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.
By Courtney • Jun 25, 2019
In the forests of Austria, innovative designers at Roeck Architekten have recently completed a stunningly quiet and genuinely panoramic home called Wohnhaus DRV! Its primary goal was to provide beautiful views to the owners unlike anything they’d find elsewhere.
The house, which is cubic in shape and stands two storeys tall, sits on a plot of land surrounded by Tyrolean forest, in a small Austrian town known as Mils. The property on which the house stands is marked by two lovely little streams, one sitting on each side of the house like a border.
From the outside, the house appears entirely, evenly cubic from most angles. If you walk around the front, however, the only area that protrudes is the dark, calming entrance enclave. Here, visitors find a greeting vestibule with its own dressing room and a guest bathroom. The protrusion also provides a sort of protective wall to the garden, making it feel more like a haven.
On the ground floor, the public living spaces are mostly open concept, with the living room leading straight into the kitchen with good spatial flow. Following suit, the dining room opens itself entirely into a beautiful garden at the back of the house. On the upper floor, the private rooms of the house are where dwellers and guests like find those breathtaking panoramic views.
The sight of the home’s natural surroundings bathed in sunlight is practically irresistible, so the private rooms are designed with comfort and relaxation in mind, assuming that people will want to spend comfortable, long periods of time there. The bedrooms aren’t the only place where comfort and views are provided, however; they’re simply home to the most wide reaching angles!
The house also features a centrally located foyer that is purposely intended to offer much the same views and comfort as the bedrooms, but as a more social hub than one’s sleeping area. This atrium features a spacious seating area with views out to the trees all around. Sunlight spills in both here and into the bedrooms, but moveable wooden elements featured on the north side of the house give dwellers the option to slide them into place for a little more shade and privacy when necessary.
In terms of materiality and overall decor scheme, the inside of the house presents a stunning contrast to visitors. Here, purposely exposed concrete walls and ceiling play off of oak wood native to the area, as well as untreated steal details throughout the home. The facade of the house, which is also made of local oak and extends to both storeys, also bears contrast with the abstractly shaped concrete terrace outside. Overall, the effect makes the house feel somewhat like a sculpture.
As with most of the details built into this home, the use of oriental inspire patterning on the surface of the building was careful and intentional. These shapes allow a breathtaking play of light and shadow to drift into the building in different ornate patterns right before dawn and right before sunset.
Overall, the materiality in the house is self-regulating, making the space quite energy efficient. In the kitchen, a central white tiled stove not only visually delineates between the living and dining areas, but also gives the space heat during colder seasons and on chilly summer nights.
The stove isn’t the only source of heat! After all, Austrian winters can be quite chilly indeed. That’s why designers included an efficiently distributed floor heating system which works in partnership with the concrete surfaces on the inside and the thermal facade on the outside to provide an even, comfortable living environment all year round.
Photos by Dominik Rossner
By Courtney • Jun 24, 2019
Named for the city in which it was built, the Doonan Glasshouse of Doonan, Australia was created by Sara Waller Design as the lead architect’s very own dream getaway and private residence.
Within her personal design, Waller adopted an explicit “less is more” approach to the structure and details alike. The home features a floating terrazzo slab, a healthy helping of floor to ceiling glass walling, and a nearly flat roof. These features, along with an almost minimalist decor scheme, give the entire space a feeling that is modern, linear, and simple while still feeling elegant and welcoming.
The basic concept of the design was originally inspired by mid-century houses and their typical decor, structure, and furnishing styles. The aim here was to create a timeless piece of architecture that at once hearkens back to those homes of auld while also harnessing a few local elements of the local area and living up to the “glass house” component of its name.
The house sits close to the Sunshine Coast, giving it stunning views all around. To take full advantage of this, designers chose to eliminate distinctions between indoor and outdoor areas as much as humanly possible without sacrificing too much privacy and safety. They wanted spaces to feel open and transparent while letting natural light flood any part of the house that is closed off.
Even those spaces that are physically separated from the outdoor areas are primarily done so by a glass wall. This at least makes those areas feel like they are open to the outside world thanks to good views and free flowing light. This also keeps the home passively heated when the sun goes down and things cool off at night and in the winter season (which is, of course, still quite warm).
The surroundings of the Doonan Glasshouse are nothing short of lush. This is evident from every corner of the house in the wa greenery either physically pours into the room, is purposely featured as a design element, or can at least be seen in abundance through the numerous windows and glass walls. The effect is relaxing and refreshing.
These walls and the flat roof that sits on top of them helps the home appear as if it blends right into its surroundings, making sure it doesn’t interrupt the beautiful natural scenery in which it sits. The only extremely noticeable element is the roof itself which, thanks to the walls again, appears to sort of hover interestingly in the distance, like a natural formation amidst the trees.
On the ground floor, visitors encounter all of the functional and social areas, which have an open layout that is conducive to hosting, socializing, and bonding thanks to free flows of energy and easy movement. Moving upwards, the second story of the house features bedrooms, which appear in an L-shaped volume also made of glass, as thought the private spaces are housed in an ethereal glass box.
Thanks to the lush greenery around the home, however, these bedrooms feel far from lacking in privacy, despite their lack of solid walling. Instead, the tropical climate is welcomed most of the time, while large shades can be pulled down occasionally to provide privacy and block out light if necessary.
In terms of colour scheme throughout the house, most rooms follow suit in that same minimalist line of visuals we mentioned before. Neutral, natural tones adorn most rooms, giving a relaxing and pleasant sense, while black and white features, like benches and chairs, are dotted here and there as contrasting pieces and to ground the palette.
