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.
Cubic House in the Fields created by Estudio Acta to provide stunning minimalist lifestyle experience
By Courtney • Jul 23, 2019
Unique and simple Rain House created by Describing Architecture Studio to blend traditional Chinese architecture and modern living
By Courtney • Jul 23, 2019
Amidst the rolling hills of ChongQing in China, creative designers at Describing Architecture Studio have recently finished a beautifully unique refurbished housing project for a small family called the Rain House.
Right from the beginning, the conceptualization of this house was rooted in the concept of memory. Designers wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to pay homage to the very hills the plot stands on, blending the house into what’s typically seen in the area in a slightly more modern way so the family can truly enjoy the breathtaking landscape.
Both when the original house was built and now in its refurbishment, designers were presented with a unique challenge that was entirely out of their control. This was the fact that increased traffic in the area presented a serious problem in continuing to build up the area and navigate the area with flow rather than jams.
The development of roads was undoubtedly a good thing for residents, as it met their travel needs in an area that was previously very rural and not necessarily easily accessed, but their presence changed the landscape just enough that the visual fabric of neighbourhoods changed in order to negotiate around and between the roads.
The roads were only the beginning of the changes to the neighbourhood, which are now evident in the amenities that are immediately present in the homes. These changes were directly correlated to a generalized increase in income of the residents in the area, increasing the presence of tap water, gas power, and Internet originally, and leading to all kinds of modern living features now.
Now that road developments and modernizations have largely slowed in the area because the neighbourhood is fully but subtly contemporary despite its ongoing traditionally inspired charm, many designers are trying to pay better tribute to the landscape itself by getting creative but respectful with their homes. Within this project, for example, teams couldn’t help feeling that the position of the sun and how it hits the land should be taken into better consideration from the beginning of their plans.
Incorporating the sun’s position into the actual plans of the home and accounting for where the light will fall aligns well with the Chinese practice of Fengshui. This practice is central to the Rain House, which features single framed stone walls, self-made hollow bricks created locally, and pre-cast slabs, just like most of the houses did when the neighbourhood really started populating more in the 1980s, for the sake of authenticity.
The original house that was transformed into the Rain House featured these as well, but with less weather proofing and modern materiality for support. It was an old three bay house full of wooden casements and windows that did not feature any inset glass. The yard was sunny in most places but also shaded by a stunning 200 year old yellow-horned tree that casts its silhouette quite far from where it sits in the sun across a small river.
Now, in the new house, only certain elements of the original structure remain, most of which have been harvested from what was still usable of what was left and aspects that have been recreated as authentically as possible. A new specific location was chosen for the house in terms of how it is oriented on the site. It provides views of the surrounding woods and farmland but still provides great access to transportation.
In terms of styling, the goal of the design was to achieve a sense of simplicity and uniqueness in one place. Part of this is rooted in the fact that designers chose to work with the uneven terrain of their plot rather than working against it, placing rooms of certain functions very intentionally. The living room, for example, has a slightly higher elevation than the bedrooms because being placed lower on the hill gives the resting spaces more privacy away from the front road, which sits higher.
The same traditional stone walls that you’d have seen in the original house in previous generations are present in this new design in the transitionary space between the new volumes that replaced the original three. Now, three larger rectangular volumes make up the bulk of the house, with two tower structures added on.
Sunlight actually plays a very large role in this house beyond just the Fengshui elements we were talking about previously. Designers also included extremely large windows (with glass this time) in places that they knew would let the most sunlight flood into the shared living spaces and provide tons of comfortable, natural light.
In contrast to the original building and its very traditional materiality, the roof of each of the large rectangular volumes is made from steel rather than wood or bricks. This was a choice for the sake of good weathering and modernizing, and also to provide contrast in shape and angle in the way that the different roofs on the home’s various volumes are tilted and the way they catch the sun.
Another much more contemporary looking element of the house is the glass wall that looks onto the south facing yard. This creates a visual blending of space between the interior common rooms and the beautiful scenery outside, as well as the immediate courtyard. Several of these panes slide like patio doors to quite literally create a blending of indoor and outdoor spaces as well. This wall also provides even more sunlight than anywhere else in the house.
Inside, the house is heavy in its stunning wooden materiality and neutral colour palette. This gives different spaces, especially the bedrooms, a sense of spa-like calm, particularly when the sun hits them and makes them gleam. This theme extends right into the centred tower, which is the tallest building and serves as an open and multi-purpose activities space, changing depending on the needs of the family in the moment.
In fact, the material choices in this home actually played one of the biggest roles in the home’s authenticity within its building process. Here, designers involved bricklayers, stonemasons, and carpenters, just like there would have been in the building of the original house, but this time they collaborate with ironworkers and welders for the more contemporary iron and steel elements.
Photos by Lian He
By Courtney • Jul 19, 2019
Amidst the lush trees of Nova Ponente in Italy, innovative designers at bergmeisterwolf architekten has finished building the Fan Forest Houses; a collection of buildings that, as the name suggests, fan across the landscape to provide a unique home.
In total, the collective is made up of three separate house buildings that look and function cohesively to form a residential ensemble. The homes are built and situated very intentionally on the landscape according to, and in order to account for, the crags of rock and crops of plants that exist on a mountainside.
Because the homes are built on a landscape that seems to constantly shift, each one of the buildings is afforded a unique view. Similarly, the lines and appearances of the homes’ exteriors all differ depending on where on the mountain peaks you’re standing and looking up on them from. This is all thanks to quickly differing points of elevation.
For the sake of solidity and endurance against weather, each of the three homes in the collective is built slightly elevated on a concrete slab. The effect of this is to make the homes appear as though they are sort of floating ever so slightly, hovering subtly above the natural topography surrounding them.
