slightly less intense way, providing a natural but lighter and more airy aesthetic. High ceilings are lined with oil timber, for example.
In the centre of the living room, a beautiful painted stone fireplace serves as a toasty focal point for guests and family gatherings. Large windows, running almost floor to ceiling, perfectly frame a vivid and wonderfully positioned view of the lake and the mountains outside.
Although the materials inside sound rather rustic and natural in their nature, the scaled back approach that designers took allowed for smoother lines and colour schemes that somehow make things appear more streamlined and contemporary inside, despite the consistency in materials.
Beyond the charm provided by slightly more contemporary colour schemes and shapes inside the home, there is beauty in the more detailed decor and layout as well. Remember that this home was created for a ceramics artist and then view how the home’s shapes and spaces merge with the artist’s own works and wider art collection. This establishes a thorough sense of cohesive style that is all at once impressive, comforting, and effortlessly homey.
Now, when we say the house is “off the grid”, we don’t just meant that it’s rural; we literally mean it’s off the power grids provided by local municipalities. Instead, Lochside House produces its own electricity using solar panels. It also sources clean water from its very own independent borehole.
Part of what influenced RIBA judges to choose this house as the UK’s best home of the year was the beauty and efficiency with which it was built despite the nature and weather challenges presented by its remote location. Not even the often harsh weather of the Scottish highlands during the winter prevented the team from achieving their vision.
By Stefan • Dec 27, 2018
Using the seemingly regular concept of stacked boxes as inspiration, Brazilian studio Bloco Arquitetos has designed a wonderfully spacious family home that is, in essence, a series of stacked “boxes” itself. These form a series of courtyards and terraces that provide private and social spaces almost unparalleled in its beauty.
The House of Courtyards is located in the capital of Brazil, in a residential neighbourhood in the city of Brasilia. Totalling 950 square metres, the home sits on a flat plot that lacks a bit in vegetation. Designers built and stacked a series of “boxes” or volumes that sit at angles such that they appear to push outward and pull inward at once, all from their place on the home’s base.
The angles of the volumes and how they’re stacked do more than just look directionally intriguing! Parts of certain “boxes” also protrude over the edges of the parts of the house they sit on, creating a sort of covered porch area or shady shelter from the sun at different spots around the house.
Besides the unique shape, the first thing people often notice about House of Courtyards is how incredibly stark white it is. The exterior walls of the volumes and main house are made of carefully white-painted ceramic brick, which contrast quite well with vast, inset glass. These expanses of glass are provided some shade thanks to a recessed window structure. Short eaves, also formed by the edges of the stacked volumes, give the windows a bit of shade so the rooms inside don’t take on too much solar heat on long Brazilian summer days.
From the main windows and doors, a lovely view of Brasilia’s city centre can be enjoyed. A little closer than the city, which lies 10 km away, a pretty view of the house’s own yard with its stunning swimming pool can be seen with ease. The neighbourhood the house sits in has undergone a bit of a green overhaul to counteract all the flat land and the abundance of paved surfaces. Residents have fostered large stretches of lush grass, young trees with space to grow, and lovely flowering shrubs; all plants in species and types that are native to the local area.
Inside the house, public rooms where guests might visit or where the family might work from home are all located on the ground floor for easy access. Private rooms, like bedrooms and bathrooms, on the other hand, are built across the upper level, distributed throughout the stacked volumes or “boxes”.
The volumes where the bedrooms are located are positioned according to what’s best for each area specifically. By this, we mean that there is no hierarchy of rooms; no “master bedroom” or “small guest room” that might have more or less value in experience. Instead, each room has a perfect level of view, privacy, and orientation according to sunlight based on where it sits in the stack.
In addition to fantastic views, most of the rooms are also afforded direct access to one of the house’s six courtyards. On the upper floors, this is through lovely patio doors that open onto grassy terraces. The top of the home even features a rooftop “sightseeing terrace” accessed by a beautiful white stone, open air staircase.
Following the stark white theme, the interior decor scheme also includes white walls, light wood flooring, and white cabinetry. Though the furniture was brought from the owner’s previous residence, most of it also fits the white theme quite nicely, rounding out the whole visual experience well.
Photographs by Haruo Mikami
By Stefan • Dec 24, 2018
Fig Tree House is a stunning example of how longstanding city buildings can be updated and modernized without losing their old fashioned, more traditional appeal. Located in La Haya, The Netherlands, this tall home recently underwent a small transformation in the back in the form of a beautiful open concept extension designed and created by by Bloot Architecture.
Because the house is located in an historic area, namely The Hague’s Vogelwijk district, the style of the house extension was kept a minimalist, making it contrast sharply but beautifully with the slightly more rustic red brick of the 1927 house.
In the front, the house maintains its original structure while, around back, the lovely old fig tree it was named after stretches its branches across the yard. Previously to the extension, however, that namesake wasn’t actually visible from inside the house, something the owners lamented. This is why owners and designers agreed that a full glass extension, with floor to ceiling window walls, was the best solution!
