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 • Aug 9, 2019
Located in the Coghlan neighbourhood of Argentina’s city Buenos Aires, a unique apartment structure called the Pedraza Building was recently completed by A3 Luppi Ugalde Winter with the goal of making the most of a small urban space in order to benefit several families at once.
From the time of its conception and original plans, the Pedraza Building was intended to house an entire set of multi-family homes right in the same space. By challenging traditional ideas of who can share what kind of space, how homes might be organized, and how private and public spaces might coexist in more shared context than usual, these designers built a home building that’s contemporary in many more ways than just how it looks. Despite being home to more than just one family, creating an interesting blend of dynamics in an already unique home space, this building is actually incredibly homey. It is simply an adjustment when it comes to transitionary spaces and participatory relationships outside of just the standard family unit, but not so closely co-existing as live-in roommates might experience.
The building is organized and conceptualized around ideas of community. Its structure rises up around a common space in the middle that serves as a sort of nucleus, with transitionary hallways leading from there like circulation spots. At the ends of these is where the private areas, those where the different families sleep and customize their own spaces, can be found.
This unique organization makes one feel as though they inhabit more than just heir own small apartment. Instead, they joint occupy the entire building together. This is true from the welcoming lobby space on the ground floor all the way up to the shared leisure space at the very top of the building, on the sunny terrace.
The space we’ve touched on that sits on the ground floor is organized into two essential areas. There is a main shared housing block at the front bottom of the building, with an individual house for a single family at the back. The main house portion extends upwards, splitting into seven different units, comprising the varied “multi-family” element of the residence.
The first, second, and third floors feature two units each, but the fourth floor is slightly different. This floor is shared by two units that face each other with a building-wide shared terrace sitting in between them. Back on the ground floor, the individual house portion is designed with maximum space efficiency in mind.
The reason for this part of the home’s conservative spatial footprint is that designers wanted to leave as much space in the plot for outdoor spaces to be enjoyed by all of the building’s residences, The space that is not taken up by units and the individual house is now home to front and back courtyards that offer an impressive amount of privacy and respite.
The placement of the courtyards, which sit as a kind of inner portion of the building despite actually being outdoor spaces, is modelled after classic ideas of colonial housing from the beginning of the century. In these old houses, courtyards were the heart of the house, acting like a sort of central hub around which the daily lives of all members of the home were organized.
Because this building was erected much more vertically than those old houses, however, designers saw a need to maintain easy connections between units and all other common spaces. This is how the upper floor bridges came about! These bridges pass over the lower courtyards, acting like transitionary open air spaces that let copious amounts of natural light into the building’s core.
The materiality of the house is just as unique as the way it was built and organized. Keeping things natural looking but appropriate for its urban context, designers chose to create balance in the space by playing strong, opaque shapes against glass walls and transparent spaces that increase easy visibility and the flow of air and light.
All combined, the unique elements of the house provide a sense of fluidity throughout the building, both in terms of atmosphere and social interaction and spatial understanding. The building truly is an example of humankind’s ability to adapt their habits and lifestyles around and in partnership with each other to best suit the spaces they have available and make them feel the most like a comfortable home.
Photos by Alejandro Peral
Wood and concrete Box House created by Caio Persighini Arquitetura to blend nature and a passion for music in a family home
By Courtney • Aug 6, 2019
In a residential neighbourhood in the town of Araraquara, which sits about 260 km outside of Sao Paulo in Brazil, creative designers at Caio Persighini Arquitetura have recently finished a uniquely shaped home called the Box House, which combines natural materiality and actual pieces of nature, both inside and outside of the house, with a family’s passions and personalities.
The very basis of the Box House is rooted in the concept and shape of the cube. It has a poetic air about it in the way the building sits so linear, contrasting with the shapes of the houses around it like a paradox, but somehow still suits the local landscape thanks to its materiality, which is primarily rooted in concrete and wood.
In its essence, the house is quite simplistic in its layout and shape, despite clear style and personality coming through in the details. The layout is quite open with the exception of resting and work spaces that require a little more privacy and quiet, rendering a notable difference in shapes and details from room to room and between shared and closed spaces.
The idea of keeping the basics of the house very simple is clear throughout the whole structure. Spatially, the home is organized in a classic cubic way, with a sort of spiral access way vertically up the middle. The stairs lead up the centre, giving way to hallways that give access to the rooms on the upper floors, which are located all around the outers edges of the house, with the most important rooms settled near the corners.