Each of the homes has a beautiful wooden gabled structure that suits the landscape well. In fact, the colour palette and materiality are so appropriate that the houses actually seem to blend right into the forest even as they float above it. The houses are pleasantly dark, just like the natural wood and rock surrounding them.
As the houses splay outwards on the land to form their compound, the trees seem to swallow them in a way that’s more comforting than intimidating or dark. There is a natural sense of homeliness, as though one who has come here to escape is really being given space to breathe and absorb all the benefits that nature has to offer.
On their facades, the houses feature black-brown slats that engulf the walls and continue all the way up to cover the roof as well, giving them a monotone and slightly monolithic look. Several spaces, like the large cantilevered terrace, allow the indoor spaces in each building to blend almost seamlessly with the abundant outside space provided by the surrounding forest.
Adding to their almost otherworldly appearance and the interesting way they use space is the fact that the home’s main entrance, which is located in the largest volume of the three, is covered for privacy. Even more interestingly, the front door is actually accessed by a wooden bridge leading from the wooded land into the foyer.
The first thing most people notice upon passing off the wooden bridge and through the door is the way the roof’s shape can be seen from the underside, letting dwellers and guests actually experience its unique shape. The way the common space extends upward to the topmost point and mirrors the fan-like shape visitors saw outside as they approached the house makes the shared and living spaces feel even more generous than they truly already are.
From each balcony and floor to ceiling window, one can see the way the buildings appear to grow right out of the landscape and spread out, allowing the woods and the plants and animals they’re home to spread between the volumes of the house nearly uninterrupted.
To connect the different units of the home, which are not actually entirely separate from each other the way they might look at first glance, designers built more wooden bridges. These are raised from the ground, contributing to the sense that, from a distance, the volumes of the home seem to float.
The effect on the inner spaces of being separated and connect by these bridges is one of cohesiveness and yet privacy. No one feels cut off from any other space or person, but each person there can still seek calm, peaceful solitude and quiet whenever necessary.
Inside, the palette is much lighter in shade even though the materiality remains much the same. From floor to ceiling, almost the entire interior of the home, especially in the private spaces and sleeping rooms, is wooden. A pleasant light wood keeps the rooms bright in partnership with all those lovely, high windows. This creates a stunning contrast with the dark wood of the exterior.
Furnishings have been intentionally chosen to suit and look cohesive with the materiality and style of the rest of the home. Pieces are neutral, interesting to look at but now flashy, and stylish without being showy.
Photographs by Gustav Willeit
By Courtney • Jul 18, 2019
Nestled onto the top of a hill that overlooks the sparkling waters of Lake Minnetonka, design teams at Nor-Son recently custom built a beautifully traditional home with a contemporary twist. Appropriately dubbed the Modern Dutch Colonial, this impressive residential structure is notorious to the small town residents in Orono, Minnesota.
Despite its clearly classic and perhaps even old fashioned influences, this beautiful houses offers all of the amenities of modern living and more, both in terms of function and the fine details of the style. The overall shape and grand features of the home might be overtly Dutch colonial but certain things, like the bright shining copper gutters and the over-sized linear windows that flood the interiors with light, really make a modern impact.
On the main level of the home is an open concept common space that’s perfect for relaxing, sharing family time, and hosting guests. Free flowing movement is a primary element between the living room and the kitchen, but a butler’s pantry does create one area of partition to hide some elements of preparation from guests, as is custom in formal older houses.
Along the outer walls of this open floor plan are several sliding glass doors that span the entire vertical space from floor to ceiling. When opened, these lead to a patio and pool area, opening one whole side of the room to the sun and fresh air and creating a connection between inner and outer spaces that feels almost seamless.
On the outside of the house, perhaps one of the most attention grabbing features is the column of windows that stem from ground level all the way up the house to the roof. It sits right in the centre if the house, providing a hint of the comfort and style inside. The rectangular column shape is maybe the first hint of the modern twist that designers laced in with the more classic Dutch Colonial influences.
Inside, a grand living room looks rather stately but also comforting, a perfect place to both bond and host guests. A beautiful fireplace sits central, a clear focal point of the room, providing warmth in the winter and simple traditional style throughout the summer when it’s not being used.
Other areas of the house align more closely with the modern side of its lifestyle. The fully equipped and brand new laundry room, for example, hints at a sense of contemporary convenience. Even here, and elsewhere (like around the home bar, for example), however, there are clear countryside influences in things like X-frame doors and wooden trim.
One room stands out in particular as a slight deviation from both of the clearest style influences blended elsewhere in the house. This is a guest bathroom where graphic green and gold wallpaper grabs the attention of anyone who passes it immediately, while gold taps and details and an ornate gilt framed mirror create a cohesive, if kitschy, aesthetic. Grand looking pendant lights with bulbs that almost resemble gems hang above the sink.
To the side of the living room and kitchen lie a set of glass sliding doors that help flood the common spaces with natural light. These doors not only help blend indoor and outdoor spaces in a way that feels comfortable and nearly seamless, but they also give simple access out to a stunning patio and outdoor seating area.
Beyond this seating area, which is furnished with comfortable chairs that look modern in terms of their shape and style but rustic in their materiality, lies a stunning and sizeable swimming pool. This separates the raised stone patio from a rolling lawn, nearby which the family often enjoys dinners at a full patio dining table on warm summer evenings.
Photos by Scott Amundson Photography
Irresistible Watercolour Beach Home created by Geoff Chick & Associates as a holiday home with a dreamlike layout and colour palette
By Courtney • Jul 17, 2019
In the sunny dales of South Florida, iconic designers at Geoff Chick & Associates have built a stunning coast cottage that looks every bit the kind of serene escape a family might seek out to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and unwind somewhere that is truly calming.