Because the new section extends beyond the perimeter of the original house into the yard, and also because its glass walls can be slid back to open the room entirely into the open air, it appears to create a more cohesive relationship with the house, the fig tree, and the environment around the two.
In conceptualizing the extension, designers aimed to bring sharp contrast to the old building. The brick house, which hearkens back to older elements of Art Nouveau styles and the Amsterdam School, stands out masterfully agains the black and glass of the new section, outlining its stunning minimalism.
The new structure is built from seamless glass with subtle framing, meaning that there are virtually no visible barriers between the house’s warmth and comfort and the natural space around the fig tree if one looks out from inside the house. This means that daylight is given free reign throughout the bottom floor, keeping spaces bright and cheerful. When the walls are slid back and the sun shines in the evening, dinner at the regular dining table can feel like a picnic outside in the fresh air!
Perhaps the most stark meeting of old and new aesthetics and materials takes place in the kitchen. Here, the concrete floor of the original house meets the new kitchen walls that the extension frame is rooted in, creating a beautiful blend of materials and design styles.
Photographs by Christian van der Kooy
By Stefan • Dec 13, 2018
Allotment House is a stunningly simple modular home project by Kristian Olesen that blesses any visitor with a fragrant wood aesthetic and a cozy atmosphere that immediately makes them feel right at home. It is located in Aarhus, Denmark, nestled right into the scenic area around the Brabrand lake.
The house itself was inspired by a Nordic tradition that eventually became its namesake. Allotment houses are classically self-built wooden cabins that are extremely space efficient and leave you wanting for nothing despite their small size. They are typically built entirely recycled materials and this particular Allotment House follows that custom to the letter.
The purpose of the little house was to give owners a place to escape city life so they can enjoy spending some time closer to nature. Designers place this home on a lovely green patch that’s perfect for gardening, allowing dwellers to grow their own vegetables. These gardens also help connect the little house better to the landscape, helping it look much less like it was just placed down on a patch of grass to stand out.
On the southwest side of the modular home, folding terraces extend, letting dwellers open up the interior space like a continuation of the living room. This blends indoor and outdoor experiences in a beautiful way that lets people take in the view even better than they already can naturally from the setting of the house.
In terms of its shape, the house is purposely compact, which works well in the limited size of the plot. To avoid making it seem too small (or being buried in the snow in Danish winters), the house is raised slightly on a stilt foundation. This provides a better view as well and protects the floors from spring flooding.
Inside, the house features a singular space that spans the whole length and width of the building, like a fully open-concept home. A vaulted ceiling gives things a unique shaped by mimicking the actual exterior structure of the building closely. In the centre, visitors encounter a divided volume that visually separates the open space into main rooms like a living room, a kitchen, and a bedroom.
Just in case open-concept living isn’t your thing, Allotment House actually also features interior sliding doors. These come out of pockets in the walls, pulling across the room on either side in order to create more physically distinct spaces. This is useful for hosting guests who want some privacy when they’re sleeping, for example.
When designers first conceptualized the house, they aimed to place the functional features and spaces in a continuous line so as to foster seamless movement that reflects the owners’ needs and lifestyles. This is why storage, the kitchen, the utility room, and an outside shed can be found all organized in a linear fashion called “the function-line”. With the practical features all kept in a company solution, extra space is created and saved for socializing, relaxing, and leisure!
As you’ll notice immediately, the house is rich in smooth, light wooden surfaces. This lines up with Nordic building traditions and creates a calm cohesiveness all throughout the house, both inside and outside. Continuity and interesting geometric shape is created by the way the wood travels all across the floor, up the walls, and undisturbed into the peak of the roof, both inside and outside. Galvanized wooden furniture keeps things consistent and traditional as well.
Between the lovely pine minimalism of the whole interior and the fully glass walls and doors at each end of the house, designers created a sense of vast spaciousness despite working with a limited square footage. This lets the owners take in a stunning view but also keeps things natural and in line with the landscape and the design’s traditional Nordic roots.
Photographs by: Kristian Olesen
Retro House, Dubbed Re-Open House, Updated With an Appealing Open Concept by Matt Fajkus Architecture
By Stefan • Dec 12, 2018
Re-Open House is a recent transformation project planned and completed by Matt Fajkus Architecture. Located in Austin, Texas, this dwelling harnesses all the retro style of the original home but gives owners an updated structure to enjoy with increased comfort.
During this transformation, designers prioritized several things. First, they made sure the house would get plenty of natural light no matter what room you’re in. Next, they strove to use simple materials that would provide lots of style with minimal cost and ecological impact. Finally, they aimed to created a free flowing space where guests and family members could move seamlessly between spaces without feeling cut off from one another.
