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

Distinguished new private law firm offices completed by Studio Thelma Epstein in Sao Paulo for a practice that values sophistication

By • Apr 12, 2019

In the downtown corporate area of Sao Paulo, Brazil, highly respected and innovated design and architectural teams at Studio Thelma Epstein recently completed a high-end private space for a notable law firm. This office space provides more than just an effective working environment for its employees; it’s also a fantastic example of places that provide an experience of sophisticated professionalism to its clients and cohorts as well.

This office had a head start in its pomp and circumstance because it’s actually located in one of the most distinguished corporate buildings in the whole city of Sao Paulo. The designers and client alike, however, aimed to make this particular space stand out compared to the other stunning offices around it rather than just relying on the default sophistication that the space already provided.

This goal was achieved by elaborating on the distinguished details that already existed, resulting in an atmosphere and aesthetic that looks high end and contemporary but also sober and serious, as though you can sense immediately upon walking through the door that expectations and standards in this place are high. This aligns perfectly with the values and reputation of the law firm itself.

Visual esteem wasn’t the only goal in building these magnificent offices. They also needed to provide employees with everything they need day to day amidst the glamour. This priority accounts for the spacious social and meeting rooms, the high windows allowing for lots of natural light, the quiet private office spaces, and the unique lighting fixtures that add a particular luminosity to the space in partnership with the windows.

Overall, the effect here was to created a fully functional, hardworking office that has a generalized sense of refinement in the subtle details so as to almost look slightly understated. What you might not notice just by looking at the office is that the space is also a highly developed tech project. The entire workspace, for example, features automation which controls efficient, energy saving heating and cooling systems, controls al LED lights, connects and enables video conferencing capabilities, and runs network devices. The goal here was to make things as user friendly but high tech and efficient as possible and the setup is actually quite cutting edge.

In the entryway of the office, stunning wooden side panels that perfectly frame natural and artificial light in one place and let it spill into the hallway entices visitor attention immediately. Natural stone adds a luxurious touch in the floor and around the bases of the walls and leading up to the walnut and marble reception desk, with state of the art inlaid lighting glowing along the whole walk from the elevators.

That same walnut element that keeps things looking a little bit understated in a calm, classy way continues into the main office space, where it can be noted in the details of the meeting rooms, CEO offices, and lounge areas. Glass partitions between these spaces allow light to flow and spaces to feel open even in a context where privacy and quiet work spaces are often necessary.

Despite the clear concentration on efficient and high class workspaces, there is an emphasis on break and social time as well. There is, for example, a coffee break balcony near the full functional kitchen that employees and visitors alike are encouraged to use for some entertainment and relaxation to keep them concentrated well and feeling good during the workday.

Even the bathrooms in this office bear a strong sense of sophistication and subtle high end drama. In fact, a client once compared them to those one might find in a designer boutique hotel! The monochromatic palette that adorns the rest of the space continues into this private area, creating a sense of cohesion.

Photos by Filippo Bamberghi

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Design teams at Debaixo do Bloco create a stunning art gallery in Sao Paulo entirely from neat concrete blocks

By • Apr 3, 2019

In the midst of busy city life in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the breathtakingly serene and beautiful Concrete Block Art Gallery was recently completed by Debaixo do Bloco to provide visitors with a calming space in which to enjoy art, greenery, and literature in peace.

The building in which the gallery is housed occupies a surprisingly narrow plot for how much wonder it features inside. The whole space where the structure was built is only 13 metres long and 4.5 metres wide. The concrete of its facade creates a sense of communication between the gallery and its urban street setting but its texture also makes it stand out rather than blending entirely.

This is because of the stunning precast concrete that makes up the building’s exterior detailing. A sort of textured geometric stacking pattern results, framed perfectly on all sides and up top (where a beautiful rooftop garden sits) by luscious greenery, which balances the concrete in a truly beautiful way.

Originally tasked with the challenge of create a new space for the gallery, which was being moved from another location at the time, designers aimed to make the fresh spot look like the pieces are being displayed comfortably in someone’s home. This is part of the reason they decided to split the art between two main levels and include lots of seating from which people can appreciate the works.

Besides the two main floors, the new gallery also features the rooftop garden terrace we mentioned before, a free space that gets diverse use, a bathroom with its own miniature indoor-outdoor garden, and an office that might be turned into a cafe sometime in the future.

Starting where the awesomely geometric concrete facade ends, the building is clad with cobogos. These are a type of structure concrete wall with beautifully shaped cut outs that give a space a bit of privacy and delineation in their decorative standing without making it feel cut off from the outside world. This lets sunlight into the gallery in a way that is actually quite reminiscient of the local architecture.

Insides, a staircase leads up the centre of the gallery from the ground floor to the second. These stairs are made with plaques supported by a central beam. At the top of the staircase, the beam serves as a spot for displaying additional artwork amidst its cheerful yellow screen feature.

Throughout the whole space, large windows let natural light perfectly highlight the art hung carefully on almost every inch of the walls. These windows also establish a stunning sense of communication between the peaceful interior and the city street outside. Around both floors, visitors experience a strongly established colour scheme made primarily of yellow, grey, and black.