The Watercolour Beach Home is aptly named for its unique use of colour and materiality, particularly in its interiors. In its details, shapes, and accents, the home already has a very coastal inspired aesthetic, but that’s undoubtedly driven home by the way the home grounds itself in a monochrome way in clean shades of white and cream, but then features pops of bright teal.
Those attention grabbing teal details don’t just happen in one room; it’s a theme that actually flows from space to space, extending throughout the entire house. Whether it’s a throw pillow, a simple blanket, a duvet, or a painting, a person walking through the house will absolutely find some kind of teal element in every single room.
Where there isn’t teal, there is greenery included in each of the aforementioned rooms, adding an additional colour pop to each space in a way that’s more natural and subtle. This not only adds another shade to the room against all that pretty cream and white, but it also creates a spa-like sense of nature throughout the house, bonding the interior experience a little with the home’s beautiful surroundings.
Those shades of cream we’ve raved about so much aren’t only present in the living and private spaces inside the home. The same cream neutral shades actually encapsulate the entire exterior of the house as well, making it at once stand out against and also not interrupt the greenery and coastline surrounding the plot on which the house stands.
Light, naturally finished wood also plays a huge roll in establishing the coastline inspired aesthetic and light backdrop colour scheme. It’s featured across the floor, on most tabletops, in several side furnishings, and even across the ceiling between white painted cross beams. The effect quite closely resembles driftwood, making the house look cleanly rustic even in its luxury.
Amidst its many bedrooms, ranging from spacious master to impressive guest, are several kids’ bedrooms built for not only the kids of the owning family, but also their friends and young relatives, since this is a vacation home. Designers continued their work with wood by building shelf style bunkbeds hat are inset right into the wall. Interesting wicker basket chairs add a slightly contemporary shape to the room to keep things friendly for the kids’ space.
The beautiful watercolour inspired house has several novelties for the adults living there as well, and not just for the kids! Down a set of wooden topped stairs, visitors can find a glass encased wine cellar that is not only well organized and impressively stocked, but even temperature controlled to ensure the perfect flavour when each bottle is opened.
The house also offers a whole plethora of beautiful balconies, giving every person in the house a place to relax in peace, alone or together, outside in the sun. Being elevated on the top floor and placed all around the front and back of the house provides several different stunning views of the seaside countryside surrounding the whole plot.
Finally, the house offers an ultimate sunny afternoon spot around the back in the form of a poolside that feels like a private getaway. The raised wooden deck features couch style point swings and sprawling day beds, some in warm sunlight and some under a shady pergola. Each one gives stunning access to the sparkling waters of a large pool.
Photos provided by designer.
Playful Chatterbox House by de la Guardia Victoria Architects & Urbanists, Inc. uses pink and turquoise to create colour pops in a perfect seaside home
By Courtney • Jul 16, 2019
Along the stunning coastline of Harbour Island in the Bahamas, forward thinking designers at de la Guardia Victoria Architects & Urbanists, Inc. have recently refurbished an old beach cottage with bright colours and beachy furniture in order to create the gorgeous Chatterbox House.
Located near the beaches of a little island village called Dunmore Town, the original building was a cottage that was first build in the late 1800s. It was the picture of old world Bahamian charm, but it was also in desperate need of some refurbishment when designers came across it.
Since they were already updating its actual structure, teams opted to update the style and atmosphere of the cottage ever so slightly as well. While they absolutely wanted to say authentic to the original history and classic integrity of the old house, preserving as much of it as they could, they also wanted to add a quirky sense of contemporary cheer to the space.
Once the three storey house, with its expansive front porch and rooftop terrace, was structurally sound once more and ready to be inhabited anew, designers decided to decorate it with an undoubted sense of Caribbean influence but with an even more colourful twist than usual. A colour scheme heavy in light pink and bright turquoise was chosen, with several contrasting shades featured in fun, visually loud patterned pieces like hanging art and throw blankets.
One particularly neat and surprisingly authentic detail is the tile inlay that adorns the front porch. Although it looks shining and new, it was actually a feature of the original house that has simply been redone in a precise reproduction of the first, which was damaged after years of seaside weathering.
The riles aren’t the only interesting thing about the porch, of course. Besides the fact that the beloved colour scheme follows visitors out into this open air seating area, there’s also the novelty of a comfortable and unique looking porch swing! A similar outdoor seating space exists at the top of the house as well, on a small, wooden rooftop terrace. Here, a full airy lounge area is afforded a beautiful view of the surrounding town and waterline.
Inside the house, the bedrooms are afforded stunning views as well. The master bedroom and both guests sleeping areas have large, breathtaking windows on each wall, giving dwellers an almost 360 degree view all around as they move through the house from room to room.
Perhaps the absolute best view in the house, however, is above even the terrace we described with the outdoor escape style seating. Near the barn-style door that leads to the terrace, there’s actually a wooden staircase that leads to a “bird’s nest” at the very top of the house, giving visitors an actual 360 view without the interruption of window frames!
From the street, Chatterbox House presents an irresistibly fun sight that stands out from and yet, thanks to its whimsy and brightness, also somehow suits the beachy surroundings amidst which it is nestled.
Photos by Annie Schlecter
By Courtney • Jul 12, 2019
In the rolling countryside in upstate New York, design teams at Chango & Co. have recently completed a stunning family getaway modelled after the farmhouses of auld, but with the interior decor and amenities of a modern country home. The aptly named Country Farmhouse stands out modestly but beautifully in the residential fabric of Dutchess County!
The home is notorious for its beauty amongst the residents of Amenia, the little country town it actually nestles on the border of. It was built for a family of only four, but with the intention of hosting family and friends whenever possible in mind. Designers wanted to make sure the country home had a clear sense of its relaxed location, while also feeling comfortably modern.