At the same time as they wanted to update the house, designers sought to remodel the structure in a way that still preserved the original mid-century mod style it came with. They worked on an interior design scheme that had a slightly retro feel, while also adding features that established a direct connection with nature to offset city living.
In order to open the space up more than the original structure offered, builders raised the roof and knocked out some walls to unify social and common living spaces. This consolidated practical portions of the house used by all members of the family, making the spaces more positive to spend time in, but also letting private bedrooms become more desirable by establishing them as more of a haven than before.
Thought they raised the ceiling, designers did not change the unique angle it sits at. This point of the house remained the same as part of their efforts to preserve some of its original style. The sharp angle also gives the house a little bit of privacy from the street as it nestles behind its bordering trees and hedges.
In order to really drive home the connection to nature we mentioned earlier, designers also built several patios into different parts of the house. First they added some shared patios in the common areas of the house and then they included smaller patios behind sliding glass doors that extend off the bedrooms. This lets dwellers access nature close to where they sleep and enjoy private outdoor moments more easily if they wish.
Inside, wooden ceilings and piled stone walls bolster that sense of natural material used and the incorporation of the landscape. These materials were gathered a purchased locally. The overall decor scheme is kept light in vast colour palette but features several pops of colour in each room, letting those pieces stand out like mod accents. Occasionally, guests will find an entire accent wall as well, as in the kitchen and the guest bathroom, where a brightly coloured, mod patterned wallpaper draws the eye and reminds everyone that this house has a history in its list of influences.
Photographs by: Charles Davis Smith
By Stefan • Dec 12, 2018
Sydney Street House is a stunning transformation project planned and carried out by innovative design teams at Fouché Architects. Located in Brisbane, Australia, this project remodelled an original pre-1946 house that was a boarding house once upon a time.
The original structure of the house was raised and segregated when it was taken over for boarding. Renovators at the time closed all of its verandahs and internalized a lot of what was previously a more open-concept layout. Places where outdoor and indoor areas were once connected were closed off almost entirely and most functional spaces were internalized in ways that reduced natural lighting.
As a result of those changes, this latest renovation sought to reverse much of the closed off work and literally, as its name suggests, re-open the house! Designers aimed to bring light back into the overall space, reinstate the connectivity between rooms and also between the indoor and outdoor spaces, and general add an airier and more cohesive atmosphere to the whole property.
Rather than expanding in their transformation, builders and designers wanted to work with the space they already had but take better, more open advantage of it. They decided on taking a tactile approach to structure and decor that, in addition to making the house’s living spaces more enjoyable to spend time in, will make people actually want to use the rooms. After all, houses are truly meant to be lived in!
In addition to the internal re-opening, designs made sure to invest time and effort in re-opening the outside space in a better connected way as well. They began this process by rebuilding the upper floor verandah that gave the master bedroom a relaxing outdoor connection with a little bit of privacy.
Next, a back verandah was re-added with an extension, making the two areas feel like one thanks for the ability of dwellers to move seamlessly between the two. This makes the primary living space feel much grander and more open-concept. An entire sense of establishing verbal and physical communication was built throughout the home as a result. This is even evident in the way the pool fence was made from durable glazed glass, as though there’s no barrier at all!
Finally, spaces were opened up and better connected visually in the use of natural materials to build the home. This is particularly true in the way wood and stone are incorporated both internally and externally, particularly since the colour finished coordinated with the landscape around the house, blending it into its surroundings rather than making it stand out from its environment too harshly.
Photographs by: Cieran Murphy
Haddock House, a Famous Historical Designer’s Personal Project, Brought to Life Years Later by Taliesin Associated Architects
By Stefan • Dec 11, 2018
Haddock House, recently brought to life many years after its inception by Taliesin Associated Architects, is a beautifully built, stunningly retro inspired home located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The original design for this house was conceptualized, sketched, and planned by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had created the image of this innovative home as a one-of-a-kind customized masterpiece for a northern Wisconsin school teacher and friend in 1938. The house, however, was never actually built before Wright passed away.
Forty years after Wright designed the plans for this house, a University of Michigan professor named Frederick Haddock purchased it from Wright’s widow. He then partnered with the architectural firm Taliesin Associated Architects, founded many years earlier by Wright himself to manage his legacy, to bring Wright’s masterpiece to life.
With the help of Taliesin, Haddock chose a 10 acre plot of luscious green lawn and wooded areas sloping gently down towards Honey Creek. This met not only what Haddock wanted, but also the kind of site that Wright’s original design was conceptualized to exist in. Once the house was built, it was named after professor Haddock himself.
Now, Haddock House is a stunning structure with unending visual appeal and lots of artistic angles and texture. It was designed in the style of Wright’s classic Usonian homes, known for their efficient living capabilities and the way they’re built specifically to blend in with their natural surroundings.