The overall scheme inside the house is quite monochrome, and that’s bolstered by the black facade of the outer structure, which follows suit. creating a sense of cohesiveness. This facade is what provides shade on hot days and gives just the right amount of privacy in any space where the walls aren’t otherwise floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
In tune with the goal of creating a home where one might feel like they’re on holiday all the time, the outer spaces that the home spills into feel somewhat like an impressive 1950s inspired resort. Here, you’ll encounter a Modernist inspired Palm Springs style pool and a relaxing, friendly cabana. The lush, tropical greenery envelops this area like all others, increasing that sense of being on a relaxing holiday, away from the strains of the outside world.
Photos by Mister Mistress
By Courtney • Jun 21, 2019
In the remote countryside of Canelones, Uruguay, design teams from VivoTripodi recently completed the impressively cubic and wonderfully, naturally contemporary escape called REPII House.
This lovely, calming house was actually the second half of a project that the office took on and began some years ago. originally, the structure was more square and conservative in space, designed only to host the owner and their particular efficient countryside lifestyle. Recently, however, that owner decided that an expansion allowing them to host friends and family was a necessary next step.
Normally, when someone mentions undertaking an “expansion”, they’re literally talking about expanding a space they’ve already created to increase the coverage reached by its limits. In this case, however, teams wanted to keep the lines of privacy where they are and simply provide additional space in which guests might have their own experiences when they’re not sharing space with the owner.
This is how it was decided that building another small guesthouse, which has been dubbed the REPII House or module, was the best way to “expand” the home. Creating the two separate spaces also helped designers interrupt the natural land a little less, breaking up the different parts of the occupied spots and letting grasses grow between and nature move around them.
Partially access to such a remote site is limited and partially to make the building cohesive with the land, designers used only natural, locally sourced materials in construction the REPII guest module. Much of the construction of the home’s actual structure was actually done offsite, like a pre-fabricated module, then placed onto the right plot of land.
This choice was intentional; doing the bulk of the construction work elsewhere actually reduced the invasive impact the building teams might have otherwise had on the environment. Far from disconnecting the building from the land, however, the use of materials, like timbers found local to the immediate land, blends the house right in quite authentically.
Because of the detached nature of the module from the main house, it’s a diverse space that can house just about anyone. It keeps private boundaries well, giving guests their very own intimate space, which is particularly useful if the visitor is someone the owner doesn’t know as well. At the same time, it’s close by and easily accessible for social interactions, in case the visitor is the owner’s very good friend or family member and the would like to spend bonding time.
Inside the guest module, space is quite conservative. This is not because space was unavailable, but rather because the owner and design teams value minimalist country lifestyles and wished to take up as little of the surrounding nature as possible. The spaces within the module do have their own privacy, with doors between each differently functioning room, but they’re also built for good spatial flow and contemporary living concepts centred around delimiting space.
Part of these efforts to delimit space lies in the entirely glass wall you see in these photos. This lets guests feel like the land surrounding them is being welcomed right into their home without actually living outside in the elements. The window helps create a relationship between nature and people, even while guests stay in a house that is fully equipped with all modern living amenities.
The module is well organized, with two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchenette with its own transitionary dining space. The dimensions of these rooms and the house itself were largely determined by the size of the natural plans available; designers chose to work around what the land had to offer, rather than arbitrarily choosing room sizes and cutting materials accordingly. This is just one more way in which the house is symbiotic with its nature.
Of course, sometimes one needs a break from the outside world and wishes to seclude themselves comfortably away, even just for an hour or two. There aren’t many prying eyes this far out in the countryside, but perhaps a guest needs a little less sun on a given day? That’s why designers ensured that the guesthouse’s large, eye catching window comes with a series of natural wood shutters that fold back when they’re opened or shut so seamlessly when they’re closed that the facade of the house looks completely uninterrupted.
Photos by Marcos Guiponi
Charming wooden Cainã Refuge created by Bruno Zaitter arquiteto as part of a Brazilian farmland resort
By Courtney • Jun 19, 2019
In the Brazilian state of Paraná, in the Campos Gerais region, there is a farming town called Balsa Nova. Here, a stunning farmland refuge serves as a resort getaway for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. Recently, Bruno Zaitter arquiteto was brought on by the resort owners to add another private building for accommodation; this is the stunning wooden yet modern Cainã Refuge!
The farm hotel and its various lovely little buildings are located right on a geological fault called the “Escarpa Devoniana”. This gives it a raised vantage point from which guests are treated to a stunning view of the surrounding forests, as well as a distant sight of the city skyline where the borders of Curitiba lie. Even further in the distance lies a mountain range, like a shadowy backdrop.
The terrain surrounding the new building is Brazilian countryside through and through; it is uneven and a little rocky in some parts, but wonderfully lush and green all around. Because the refuge is fortunate enough to have such a stunning setting, designers aimed to do as little as possible to interrupt the landscape and nature surrounding it. This partially explains its emphasis on natural, locally sourced wood, which makes up almost the entire module.
The new building is simplistic in its shape and natural in its materiality. It is minimalist in its approach to space and decor, and yet it still offers all of the modern amenities one could wish for on a relaxing holiday, where they should want for nothing. The matching wooden interior and exterior creative a calming sense of cohesiveness while also making the refuge feel like it could be one with the land on which it’s situated.
At the same time as the building seems to harmonize with nature, it also stands out once you’ve taken note of it. This is thanks to the way the straight lines of its cubic structure differs from the natural curves of the land surrounding it. Whether you want to call it contrast or balance, the effect is quite beautiful and surprisingly organic.
At it longest point, the building only stretches 12 metres. A back wall is made entirely of wood, as are the floor, ceiling, and most of the furnishings. On each end and along the long Eastern side, however, glass walls provide almost constant views and visual connection to nature, as well as a breathtaking view of where the stunning sunrise takes place over the land.