Because the family has two children, who they very much allowed an active involvement in choosing certain elements of the home, designers made the choice to create spaces the specifically cater to adults or kids, allowing the rest of the house to be blended spaces where the two generations can come together.
Of course, the house does bear an undeniably farmhouse influenced atmosphere, with clear elements of the aesthetic throughout just about every room. This rings true from the wooden X-frame detailing in the front door right to the table legs in the dining room and elsewhere. Carlisle style hardwood flooring spreads across each storey, adding a sense of rustic warmth with its ever so slightly uneven planking.
The walls contribute to both the farmhouse aesthetic and the concentration on visual texture as well. In rooms where statement wallpapers haven’t been chosen for a slightly more modern pop of colour, V-groove cladding is featured on the walls, giving the appearance of old fashioned boarding like you’d have seen in a working farmhouse in the area earlier in the century.
In the common spaces where the adults mainly occupy their time, a calming neural palette has been selected to carry on the sense that this is a serene place where people can truly relax. Natural materiality follows the palette’s suit, contrasting beautifully with the gleaming metal of things like the kitchen appliances.
In the rooms intended for the children, however, natural aesthetics take a back seat! Here, pops of colour own the space and help create an atmosphere that’s playful and full of cheer. Eye catching wallpapers have been chosen to take the colour palettes and visual textures to a whole new level.
From the shared spaces where the family might spend time together or with guests, floor-to-ceiling glass doors provide the family with a seamless feeling connection between the indoors and outdoors. This lets visitors go from a formal living room with a stone and reclaimed wood fireplace and surround straight out onto a lovely patio where the same wood that was featured in the reclaimed reclaimed ceiling beams is then mirrored in the beams outside as well.
The furnishings in the outdoor spaces follow suit of those inside; natural in materiality but with a touch of modernity when it comes to shape. The rounded porch swing with a cutout looking seat is a perfect example. The view from here is one of countryside bliss and rolling lawns where the kids can enjoy time outside of their colour popping indoor spaces.
Despite the fact that the home is supposed to be an escape, designers also wanted to make sure that all possible responsibilities and needs the family might have can be met by the space. This is why they built a homework space near the children’s bedrooms. When it’s not being used for school work, it’s a great hangout space away from the hustle and bustle of adult life.
Photos by Sarah Elliot
By Courtney • Jul 11, 2019
In the midst of the Stockholm archipelago, design and architectural teams at Tham & Videgård Arkitekter have recently completed a small but magical escape called the Summerhouse.
Located in Norrtälje SO, Sweden, the house sits at the centre of a remote island. It is small but intentionally so, built to make sense for its very unique context. Part of the reason it makes sense with the land is that it is made primarily with resources that could be either found in the directly local area or transported extremely easily.
This is, of course, due to the fact that the island, like all islands, is difficult to access in terms of transportation. Not being able to access the building site by car or truck presented several unique challenges to the design and construction teams, but the ways they found to work around those limitations are part of what gives the house its charm.
The small house is built around a central hub, which is a large multi-purpose room laid out to be the primary social space. With the living room in the dead centre, a corner is reserved for a fully functional but space efficient kitchen and small seating area. Different areas around the edges of the room have been built to look out of floor to ceiling glass walled alcoves from different directions, each one offering a view of the surrounding island from a differing vantage point.
All around the edges of the central room, designers built four small sleeping rooms. Two of these are sleeping rooms, which are conservative in space and designed purely for rest and repose, as the focus of the house is truly centred on the communal spaces. The other two rooms are a storage and a bathroom. Each of the four rooms sits at one of the four corners of the main space.
Besides the full window walls we’ve already described, light enters the central part of the home through a sizeable sky light, as well as several glazed niches throughout the house and in the sleeping spaces. The aim here was to create a sense that the great view outside the home’s walls is accessible from all angles, all the way around the house.
To one side, sliding glass doors have been built into the wall not only for light, but also to blend indoor and outdoor spaces. Visitors can travel from the interior of the home through to a small covered terrace where outdoor dinners often take place, then further into the yard. These spaces, in combination, create a sort of transitionary experience.
The interior and exterior of the house are actually built from the same material at its base, despite their quite different looks. On the outside walls and the rood, the wooden slats are covered in a black slate bitumen that is standard for the area. On the inside, however, the rooms are surrounded walls to ceiling in natural looking sawn wood panels painted in a pleasant light grey.
At present, furniture in the home is understated and quite minimalist. Some of it provides a subtle pop of colour while other pieces give the room some interesting shape in a house that is otherwise quite cubic.
Photos by Lindman Photography
By Courtney • Jul 10, 2019
In the quiet green spaces of Charlotte, in North Carolina, Fusterio Design recently finished the large and impressive Traditional Home to provide a family with a comfortable living space that hearkens back to classic and somewhat old fashioned architectural and lifestyle elements typical of the local area.
In total, Traditional Home encompasses 3,694 square feet on an expansive plot of green land right outside the city. In addition to beautiful shared spaces for the family to bond and host guests in, the home boasts four large bedrooms and three bathrooms throughout the house.
One of the most interesting aspects of the house is the way design teams intentionally chose to create a notable contrast between the home’s exterior and the style inside. From the street, the building is a striking example of traditional local architecture, and much of that continues inside, but a shift towards modern shapes, materials, and furnishings is visible the moment one enters the front door.
One constant example of traditional materiality all throughout the house is the heavy featuring of white oak. It can be seen in cupboards, decor detailing, trim, and all across the floors throughout the house. These wooden elements contrast beautifully with high end lighting choices, cleanly modern looking tiles, and contemporary plumbing features.
To match the white oak featured all over but withstand changes in weather, the bulk of the home’s exterior is built from brick that has also been painted a clean, stark white. These bricks contrast further with even more wood in the form of cedar columns and a pleasantly naturally stained cedar porch.
