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.
Contemporary Project #3 created by Studio Wills + Architects to provide a visual “break” on an old city street
By Courtney • May 30, 2019
On an fairly new, busy street in Singapore, architects and designers from Studio Wills + Architects have completed Project #3 in an interesting looking and impressive attempt to break up the visual line of standard, similar townhouses all along the sidewalk so the eye’s palate gets a little something different as the public passes by.
The Project #3 house is a lovely, spacious bungalow in an exclusive and calm residential enclave. The neighbourhood consists of 106 semi-detached homes and three bungalows. The intention of including these bungalows along the street from the very beginning was to break up the repetitive look of the many semi-detached homes in each row with a big of height and width difference.
The image designers had in mind placing so many nearly identical homes together and then breaking them up periodically with the three bungalows was that of a necklace with different kinds of beads strung periodically to break up smaller repeated ones. Think of big rounded beads string between smaller pearls!
The area of land that the enclave occupies is a long and quite thin, keeping in a straight line all the way down in a linear manner. This is another place where alternating lower standing bungalow houses with taller semi-detached houses was a purposeful design choice; the difference in levels between the houses helps stop the street from feeling like an opaque wall all the way down.
Amidst the semi-detached homes, several courtyards were built into the ground covered by the smaller dwellings to ensure that each home gets some kind of outdoor space, as well as lots of light. The courtyards present increased surface area for bright windows in both the back and front, keeping all of the houses, no matter their structure, comfortable and well lit.
The courtyards serve several other purposes as well. Adding more window space provides additional ventilation along with the abundant natural light. The convenient outdoor spaces between the technical plots of the semi-detached houses also make the space that belongs to each feel more distinct, autonomous, and independent of each other despite their close proximity.
In terms of their style, both the bungalows and the semi-detached houses were specifically designed with a combination of features that might make them suit multi-generational families. The homes are fully equipped but also quite open concept, with diverse spaces that might be used for all kinds of communal or private activities. This theme extends into the outdoor courtyards, which feature relaxing patio spaces, greenery, and small swimming pools.
Between the intentionally differently levelled houses and the additional visual breaks provided by the sunny courtyards, the taller semi-detached houses appear like small towers. The skyline of the street takes on a prismatic quality that creates a stunningly interesting silhouette from a distance.
In terms of materiality, the towers are constructed from 2-stone sand shades, with surface textures akin to that of a rock face full of crevices. This contrasts with the bungalow’s black, slightly more sleek appearance. In the low home’s interior, the intention of the decor was to create a balance of void spaces and solid spaces, which naturally creates contrasts in dark and light.
Photos provided by the architects.
By Courtney • May 24, 2019
In the mid-century neighbourhoods of Melbourne, Australia, a lovely old 1960s home called Bent Annexe has received a stylish updating by BENT Architecture that has brought it into the contemporary age in terms of architectural design and style.
The primary change in the home is an extension that was directly inspired by the layout and concept of a traveling caravan. The home is fortunate enough to already be surrounded by lush greenery from the natural environment around it and the installation of wonderfully large floor to ceiling windows draws in abundant amounts of natural light. These are partially intended to provide light and lovely views, but they’re also part of an energy efficient system in the home based on passive solar principles.
The extension was built for the new owners who recently purchased the original home; a young family of four with two dogs and a huge love for all things outdoors. This partially influenced designers’ choices to incorporate as much sunlight and blending of indoor-outdoor space as possible. They also prioritized an improvement on ventilation than what the original midcentury home had to offer.
In the new iteration of the home, the primary living spaces of the house now sit in the addition or new annexe. This left increased space elsewhere in the house for more diverse and flexible use, so designers took the opportunity to update parts of the existing dwelling to take better advantage of that space.
As a result of these updates, the finished house now has much larger bedrooms than before, a large family bathroom, and a whole second living space that functions more as a casual family and media room than a formal living room. The larger, new living spaces sit further towards the original backyard and garden, but the annexe doesn’t take up so much space as to consume the home’s entire available outdoor area.