Each of these windowed walls can, of course, be closed off with lovely cream curtains for privacy. Sitting back in the more wooden part of the refuge is a living room space, kitchenette, dining table, and miniature office space. Extending from that, like it’s own little box, is a sort of glass room where that glass sunrise wall sits, enclosing a bright, relaxing bedroom.
Now, contrasting with all of the natural elements of the refuge that we’ve mentioned so far is one key detail; the metal pieces of framework you see supporting the skeleton of the house are actually upcycled from a repurposed shipping container! This allowed for a lot of the construction of the building to be done offsite so it could be brought in pre-fabricated, minimizing the often harmful effects of construction on the land. Now, thanks to green power systems, the whole little building continues that theme of being low impact.
Photos by Bruno Zaitter
By Courtney • Jun 19, 2019
In the mountainous lands of Bozeman, Montana, designers at Locati Architects recently completed a clearly rustically influenced but overall wonderfully contemporary vacation home called the Rocky Mountain Retreat.
This particular design studio specializes in luxury custom home architecture and sophisticated interiors and that’s precisely what they gave the owners of the Rocky Mountain Retreat, but with a unique twist inspired by the home’s surroundings! The home stands two storeys tall, nearly engulfed by lush greenery and forest. Thanks to where it stands atop a small crag, it is afforded a view of the mountains in the distance that is nothing short of breathtaking.
On the outside, the house is truly a rustic mountain home through and through according to materiality. The facade is clad entirely in stacked stoning while the siding and frame details are made from a perfectly finished and locally sourced wood. This makes the getaway look warm and inviting but also somehow as thought it really belongs there with the trees and mountains.
Because it’s a space meant to be enjoyed mostly in the winter, large windows were prioritized. This was intended to let in as much natural sunlight as possible during the day, maximizing what daylight the short winter hours give. This also helps keep things a little warmer during the day, reducing the need for power and making the home a little more energy efficient.
That’s not to say that the getaway can’t be enjoyed in the summer too! Those daylight-flooding windows just help the interiors feel even more cheerful when the days are longer. There are also just as many outdoor activities for families to do in warm weather around the vacation home as there are in the winter, making time spent there irresistible all year round.
The nearly-rustic but fully equipped style of living that the house offers is apparent guests approach the large wooden doors and covered entryway. From there, one can see the great room; a sprawling living space with a deep sofa and a cozy gas-powered, stone clad fireplace that’s perfect for gathering family and friends around.
Throughout the social spaces on the bottom floor, the house has impressively high ceilings, especially in rooms that aren’t actually double height all the way past the top floor. These ceilings give the room a feeling of being airy, spacious, and bright. That feeling of spaciousness is helped along by more than one glass wall, double paned to provide stunning views of the seasons outside without either losing heat in the winter or letting too much in when the days warm up.
The best part of these glass walls, besides the sunlight they provide in the winter, is that they slide back to offer a nearly seamless indoor-outdoor experience when the days get warm enough! Under an impressive pair of rustic wooden ceiling trusses, one can pass through onto a patio space with enough comfortable outdoor seating for everyone.
The kitchen is perhaps the place where the contemporary and rustic elements of the house are the most pronounced amidst each other, in direct contrast. It is spacious with large stainless steel appliances, which play off things like the stone backsplash that extends to the ceiling. The huge accompanying dining area features a huge fur rug sprawled across rustic wooden floors, on top of which a more contemporary looking dining table seats ten.
Getting rustic once more, a wooden staircase that is new but looks wonderfully weather leads to the second floor of the house, where the private areas lie. A very modern looking glass guardrail accompanies you up the stairs, ending where several bedrooms sprawling behind grand wooden doors lie.
The upper storey also features the master bathroom, where grey stone tiled floors and walls appear rustic while a stunning vanity contrasts more contemporarily. To the side, a freestanding tub sits in front of a large window, faced so that no one in the world could see you bathe, but so you can relax while you soak up both the water’s warmth and the stunning mountain view.
The master bathroom is also a place where modern and rustic elements confront each other much more explicitly elsewhere, just like in the kitchen. The way worn looking wooden beams support the ceiling and door frame plays against the very contemporary looking sculptural hands on the wall.
Photos by Gibeon Photography
By Courtney • Jun 18, 2019
In the heart of Los Angeles, California, innovative and creative designers at LA Build Corp have recently completed and impressive walled and gated structure called the Breezy LA Home, providing a haven-like getaway behind its fortress features that truly exemplifies the joys of California living.
Contemporary in its shape and style, the home is cubic in its outer appearance. Streamline vertical and horizontal lines are established at street level with the walls and mimicked in the similarly straight walls and roof shapes. That sense of contemporary style continues inside as well, but this time with a slightly softened edge for comfortable living.
The home is generous in its space, covering just over 6000 square feet. Besides prioritizing Californian style and modern living on the inside, designers also wanted to put a healthy emphasis on spaces that allow indoor-outdoor living, since the city does provide nearly perfect weather for breaking down such limits.
These blended indoor-outdoor spaces include a rooftop deck that spans 1057 square feet. Adorned with outdoor furniture comfortable enough that we’d almost be tempted to use it in our living room, the rooftop space provides panoramic city views dotted with palm trees through. The space is perfect for quiet personal time in the morning and hosing friends at night.
The boundaries between the indoor and outdoor social spaces within the home weren’t the only ones designers were hoping to break down. That’s why the common and shared spaces inside have such a free-flowing, beautifully open floor plan. Spaces are multi-purpose without losing their clear function or feeling like there’s a lack of delineation and privacy.
Part of what helps this process along was the choice to include several clear glass walls in the home’s interior design. These, many of which are also part of pocketed sliding door systems, allow owners to open or close certain spaces off when they please without cutting off sunlight and views around the house, which helps things feel open and spacious even when things are closed up.