Although it is intentionally styled along an old fashioned, not-quite-rustic aesthetic, the kitchen is possibly the most obviously modern looking room in the house. Here, brand new appliances made from gleaming stainless steel play off shining white marble countertops. Decor elements and continued wooden details, however, keep a sense of the traditional ever present for cohesiveness.
Despite the fact that the layout of the home follows a more classic sense of room building, with more delineation between common spaces than you might find in very modern looking open concept spaces, the house still manages to feel open and airy, rather than closed off or uninviting.
This is partially due to the colour choices (white is absolutely the dominant shade throughout all rooms), but also the design choice to prioritize large, gorgeous windows. Every room features beautiful casings and glazed panes, many that extend clear from floor to ceiling. This is just one example of the kind of incredible attention to detail that went into designing and building the house.
At the heart of the home is a grand looking living room where the bulk of the family’s bonding time is spent. In this room, beautifully old fashioned style furniture is arranged comfortably around a stately looking fireplace, close to which designers built a set of impressive French doors. These lead to a shaded and very pleasant covered deck at the back of the house.
The covered deck is built more like a fully equipped outdoor living space rather than simply a patio where people might spend a few minutes. For example, the family regularly eats dinner out there on warm days. The house already boasts two different dining rooms as well, one formal and one informal, giving the owners flexibility of where to dine depending on the occasion.
Besides the double dining room situation, the house boasts several other spots where classic looking decor and styling gives off a traditional feel even though the concept of the space is actually quite contemporary. The mud room is a great example, as is the “zero entry” shower, which resembles its own open concept room!
Overall, the colour scheme house-wide is very light, which is part of what keeps things feeling so light and airy. That’s not to stay, however, that the rooms feel to monochrome of that they’re not dynamic! In each space, darker features like cabinets or siding ground the room while gold decor pieces keep things interesting and slightly upscale.
Photos by Charlotte Imagery
By Courtney • Jul 10, 2019
On the edges of Austin, Texas, design and construction teams at Cornerstone Architects recently finished and impressively expansive and bright dwelling called the Gorgeous Mediterranean Home.
This home was heavily inspired by the architecture and lifestyles of homes in the sunny Mediterranean. Nestled onto a stunning plot in the neighbourhood of Rollingwood, the home was erected from an older structure that had become run down and dilapidated before the plot was sold.
Despite the inhabitable building, however, the land was still of top quality. One of its biggest draws was actually a cluster of mature live oak trees, which were the first thing that caught the new owner’s attention. In fact, the team held these trees in such high esteem that their placement and the path of their roots largely determined the layout and situation of the home itself.
Besides working with the primary goal of not disturbing the trees, designers were also tasked with incorporating several of the new owner’s architectural fascinations. This resulted in an aesthetic that is at once quite traditionally Mediterranean in its shapes and proportions, but that also has a clean looking elegance to it that’s slightly more modern and personalized.
In every single room of the house, natural light was made a high priority. Rooms were built with an open concept layout to encourage the easy flow of sunlight from the windows and all throughout the spaces, and between them as well. The owner desired every room, right from the public spaces straight through to the private areas to be, in his words, “awash” in light.
Besides letting light flow from space to space, the open concept layout of the home also also facilitates good airflow and free movement of people and things from space to space. The goal here was to create a harmonious feeling from one space to the next, making the home feel cohesive and sensical; comfortable to be in but easy to use.
We’ve already mentioned how the large, impressive windows allow the free flow of natural light, but they serve another purpose within the house as well. Designers intended these to work in partnership with several sets of sliding and disappearing doors to create a sense of blended space between the home’s interior and its outdoor spaces.
On the other side of the biggest glass wall sits a sunny lanai that provides a breathtaking view of the very oak trees that attracted the new owner to the plot in the first place. Indeed, the way that this outdoor space situates those who sit there, where they can relax underneath the trees’ shady branches, makes one feel as though they are part of the natural scenery swaying in the soft breeze.
Beyond the kitchen, which the glass wall sidelines, visitors will also find a grand but very cozy great room. This flows easily into a library that boasts its own breakfast nook, as well as several nooks for quiet reading or sitting and socializing with friends. All of these rooms roll into one another intentionally, without any harsh transitions between them, and each features, of course, its own iteration of that same stunning oak tree view.
Photos by Buff Strickland
The Candelaria House, created and designed by Llano Arquitectos, was recently completed in La Estrella, Colombia to provide a modern, open home to a young family.
The house, which lies in the area of Antioqua, sits in an upper subdivision. Despite its impressive appearance, it’s actually quite small, which was intentional. Within this project, designers aimed to preserve natural areas surrounding the new building while also taking advantage of the stunning sunlight that floods the whole land plot.
The standout feature of the home’s exterior is the parallelepiped aspect. This can be seen all around the outside of the home and used within the facade, most often supporting floor to ceiling glass windows. These windows and the way the sunlight spills through help create the sense of a beautiful isolated pavilion, wherein the open concept of the main living space seems limitless.
At the same time as the concentration on windows and sunlight breaks down division in the interior spaces, the lack of visual roadblocks also seems to dissolve the limits of the home’s exterior, making the dwelling feel like a blended experience with its surrounding nature. No matter what room you’re in, hardly anything blocks access to the home’s beautiful view.
The glass and glazed metal pavilion of a residence boasts two surprisingly spacious floors for its modest size. The flow of these floors is intercepted by a central vacuum space and this acts as a core towards which all of the rooms in the house are turned. This is intentional, with spaces situated towards the common areas where family would spend the most time together.
Nowhere exemplifies this emphasis on spaciousness and free flowing movement without division better than the master bedroom. It stands out in the fact that it actually doesn’t even have walls! To ensure a bit of privacy from the outer world, however, it does possess a covered terrace on its outer edge, where shade and stunning natural landscape provide a kind of blended, open air feeling screen from the home’s exterior.