Instead, designers put in great effort to make the annexe actually feel like part of the garden. They blended it, rather than just popping it in the middle, by creating new green spaces on both sides around it. Now, the green space down one side of the annexe juts inward to separate the original building from the far wall of the addition, creating a sort of calming inner courtyard.
This courtyard is an enjoyable place to spend time together outside for the owners and their family, but it also serves practical functions for the home. Now, the master bedroom has an extra outer wall with large windows that give it much more natural light, as do both of the living areas. These huge windows create the illusion of continuous space, which lets them feel blended with the greenery outside, making them feel spacious and welcoming.
In order to make sure that the house doesn’t let is so much light as to get too hot, designers also installed a built-in shading system over several of the largest glass encasements. This is where the caravan inspired element is perhaps the most visually apparent; these retractable shading devices create cool spaces on the deck and outdoor dining area while also working with the louver style windows and thermal mass concrete floors to passively heat or cool the house at large.
Photos by Tatjana Plitt
Unique wood and concrete fortress called Private Residence created by Trípólí to play with shapes and contrasts
By Courtney • May 21, 2019
In a quiet suburb of Reykjavík in Iceland, called Garðabær, a midcentury private residence was recently renovated with a modernist twist by innovators at Trípólí. The Private Residence home now stands tall and unique in the street’s visual fabric.
New owners of the original home ordered not just a complete renovation of the space, but also a drastic expansion. When it was first built in 1966, the house was a simple, cubic looking unit that featured a flat roof, which looked quite contemporary for its time. Additions were added to the home a decade later and then, in 1994, a pitched roof was added on top of the flat one.
Around that same time, a facade was added to the exterior walls. These were clad with Steni facade panels which covered most of the original architecture form the 60s. Now, even more decades later, the new owners wished to bring the house back to its roots a little and re-centre some of that original modernist style. At the same time, they wished to adjust the layout of the main volume in order to add several new rooms entirely.
These brand new spaces include a family room in the centre of the house, as well as a south addition that is now home to a new dining room, high tech kitchen, and floor to ceiling glass wall that opens onto a sunny patio below a cantilevered roof that provides some pleasant shade.
In terms of materiality, the house feels very modernist indeed, but not without contemporary updates or nicely contrasting blends in texture and visuals. The bulk of the house is created from polished concrete with thermal absorption properties that help passively heat and cool the house. In many places, the wood panelled facade is mirrored throughout the house in flooring, furnishings, and inner facades as well.
To save the space from looking too concrete, designers also put an emphasis on some low maintenance plant life, particularly near entrances where guests and visitors will most often see the house from. Lovely concrete planters are home to colourful green succulents with red and purple glints and highlights, warming the space and making sure it blends with surrounding nature well.
Between the dining and living rooms, a glazed glass slit was created. These rooms are on two separate but close by levels and the slit, which sits near one of the succulent planters, is recessed slightly, designed to bring natural sunlight and that sense of nature a little further into the house. The glass here helps light and warm the entryway and wide staircase that leads to the main social rooms.
For something extra unique and wonderfully calming, designers built a kind of spa space right off the garden area. Here, a sauna provides a warm, private place for relaxation and reflection while an outdoor hot tub provides a more social space that heats itself efficiently using geothermal systems.
Photos by Rafael Pinho
By Courtney • May 20, 2019
In the busy urban setting of Dhaka in Bangladesh, creative designers and teams at Bashirul Haq & Associates have created the Architect’s Family Home & Studio as a combination of private and creative space for one of their own!
The home and studio structure sits in the downtown core, on a busy city street with lots of activity out from. From the outset, the plan was to create a housing and workspace that spans the available 670 square metres of the chosen plot. The home was planned to have two floors in total for the primary living space with an additional mezzanine floor extending above the garage to house the studio space.