This colour scheme stretches from the ground floor all the way up to the stunning terrace at the top, broken only by the green of the luscious plants all around and the colours in the paintings. Those paintings and frames themselves are hung with extreme care; they’re suspended on chains rather than hooks or nails so they can be displayed at all different heights without damaging the art or the walls.

Photos by Joana França

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Portugal’s GR House designed and created by Paulo Martins Arq&Design to embrace irregular geometry in architecture

By • Mar 26, 2019

If ever a piece of residential architecture could be described as a feat of design despite its constraints, that would most certainly apply to the way Paulo Martins Arq&Design conceptualized and created the unique and modern GR House.

Nestled into the unique terrain of Sever do Vouga, Portugal, the plot presented limitations to the design team before they’d even started planning the house. The space it sits on now, you see, is filled with dips, juts, and crags, giving the team a very irregular space and difficult geometric surface to work with indeed.

Between the fact that designers knew they’d have to get creative with their techniques and the reality that most buildings in the surrounding area held little architectural value in terms of design, the team decided to fully embrace the whole concept and create a home with a shape and aesthetic just as irregular and uniquely lined as the land it sits on!

This is how the exterior of the house became the modern material clad, angular structure you see today. Its lines and volumes vary widely, angling in certain placing and remaining straight on in others. The structure is primarily made of concrete and strong, locally sourced wood, giving it a solid foundation that helps it grip into the uneven terrain upon which it sits.

The nature of the location isn’t all difficult things! There’s nothing negative at all about that view, which designers made sure to situate the house towards so that every room (each of which is rich in windows and glass walls) gets the full impact of the scenery surrounding the outer edge of the plot, where it gets the most irregular.

Because the house is already such a visual in and of itself, designers chose to keep the colour scheme, both inside and out, rather neutral and calm. It’s heavy in light greys, pristine whites, and the occasional solid black detail for grounding. This is consistent from the exterior and its prevalence of concrete right down to the chairs chosen to adorn the inside social spaces.

To take advantage of the view and the fact that the house sits high on an escarpment, designers chose to include a high number of not just windows but also ceiling skylights. This lets natural sunlight hit just about every corner of the house, keeping it bright and comfortable despite all of the straight lines, harsh angles, and discreet colour palettes.

Besides its shape, one particularly unique feature of the house is that it uses primarily ramps where a more typical house might use stairs. Although this was not specifically intended for accessibility purposes, it certainly makes the house more mobility friendly for those who find stairs difficult or cannot use them.

In reality, this was partially to create a space that feels like it slowly transitions in a smooth way from one room to the other, counteracting the harsh, bumpy terrain it was built on and evening out those dips and drops in the land. No privacy is sacrificed in the way the house works on an open concept layout but the ramps certainly help with conversational and movement flow.

Photos by ITS – Ivo Tavares Studio

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Mały domek 29, or Swedish “Small House”, created by HusmanHagberg, is a stunning example of cozy living

By • Mar 13, 2019

In the heart of bustling Stockholm in Sweden, the darling house called Mały Domek 29 was recently refurbished by creative design teams at HusmanHagberg. In English, the home’s name means “Small House” and that’s an incredibly apt description! Even so, this adorable little home is by no means too small to be a pleasant dwelling that offers everything a person needs. The spaces are simply a little cozier than those you might encounter elsewhere!

Upon entering, you’ll find a lovely little living space that is both warmed and decorated by a central heating stove. This is covered in clean porcelain tiles with ornate hand painted detailing near the top. To the right, you’ll find a small, casual seating area and directly across from that is a small, wood finished kitchen that features a surprisingly high number of cupboards for such a small space, meaning it’s easy to keep organized.

Across from the entrance, the master bedroom comprises most of the rest of the house on the ground floor, prioritized as the next important space to that where guests will be hosted. This space has a sense of rustic chic like the rest of the house but with a neat and tidy woodland feel. The master bathroom sits off to the side of the bedroom, tiled in clean white that suits the walls elsewhere and creates cohesiveness.

On the upper floor, you’ll find a relaxing work and entertainment space. On one side, a computer desk creates a bit of a home office area but the space is versatile. It feels quite large, as it spans the square footage of the whole bottom floor, so a secondary sofa, a spare day bed, and a reading corner all fit comfortably in the different corners of the room. The sloped roof that is so characteristic of smaller cottage living adds personality rather than making the room feel limited.

On the outside, the cottage is nothing short of classic and adorable. Its warm red facade stands out against the often wintery landscape surrounding it, looking like a bright, cheerful spot against the white backdrop of snow.

Photos courtesy of the designer.

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Miguel de la Torre Arquitectos Complete a Home Remodeling in Colonia San Angel, Mexico

By • Mar 7, 2019

When remodeling this home, an attempt was made to preserve the most important aspects of the old construction, and so respect the wishes of the homeowners.

House with concrete and stone walls, seen through the garden

Miguel de la Torre Arquitectos was in charge of the remodeling in the year 2016. The property is located in Colonia San Angel, a neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico.

In its exterior, walls of stone and concrete mix with the green of the gardens that surround the home. The home has large terraces from where we can enjoy time spent alongside nature, as well as large glass doors through which light seeps into the interior.