In this way, the terrace blends into the main bedroom, becoming a calming place for relaxation, introspection, and contemplation. This sense of calm is carried throughout the rest of the house too in the inclusion of light wooden details in every space, as well as in the strong presence of fresh greenery.
Moving downward from the bedroom, across the open air bridge that connects it to the main landing, guests find a blended living, kitchen, and dining space that, thanks to full sliding glass walls, opens entirely onto the patio. In this way, the interior and exterior spaces are even further incorporated into each other while giving the family easy access to a stunning outdoor pool.
Photos by Alejandro Arango.
Queen’s Lane Pavilion created by Carney Logan Burke Architects blend traditional and modern styles in a five-building complex
By Courtney • Jul 2, 2019
On an expansive 180-acre plot of greenery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, innovative designers at Carney Logan Burke Architects have collaborated with the land’s owning family over a total period of 20 years to make the Queen’s Lane Pavilion; a stunning five-building project designed for avid hosts who love to blend traditional and modern aesthetics in one beautiful place.
The land on which the buildings sit is part of a riverine ecosystem that is more than a little bit rich in its own wildlife. The compound of buildings is anchored around the first building you’ll encounter, which is a timber lodge made from stone and Parkitecture-influenced log.
From there, visitors can move towards the second building, which is both a combination office-shop and also a wine silo. This building is building on the more traditional side as far as local style is concerned. Between its interior spiral staircase and its sunny rooftop viewing platform, affording visitors a breathtaking view of the surrounding land, the silo features a wonderfully rustic influenced modernism heavy in oxidized steel details and a sense of sculptural expression.
Moving on from the office and silo, you’ll find yourself wandering through a charming covered bridge that has become iconic in the area. This bridge ends in a thoroughly modernist glass pavilion with a flat roof, sitting clearly on the more contemporary end of the whole area’s style spectrum.
This glass pavilion was built specifically for the owners, giving them a retreat of their own within their hosting space. It is a streamlined building that somehow still manages to look nature-oriented, paying homage to its location with big, lovely windows. This building sits nestled between two spring creeks, perhaps the most pleasant spot on the whole plot.
The final building in the compound is a two-bedroom guesthouse. This was built on the precise spot where an older structure used to sit, long before the current owners took over. To stay within preservation limitations placed on the land, designers built the new guesthouse on the precise footprint of the older structure.
The new guesthouse has an L-shape, the short end of which houses a garage. The longer section is where the bedrooms lie, next to a lovely, open concept kitchen, living room, and dining space combination. Glass walls along the north and south walls give the guesthouse a sense of airiness while visitors gather around the central fireplace, which anchors the rooms. White oak floors and ceilings work in partnership with the window walls to create wonderfully private experience of nature.
Of course, it only makes sense to provide an outdoor space to enjoy on such a lovely plot as well! Outside the guesthouse, a minimalist style patio appears to merge right into the surrounding landscape. This is provided a bit of privacy by a pierced steel curtain that looks almost like an art piece.
Designers and owners alike took care in the details and materiality of each building to make sure they all relate back to one another, as though they’re communicating. At the same time, each is unique, as though it functions in its own micro-ecosystem. Surrounding the five-building pavilion, a small but thriving wildlife refuge and a fishery have grown throughout the two decades it took for Queen’s Lane to be finished. This refuge is home to eagles, moose, elk, deer, and even coyotes.
Because the guesthouse boasts all of its own amenities right down the a laundry, some people choose to enjoy it as an isolated, meditative experience. Others wander down through the cottonwood trees to the serene glass pavilion and enjoy a view of the local wildlife with the owners. This space is always welcoming people; a comfortable retreat during the day and a glowing glass lantern peeking through the trees around it after dark.
Photos by Matthew Millman
Pereira Miguel Arquitectos finishes Monte House, or the Dune House, as an architectural tribute to sand dunes
By Courtney • Jul 2, 2019
Nestled into the sandy beaches of Comporta, Portugal sits the impressive and uniquely shaped Monte House. This modern but natural looking structure, built by innovative designers at Pereira Miguel Arquitectos, has been nicknamed “The Dune House” for the way is harnesses the beauty of the sand dunes surrounding as an inspiration for its shape.
The original aim of this project was to try and establish a clear visual and functional relationship between a new building and the landscape on which designers chose to build it. The goal was to create a home that looks like a fixed point where the natural world and the human one meet and intersect as seamlessly as possible.
One of the ways in which designers tried to enable this seamless meeting of worlds was by building artificial sand dunes, one on either side of the actual dwelling space. These help establish a physical relationship between the structure itself and its surrounding landscape as well as a visual one.
Nestled in between the concrete and sand hills lies the main living space of the house, encased in four natural concrete walls, one of shining floor to ceiling glass, and accessed by beautifully smooth stained wooden doors. These materials at once blend into the landscape but also provide solid shelter in a location where beach weather can become quite harsh quickly when the sun isn’t out.
As if bearing its own faux sand dunes didn’t make the house interesting enough, an extra element of visual appeal is added by the undulating shape of the roof. Like the sand dunes surrounding it, the monolithic and monochromatic concrete roof of the main house ebbs and flows, rising and dipping in the same rounded off shapes as the sand hills piled around the beach.
Inside the house, the ceiling actually undulates right along with the roof! This creates interesting but entirely different visual an spatial experiences inside and out based around the same element of the house. The waves of the ceiling and roof almost become and experience in and of themselves as you cross the house on the interior or outside.
In fact, one can even walk from one end of the house to the other on top of the roof, climbing up and down the slopes of the faux sand dunes on either side. Standing on the different hills and dips will actually give you a different view of the surrounding beach area from a different level, depending on where you’re situated.