Haddock House is build with slanting layers of wood, panels of shining glazed glass, and high ceilings intended to increase feelings of spaciousness even farther that its actual square footage. Personal rooms, like the bedrooms and bathrooms, are designed to appear as cozy and warm as possible, heavily featuring natural woods and materials that follow the aesthetic of blending in with the house’s wooded surroundings.
The rest of the house follows those stunning wooden guidelines too, getting creative with small details like lamps and art pieces that continue the grained theme. In contrast to all that wood, a beautiful space in the garden features a lovely landscape design that nods to traditional Japanese gardens.
Once the house was finished and put up for sale, Haddock made sure to include original drawings and blueprints, as well as letters of authentication from Taliesen Associated Architects. These confirmed to new owners that house was now just a Frank Lloyd Wright design, but a pristinely completed and incredibly unique one-of-a-kind Wright masterpiece.
Photogra11phs by: PlanOmatic
Swiss Holiday Home Designed by alp Architektur Lischer Partner Gives Visitors Unbelievable Hillside Views
By Stefan • Dec 10, 2018
In the mountainous countryside of Vitznau, Switzerland, a stunning and space efficient hillside cabin, dubbed Holiday Home by designers alp Architektur Lischer Partner, has captivated locals with its simplistic beauty. From the beginning, the client’s primary desire was to live in a homey timber house reminiscent of the holiday cabins of their childhood memories. Because of the topography of the area they fell in love with, which sits on a hillside surrounded by exceptionally natural environment, designers had to get rather innovative in their approach.
First, teams designed and built a hard shell of concrete that would eventually become a durable facade, encasing and protecting the timber inside which exists within it like a soft core. Next, they built a the inner house from a pre-fabricated timber frame, which was erected, sealed into place, and insulated on site. This method is referred to as a “house in a house” approach.
The outright cubic shape of the Holiday Home helps anchor the structure down into the hillside’s slope. From the edge of the land’s plot line, a small bridge leads from the entryway into an open courtyard. This features a garage and the entrance to the home itself.
Because the concrete facade we mentioned before was created from a Wesen gravel found locally, it adopts the same sort of graininess and reddish tone that you’ll see on the natural rock face situated directly behind the house. In contrast, the wooden floors, walls, and ceiling are all made from light larch wood. Thanks to several open insets in the concrete where the large, view-framing windows placed to look out over Lake Lucerne, the timber can actually be seen from the outside of the house as well, creating lovely contrast.
Inside, the common spaces and most practical rooms, such as the dining and living rooms and the kitchen, are positioned a little bit differently to the average houses you might have visited before. That’s because they sit on the top floor instead of the ground floor!
On the two lowers floors, you’ll find bedrooms that are accessed by staircases on opposing sides of the main entrance. This unique structure creates a central corridor off of which various rooms can be found, sitting in different orientations to give each one a view that’s entirely unique to that particular space.
Moving into the common spaces, you can see how island style units (also built in larch wood) have been used to provide storage and also divide the space according to function, zoning out the main rooms. This space features a cloak room near the rear of the kitchen, as well as a comfortable living room that boasts both an impressive fireplace and a media cabinet.
The compact storage theme continues down towards the bedrooms, with each one containing its very own en suite unit with a built-in clothes cupboard. The way the rooms are divided but still afforded access to everything a guest needs resembles an adorable, private holiday hotel experience.
Photographs by: Roger Frei
San Cayetano Mountain Residence Provides Stunning Stone Haven Thanks to Paul Weiner and DesignBuild Collaborative
By Stefan • Dec 7, 2018
San Cayetano Mountain Residence, conceptualized and brought to life by Paul Weiner and DesignBuild Collaborative, is a beautiful, industrial inspired home located in Santa Cruz County, United States.
This unique home sits on a bedrock formation that’s anything but even. Designers and builders were presented with unique challenges in navigating jutting rocks and outcroppings all over the plot, but that became part of the appeal in creating a home that suited the area. It’s not often one gets to build a haven in a place so remote, particularly one that is elevated above an actual desert!
The team sought to built a home that bore colours and materials suitable to blend with the dry grasslands. These lands are filled with oak trees, mesquites, seasonal wildflowers and lush riparian areas. The goal was to make a home that stood out artistically and had a lot of visual appeal without detracting from the natural surroundings or looking out of place entirely.
At the same time, elements in the desert and grasslands are harsh. The area at once bears a sense of calm and chaotic, expansiveness and intimacy, hard elements and soft plant life. The house needed to complement its lush surroundings but also withstand monsoonal storms, intense heat and sun exposure, and cold temperatures in the dead of night. In the end, each of these things is worth it for the view the area provides.
In the first part of the well anchored house, guests encounter a spacious living room pavilion. This room centres entirely upon capturing a view of the phenomenal landscape the house sits in. Out the impressively sized window, and also from the adjacent outdoor “room” that gives additional social space, Mount Wrightson is framed in all its magnanimity. Guests can soak up the view from the comfort of sinking couch cushions or a patio chair that sits between ocotillo and natural jagged rock faces.