In fact, the house has so much emphasis on open concept layouts that even the staircase leading up from the ground floor to the private and sleeping areas upstairs is open to the air and spaces around it. Wooden stairs turn a corner and span upwards, appearing to float, with no solid wall separating the view as you travel from one floor to the other.
Perhaps the most contemporary spaces in the house, which also reflect the outer shape of the house very well, are the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen is clean and modern, following that open concept layout found everywhere else. The bathrooms, while still very contemporary, have a slightly more stylized look to them, featuring gorgeous imported tiles and custom hardwood floors that ground the otherwise very modern aesthetic a little.
On the ground floor, another indoor-outdoor space forms a nearly seamless transition area between the interior living spaces and the backyard. On the far side of that patio, you’ll find a combination lap pool and relaxing spa that catch the most sunlight in the yard. This outdoor space even has its own outdoor movie projector for entertaining guests and family bonding. A gorgeous wooden deck boasts its own bar, fire pit, and barbecue area, all fit for use year-round in LA’s mild climate.
Photos by Jeff Ong
By Courtney • Jun 17, 2019
In a residential area, on a quiet suburban street in Bordeaux, France, a thoroughly modern house that is eye catching for its simplicity has been completed by MORE Architecture and dubbed the ALY House.
Entirely cubic in its outer structure, the ALY House is a concrete building that discerns itself simply but beautifully from the houses around it. In fact, this was the entire point; designers originally built and conceptualized the house specifically to stand out from its neighbours and add something a little different to the scape of the street it calls home.
Rather than making the house so ornate, grand, and alluring by adding details and making it look like “more”, like so many designers are wont to do, this team decided to scale the outer embellishments and frivolities back and pare the details down. In this way, the block house attracts the eye for a lack of distraction and ornate detail that somehow, in itself, ends up looking beautiful.
The concrete materiality of the house doesn’t end once you’ve entered through the front door. Inside, this polished concrete also makes up the floor while slightly more natural and unfinished concrete composes the walls and ceilings all throughout the home’s two storeys. This is consistent through the common living spaces, hallways, and even on into the bedrooms.
The effect of this continuity in the use of concrete gives the house a monochromatic element that is actually quite calming. To break things up a little, designers included furnished features in a light reclaimed wood, furthering an atmosphere that is a clean looking combination of natural and contemporary.
The plot of land on which the house sits is conservative, but this suits the space efficient layout of its interiors quite well. The shape of the house reflects the long, narrow shape of the land, giving off a satisfying sense of symmetry. Because it is also on a slight rise, the view around the house is veritably 360 degrees, making any window pleasant to look out without sacrificing any of the family’s privacy.
On the ground floor of the house, guests encounter an open living spaces that flows well in terms of function, air ventilation, sunlight, and simple movement. This greenery rich living area features abundant bookshelves, a kitchen, and a family seating space that extends almost seamlessly onto a lovely patio.
On the patio, an energy efficient swimming pool makes hot summer days a welcome thing. Thanks to the home’s vantage point on a small rise and the wall-like structure of the house itself, the poolside and water are entirely private from not only the street, but the eyes of neighbours in other directions as well. Despite that, the space is far from feeling closed off.
Upstairs, the master bedroom features an en suite bathroom and a large, picturesque window while the children’s rooms, which follow the same minimalist style as the rest of the house but with more cheerful pops of decorative colour, engulf a spacious playroom on either side.
Photos by Edouard Decam
Family vacation retreat called Edwardian Home created by Gast Architects boasts four impressive floors
By Courtney • Jun 17, 2019
Where an old townhouse used to stand, right in the heart of San Francisco, California, creative contemporary designers at Gast Architects have recently completed the Edwardian Home; a modern take on the architectural era of the same name.
Now a contemporary living space through and through, the Edwardian Home was renovated from an older building that once house several separate apartments split throughout a tall townhouse. Instead, the team turned it into one cohesive home to give a large family the ideal vacation retreat away from their busy daily lives in another big city.
Part of the reason the building was re-conceived to involve all four floors as part of a singular, cohesive family dwelling was because of the structure of the unique family who bought it; they have four different generations of family who wanted a place where they could gather together under one roof! With each different unit of the family living all over the world, the group wanted to built a spot in a world-class city where they could all be together and bond somewhere they love, from youngest to oldest.
Although much of the inside of the building has been modernized and now has quite a contemporary quality, designers chose to restore the original shingle style facade of the house in order to pay tribute to and keep it blending well with the scape of its street outside. Although they did wish to give the building a new lease on life, they also wanted to keep its Edwardian authenticity.
Not everything on the outside was left untouched, however. Large repairs included the roof where a flared lower edge provides shade during certain parts of the day to impressive bay windows on each floor. Changes were made, however, where brick classing was integrated lower down the facade on the lower level in order to give it a little more sturdiness and a better chance of withstanding natural wear and tear for the many tears the family intends on gathering in the home.
The home’s interior, which is much more contemporary than the Edwardian facade, features a deliberate contrast of tones. Designers chose a palette with a balance of warm and cool shades, with simple materiality and a homey, neutral aesthetic that hearkens back to the original Craftsman style of the home before renovations.
Within the decor pieces, artistic elements, and fine details, the family and designers deliberately chose an Asian influence when it comes to patterns and shapes. This is partially responsible for the subtle sense of elegance the house exudes despite also feeling like a comfortable place to gather and spend time with loved ones.
Perhaps our favourite aspect of the house is the fact that, because of how it’s situated on the street and thanks to the rolling hills of the city’s landscape, each and every floor gives guests a different panoramic view of the city skyline. Whether one is sitting outside on the porch, reading on their own in one of the quiet, relaxation rooms, or bonding with family around one of the fireplaces, the stunning atmosphere of San Francisco can be see easily, comforting those who look.