In order to give the home a little more privacy from the busy public street (and also reduce the harsh winds that blow through the neighbourhood), the house is constructed in an L-shape. This shape also creates some clear delineation between the parts of the building that make up the home and the parts that are used as an office and workspace.
This separation of functional spaces is beneficial for more than just the mental health perks of differentiating between work and family life. It also influences the structure of the house, as the joining portion between the private and work volumes of the L is a beautifully vaulted space that gives access to different areas and rooms.
Above the vaulted area sits a room that is primarily used as a study. Here, exposed brick walls that match the home’s stunning facade enclose most of the room in order to give it privacy and quiet. Even so, designers aimed to give it lots of motivating natural light as well, featuring a set of historical looking wooden windows. These are set deeply in an opening to protect them from rain and wind.
This recessed structure in the office also isolates the space a little more from the noise pollution coming off of the busy street outside. Beyond the windows, a front courtyard also provides more space and takes on the brunt of the area’s often harsh weather, giving another buffer to the study space and rendering it even more of a quiet work haven.
Moving back into the main house past the vault, a wonderfully decorated void separates the work and living spaces even further without interrupting flow and easy movement from one to the other. This void space has a skylight set into the roof to keep things bright inside the brick building, which lets the weather outside shift the light so it plays across the furnishings and decor details there.
A similar skylight keeps the main living room well and naturally lit. Just like the one in the voice space leading from the study, this skylight lets light play across the furniture, varying as the daytime sky changes. The shadows cast throughout the day contribute to the decor scheme of the room and keep things looking dynamic.
Photos by Al Amin Abu Ahmed Ashraf (Dolon)
Mole Architects turn old, Edwardian British garage into contemporary, energy efficient dwelling called Fijal House
By Courtney • May 17, 2019
In a central conservation area in the village of Ely, United Kingdom a new house has been built from what was originally a garage built in 1905 when the street was first laid out. Now, Mole Architects‘ Fijal House sits looking modern and stately between two detached Edwardian houses that provide impressive contrast.
The house is brick clad but the bricks are angled in such a way that one must look twice to realize what the facade is actually made of. Set on angles so that they create almost zig-zag looking ridges, the bricks create a visual appeal that designers created as an artistic and contemporary interpretation of the older houses that flank it on either side, which are made of classic brick.
The actual vertical shape that designers chose to create in their offset placement of the facade’s white bricks was inspired by another much older local landmark. The shape is an homage to the stone columns that mark the entrance of the Ely Cathedral! On the house, the bricks are at at 90 degree angles to each other to get the right visual texture.
The entrance of the house is set into the brick, recessed underneath a modernist looking lintol made of precast concrete. This slab provides shade to the small porch and the entryway’s front window. For even more visual appeal that the facade already provides, the space below the lintol is adorned with colourful tiles creating a pattern in cream, green, and blue.
In terms of its construction, the house was created around a prefabricated frame. The ground floor and internal walls were constructed using concrete screed, with dense concrete block work included around the base for extra thermal mass. Skylights in the roof, particularly those on the south side, bring sunlight into the house all day long, spreading to every corner from the dining area and staircase in particular.
The upper floor of the house sits under a roof that features exposed rafters on the inside and a steeply pitched shape. Once again, this element was inspired by the local cathedral; the angled is modelled after its nave. The angled interior effect is that the modestly sized bedrooms below have a cozy sense of scale and lots of old fashioned character typical of original houses in the region but unusual for more modern houses built in the surrounding suburbs more recently.
From the outset, designers wanted to give the home’s interior layout a bit of flexibility, allowing good flow and movement and enabling rooms to be used in diverse ways. The owners wanted a space that could feasibly balance hosting large social gatherings but also suits regular family use, with decent acoustic separation between rooms, particularly those with differing private and public functions.