Terrace with hardwood floors

A beautiful main entrance area welcomes us with a decorative touch of the style of the area. The foyer is characterized by its rustic stone floors, concrete walls, wooden beams that protrude from the ceiling, and decorated floor tiles that give a unique feel to the space.

Entrance with stone floors, concrete walls, and ceiling with wooden beams

The modern minimalist kitchen, where wooden floors and exposed brick walls create a wonderful contrast between the modern and the rustic, is a space full of light and good taste.

Modern kitchen with wooden walls and floors

In the simple and comfortable living room, the real protagonist is the fireplace, set between concrete walls.

Living room fireplace in concrete wall

In a common space are the living room, dining room, and the kitchen.

Modern dining room, floor and walls in wood
Modern dining room, floor and walls in wood
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Brazilian MMS House created by Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos

By • Feb 21, 2019

Occupying a spacious plot in the midst of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a stunning dwelling called MMS House was recently completed by Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos to harness the beauty of texture and shape, all in one unique place.

First, designers decided they wanted to use the house as an opportunity to blend reinforced concrete with the shine of metallic structures. Because they were working on a time constraint, however, this basic theme soon also became the overall decor scheme and materials plan as well! Rather than meticulously planning out a firm and cohesive aesthetic, teams and owners opted to let loose, get creative, and blend shapes and finishes in ways that catch the eye and make people feel at home but also interested.

The house is divided into four floors that make functional sense from bottom to top, like you’re going on a journey as you move from space to space. While the basement level acts as a sort of service sector, bearing storage, laundry, and so on, the ground floor and top floor are reserved for social and communal spaces (family based on the top and hosting based on the ground). This saves the third floor, sandwiched comfortably in the middle of the house, for private sector areas like bedrooms and bathroom suites.

Throughout the house, you’ll find several entertainment rooms, both interior and exterior. Stylishly weather bricks serve as a border for a rooftop patio while nearly retro looking metal furniture adorns a ground floor patio that kitchen and living spaces can be opened right onto thanks to a retracting glass wall. The presence of glass in large windows and balcony or patio doors is also a running theme, keeping the house bright and cheerful no matter what floor you’re occupying at any given time.

The eclectic nature of the tropical garden in the backyard does more than just provide tranquility and privacy; it actually inspired the eclectic nature of the inside decor scheme too. Wood, stone, metal, textured fabrics, and bright, shapely art adorn each room, particularly in the common and social spaces, giving the whole place a sense of modern style without tying it down to a particular discernible theme. There is a sense of fluidity rather than strict uniform.

Although there’s a huge present of colour inside the home’s walls, the actual facade of the structure itself is quite neutral and pleasantly subtle. This is a positive thing because it blends the building into its tree and garden laden surroundings quite well, making the whole plot feel cohesive and sensical rather than looking as though a city house has simply been plopped in the miffle of a green glade.

Photos by Ricardo Bassetti

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Cortez Street House built by moss Design in Chicago as a home-shop hybrid

By • Feb 15, 2019

Amidst the hustle and bustle of busy Chicago streets stands a new townhouse with a modern and yet reclaimed aesthetic. Thanks to impressive thinking and insight from moss Design, Cortez Street House stands high, providing new clients a place to both run their shop and live comfortably with their family, each in healthy balance.

The building that the house sits in now was originally a slightly out-of-place two story masonry building nestled amongst more traditional looking family homes. Because it was already a structure that possessed its own shop space on the ground floor, it made the perfect site for this collaborating team for two reasons; first, because this is the kind of “odd” building that these architects specializing in giving a new lease on life to, and second because the new owners actually run a store and needed a new retail space of their own as well.

Most likely a butcher shop originally, the ground floor already boasted several features before renovation that designers decided to keep because they could prove useful for the new clients. These features included a large cooler that is now used for its intended purpose but also as a de facto divider between retail and living spaces. To maximize the large space afforded to the ground floor around the building, designers chose to add a cantilevered extension at the back where they established a beautiful master bedroom and bathroom. Sure, it’s on the same floor as the store, but creative layouts and space management help maintain a good work-life balance even so.

On its upper floor, the house features a second bedroom, a second bathroom, and a private outdoor deck. Extending all the way up from the ground floor, large windows provide lovely natural light. At the same time, the edges of the newly built extension serve more than one purpose. Firstly, they provide shade on days that might otherwise get a little too hot. Beyond that, they actually collect rain water for use in the garden!

If you think the rain collection edges are awesome, wait until you read what else these designers added. In order to make the house even more green and sustainable, the team actually built a Corten siding and VaproShield drainage system within the siding of the house’s exterior walls, allowing even more water collection and protecting the house from potentially damaging moisture build-up.

Besides enabling fantastic run-off and water collection, this kind of siding also bears a natural rust colour that complements the Chicago Common style brick of the main building fantastically. The aesthetic is at once stylishly weathered looking and more traditionally expired despite being brand new. The two materials in combination make the outside a focal point of natural looking materials and warm hues on the otherwise slightly industrial looking street.

As we mentioned, the new owners put the original retail space on the ground floor to great immediate use as their very own corner store. This hearkens back to a historical tradition in Chicago itself where corner stores were essential to neighbourhoods and owners did, in fact, live behind and above their stores. Now, locals appreciate a slightly modernized version of that tradition that has an authentic feel thanks to the way designers kept several original features in place in their renovation.