Of course, the height of the house provides the family with plenty of space for hosting as many of them as can visit at once, but that’s not all the four floors are good for. They provide the chance to build rooms into diverse social spaces while still maintaining ares of privacy and quiet for those who need it.
Aside from the modern amenities added to the home and the light, contemporary furnishings chosen for the interior, one of the biggest updates that wouldn’t have been typical to the original Edwardian structure is the lovely back deck. This spaces is designed to open wide right into the ground floor common spaces and blend indoor and outdoor experiences so the city really feels like part of living there.
Now, we’ve called the deck one of the biggest updates to the old fashioned inspired house. That’s because the biggest update is undoubtedly the steel system elevator that rises up to each of the four floors to the core of the building! This makes every single storey accessible to every member of the family, no matter how old or young, meaning they can choose to spend their stay sleeping in whichever room they find most comfortable regardless of how many stairs they might otherwise have had to climb to get there!
photos by Aaron Leitz Photography
Contemporary Brazilian SR32 Residence created by HARDT Planejamento created on a slope overlooking a landmark park
By Courtney • Jun 14, 2019
Nestled into the woodland areas of Curitiba in Brazil, the beautiful and newly completed SR32 Residence created by HARDT Planejamento was a chance to test the design team’s skills in building on sloping land and lowering process impacts on nature while still creating a contemporary living space.
Covering 240 square metres of land, the house sits singularly on a slope; and standalone structure that is not built onto the boundaries of another building like so many in the nearby local areas are. The vantage point at which the house sits affords it a view of the nearby Bacacheri park, a local landmark, that is nothing short of breathtaking.
From the outset, designers decided to incorporate this closeness to such lush nature right into the home’s layout and structural plan. Besides aiming to include an amount of greenery within the home’s decor itself, they also wanted to emphasize those green views as much as possible. This is how the finished product ended up featuring its three full glass facade walls!
Of course, the house is still a residential home and (even legally) that requires a degree of privacy, so designers also custom built a useful blond gable on the south side, where passers by might otherwise see into the house a little too easily. Elsewhere, however, the home is almost entirely visually open to the greenery surrounding it.
The view wasn’t the only thing designers wanted to work with! They also opted to work with the last of the land instead of against it, incorporating the slop of the hill into the home’s structure and layout. They did this largely by deeming the highest point of the slope as the perfect spot for the ground floor and using the slope downward as an opportunity to build a basement below.
Besides the basement on the slope, the rest of the house is arranged vertically on top of the ground floor. This gives certain rooms a different but equally stunning view down into the park. While the basement plays home to a garage and storage space, the ground floor features social areas and the kitchen and dining room. Upstairs, you’ll encounter personal rest space, as well as a comfortable rooftop patio for family activities, hosting guests, and relaxing with that infamous view.
Access to each floor of the house is provided by one of the design elements that actually contrasts greatly with its naturally surroundings, as well as different more neutrally toned features of the house. This is a steel staircase all along the one closed wall, extending from the basement completely upwards through the ground floor, past the bedrooms, and right to the rooftop.
Of course, the square footage of the actual ground level is quite small, even though that means the house isn’t thanks to the way it expands upwards. This small base means that the goal of building a strong green element right into the house wasn’t as easy as it might have been otherwise. This is why designers chose to not only build a small garden on the round level, but also allow it to climb up the side of the house onto the rooftop patio and barbecue area as well.
Whatever other small spaces in the house that don’t feature their own elements of greenery, like the bathroom and a small ground floor office off the kitchen, are purposely situated to face the back garden so that they don’t miss out entirely. This ties the atmosphere of the house into its park and woodland view, making it feel pleasantly engulfed in nature.
In terms of materiality, most of the things used in the home’s construction are natural and were locally sourced. This is perhaps most evident in the heavy use of wood within in the home and in the outdoor spaces, but is also true in the exposed bring and many of the metal details. The polished concrete that makes up the base of the ground floor was locally sourced as well.
Across the floors and up the stairs, both inside and out (with the exception of where polished concrete was used as an alternative), pressure treated pine with a burned finish, a wood that suits both summer and winter, was used. A sense of cohesiveness was created when the leftovers of this wood were used for the countertops in the kitchen and several tables through the house. Pops of colour in the decor scheme, mostly in yellow and blue, create a stunning contrast with this wood.
The heavy emphasis on glass and feelings of limitlessness through the house do, of course, do more than just provide a constant good view. The glass walls in most areas, as well as a glass ceiling over the staircase, also ensure that the interior of the house is constantly well lit. This, in turn, helps increase the home’s energy efficiency during the day.
Photos by Jefferson Carollo Filho
Texan Hill Retreat created by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to combine contemporary living with the true feeling of the state
By Courtney • Jun 12, 2019
In the charming desert climate of Llano, Texas, a stunningly authentic and yet beautifully modern escape called the Texan Hill Retreat has been finished for a family by creative teams at Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.
The large two story holiday home boasts several immediately noticeable walls of glass. Whether you’re standing outside or in, these will undoubtedly be one of the first things you’ll notice because of the way they contrast with and add and intriguingly modern feel to the otherwise traditional looking stone and brickwork of the home’s materiality.
These windows do more than just look nice in the walls, of course. They also provide breathtaking views of the warm desert greenery surrounding the house and its land, as well as increasing the home’s energy efficiency by providing the rooms inside with plenty of natural daylight and passive heating on cooler days, making it rely less on heating and cooling systems.
In the great room, which you’ll encounter nearly right off the entryway, the impressive windows we’re referring to are actually double heigh, as is the room’s ceiling. This makes the shared living space feel large, airy, and in tune with the landscape around the house.