In terms of decor, the materials used inside the house are simple and modest. Floors are made of smoothed dark stone while pale ash lines the walls for natural contrast. Upstairs, floors are carpeted for comfort in the bedrooms on chilly mornings. In direct contrast to and communication with the angular lines in the home’s exterior facade, smooth curves are featured in the home’s interior wherever possible, adding a sense of comfortable flow.
Photos by Matthew Smith
Bornet House is a stunningly rustic barn turned into a beautiful little home by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes
By Courtney • May 17, 2019
Thanks to innovative designers at Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes, a beautifully rustic and vintage original barn has been transformed in a minimalist but luxurious way and renamed Bornet House.
Located in the countryside of Ollon, Switzerland, the Bornet House is a former barn that still bears a lot of its original masonry which adds historical character despite the fact that much of it resembles stylized rubble this many years since it was first built. The barn actually sits at the centre of the tiny village of Ollon, which is quite dense in terms of where the buildings sit in reference to each other.
On the ground floor of the barn house is a singular, open concept space where all of the functional parts of the house are featured. Here, the kitchen, living room, and dining room blend together but in a way that makes sense and enables free movement. Closer to the entrance, the main bedroom actually sits on a higher level but only slightly, built up on a sort of central wooden pedestal.
The difference in levels between the bedroom and the functional and public spaces gives the sleeping space some uniquely situated privacy, as though it’s its own little escape. At the same time, the fact that it sits only slightly higher than the other rooms and isn’t closed off at the top affords the living room double the height to the ceiling, making it feel even more opening.
In terms of materiality, the inside of the house bears a sort of cohesiveness with the outside. The tones of the natural materials chosen suit the outside of the house, matching the stone of the original work quite well. Inside, the natural concrete floors match the ashy tone of the natural ceiling while the wooden walls match the bedroom platform and frame of the kitchen.
In terms of the physical structure of the building, designers opted to stay true to the history by refraining from altering the walls and openings in drastic ways. In one spot, however, the west wall needed to be rebuilt to maintain the integrity and strength of the building and preserve it for years to come.
Despite the fact that they maintained the building to its truest form as much as possible, they also accounted for the way it sits on a slope as well, particularly when it came to filling the floor on the inside. In the rebuilt wall, however, designers did take liberty in the revived space to add a window that runs the whole width of the building, harnessing the power of the slop once more to provide a breathtaking and totally unobstructed view of the Rhone Valley.
In order to keep incorporating the beautiful outdoor setting the barn house is afforded, designers also added a small terrace right off the side of the bedroom platform. This gives dwellers another way to enjoy the old fashioned setting of the tiny village, contrasting well with their experience of the freshly modern interior of their new house.
The final area of the house, not always visited by guests, is the basement. This area houses a useful home office and even a plant room, which is actually partially under ground thanks to the way the land the house sits on slopes.
Photos by Kristyna Strejcovska
Clean, bright Wye River House, set high above the water, built by MGAO to provide breathtaking Australian views
By Courtney • May 16, 2019
Located right along the river that gives it its name, the Wye River house in Australia was recently completed by design teams at MGAO to give owners unparalleled views and the brightest of naturally lit home spaces.
This particular house actually arose out of some misfortunate originally. In 2015, a bushfire became beyond control on Christmas day and swept through the little township of Wye River, leaving great damage in its wake. Over 100 homes were lost entirely and various social and housing projects have happened in the years since to replace the damaged dwellings for those families.
The Wye River house is one of those replacement projects! It is located on a plot of land that slopes quite steeply, giving it a dramatic view of the Bass Straight. Fro, below, the house looks as though it’s perched lightly on the hillside, standing tall amongst the greenery of the brush that is still growing back where a canopy of trees once stood before the fire.
In order to give it some locally referenced character and style, designers chose to model this house after the typical beach shacks that were dotted so consistently along the coastline in the area in the 1960s and 70s. This explains the boxy shape and modest material choices, and the repetition of this inspiration in other homes applies that same aesthetic to much of the village.