Easily the most notable aspect of the house is the fact that a very real and sizeable Jabuticaba tree grows in an in-ground garden surrounded by wood, right at the heart of the home’s central spiral. The stairs leading from the ground to the upper floors appear to wind around the tree as they lead upwards, with bright shafts of light pouring down from a glass ceiling.
This central area is where most of the light accesses the public spaces of the house. At one side of the kitchen and dining area, more light pours in from a fully openable patio wall that slides back to blend a lovely patio and walled yard space with the interior shared rooms. Air circulation is increased when this wall is pushed back as well as light, increasing the home’s sustainability.
The private bedrooms and resting areas feature large windows as well, but these are shaded at the front by a wooden slat facade above the front door and garage access entryway. This not only creates a beautifully natural looking contrast between wood and concrete on the outside of the house, but also gives the bedrooms behind the slats a spa-like glow and privacy.
The bedrooms aren’t the only resting space dotted around the house. There are actually several reading nooks, calm and meditation oriented spaces, and throw pillow clad benches in the hallways, public spaces, and around the stairs. These are made of the same lovely stained wood you see elsewhere, placed on top of a base of concrete, as is the situation with most of the house.
Besides the tree and the materiality, the home’s most unique feature is the presence of a home office that is also a music and recording studio. Here, the wooden theme continues, but this time used strategically and functionally in order to provide the correct acoustics and sound insulation to the room, as using only concrete on the walls like in the other rooms would create too much reverberation for proper recording.
In places where the decor, furnishings, and details deviate from the natural concrete and wooden atmosphere, designers opted to include interesting shapes and slight colour pops, as well as material variances. Gleaming white tiles adorn the backsplash while bright red metal stools sit along the wooden kitchen island, while chairs, tables, and other furnishings provide depth in their slightly mod shapes.
Photos by Favaro Jr.
By Courtney • Aug 5, 2019
In a stunning seaside neighbourhood on the outskirts of Matanzas in Chile, creative designers at Worc Arquitectos have custom built a stunning beach house called House 222 for a young couple and their two young children.
The placement of the house was chosen very specifically; they wanted to ensure that their kids get a beautiful coastline upbringing while still being close enough to a city to enjoy all of the amenities of urban living when they want to. That’s why Matanzas was the perfect location! It sits just outside the bustling city of Santiago.
For the sake of privacy and a beautiful 360 degree view, designers and owners chose a beautiful north facing hill, building on an expansive plot of land right at the top. From here, the beaches below can be seen from just about anywhere in the house, as can the cliffs surrounding the hill and the village of La Boca de Rapel at the water’s edge.
Building on the top of a hill that peaks towards the north naturally involved several challenges when it comes to building and accommodating for the location in the space. Designers used certain vaulted architectural techniques to keep the floors of the house level, for example, creating the space they need rather than cutting into the hill and disturbing the landscape.
Additionally, it was essential for designers to work with the often strong south winds blowing up the hill towards the plot. This determined the placement and angle of the outdoor terrace and was also the reason that the raised patio seating space was inset within the centre of the building, sheltering it from both sun and wind depending on the season and the time of day.
The location of the terrace, which is wooden like most of both the facade and interior, also serves to give it privacy, which makes it feel somewhat like a natural looking place of peace. The unique shape of the space and the way it sits in an open air spot that also sits back nearly inside the house makes it a sort of blended experience that can be used all year round.
This terrace space is only one of three volumes that make up the total house. There is also a private volume that includes the bedrooms and resting spaces, as well as a public volume that is filled by shared and common spaces like the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. These three volumes all converge onto a central space that runs alongside the terrace, which is a corridor lined by glazed glass windows.
This hallway not only provides natural sunlight to the inner spaces of the house thanks to those windows, but it’s also the main structure that blocks wind and gives privacy to the central terrace we talked about earlier. The windows, which extend from floor to ceiling, can be slid back entirely to merge indoor and outdoor spaces, making the terrace an extension of the kitchen and dining areas.
From the outside, the shape of the house is quite square and linear with the exception of one area; the second bedroom in the private volume detaches diagonally from the main shape in order to give it a much better view than it would otherwise be afforded. All of the bedrooms feature shutters that can be pulled over the floor to ceiling windows in order to turn the spaces into private havens when necessary.