Photos by Carmen Troesser

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Indonesian PJ House created by Rakta Studio to feel like an ultra-modern vacation home every day

By • Feb 13, 2019

In the heart of busy Padalarang, in Indonesia, a stunningly modern but extremely comfortable dwelling dubbed PJ House has been created the innovative by Rakata Studio to give owners all the amenities of contemporary life while also still providing the comfort and escape of a vacation home, no matter what day of the week it is.

Within this project, teams aimed to bring home the feeling of relaxation and vacation-level calm through the actual design of the home and not just its decor schemes. The home is located in a quiet exclusive residential area of Padalarang called Kota Baru Parahyangan, which assisted in the team’s ability to create an “escape” kind of feeling; sure, it’s in the heart of the city, but it’s still afforded a plot that feels a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of bust streets.

Harnessing the beauty of tropically influenced Indonesian living, PJ House is surrounded by nature and even features a small lake as the focal point of its backyard, removing the atmosphere of its grounds even further from its accessible city location. Designers purposely built the house so that a calming lake view was a huge priority.

Inside the house, however, modern decor makes the place look nothing short of glamorous and creates beautiful contrast with the natural features outside. At the same time, stone and marble textures and finishes throughout the home’s surfaces bring a touch of that natural theme right into the main living and social spaces as well.

While the shining white stone and marble serve to make things look neat, clean, and bright, contrasting wood finishes were chosen to create a warm and cozy feeling. A similar aesthetic contrast is created on the outside of the house regarding its shape and structure. The house is box-shaped with a flat roof, which makes it look modern, sleek, and simple, but it’s also surrounded by trees and nature, which seems cohesive thanks to the black outer details that ground it into its habitat.

Inside the house, a foyer greets visitors with illuminated artwork and a reflecting pool. Extending from there, a lovely courtyard garden, which features a vertical garden wall as a focal point, leads you simply from public to private areas of the house. Besides looking lovely, this garden also establishes a sort of private barrier between visual spaces in the house and the outside world.

The house’s structure itself is quite unique in its openness. In several places, the interior and exterior spaces are blended well by openings that lead out towards the larger garden and the swimming pool. Even the staircase is quite open concept; it’s a hanging style stair made of wood and marble, extending towards the family bedrooms.

The final point in the home’s openness is the sleek, clear, entirely glass walls that separate some spaces between inner and outer areas. Naturally, some delineation is required to create a sense of belonging, but designers still really wanted to avoid making the house feel closed off. This is why partitions between the living and dining rooms are made of pristine glass, extending all the way from floor to ceiling. As a result, these spaces feel larger, more open, and more in tune with the nature outside.

Photos by Mario Wibowo

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Generation Gain, designed and built by Architectural Farm, gives multi-generation family an idyllic, comfortable Irish home

By • Feb 12, 2019

The Generation Gain house, which is a redesigned and renovation project recently completed by Architectural Farm in Ireland, was created with a unique family structure in mind. You see, rather than accommodating the average family consisting of two parents and a few children, this home was built specifically for a family that spans three different generations aiming to live together under one roof!

This project was one of renovation and extension in its natural. To increase available space, an addition was made to the rear of a semi-detached house from the 1930s. The space was redesigned to house a 3-generation family that includes several elderly individuals and several children, so its structure was reframed and redone with their needs in mind.

One of the first things designer noticed upon visiting the original house was how incredibly under-utilized many of the ground floor rooms were. This was because of poor connection areas between rooms, so opening up the areas between spaces, particularly as one moves through the house towards the south-facing garden, was one of the first things to be addressed.

Sleeping and bathroom spaces were also quite heavily re-evaluated in their design and structure. Builders aimed to create a semi-independent area for the family’s older generations in order to give them privacy but keep them from feeling secluded or unable to seek assistance if needed.

Additionally, a new family room was added to the back of the house with the intention of providing all three of the family’s generations with a large and comfortable space to share, socialize, and engage with each other in. Besides just engaging with each other, this space was also designed to create increased interaction with the house’s garden thanks to its open concept doors.

Perhaps the biggest reconfiguration that happened on the ground level of the home was the removal of most internal partitions that stood in the original house. The only structured partition that was re-inserted after the addition was made to the back near the garden was one closer to the front of the home. This was designed to create an independent room that might be used a spare bedroom without interrupting the flow elsewhere on that level.

Besides the structural changes, several smaller details or specific spaces were included in the new design in order to give the family’s generations various contexts and spaces to spend time with each other in. These spots include the covered back patio that the living room opens onto, a comfortably sprawling window seat that gets a lot of sunlight, and a heated stove area that’s perfect for reading together during the winter.

Just like the family itself, this unique home harmoniously blends older aspects of the house with seamless additions and new pieces, creating a space that’s cohesive, comfortable, and wonderful.

Photos by Ste Murray

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Vietnamese Lan House, conceptualized by H2, stunningly blends business and home life in open, plant-filled space

By • Feb 11, 2019

Nestled into the heart of Vietnam’s Vung Tau Province, the Lan House, a recent design completed by innovative company H2, provides a family with a space that allows them to both live comfortably and conduct business easily, each in perfect harmony with the other.