The outdoor room isn’t the only exterior space designed to balance the comfort of the house’s indoor social and private rooms. Designers included an additional space in the form of a rooftop deck with a full 360 degree view. This space connects distant views and night skies with more immediate outcroppings on the house’s own hillside.
In choosing their materials, designers decided to keep things local and use things that complement and even come from the surrounding nature they intended to nestle the home right into. The frame is built from locally sourced stone, pigmented plaster (for colour consistency), and oxidized steel. This establishes a sort of industrial aesthetic that suits the environment so well that it comes off as surprisingly homey rather than intimidating or cold.
In total, the house is composed of three separate buildings. First, guests enter the main house, which bears all the primary social and functional spaces of your average home. Next, you’ll find a detached studio and a separately build carport, which protects the family vehicle from the harsh desert elements we mentioned previously. These structures are built to extend the space and the shape of the entire house towards the plot’s bordering rock spine, serving to further blend the house with its environment.
Shape and materiality aren’t the only methods of blending space that designers used to keep the house cohesive with its habitat. Dwellers can move almost seamlessly between interior and exterior spaces thanks to the pairing of outdoor components in almost all of the main rooms (including the living room, dining room, and kitchen), as well as secluded outdoor sitting areas for every bedroom and even an outdoor, rock built shower paired with the master bathroom!
Because the house exists in an area that experiences intense sun, designers made sure to built the house such that plenty of shade is accessible to family members and guests. This only further their goal of simultaneously embracing and building a distinct haven within the plot’s rugged terrain. First, they built angled or cantilevered roof planes that cast shadows strategically on certain outdoor social areas. They also affixed trellises fro shade and definition in each outdoor “room” and adjacent to the calming lap pool in the back of the house. Finally they installed horizontal shade screens that fold down and secure across glass surfaces for privacy, shade, or home care in the event of long absences.
What’s our favourite feature of the house, you ask? The impressive fireplace is actually rendered from crushed lava! This is unique in materiality and aesthetic and pays direct homage to the geological origins of the land, making it a central piece within the house’s overall decorum.
Photographs by: Liam Frederick Photography
Sprawling Desert Home by the Name of Lava House Gives Cool Shelter Thanks to Paul Weiner and DesignBuild Collaborative
By Stefan • Dec 6, 2018
Lava House by Paul Weiner and DesignBuild Collaborative is a stunning and expansive oasis home located in the heat of Pima County, United States. Locally known as the Tucson Mountain Lava House, this dwelling is situated within the rocky terrain of the Tucson Mountains that falls gently to the east, down towards the Santa Cruz River. Looking out across the vast landscape surrounding the plot, and even within the home’s direct area itself, you’ll find low-lying bedrock outcroppings, various types of towering cacti, and desert dwelling plants like palo verde, ocotillo, jojoba, and creosote.
Like many houses in the area, this structure was designed to be anchored into the natural terrain without interrupting it as much as possible. The house exists between weaving natural water sources and desert vegetation without drawing attention to human imprints on nature. It provides a lovely panoramic view, show dwellers the Tucson Mountains on one side and the Santa Catalina Mountains on the other.
The house features several very intentionally placed primary walls around which the rest of the house is built. This anchors it safely to its natural slope. Around these, public or social and private spaces are arranged. These are also carefully situated within the house to balance the need for lovely, natural sunlight in every room and the fact that Lava House can experience intense sunlight in some seasons that dwellers might want to seek shade from.
In a further attempt to control heat and also maximize views, this house is actually built quite low. It features horizontal roof planes and several overhangs, giving dwellers little shady havens throughout the property. This structure makes outdoor spaces like the deck and several rock and cacti gardens pleasant to sit in.
In terms of materiality, we’ve already spoken about attempts to blend the structure into the landscape in innovative ways. Perhaps the most notable and impressive tactic designers employed for this is in their use of a material called scoria. This is a mixture of crushed volcanic cinder hailing from the San Francisco volcanic fields in Northern Arizona. This material is cheaper than traditional concrete and also has a lower rate of heat absorption, keeping the home nice and cool on hot desert days.
Photographs by: Liam Frederick Photography
Located in Auckland, New Zealand, the Herne Bay Hideaway by Lloyd Hartley Architects is a breaktaking refurbishment project inside a 1960s brick and tile home.
The original building is nestled amidst a row of neighbouring houses, but slightly removed into its own space at the end of a long, winding driveway. Surrounded by Pohutukawa trees, the home is sat quite squatly and stubbornly smack in the middle of its plot. Before refurbishment, the building was functional but it failed to blend in any manner with the lovely surrounding landscape, giving designers a sense that it wasn’t taking advantage of its stunning view of Cox’s Bay in Waitemata Harbour.