In terms of its materiality, the entire house features wood as a nearly monochromatic feature that dominates the decor scheme. The fact that this is true for both the interior scheme and the facade of the house creates a sense of cohesiveness. At the same time, the overarching wooden presence helps blend the house into its surrounding landscape even as the somewhat contemporary and interesting shape makes it stand out.
Photos by Amanda San Martin
Contemporary and space efficient Black Box Apartment created by MATA Architects as an extension of a Victorian home
By Courtney • Aug 1, 2019
In the heart of London, England, innovative designers at MATA Architects have transformed a stunning Victorian era house in the neighbourhood of Islington by adding a contemporary extension that the owners use as a guest apartment.
The Black Apartment is a small extension built on the first floor of the house, at the back where it doesn’t compromise the style and historical integrity of the original building from street level. The couple who own the mid-terrace house wanted to add a space to the building that could be used as both a guest apartment and and home office when no one was visiting, making it a diverse space.
Because the house is built in such a dense urban space, the opportunity to build the extension essentially anywhere but at the back of the house didn’t really exist. It was also essential for designers to keep their design very space efficient in order to avoid consuming the bit of outdoor yard space the house is afforded. This determined the two-floor, stacked structure of the apartment.
The benefit of this placement is that building the extension didn’t disrupt the shape or integrity of the more historical building it was added onto at all. In fact, the team even went out of their way to make the brickwork in the lower half of the addition match the slightly weathered and traditional look of that used in the original ouse, creating a sense of cohesiveness and belonging.
The higher portion of the extension is where the concept of contemporary design touches the apartment’s exterior. This is the part that Black Box gets its name from. The upper floor is made from slats of dark stained Siberian birchwood that has folding panels where the windows sit, letting those inside seek a calmingly dark privacy or let the sun come flooding in, depending on their mood and the time of day.
The panels are controlled electronically from the inside of the house, splitting in the middle to fold upwards and downwards. When they’re opened, the panels reveal a flawless glazed glass that provides the interior with fantastic natural light without heating the room up too far.
These windows also serve to provide the upper room of the apartment extension with a fantastic view of the city downward from the home’s backyard. There’s nothing quite like a sunlit urban view depicting the bustle of everyday life! The window also gives a closer view of the home’s own gardens, which are curated to perfection and quite sizeable for the space.
The intention of building such a contemporary looking top half to the apartment if to make the box apartment look reconfigurable, as though the house can be adjusted according to the needs of the owners and their guests. This modern concept balances out the more traditional look of the original house for a blended experience that’s truly beautiful.
Photos by Peter Landers
By Courtney • Jul 30, 2019
On an expansive corner plot in the city of Cabreúva in Brazil, creative design and architectural teams at Taguá Arquitetura have recently finished a luxuriously open concept escape home called BT House.
Although the house is L-shaped, which is a structural shape typically used to separate homes by volume according to function, this particular house is actually open concept, without a lot of hard delineation between spaces, volumes, or functional rooms. Instead of being partitioned, the rooms are defined by the way they are intentionally situated to face the same direction.
Of course, with a patio and pool space like this house has out back, the direction that each space faces is absolutely towards the pool! This is true not only for the more social and public spaces on the ground floor, but also all the way up to the second storey where the bedrooms and private resting space areas face the same way.
This arrangement of rooms establishes a sort of physical and visual integration of interior and exterior spaces that feels incredibly continuous and very fluid in its energy and the way it moves. Not only does this create a calming connection with the pool space and the sunny blue waters, but it also highlights the beauty of the home’s own gardens, which grow lush and green around the pool.
Part of the reason the pool is made such a focal point of the house is that the owners literally listed a desire for fantastic social and leisure spaces as one of their very top priorities within their home plans, right from conceptualization. This is why designers made the pool, patio, and garden such a primary spot in the house, like a hub of rest, activity, socialization, and peace.
Besides their love of leisure spaces, the owners also wanted a home that was quick in its construction and would look clean and concise in its finished product. This largely determined the materiality chosen by design and architectural teams, resulting in that linear, beautiful system of steel pillars, beams, and slabs that can be found all throughout the house, from roof to deck.
All along the northwest side of the home’s facade, where living areas face the sun and gather lots of natural light on a daily basis, designers created walls inspired by a large glass curtain to maximize on the stunning energy sunlight creates. They minimized the heat from that sun, however, by using a special glass that is capable of blocking out up to 70% of the UV rays that would otherwise flood in.