A suspended metal fireplace that appears to float over a freestanding concrete hearth sits in the centre of the living room, with chairs arranged all the way around for coziness and easy socializing. The shape and construction of this central piece appears quite unique and modern, which makes it all the more interesting that the materiality of the same piece is quite rustic and old fashioned.
The use of natural, rustic materials throughout the house continues, rather than stopping with the walls and the fireplace. Wood siding is a heavy feature throughout the whole ground floor, lending another layer of rusticity to the home. This contrasts well with the furnishings that aren’t styled along the same vein; designers specifically chose more contemporary looking pieces in modern, alternative shapes to make a comfortable but attention grabbing dissonance that really works.
Of course, that might sound like a lot to pack into one decor scheme, but they’ve made it happen without creating a space that’s too busy or a look that’s overwhelming or tacky. The layout of the house is simple and sensical and so are the details of the decor scheme. In fact, some rooms in this clean, streamlined yet traditional home border on minimalism, particularly those with polished concrete floors. These spaces, however, as given extra character by the inclusion of a piece or two of local culture decorum.
Like the windows, the concrete floors we mentioned above do more than just look nice. They are also actually part of the passive heating and cooling in the house that makes it less reliant on active energy using systems. At the same time as they make everything look smooth and clean, they also keep the home cool in hot weather.
With plenty of comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms, lots of yard space leading down to a local lake, and more than one space both inside and outside in which to sit and spend some bonding time with family and friends, this house truly is the perfect spot for not only unwinding with loved ones but also getting a feel for the local Texan experience while you’re at it.
Photos by Casey Dunn Photography
Flavin Architects renovates Bostonian residential plot to create the Natural Mid-Century Home for a busy family
By Courtney • Jun 10, 2019
In the quiet suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, just out of reach of the city noise, creative architects at Flavin Architects recently completed a renovation project called Natural Mid-Century Home, in which they overhauled a 1950s house to boast modern amenities and layouts with all the charm subtle kitsch of its original version’s era.
Weston is a small town just off the borders of Boston and it is home to many houses that were designed and built by big names in the architectural world between the 1930s and 1950s. Now that the street scape has started to change and those houses have experienced enough wear and tear to need updating, contemporary design teams face an interesting dilemma: do they wipe out what they see to give families the modern homes they need, or do they stay true to the mid-century origins of the building?
In this case, the designers and new owners alike decided for a blend of the two options. While they did choose to quite heavily renovate the original 1958 house to make a home with more physical longevity, they also opted to give it a structure and decor style that clearly hearken back to that time, so the whole place has a modernized mid-century twist.
The owners also had one other special request that resulted in a particularly unique finished product. Having previously lived in Hawaii, they wished to have an outdoor patio space that is reminiscent of their terrace there. Designers opted to use materials that complimented the land, making the patio blend well into both the plot and the living room it extends off of within the interior, making it the perfect open-air transitionary space.
Designers also chose to work with the land in particular ways because the home’s plot is on a small slope. Rather than digging into the ground to anchor a patio, they built a natural rock foundation to create a level surface on which to resurrect the newest parts of their mid-century inspired haven.
Much like the original house and many houses of that time, this new building resembles the ever so common split level in some ways. Once you’ve arisen from the entry, however, things get much more open concept in a way that is far more contemporary and allows good flow of movement, energy, and natural sunlight from stunningly large new energy efficient windows.
Contrary to fully storied houses, the main living spaces in this building sit on the ground level that requires you to rise from the sizeable entry, while the private spaces like bedrooms and master bathrooms are below, lower down the slope. This gives the family a calming sense of privacy while letting the social spaces where guests will visit enjoy deeply sunny afternoons.
For the most part, the house is heavy in a beautifully stained wood that was locally sourced to help it blend, once again, into its surroundings. The shapes and lines chosen for furnishings and finishes, however, are one place where that iconic mid-century sort of “mod” style begins to show through. Beyond that, things are kept quite clean and minimalist, giving the atmosphere a sense of perfectly blended modern nostalgia.
Under the brand new (but definitely vintage styled) slate floor, which has a lovely, kitschy purple-green hue to it, designers also installed a modern update in the form of radiant heat. In combination with the passive heating and cooling of the floor to ceiling glazed windows and the ability of the terrace doors to open one wall entirely, these systems are quite environmentally low impact.
Overall, the house is afforded a sense of having transformed and adapted to its surroundings and new owners’ generation, rather than having lost its authentic charm and been overhauled without regard for its history.
Photos by Nat Rea Photography
By Courtney • Jun 7, 2019
Dodged House was built in one of the countless abandoned spaces that resulted from Portugal’s past decade of economic crisis. Cities like Porta and Lisbon itself became home to closed down buildings and ruined structures that intrigued the international community because of the beauty and potential their original traditional architecture maintained.
With a great sense of southern romanticism, this particular design team decided to revamp a dilapidated building in Lisbon in order to create a shockingly but wonderfully modern looking home within the walls of something historical with need for a new lease on life. As with most others in the area, the renovation was completed with the utmost reverence for the building’s historical and spatial context.
Mimicking the typical architecture in the area, the facade of this building remains quite closed, concealing most of the interior from the prying eyes of the busy city streets outside. At the same time, large, beautiful windows have been added in certain spaces to open the space up and signify the new life the building has been given. At the same time, it gives new owners a stunning view of the city streets as they come back to life.
In addition to paying tribute to the history of the building itself and the surrounding streets, Dodged House is also an homage to the particular style of modernity established by architect Irving Gill; a style often mimicked and harnessed in modern Portuguese architecture when new structures are built.
Inside, the house is quite unique indeed, especially for the area. While the opaque facade outside might be somewhat typical, designers made the inside all about space. Hardly any opaque barriers exist inside the outer walls; instead, rooms and spaces of different function are separated by bright, clear glass. The home takes full advantage of the building’s generous height, expanding upward without growing in width and interrupting the original frame or land it was afforded.