Lloyd Hartley, head architect at his own firm, was asked by new owners to redesign this old house into a modern home that, according to his briefing, “…responds to its context and provides a private city oasis for a young family”. Hartley settled on several major design goals, one of which was the idea of creating a covered entry courtyard with a bridging to the house in order to provide the family with a pedestrian friendly entrance.
At the same time, this transformed entry space aims to provide visitors and dwellers with a sense of release once they’ve passed the end of the long driveway (where they can appreciate an exciting borrowed view of the neighbour’s impressive private tennis courts).
In terms of the house itself, Hartley’s desire to create the illusion of extra space and extra height while also increasing natural light was a huge driving force. Designers believe this would entirely enhance overall experiences in the building, so they opened a stairwell to draw in light from above. They also extended ceilings in the main living areas to fully embrace natural light and stunning outlooking views from the back.
Perhaps our favourite feature of the house is the way Hartley’s and teams linked indoor and outdoor spaces through the use of relaxing deck space. Visitors and family members can take in the beauty of the rear landscaping by sitting on ground level or upper decks, giving the house a much more free-flowing atmosphere, like you can move about the space and between indoor and outdoor areas without interruption.
In order to give the house a more timeless interior aesthetic than it once had (and to avoid the outdoor brick structure becoming dated looking all together), designers carefully selected a palette of neutral shades and natural materials. The clean detailing featured in every single room ties the house together, creating a cohesiveness that might not have been present had the chose to leave some rooms untouched while heavily modernizing others.
Photographs by: David Straight
Located in Altos del Maria, Panama, Cabin 192 is a vacation complex that JiA designed to feel like a utopian escape centred around relaxation and getting back in touch with yourself!
Throughout the design process, architects prioritized the idea of creating a comforting space for people of all ages. The 192 cabins are a family driven project conceived for long term stays. The project consists of three smaller cabins for privacy and a shared main house for social interaction.
Perhaps the most unique detail of this project is that the lead architect actually design the whole space with his own parents and his two brothers (along with their families) in mind. He did not intend to make the project luxurious or ostentatious, but rather a space where he can meet his family for quality time together. He hoped to create the cabin complex in a simple, low-cost way while also making something impressive, enjoyable, and of the high quality one would of course wish for their most loved people.
The cabins are build in a beautifully mountainous area of West Panama. Upon visiting the building site for the first time, designers noticed a large number of pine trees, which are not a species that is native to the region. They made the decision to clear out and reforest their new plot with local tree species that would produce shadows for the homes and also breed more native trees in the land naturally. The goal here was sustainability and environmental comfort.
Rather than simply doing away with the pines, designers opted to keep things green and upcycle their wood within the building process itself. The pine was used to build the perimeter fence around the plot and also the main cabin.
The cabins are intentionally quite small. Each of the three smaller spaces contains only a bathroom, a bedroom, and a kitchenette. The purposed of this is to provide each visitor with their own space while also encouraging them to spend time all together outdoors or in the main house. View in gallery View in gallery
When it came to choosing actual structure styles, designers felt inspired by topical buildings. The cabins are raised about the natural soil level like more traditional huts found throughout Panama. This helps keep the humidity of the tropics out of sleeping areas, letting them feel more cool and ventilated.
Cabin 192 undoubtedly feels like it has a personal touch along with its sense of simplicity, peace, and tranquility. This is probably because the head architect’s father, brothers, and friends actually helped complete its construction! The care that went into these buildings is evident and can be felt all around.
Photographs by: Alfredo Martiz
By Stefan • Nov 27, 2018
As if the location name of this house (which is nestled amidst the greenery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, United States) wasn’t adorable enough, Feldman Architecture named the structure Butterfly House, rendering it perhaps the most welcoming sound home we’ve ever heard of before we even set eyes on it!
Butterfly House was designed for an aging couple who intended to use it as a retirement retreat after a lifetime of hard work, as well as a relaxing escape for their grown children to give them a break from the everyday demands of work life. The search for this spectacular piece of land took two whole years, which motivated the designers to really do the area justice. When the clients found the plot, they noted countless butterflies fluttering through the meadow, which is why architects took that concept as inspiration and namesake for the house itself.
As part of doing the landscape justice, designers and the client agreed that the house should strive to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. They aimed to keep the aesthetic modern but simple with separate spaces for everyday living and visitors who want to rest. This is why the house was built with three distinct pavilions, each with their own impressive butterfly inspired roof.
Each pavilion of Butterfly House has its own function. The central pavilion, for example, contain the main living, dining, and cooking spaces. The other two provide everything residents and guests need for sleeping, bathing, and relaxing on their downtime. Though each pavilion is modest in size, all three feel free and sprawling thanks to the way each one opens out at the back into a lovely outdoor space set up like a room, giving visitors a stunning view of the canyon below the house and the Californian hills surrounding it in the distance.