The owner of this unique house worked with designs to divide the house into two theoretical parts; the body and soul. In practicality, these parts are the ground floor, on which the family’s rice business functions and flourishes, and the second floor, where they love together in peace and privacy. The ground floor becomes a semi-public space because it’s here that the facade of the house runs along the bustling street, allowing customers to pop in and out as their needs arise. At the same time, the family’s private quarters above stay just that; private, quite, and calm.

Despite the fact that most living functions are located all together on the second floor fo the home, the space feels far from cramped or limited. The floor holds all the necessary pieces a family would need to live comfortably and with space. The private parts of the house are located further to the back, away from the busy, dusty street filled with the activity of the business space below. Designers created some delineation upstairs using ventilation bricks, closing the space off for privacy without making it feel entirely shut in.

Immediately upon entering the upper living quarters, you’ll encounter a stunning indoor garden designed to make the space feel bright and breathable. Beyond this, the floor also features a kitchen, dining room, living room, and a restroom with its own laundry space. Smaller version of the main inner garden spill over into each of these rooms, continuing the theme of fresh greenery throughout.

Past the common living spaces nearer the front of the structure, two spacious bedrooms, each with their own restroom, rest at the back of the upper floor, with a large terrace connecting them on the far side. This allows for privacy or social space, as dwellers choose.

Throughout both floors, greenery-filled, cushion clad nooks and seating areas can be found throughout the house. This keeps the entire building feeling social and lively without sacrificing family spaces. At the front facade of the building things feel closed because of the closed off, cube-like brick structure featured all up the front, but towards the back, things open up considerably for a much airier experience. To really drive home how spacious this place remains despite the inclusion of a whole business on the ground floor, three entire generations of family live comfortably together in this space!

Within their central tenet of valuing the “body and soul” of the house, designers also worked with the owner to uphold their appreciation for religion and the passing of time. Homages to the owner’s Catholicism can be seen throughout the decor steam, in several stylish statement pieces. At the same time, several aspects of the original house outlived the renovation untouched in order to preserve the fact that this space in its first iteration was actually also the owner’s childhood home once upon a time!

Photos by Quang Dam

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Concrete House MC2 created by Gastón Castellano to stand out strongly without interrupting the surrounding landscape

By • Feb 8, 2019

In the heart of Cordoba, Argentina, sitting on the outskirts of an equine race course, the impressive concrete structure that is House MC2 was recently created by Gastón Castellano.

Besides the structure itself, perhaps the best feature of the House MC2 land plot is the sprawling carob tree in the centre of the yard. This tree was native to the land, so designers opted to work around it and incorporate it into the layout of the new building project, disturbing it as little as possible. Designers aimed to wrap the house around the tree’s natural space while still building closely enough to it that a cohesiveness is created between the two.

The house itself is built in two primary volumes in order to account for the space the carob tree needed. The first volume sits at the ground level and houses the public or common areas of the house, where visitors might be entertained. Keeping these rooms on street level was intentional for giving the house sensical flow. The perpendicular orientation of this floor was intentional as well, making it a sort of dividing wall between the private yard and where the plot beings at the street.

The second volume, which sits up top in the concrete building, is where the private areas of the house are located. While the ground floor volume is quite open concept, with openness due to wooden slatted screens leading into the yard, the private areas up top are much more closed in. Even so, they remind quite bright and calm in their atmosphere thanks to emphasis on lovely windows and some skylights.

Because the building itself is made of such heavy materials, designers put some concentration into making sure a cohesion between inner and outer areas existed in full bloom, complete with greenery and plants throughout. One of the loveliest features that falls into the vein is the screened off area that serves as a patio when open on warm days and a sun room when it’s closed off in colder weather.

Besides atmosphere, designers also put a lot of emphasis on incorporating entertainment right into the home by building certain spaces specifically intended for hosting, socializing, or hobby time. The basement, for example, is noise insulated for music and recording. There is also a fully equipped entertainment room for movies and television and a wine cellar to give owner lots of options when guests come over.

Now, we’ve talked a lot about the concrete nature of this home but, believe it or not, it actually had a practical and functional goal as well as a stylistic one. Thanks to its solid materials and shape, the house is actually anti-seismic, making it safer in the event of an earthquake. By default, the house is also lower maintenance, which is a perk for new owners.

Photos by Gonzalo Viramonte

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Portuguese SP House built with stunning multi-level ramps by Gonçalo Duarte Pacheco

By • Feb 8, 2019

In the quietly developing urban area of a small Portuguese village, contemporary design and architecture company Gonçalo Duarte Pacheco has built the gorgeously sprawling SP House to stand out amongst the local buildings of Salir do Porto.

The house sits close to the wonderfully mesmerizing Bay of Sao Matinho do Porto, affording it breathtaking views from all sides and any room. Thanks to its plot on the outer fringes of the village, the house also benefits from the slightly more peaceful atmosphere of the rolling orchards that lie to the south of the residential spaces.

Because it leads down towards the rolling orchards we’ve already mentioned, the land plot of this house itself also slopes and varies. In fact, one end has a height difference of 3m to the other. Rather than trying to work against this unique terrain, designers opted to work with it instead. They did this by dividing the house into two main levels, each with its own volumes; one upstairs and three downstairs on the ground level.