There is actually one more thing that the shape of the roof and house is intended to pay homage to besides just the sand dunes. Once upon a time, an old winding road was paved through this area. Though long gone, it was a point of access for many people to enjoy the beach, so now the home’s roof winds like its own little concrete road, allowing visitors to see the beach like the road used to.
Extending from the central volume of the house, the actual living spaces protrude in three remaining volumes, built on four arms that raise them from the uneven ground a little and make them feel slightly detached from the front of the house for more private relaxation. Thought the sleeping areas lie in a different wing from the public ones, natural wooden platforms leading from space to space and to the stunning pool out back make everything feel cohesive and far from closed off or hard to access.
Photos by Fernando Guerra
Sabará Residence created by Padovani Arquitetos Associados to blend indoor-outdoor spaces with family experiences
By Courtney • Jul 1, 2019
In a beautifully sunny and calm residential neighbourhood in Campinas, Brazil, innovative designers at Padovani Arquitetos Associados recently completed a house for a couple and their two small daughters, named Sabará Residence.
The structure of this house is intentionally compact. The primary goal, before adding personality with decor and furnishings, was to make it functional so that it’s conducive to the busy life of a modern family. Additionally, designers and owners alike decided to prioritize the integration of interior and exterior spaces, creating a house that, while secure and private, still blends the two aspects of the home experience in a way that feels seamless and comfortable.
Luckily for all involved, the landscape of the plot on which the house was billed lends itself well to that sort of indoor-outdoor setup. Brazil’s climate also provides enough sunlight year round that natural sunlight pouring in through the large windows and glass doors that the house features also help the place stay energy efficient by providing both warmth and light to every room.
The unique shape of the home’s structure is most noticeable on the right side, where two panels with cement flooring lead upwards towards the entryway, de facto supporting the upper block of the house as well as the edges extend past where the ramp stops. Those supported rooms, built like dorms for each member of the family, open out in two different spots to outdoor areas thanks to huge sliding panels of wood, like patio doors.
The upper outdoor area opens upward to form a lovely rooftop seating area. Because designers chose to border it in glass siding all along the edges, the space is child safe but still looks limitless, since the railing doesn’t cut off the otherwise panoramic view. This lets the nature surrounding the house feel like a true part of the experience of sitting up there, on the sofa in the sun.
Underneath the upper supported block we’ve mentioned, the living and dining rooms reside, each one open concept to meld with a kitchen and another outdoor patio space. The rooms open right out into an outdoor seating area that is so lush with local plants in its garden that this space is actually what got the house its name!
Just past the patio, designers built a series of natural stone bench seats around a relaxing in-ground fire pit. This mimics the shape of the atrium found in the centre of the house, where a double height space features a staircase leading to the upper floor. Throughout this vertical space, an indoor tropical garden grows lush and green right in the heart of the home.
The bedrooms of the house keep up this theme of greenery and neutral colours, resembling a sort of relaxing spa while still providing all the amenities of contemporary living. The only space that varies greatly is the children’s room, which is adorned in pretty pastel colours and cheerful, childlike decor.
Photos by Evelyn Muller
By Courtney • Jun 28, 2019
In historic centre of the city of Mérida in Mexico, innovative designers at Taller Estilo Arquitectura have recently completed an impressive revitalization project, transforming an old, abandoned dwelling into a lovely new home called the Diaphanous House.
From the outset, the main goal of designers was to create a new building that pays proper, authentic homage to the historical surroundings of the plot the home sits on. In creating a fully equipped modern living space that pays respect to local heritage, the architects help play a role in revitalizing the actual city as a contemporary choice for new residents, rather than solely transforming what sits on the specific plot itself.
This goal of blending the new dwelling into the historical context of its street was partially met by keeping as much of the original Casa Diáfana’s exterior facade as possible, since this is what passers by see from the street. Rather than building new houses that interrupt the local context and wear down the history of the residential streets, local housing officials have been encouraging projects like this instead to work with what is already there, revitalize historical areas, and renew the city’s housing.
Once the facade was restored, teams moved onto the interiors. The lobby and guest bedroom area you encounter almost immediately upon entering were actually in such good shape that they have been largely preserved as they were, with only the most minor necessary updates. The blend of old spaces and new amenities creates an atmosphere as though the house speaks two languages; underneath the char, designers hoped their modern renovation of this space will make it more sustainable.
Towards the public spaces of the house, you’ll encounter a double height living area, kitchen, and dining room. Between this and the stunning floor to ceiling windows that were built into a wall that already needed reconstruction anyways, light is allowed to flow abundantly into the social spaces of the house, helping preserve power and keep things cheerful.
The house bears a certain fluidity in its renovation in terms of its materiality as well as its blend of contemporary and historical elements. This is in the contrast between the stone of the yard walls and the outer front facade (which has been repainted its original stunning shade of blue) and the lighter, more organize woods and materials used to transform the interior decor, as well as the modern and more streamline feel of the furnishings and appliances.
Besides being an absolutely lovely little place for relaxation, the patio pool actually plays a passive role in heating and cooling thhe home’s main living spaces. When the glass patio doors are slid open, the water, cool from the chilly night, helps reduce the temperate in the living and dining area. It then absorbs the heat during the day and gives it back off in those spaces when the temperature drops at night, until dwellers slide the doors closed again to sleep. The wind helps this whole process along too!
Besides being just updated visually and functionally, designers hoped that a new family moving into the house will help update the space and the neighbourhood a little bit socially as well. They wanted the revitalization of the space to be full and thorough, making the home open concept so there’s free flow of movement and energy, as well as space for activities and comfort for bonding.