Many of the other walls are made of similar amounts of glass, and most of them slide open as well. This really hits the concept of creating integrated spaces home, which was one of the owners’ main priorities. Because the glass walls retract to eliminate almost any separation between living spaces and open air leisure spots, the house is also extremely efficient when it comes to ventilation, rather than just lighting.
The windows aren’t the only parts of the house that contribute to the sustainable systems included in the house. In addition to the UV blocking glass, designers also used thermoacoustic tiles, steel deck braces, steel structures in both the interior and exterior walls, rainwater recycling cisterns, PVC frames, and solar energy panels for lighting and power.
Another interesting feature of the house’s actual shape itself is the way the “L” allows the garage to give the patio and pool area a little bit of extra privacy thanks to the way it is situated compared to the street and the view from the public sidewalk. This means the steel and glass facade of the house is very apparent in the visual fabric of the street-scape, making it stand out as an example of contemporarily beautiful home architecture.
The combination of materiality and atmosphere is another aspect of integration very present in the house, similar to the blending of interior and exterior spaces that takes place all across the back of the building. The industrial influence that’s inherent in the steel structures creates a beautiful contrast and sense of balance against the backdrop of the peaceful, stunning pool waters and surrounding garden.
View in gallery View in gallery
Because the designers saw the clear industrial aesthetic revealing itself early on, they opted to make it thorough by rolling with in the decor scheme as well. This gives basis for the wonderfully cabled floating staircase, concrete benches and elements in the main living room by the fireplace, and the bridge-like short hallway on the upper floor leading from the stairs to the bedrooms.
Photos by Leonardo Giantomasi
Wooden 19th Street Residence created by Sidell Pakravan Architects to provide stunning Californian views
By Courtney • Jul 24, 2019
On the hillside streets of San Francisco, California, creative design teams at Sidell Pakravan Architects have recently completed a full building renovation, giving particular style attention to the top floor penthouse. This fantastic new space was dubbed the 19th Street Residence upon completion.
Although the entire building underwent some type of renovation, the penthouse apartment at the very top received a particularly heavy overhaul. The resident of this apartment is actually the owner of the entire building, both living and working from the same space. They wanted, therefore, to afford themselves a little bit extra living and working space that blends better than before.
This was achieved by adding a lovely addition to the apartment, turning it into two blended volumes with free flowing space between them, rather than just a singular feeling residence where everyday life and workplace function step on each other’s toes. At the same time, designers wanted to maintain the stunning view provided by the apartment’s prime place at the top of a building that sits atop a hill.
The aforementioned view lets owners and guests fully appreciate the stunning urban context in which the building sits. Beyond that, the water sparkles in the sunlight and provides a breathtaking visual contrast between natural beauty and city character. The relationship between these two mirrors the relationship inside the apartment between complementary home and work spaces.
Originally built with low ceilings, this old building presented designers with particular challenges in making the spot feel spacious and open in a way that will really benefit the open concept but simultaneously blended layout they were planning for. This is why an extension was built that not only expanded the place width-wise but that also broke through vertically to give the apartment more height.
The difference in heigh in the two volumes or sides of the apartment creates a space on the roof of the lower side. Designers opted to take advantage of this spot by creating an additional interior room at the top. The walls of this room can be pulled entirely back to blend indoor and outdoor spaces all along a perimeter wall where a stunning built-in bookcase balances a wooden island in the centre of the room. The view from this spot feels unprecedented as you stare out over the city.
Part of the magic of the view is created in the fact that the visual edges of the rooftop terrace sit almost precisely evenly with the San Francisco skyline if you look directly from the door. A view of the buildings below leading up to the water’s edge can be gleaned instead by crossing the terrace to the balcony’s edge.
Inside the apartment, the entire colour palette has a stunning sense of neutrality about it. While the ceilings, walls, and many surfaces have a calming cream shade to them, contrasting furnishings and built-in features were done in the same naturally stained wood as the previously mentioned bookcase that sits near the sliding glass doors.
The effect if one of calming sensical atmospheres that makes sense from space to space. The palette also allows for any presence of decorative colour to pop against otherwise subtly cohesive backgrounds, as is the case with the lovely teal painted walls in the children’s play room.
Perhaps our favourite feature of the apartment is the lower balcony edge that boasts a safety partition made entirely of smoothly glazed glass. Putting this in place instead of an opaque wall provides an almost uninterrupted view of the city right from the apartment door.
Photo by Laurian Ghinitoiu
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.