Besides featuring the public and common spaces of the house, the lower floor also boasts two impressive outdoor spaces that are perfect for hosting guests, including a lovely swimming pool on the side of the house that gets more sun. These are levelled to a certain extent to keep the pool and patios functionally even but they still blend well into the terrain.

Leading up from the ground level into the private volume that houses the bedrooms, you’ll find a smooth, gently sloping ramp that acts like a bridge from the bottom of the plot’s slope to the top. Breaking off from this bridge, you’ll also find the spot that gives main access to the street, where cars can pull in and drive slowly downward to access the parking. You’ll also find another outdoor space in the form of a sunny terrace.

Besides the slopes and bridges, perhaps the most notable part of the house’s layout is the inclusion of clear glass. SP House is rife with picturesque, sprawling windows, terrace fences built from glass, and skylights that help keep the inside of the house just as bright and well lit as the stark white finishes you’ll see all throughout.

Photos by the architects.

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Montauk home Hither Hills gives residents stunning views and poolside relaxation thanks to Bates Masi + Architects

By • Feb 1, 2019

In the rolling seaside dunes of Montauk, in the United States, Hither Hills holiday home was designed by Bates Masi + Architects to afford its owners a quiet weekend respite away from the big city.

One of the primary ways in which this lovely retreat home keeps visitors calm is through its clear visual and spatial ties to the land its built on and the stunning nature surrounding it. The house is located in a planned beach community that was built post-war, on a small plot perched in some steep but lovely topography. Because the plot of the house lacked the typical smooth and level surfaces one would normally build such a holiday home on, these designers opted to literally nest the different volumes of the house into the hillside itself.

Because of this nearly stacked building choice, Hither Hills is built in six distinct level, sort of like a set of steps. Each of these spaces connects almost seamlessly with the landscape around the house for a beautiful and copacetic effect. The relationship between the building and its setting is bolstered by the fact that the resources used to construct it were specifically chosen to support local infrastructure and harness local supplies that can actually be found in the immediate terrain.

Locally sourced bluestone, for example, makes up the walls surrounding some levels of the stacked home, running parallel to the natural shoreline and comprising the framework for some interior spaces and most of the shared exterior living spaces as well. In a unique spatial twist, the public and private spaces in this home are inverted when compared with what you’d normally find and where things might typically be situated.

By this, we mean that primary living spaces sit high above neighbouring rooflines, appearing to loom over the trees. In each bedroom, glass walls help residents take advantage of that height by pulling back entirely to let the whole view into the room along with the ocean breezes and abundant natural sunlight.

Even higher than these private living spaces, however, sits the swimming pool. This spot is actually set into a naturally level section of earth, rather than being settled on top of a bluestone wall. The way the house protrudes from the slope’s face closer to the bottom (thanks to the support of cantilevers) and levels into the actual earth near the tops provides a bit of an optical illusion, making it appear from a distance as though the house might actually be upside down.

In contrast to all the stone used on the outside of the house, the retreat’s interior is clad primarily in stunning natural wood. These surfaces are mostly naturally weathered mahogany, which has been used in the roof, wall, floors, and ceilings in each living volume. In order to bring the sense that the house is one with its surroundings inside as well, oak louvres hang from canvas hinges below a huge skylight, swaying slightly when the home is opened up to ocean breezes and casting shadows throughout the house and on the ground, just like a tree might do on grass.

Above the dining room table, these louvres extend to form a sort of chandelier above the dining room table. Also in this space, lightweight curtains line spaces where the walls open to the outside, giving the space some privacy but still letting natural light glow through while beach breezes play in and out.

These movable, open-air, and contrasted elements, as a whole, achieve more than just letting the house communicate and blend with its natural surroundings. They also provide a sensory experience, both inside the house and out, letting visitors feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Photos by the architects.

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Bright and Sunny Clifton Hill House renovated by Field Office Architecture

By • Jan 31, 2019

In the heart of Melbourne, Australia, design teams at Field Office Architecture have built the lovely and sunlight filled Clifton Hill House in order to bring a small Victorian terrace home into the modern century without losing its traditional charm.

Through the strategic incorporation of a few slight additions and alterations, this time was able to create an updated space from a 19th century terrace that owners wished to make look new, simple, and modern. At the same time, however, they wished to preserve some of what made the original house beautiful initially while also avoiding losing any of the already abundant natural light afforded by the house’s double-wide space on its residential block!

Inside the house, the original structure features a living room, kitchen, dining area, master bedroom, and studio. Because it was an older building, it had actually had several small renovations already over the years, so the first step designers decided to take was to strip back all of the additions that had been made and get the house a little closer to its most original state. By the time they were finished, the only remaining features that the house retained were two front bedrooms.

Because the house sits on a double wide plot, designers did decide to make one addition that wasn’t there before; they decided to build a stunning private courtyard! As if that wasn’t nice enough, the new dining and living rooms they rebuilt into the spaces they’d cleared out now open entirely onto that courtyard’s patio in a way that blends interior and exterior spaces beautifully.

For stunning multi-functionality, the dining room in this new version of the house actually also acts as a gallery. Here, you’ll find a series of original paintings completed by the house’s current owner, hanging on the walls or sitting on displays bathed in sunlight. This is partially thanks to the courtyard we mentioned, but also aided by several big skylights in the interior ceiling.