One of our favourite facts about this house is that the butterfly inspired roofs aren’t just decorative! Although they do give the house an artsy feel that’s both modern but also cohesive with the natural landscape, they also harvest rainwater. This is an important “green” architectural feature in California, where water is an increasingly limited resource. Each roof funnels water into landscape integrated collection pools, which then funnel it into cisterns used to irrigate the natural landscape.
Particularly in the stormy season, the butterfly roofs are an innovation because they work with the natural topography of the area to carry water to parts of the land that need it. This creates what designers called a “seamless transition” between nature and building, a concept this mimicked throughout the home and each of the three pavilions. This is thanks in part to the inclusion of plants in the indoor and outdoor decor schemes, letting greenery move through the building the way water moves through the land. These elements inspire a calming sense of quiet and naturally artful awareness.
Keeping with the theme of enabling a natural flow of all things between indoor and outdoor areas, the colour scheme of the house is quite neutral as well. This is reflected in the concrete floors and walls, large glass windows and opening doors, plywood ceilings, and steel supports. These natural surfaces also keep the space cool without running systems that put a strain on the environment; concrete and glass absorb much of the sunlight and heat during the day and releasing it at night when things cool down. The house uses very little energy as a result of this and a hidden solar panel system that runs nearly everything inside.
Golf House, built by BAM! Arquitectura in stunning Belen de Escobar, Argentina, is an impressive stacked dwelling built with the aesthetic of a businessman whose primary hobby is golfing in mind!
Besides modelling the house after the style of a successful person who might golf in his spare time, designers of Golf House worked with another main goal: to explore the possibilities of material and volume and create a space that hits the perfect balance mark between opposing concepts. This resulted in an impressive structure that, according to the architects, exists in the spaces between heavy and light, closed and open, industrial and comfortable, impressive and simple.
The overall effect is an outward structure that stands out against its surrounding landscape without overpowering it. This is nice since the Golf House, unsurprisingly, is actually built on a natural terrain that gives it a lovely view of a golf course with its own lagoon.
Despite the heavy presence of concrete and the near severity in visuals created by the slate colours, the straight lines, and the clean, modern surfaces, the house does not feel cold or unwelcome. Instead, the strong presence of nature both in- and outside the home gives it an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. For example, several glass walls open entirely so that concrete indoor spaces lead into green spaces filled with natural light and light breezes. This creates space, blurs limits, and allows the landscape to feel like its pouring into the manmade structure in a beautiful way.
The way the top floor of the house appears stacked on top of the concrete base serves to allow visitors to take in the view from a new height, providing them with a whole new perspective on the surrounding area. At the same time, the very square shape of not only the building itself but the windows therein frames the view in a way that focuses their vision and lets them appreciate the aesthetic contrast between the rolling green terrain and the business-like spaces in the home.
Every space in Golf House has been carefully planned out, placed, and decorated. Designers state that the goal here was to create a feeling of receiving a tour of the home as you walk through it; perhaps one that mirrors the owner’s daily experiences. First, you’re greeted with a formidable structure that has a modern, solid looking entryway and simplistic decor leading away from the front of the house. As you travel back and up, however, you see how these business-like elements of home and life melt away into more open rooms with more natural decor elements, blending golf and nature into the aesthetic the way hobbies and downtime complete the life of a person once they’ve left work.
This sense is particularly notable if you pay attention to the windows as you make your way through the house. You’ll notice how their structure and placement changes. Small skylights that lighten darker, concrete spaces give way to larger, more frequent windows filled with sunlight until you’ve reached the back of the house. On either floor, you’re faced with entirely glass walls that make the lovely natural view feel like it’s pouring into the house. The windows give you a full progression!
Part of the reason the modern looking house doesn’t appear to entirely interrupt its lovely green surroundings is the raw state of the materials that were used to build it. Designers conceived the house in a way that allowed them to leave material elements, such as concrete, wood, and glass, in a nearly pure state, making them low maintenance and linking the spaces inside to the landscape outside.
You might not notice on first glance, but the roof of this modern looking, concrete building actually might be the element that ties it into its surrounding landscape most! This is because it was built with green sustainability in mind, so it actually contributes to the running of the house. The “green” roof features local vegetation growing right on its surface. This brings all the benefits of increased oxygen production and CO2 absorption while it prevents the overheating of the roofs, reduces the temperatures inside on warm days, and provides fantastic thermal insulation in the colder seasons.
Photography by: Javier Augustin Rojas
Vila Ipojuca House, created and designs by 23 SUL, is a beautiful stacked structure located in Vilo Ipojuca, Brazil that feels simultaneously like a functional residence and a stunning holiday escape.
According to designers, this refurbishment of an old residential building was created explicitly with the needs of a couple of creative industry professionals and their young daughter in mind. Within their redesign, architects strove primarily to increase the amount of natural lighting and ventilation in the house, thereby providing all the spaces throughout with a freeing feeling of fluidity.