While the void of the interior stretches high, the designers did take advantage of the small original courtyard outside to give it a little more natural space despite the calm, ethereal feeling of the otherwise quite closed off home. A spinning glass door gives easy visual and physical access, blending the two areas beautifully and saving the interior from feeling too closed off.
The house boasts three bedrooms which are arranged within four superposed floors; these look like layers of the house stacked one on top of the other. The materiality on each is simple and helped keep the renovation affordable. The tiles and stones featured in the walls, furniture, and floors were all sourced locally. The presence of concrete contrasts cleanly with that of white marble.
The beauty of the inner area, including the lovely quiet space that is the home library, is only bolstered further by the contrast between its shining new modernity and the fact that the facade outside has been largely left in its original, historical state. A light cleaning to extend its life did nothing to take away its status as a reminder of Lisbon’s history amidst what is now a fast changing and ever modernizing cityscape.
Photos by Dylan Perrenoud
By Courtney • Jun 6, 2019
Under the beautiful, bright sun of Joshua Tree in California, design teams at TTK Represents have completed a fun, stylish updating project on an old home, the newly named Midcentury Getaway.
From the very beginning of the project’s plans, designers prioritized creating a unique combination of classic midcentury minimalism, lovely bright and natural light, and sweeping view of the deserts surrounding the house; the kind of views that can truly only be found in Joshua Tree.
The original house, which was built in 1961, was a standard midcentury desert home situated not far from downtown Joshua Tree. The plot it stands in affords the house lovely views of a close by national park and surrounding valley areas. These stunning natural views through the windows contrast wonderfully with the sense of chic flair one encounters on the inside.
Covering 1,307 square feet, the Midcentury Getaway house can be easily distinguished by its recognizable brise-soleil. This is the stunning cutout concrete work that provides a sort of privacy screen and provides shade to the patio and even part of the inner living space through the large front window, preventing the space from heating up too much in the desert sun.
The house is a simple L-shape but its interiors are still quite open concept and free flowing, without harsh divisions of space. This helps keep things nice and bright while the colour schemes and decor give the place a cozy feeling. Perhaps the most notable feature in the living room is a wood burning fireplace, faced so that it overlooks the patio and it’s lovely desert view.
Next to the fireplace, which keeps the house warm on those surprisingly cool desert nights, the house actually features a rectangular cutout in the wall specifically designed to store firewood. When wood is placed there, it suits well with the little wooden writing desk fitted in perfectly to its own window, where the view can inspire whatever work is being done on the desktop.
Past the living room, with its mod looking, midcentury style furniture and colour pops, is a cozy dining nook and an efficient looking, minimalist style kitchen. Walnut, which can be seen in furnishings dotted throughout the house, is featured here again in the custom made cabinets, which contrast nicely with the quartz countertops.
Past the common spaces, there are two bedrooms- a master and a guest suite- and a bathroom. Beyond that, around the back of the house, sits a unique “guest pod”. Depending on the dwellers’ needs, this might serve as an additional bedroom or perhaps some kind of studio, art space, or writer’s retreat.
The master bedroom features the same kind of bright floor-t0-ceiling sliding doors as the living, each leading to sunny patios. On days when the doors must stay closed for weather, the room still gets plenty of light thanks to a long rectangular window set into an intriguing textured wall. In the master bathroom, to the side, radiant heating warms the space from the floor up to combat the cold of desert nights and the winter season.
Photos by Chris Menrad
By Courtney • Jun 5, 2019
Amidst the abundant greenery of Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, a stunning rectangular home blends beautifully into the natural environment surrounding it. The Ribeirão Preto Residence by Perkins+Will São Paulo features a beautiful green rooftop that makes the dwelling look like it grew right out of the land.
Besides the lush grass covering the whole top of one roof, the most notable feature of the house is undoubtedly its dramatic looking, rectangular cantilevered roof, which provides shade to several areas of the house and yard, including an equally impressive pool that overhangs in another rectangular volume, just like the main portion with the green roof.
Another notable feature about the house is its stunning and seamless feeling indoor-outdoor layout and connection. The interior of the main living spaces is quite open concept already and that theme is actually extended beyond the home’s border in the way stunning full glass doors slide open entirely to merge spots like the living room with the sunny patio outside, creating flow.
Initially, besides making sure that the home would be stylish and yet suitable for a young family with kids, designers’ biggest challenge was working on a plot of land with a natural slope. Though not dramatic, the slope still changes the landscape enough to require special consideration in building and design.
Intent on being as respectful of the countryside as possible, designers opted to structure the house so that it works with the slope, rather than cutting into it and interrupting the natural landscape in the area. This is what inspired the home’s two volume L-shape. One volume contains the public spaces where guests might be entertained while the other houses private spaces with their own connection to the sunny outdoors.
In terms of materiality, the Ribeirão Preto Residence is heavy in concrete dotted with warm wood accents, creating a comforting contrast. Each volume appears as a single solid block of concrete, like a pair of monoliths. The place where the cantilevered roof hangs over the lower volume appears to connect the two parts of the house visually right where they’re actually connected on the inside.
Because the common spaces of the house are situated on the upper block, they’re afforded stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. This arrangement also increases the privacy of the bedroom spaces, creating a sense of relaxation and pleasant disconnect in the private rooms. This isn’t to say, however, that they feel secluded; every room in the house has open access to the fresh gardens surrounding it, after all! Designers were positively intent on building a strong relationship between the home and nature.