Rather than being a singularly situated space, the living room actually wraps around its surrounding spaces. It’s made to feel even bigger thanks to the double glazer timber sliders that open it entirely into the sun-filled outdoor space, giving it a lovely view of the house’s own rolling lawns, recycled brick planters, and even an elegant Japanese maple tree amidst several other trees that are native to the local region. Besides being visible from the living room, this maple tree also serves as a visual focal point from the kitchen, as well as most of the rooms upstairs.

In addition to the living and dining rooms, level one of the house is also home to the master bedroom, with its own walk-in robe. This level is also where a stunning studio sits, giving the owner, who is a passionate artist, a stunning space in which to create their most inspired works. This room is intentionally north-facing, meaning that the owner has optimal and controlled lighting conditions in which to work. The bedroom balconies upstairs also face this direction, meaning they can be left open on hot nights to harness the lovely breeze without having to wake too early with the sunrise. Instead of piercing the windows, it trickles gently over the treetops.

In terms of visual aesthetic, the house features a combination of dark timber framing and recycled brick work, creating the primary palette of the building’s exterior. This is primarily original materials that were used to build the old heritage building, but sections that have been added or repaired were matched to follow suit and create continuity.

Inside, materials were specifically chosen to look soft, calm, and understated. This allows the artwork that is featured throughout the home take centre stage alongside the natural light that pours beautifully into most rooms. The materials chosen to create this effect include matte polished concrete, soft white eiles, and more dark timber that is balanced out by black lighting fixtures. Brushed steel in the bathrooms and kitchen add a bit of punctuation.

Rather than adding modern air conditioning to heritage building that’s was never really intended to host such a system, the house has been well insulated to keep in warm or cool air, depending on the season. The wonderfully large windows throughout the common spaces and bedrooms have been strategically placed to create cross-flow throughout the house, giving all inner spaces comfortable ventilation. In order to make the idea of throwing these windows open whenever necessary more practical, recessed insect screens have been built into the sliders on the windows and patio doors.

Photos by Kristoffer Paulsen

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Australian Waverley House acts as cool haven thanks to innovative climate control

By • Jan 29, 2019

In the heart of Sydney, Australia, one architectural and design company has gone out of their way to create the most comfortable home possible for the city’s hot climate thanks in huge part to unique climate control efforts! Anderson Architecture specifically built Waverley House to give a young family their dream space without having to worry about feeling too hot during the days or too cold at night.

Designers based their plans for this home around the widely accepted tenet that any home can feel like a relaxing retreat if the climate control is only done right. That’s why they aimed to create a space that’s light-filled and bathed in the sun’s natural rays, but without heating up intensely during summer days like some home’s that get lots of sunlight do.

This presented unique urban zoning challenges, particularly on a plot that actually directly faces the intense Aussie sun. Furthermore, the owning family also very much desired easy and open access to their spacious backyard and nature elements, meaning less division than usual between interior and exterior spaces would take place to keep temperatures constant.

First, designers sought to really maximize their opportunity for sunlight by working upwards in order to counteract the towering homes around theirs and prevent the new structure from being overshadowed. They also included a double-height living room space that lets sunlight spill in from a sort of vertical void leading straight up into the sky. In fact, the slanted room at this point of the house actually folds open entirely for days when sunlight and breeze are particularly desired.

For those particularly hot Australian summer days, designers incorporated a series of hanging louvres that are temperature triggered to self-adjust. These can pull across and screen the vertical “sunlight void” when necessary in order to reduce heat and keep the home a little cooler all around, since the living room is central.

Of course, the folding roof can’t stay open all the time, since it does rain in Australia! That’s why designers conceptualized and included a moving roof form, high above the living room and even the terrace, that can be closed remotely using a smartphone or tablet. This basically puts the owners in complete control but takes the pressure off remembering to make adjustments when they’re busy, since automatic triggers will account for those times.

As you can see from the photos, most of the house features impressively high windows. These are made from Low-E window class that was cost-effective during building and makes for an eco-friendly choice. These windows are high thermal performance and are featured all throughout the home, helping to regulate temperatures and keep them a little more constant no matter the time of year.

In the event that the colder months dip below average, the house also features solar powered, hydronic underfloor heating. This can add a little extra warmth to the home centrally, but it’s rarely needed thanks to the other temperature regulators in place. Thanks to the concrete flooring and reverse brick veneer, the indoor temperatures in Waverley House actually remain stable in all but the most extreme weather conditions.

Photos by Nick Bowers

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Modern, space efficient MO House created by DFORM for newlyweds with a future family in mind

By • Jan 24, 2019

In the centre of Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia, a stunningly modern family dwelling with a dual purpose was recently finished. MO House was created by DFORM as a space for a pair of newlyweds to enjoy and grow into their new life together in a comfortable way that accounts for their busy lives. At the same time, the house was designed and built with the knowledge that the couple has plans to build a family in the home in the not-so-distant future as well!

Besides being an ideal space where a family can grow and change together, owners and designers aimed to make MO House both affordable and space efficient. Ease and comfort were running themes throughout the entire process and they’re easily identified in both the layout and decor now that the home is finished.