Rather than doing away with older spaces from the original building all together, designers chose to take advantage of their slightly more closed of structure by turning them into a music studio. The rest of the residence (i.e. rooms that had previously been used as background spaces rather than primary living spaces) were refurbished to be more functional and comfortable for dwelling in.
In order to open the spaces outside the home’s heart up and give them a feeling of free movement, multiple spaces were integrated into each other, creating a sense of multi-purpose. The kitchen, for example, was built as a space that flows into the living room, which in turn freely extends into an outside area with a small swimming pool. This lets family members and visitors flow comfortably throughout the house in a way that feels uninhibited and good for communication.
To further bright up the spaces surrounding the darker rooms at the heart of the layout, pink granite floors were installed along with light plywood panelled furniture. These contrast well with the concrete blocks and stark white walls. Several glass panels and sliding doors were also added, letting balconies open right up into the breeze, which is comfortable in the daytime or at night.
Designers also gave residents the option of opening up several rooms for fluidity or closing them off for privacy; this is achieved by sliding sets of shelving from place to place on rails installed in the ceiling. The guest room, for example, can be opened up and made into a relaxing reading nook or social place when no one is visiting and then closed off via sliding shelves to make it more of a private getaway for guests when they’re ready to sleep.
As if these features weren’t unique enough, designers actually used metallic reinforcements building into the existing concrete of the original house to create a whole, brand new third floor! Here, they constructed a barbecue and outdoor eating area, a laundry space that doesn’t interrupt the flow in the rest of the house, and an experimental atelier that might be used for all manner of things, making it an extremely diverse space. The effect on the outer structure is to make the stacked floors look almost like a treehouse getaway in the middle of a city.
Photography by: Pedro Kok
By Stefan • Nov 22, 2018
Located in Tel Aviv-Yaso, Israel, The breathtaking Pavilion House by Irene Goldberg + Pitsou Kedem Architects is a stunning open concept dwelling that beautifully combines relaxing outdoor scenes with indoor living spaces for a zen atmosphere and natural aesthetic.
This wide, one-level home sits on a platform that is slightly raised above the ground. This leaves space for an underground level, giving the whole thing the look of something like a “tent on stilts”, according to architects. The concrete ceiling is held in place by metal beams and these are what the main space of the house is built around. Far from looking overly industrial, however, the house is sunny and filled with a pleasant breeze thanks to countless wide windows in the walls and “ribbon windows” neat the tops of the beams, which make the ceiling appear to float instead of seeming heavy.
Perhaps the most unique element of the house is the way natural light emanates into the main rooms through a rectangular courtyard built into the heart of the house. This courtyard section is completely open to the sky and breeze. The spaces surrounding it feature glass doors that can open entirely, giving plenty of air and natural sunlight to even the basement level.
In order to delineate the house’s different areas effectively and save it from looking entirely open concept, designers built four thick, concrete walls to make up the outer facade of the house. This balances all of the interior natural light and makes it feel like a private have at the heart of the house near the pool. For visual interest, the facade walls are covered in a thing layer of slate planks which overlap slightly, as though they’ve been piled high to create the wall.
Inside, the slate, concrete, and glass elements are balanced with wood accents and features that suit all the natural light that pours in, perfectly balancing out the otherwise modern feel. Of course, the most intriguing element of the house’s layout is the pool, which features entirely glass sides and sits above ground, making swimmers look as though they might be floating tranquilly in thin air.
Photography by: Amit Geron
By Stefan • Nov 20, 2018
Located in Dulwich in the United Kingdom, Tactile House is a lovely split-level family home that recently underwent a found floor extension, a loft conversion, and some interior sprucing up, all thanks to the visions and precision of Thomas & Spiers.
According to the designs, the ground floor of Tactile House is a veritable playground of textures. Part of their goal with this structure was to combine a variety of materials and styles in a way that would blend well with and prioritize interactive family living. This can be seen in action in the way a semi-closed playroom with a colourful set of storage drawers built right into the wall is set aside from but still visible and accessible from the kitchen and family room through a slatted wall.
Throughout the house, visitors will see all kinds of materials at play. These include but are not limited to painted steel, exposed brickwork, varying ceiling levels and textures, plywood, and rope used as curtains. The goal of using so many materials in different ways was to establish different areas of the house to be specifically (and quite obviously) for playing, resting, eating, entertainment, and so on.
On the upper floors, the bedrooms and bathrooms are quite modern. These were reconfigured to appear modern but still cozy, as evidenced in the contrast between the glass walls and the cozy reading alcove built into one wall. Everywhere you go inside the house you’ll find an emphasis on the ability of natural light to reach just about every space. This aim can be seen particularly well in the kitchen and living room where the entire wall is comprised of a collage of windows. This wall keeps up the priority on designating space without cutting anything off by making the entire stunning backyard visible from where one might relax or eat a meal.