Wooden screens featured in certain places on the home’s facade and within its interior do more than just contribute to the serene aesthetic and provide increase privacy; they also allow for some ventilation in a place that gets very hot in the summer. Together with the lush grass of the green rooftop above the bedrooms and the way the pool extends towards the slope to disappear into the tropical foliage at once end, the whole area within and surrounding the house feels almost spa-like.
Photos provided by the architects.
Amidst the bustling streets of Toronto, Canada, StudioAC has created a contemporary apartment that is nothing short of darling. The Candy Loft is the perfect space for anyone whose tastes fall somewhere between cutesy and sophisticated.
Down each of these hallways, floors made of smooth, solid douglas fir are warmed by and reflect the light of soft LED lights featured all along the base of the walls. These create a sense of tranquil comfort and made the transitions from room to room feel almost ethereal. The upward flow of the light spans around you towards the curved ceiling of the archway like a fairytale spot.
Photos by Jeremie Warshafsky
Contemporary Project #3 created by Studio Wills + Architects to provide a visual “break” on an old city street
By Courtney • May 30, 2019
On an fairly new, busy street in Singapore, architects and designers from Studio Wills + Architects have completed Project #3 in an interesting looking and impressive attempt to break up the visual line of standard, similar townhouses all along the sidewalk so the eye’s palate gets a little something different as the public passes by.
The Project #3 house is a lovely, spacious bungalow in an exclusive and calm residential enclave. The neighbourhood consists of 106 semi-detached homes and three bungalows. The intention of including these bungalows along the street from the very beginning was to break up the repetitive look of the many semi-detached homes in each row with a big of height and width difference.
The image designers had in mind placing so many nearly identical homes together and then breaking them up periodically with the three bungalows was that of a necklace with different kinds of beads strung periodically to break up smaller repeated ones. Think of big rounded beads string between smaller pearls!
The area of land that the enclave occupies is a long and quite thin, keeping in a straight line all the way down in a linear manner. This is another place where alternating lower standing bungalow houses with taller semi-detached houses was a purposeful design choice; the difference in levels between the houses helps stop the street from feeling like an opaque wall all the way down.
Amidst the semi-detached homes, several courtyards were built into the ground covered by the smaller dwellings to ensure that each home gets some kind of outdoor space, as well as lots of light. The courtyards present increased surface area for bright windows in both the back and front, keeping all of the houses, no matter their structure, comfortable and well lit.
The courtyards serve several other purposes as well. Adding more window space provides additional ventilation along with the abundant natural light. The convenient outdoor spaces between the technical plots of the semi-detached houses also make the space that belongs to each feel more distinct, autonomous, and independent of each other despite their close proximity.
In terms of their style, both the bungalows and the semi-detached houses were specifically designed with a combination of features that might make them suit multi-generational families. The homes are fully equipped but also quite open concept, with diverse spaces that might be used for all kinds of communal or private activities. This theme extends into the outdoor courtyards, which feature relaxing patio spaces, greenery, and small swimming pools.
Between the intentionally differently levelled houses and the additional visual breaks provided by the sunny courtyards, the taller semi-detached houses appear like small towers. The skyline of the street takes on a prismatic quality that creates a stunningly interesting silhouette from a distance.
In terms of materiality, the towers are constructed from 2-stone sand shades, with surface textures akin to that of a rock face full of crevices. This contrasts with the bungalow’s black, slightly more sleek appearance. In the low home’s interior, the intention of the decor was to create a balance of void spaces and solid spaces, which naturally creates contrasts in dark and light.
Photos provided by the architects.
By Courtney • May 24, 2019
In the mid-century neighbourhoods of Melbourne, Australia, a lovely old 1960s home called Bent Annexe has received a stylish updating by BENT Architecture that has brought it into the contemporary age in terms of architectural design and style.
The primary change in the home is an extension that was directly inspired by the layout and concept of a traveling caravan. The home is fortunate enough to already be surrounded by lush greenery from the natural environment around it and the installation of wonderfully large floor to ceiling windows draws in abundant amounts of natural light. These are partially intended to provide light and lovely views, but they’re also part of an energy efficient system in the home based on passive solar principles.
The extension was built for the new owners who recently purchased the original home; a young family of four with two dogs and a huge love for all things outdoors. This partially influenced designers’ choices to incorporate as much sunlight and blending of indoor-outdoor space as possible. They also prioritized an improvement on ventilation than what the original midcentury home had to offer.
In the new iteration of the home, the primary living spaces of the house now sit in the addition or new annexe. This left increased space elsewhere in the house for more diverse and flexible use, so designers took the opportunity to update parts of the existing dwelling to take better advantage of that space.
As a result of these updates, the finished house now has much larger bedrooms than before, a large family bathroom, and a whole second living space that functions more as a casual family and media room than a formal living room. The larger, new living spaces sit further towards the original backyard and garden, but the annexe doesn’t take up so much space as to consume the home’s entire available outdoor area.
Instead, designers put in great effort to make the annexe actually feel like part of the garden. They blended it, rather than just popping it in the middle, by creating new green spaces on both sides around it. Now, the green space down one side of the annexe juts inward to separate the original building from the far wall of the addition, creating a sort of calming inner courtyard.
This courtyard is an enjoyable place to spend time together outside for the owners and their family, but it also serves practical functions for the home. Now, the master bedroom has an extra outer wall with large windows that give it much more natural light, as do both of the living areas. These huge windows create the illusion of continuous space, which lets them feel blended with the greenery outside, making them feel spacious and welcoming.
In order to make sure that the house doesn’t let is so much light as to get too hot, designers also installed a built-in shading system over several of the largest glass encasements. This is where the caravan inspired element is perhaps the most visually apparent; these retractable shading devices create cool spaces on the deck and outdoor dining area while also working with the louver style windows and thermal mass concrete floors to passively heat or cool the house at large.
Photos by Tatjana Plitt