Mane Austriono, the architect and also the owner of the house, values a minimalist style in terms of both lifestyle and decor. MO House embodies that concept well by presenting a beautifully stripped down space that puts quality and essential functions at the forefront of every room and structure without sacrificing visual pleasure.

These minimalist driven goals keep the spirit of the home (efficiency and family) at the heart while also keeping the spaces within very clean. Only the things that are necessary are kept, while clutter and things that do not have a productive purpose are eliminated in order to reduce discontent discomfort.

Because the space inside MO House is so open and clean of unnecessary structures, the need for a storage room is eliminated. Of course, this is partially because the owners also practice a minimalist style, but the house itself presents sleek and efficient storage that gives everything a place, making it easy to avoid clutter in daily life.

Because the owners do not currently have children but plan to have a family in the neat future, the house takes the idea of change into account. They have no immediate need for a baby’s room, for example, but they know they will one day. That’s why several spaces are built multi-purpose but still functional. What is currently a casual room for relaxation and entertainment can easily be transformed into a nursery with little to no cost and minimal effort.

In order to keep the rooms in MO House space efficient rather than sprawling but also keep things feeling open and airy, designers strategically placed rooms and structures such that some act as barriers and others are left to be open concept. A bathroom on the ground floor, for example, creates a delineation between the living room and the pantry, while a high vaulted ceiling keeps the master loft bedroom from feeling small despite its conservative square footage.

The staircase is another great example of how MO House uses space very well indeed. The floating structure not only looks minimalist in its decorative style but also creates additional space for storage and avoids taking up either too much wall or floor space at once.

Currently, the house boasts a large backyard that contrasts in its spaciousness compared to the conservatively built rooms inside. This is because the owners and designers built MO House with low effort change in mind. In the event that need arises for a second child’s bedroom, for example, the glass wall windows at the back of the house detach and an extension can easily be built onto the back of the house without losing yard space all together.

By accounting for the possibility of horizontal structural change, rather than simply building vertically “just in case”, designers avoid wasting space now by creating rooms that are currently unnecessary and might not be used with only two people living in the home. Expanding horizontally later will also mean that the owners can still live in the house during future construction, since it won’t take place near their bedroom or primary functional spaces.

On the outside, MO House appears quite stark and solid. This is intentional, not to close the house off from the outside but rather to create a purposeful separation of public and private life. Dwellers can use the backyard in peace if they want to enjoy fresh air on their own without using shared public spaces and the inner private and functional spaces remain just that; private. This makes social time with neighbours a conscious choices, which gives it more value. The points is not to cut oneself off from public ares but rather to create an open haven all one’s own.

Like the rest of the house, the colour scheme within the living spaces in MO House remain minimalist in their style. Besides wooden surfaces, which are light and natural, most things (including all walls) are kept a clean, bright white. This, in partnership with a large central sky light, keeps the spaces inside the house feeling even more big and open despite their square footage by letting sunshine and natural light bounce off the white walls and play across other light surfaces. The overall effect is raw but inviting.

Photographs by Mande Austriono Kanigoro

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Stunning rehabilitation of Coura House by Luís Peixoto blends fresh wood with rustic stone in unique ways

By • Jan 24, 2019

Last year, designer and architect Luís Peixoto took on the invigorating challenge of renovating an old but beautifully charming stone home called Coura House. Located in Paredes de Coura, Portugal, this structure was weathered but inspiring, offering a traditional rock face on the outside that designers knew would only be bolstered, rather than devalued, but a lovely new interior.

From the start, designers knew they wanted to preserve the integrity of the old country house and its nearly two centuries of rich local history. Abandoned by its heirs, the house had been left to its own devices for decades while new housing projects sprang up around it. Having recently been purchased as a holiday home, the time had come for Coura House to undergo a modest modernization of its own.
When designers arrived, they discovered an impressive little country dwelling that consisted of its original two floors; an animal shelter on the bottom (as was the custom for country homes in the area in decades past) and a family dwelling above that, on an upper floor. They used this unique structure to create a stunning holiday home that rehabilitated the inside even as it kept the original building’s integrity.
From the moment designers laid eyes on the house, the concept of “reuse” was a central tenet of their designs. The goal was the preserve the history of the house and create continuity between that and its renewed future. Architects adapted certain aspects of the home to make it more functional for modern life and added some contemporary decor to create a contemporary sense of domestic comfort.
At the same time, however, teams aimed to speak the same “architectural language” as the original house within their work. They used old construction techniques originally developed for working with the local stone and wood materials found in the existing building. This perfectly blended a traditional aesthetic typical of the region with a new and desirable space for new owners and visitors.
Now, guests encounter shiningly new white and polished wood surfaces that have clearly been redone without too much modernity. At the same time, however, they see the natural texture of the original stone walls both inside and out. They’re also greeted with the original yard where a small country farm once functioned; only, this time, they can see the beauty of that yard from the inside too, thanks to modern glass patio walls the open to create fantastic space and flow.
Spaces that have been overtly updated, like the bathrooms and the stark, angular staircase, hardly take away from the history of the building. Instead, they make the traditional elements of the house stand out such that their beauty can’t be ignored.

Photographs by Armenio Teixeira

 

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