Diaphanous House is truly a practice in blending modern living with urban culture that is thoroughly and authentically centred on the preservation of historical culture and context. Hopefully its success leads to more projects that value and revitalize existing neighbourhoods in the area rather than reducing them to ruins and making new ones that might result in loss of culture.
Photos by Verónica Gloria Hernández
By Courtney • Jun 28, 2019
on the Southwestern outskirts of Daejeon City in Seo-gu, South Korea, a new residential complex area has recently become home to the Urban Hamlet. This is a stunningly modern three storey home finished by Chiasmus Partners with the express purpose of putting a unique spin on all the needs and wants of a modern family with members of different ages and spatial requirements.
The house might have been commissioned by and designed with the parents, but it was absolutely conceptualized with the children’s needs and lives in mind. This is why all functional and private rooms are located on the ground and top floors, while the entire second floor exists as a unique and very diverse multi-purpose space to be used by the entire family however they need in the moment.
Beginning at the bottom, visitors approaching the patio will find it surrounded by a large garage and, through the front door, a living room, dining room, and guest room. When the family has guests who are not staying the night, this spare bedroom doubles as a quiet and pleasant tea room. This floor is where most of the functional spaces are located.
Moving up to the third floor (we’ll come back to that exciting second floor in a moment), you’ll encounter six bedrooms. Each of these is duplex in style, meaning that they adjoin in pairs like dorms. Surrounding the bedrooms is a lovely shared family room that extends through the rest of the floor, eventually opening onto a beautiful open terrace that features a jacuzzi and a long “floating” swimming pool.
The swimming pool is of particular note for the way it faces the mountains to the south, as well as for the way the glass plates in its bottom act as small windows, letting swimmers see the street below as they paddle. This isn’t the only cool rooftop space; each bedroom actually has its own accompanying little rooftop space. There’s also a larger rooftop space with a hammock that is often used for family gatherings.
The second floor of the house is intended to be an open-space, multi-purpose area where family members can do whichever activities they need space for. The ceiling of this floor is supported in its full weight by a central core, inside which is a staircase and and elevator, each of which will take you to and from each floor of the house.
This core is also put to good use on its outer surface too, rather than just inside. It is covered from floor to ceiling in media shelves, book shelves, and a television stand. It also features a fireplace for chillier nights, a projector screen, and even a desk! It truly is designed to be a space for all kinds of different people and purposes.
Beyond just giving the family member space to do their own thing, the multi-purpose floor is also designed to reinvigorate bonding and social time. It draws activities that have become isolated in modern families out of individual bedrooms occasionally and into a shared common space where people might spend time together, even if they are doing different things.
As the home’s name, Urban Hamlet, might suggest to you, the house is actually organized like a little village of its own. Each bedroom is designed to be like an individual’s house (complete with an adjoining neighbour). The multi-purpose floor, on the other hand, becomes like a town square where friend gather and people meet. This idea is literally reflected in the actual architecture of the house; from an aerial view, you might noticed that each bedroom has its own little roof, making the outside of the house resemble a walled village.
At the same time as it is clearly a priority to facilitate social spaces and family bonding, designers and owners alike wanted to give each family member a respectable amount of privacy as well. This is why the rooms are left like their own little worlds, individualized and closed without losing natural light. These elements make the house more of a community than a single faceted dwelling.
Besides giving the family amazingly modern social spaces to enjoy, it should also be noted that the outdoor rooftop areas and the open-air multi-purpose floor provide dwellers and guests stunning panoramic views of the surrounding neighbourhood and nature. It is classic Korean architecture to build a home that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces and rooms of different functions, without sacrificing the privacy that families find ever so important.
Photos by Namsun Lee
By Courtney • Jun 27, 2019
In a lovely little suburban village in the united Kingdom, creative designers at Studio 30 Architects have renovated and revitalized and old Victorian building and is accompanying coach house into a stunning contemporary home that’s perfect for a growing modern family.
In addition to refurbishing the existing home and the buildings surrounding it, designers also decided to extend the space a little to give the family even more room. One of the main goals within the renovations was to open the space up to let more natural light into each room, since original Victorian era architecture was much darker and more enclosed than most people prefer now.
Despite the need to update certain parts of the house, other aspects were kept in their original state and simply improved upon. This helped keep an air of history and authenticity about the place, improving the home in an additional but different way. In the entryway, for example, guests now enter through the freshly refurbished coach house doorway, providing an experience that hearkens back to the original makeup and running of the house.
This change of entry is an aesthetic choice but also serves a functional purpose; moving the new entryway away from the original door creates a bit of an additional barrier away from the public street. The original front doorway has now been transformed into a wood storage for the fireplace and wood burning stove inside!
Inside the house, things have been opened up in terms of layout much the way new windows have been added to open the house up in terms of light and cross breezes. The kitchen and dining space, for example, is open concept leading in from the hallway, and this space also opens out onto a freshly landscape garden and pleasant little patio.
Perhaps the biggest point of structural renovation was the removal of the dividing wall between the main house and the coach house, amalgamating the two spaces as one to provide the family with a more extensive living space. This move acted as a sort of de facto expansion without having to build an entire new extension onto the side of the house.
Moving towards the back of the house, skylights have been added in addition to new windows in an attempt to flood the part of the home that was previously the darkest with nice, natural sunlight. This process was helped along by a set of sliding and folding glass doors, each of which further breaks down barriers between the interior living spaces and the garden greenery outside.
In order to create a modern family home without interrupting the visual fabric of the street and taking away the history that the house offers, designers chose to keep certain elements as close to their original state as possible, so long as doing so was practical. For example, rather than simply replacing the floor boards outright, teams chose to lift them, install modern floor heating, re-oil them, and settle them back in place more solidly than they sat before. Elements like this created a certain dialogue between the modern adaptation and the building’s unique history.
Photos by Salt Productions