Besides its basic rectangular shape, the most direct references this house bears to its beach shack forefathers come in the form of the Skillion rook and the several cantilevered balconies. The way that the external cladding, which gives the house that warmly dark facade and makes it stand out against the countryside, is also an influence. This makes the building look monolithic, just like the beach shack towers it was modelled after.
Perhaps this exterior cladding and the clearly high quality glazing in the floor to ceiling windows are the most modern aspects of the Wye River house. These windows let the area’s high amounts of gorgeous natural sunlight flood into each room, practically lighting each corner, giving the interior a wide open and comforting feel and letting the greenery outside appear as though it’s part of each space.
The way the greenery and the ocean are framed by the windows was actually a very important priority to designers. After all, these trees are something the locals fought extremely hard to save, preserve, and revive during and after the devastating fire. It’s only fitting that they get their moment to shine each and every day.
In contrast with the dark exterior of the house, most of the indoor spaces are incredibly clean, bright, and near flawless looking. This, in combination with the windows, helps the space feel limitless and even bigger than its generous square footage actually is.
Photos by Paul Hermes
Yin Residence created by TACK architects to blend with historical neighbourhood despite its modern architecture
By Courtney • May 15, 2019
Just south of Omaha’s downtown core sits a brand new private residence, at the heart of a neighbourhood that’s bears historical note of its own. The Yin Residence, recently completed by TACK architects, was specifically designed to provide all of the amenities of modern living without interrupting the atmosphere of history and authenticity in the streets around it.
In fact, this house is a sort of tester building, designed with the open intention of being a prototype for ongoing residential construction. The house was meant to distinguish itself as something new but still suit the historical buildings around it, creating a blended atmosphere that feels natural and comfortable for dwellers in the area and visitors alike.
Designers were fortunate with the location because it was already afforded a stunning setting within which to work. The historical context that the new house sits in provides an already established tone that sort of set the scene for the building’s exterior, even though the interior appears much more modern then one might expect or witness in older surrounding homes.
Within the home, designers wished to give visitors a new outlook on the city. This intent is partially responsible for the pleasing minimalist aesthetic featured within the home’s walls. On the outside, the building’s exterior was created from cement board with a prettily contrasted cedar siding. Inside, the materiality is lighter and more simple, designed to mirror ideas of a contemporary lifestyle.
In terms of its layout, the house is organized into three sections, situated by function. To the north lie the master bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen, all spaces that are most regularly used by the family. Designers chose to put each of these close together to enable easy, free movement from one place to another on the inside.
Towards the south end of the house, you’ll find two additional bedrooms and a three-car garage. The guest bedrooms are spacious and friendly, giving visitors a sense of luxury and “escape from the norms of home” without being too formal or cold. They’re intended to make one feel like a guest while also feeling completely comfortable and welcome.
Between these two parts of the house lies a sort of transitional space, leading from one to the other. This is a vertical volume that extends upwards, linking modules of the building together. This linked space holds a stunning staircase that leads onto the roof, where dwellers and visitors can enjoy a beautifully sunny rooftop patio that feels fresh and open but is also high enough to remain quite private.
In terms of the decor, colour pops are quite important to the home’s atmosphere and aesthetic. In contrast with the more neutral and grounded looking exterior, the inside bears several furnishings and decor or art pieces that create an exciting burst of energy here and there, keeping the place feeling bright and modern despite its historical setting, but also without interrupting it.
Photos by Tom Kessler
Cleanly modern A5 House refurbished by Raz Melamed Architects to put a contemporary spin on an historical building
By Courtney • May 15, 2019
In the historical city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, the fresh and modern A5 House was recently completed by Raz Melamed Architects as part of an ongoing project to refurbish older buildings in the area for easier modern living without disturbing their outwards historical context.
In reality, the A5 House is a modest but still impressive 70 square metre studip apartment that has been redesigned into a modern getaway. It lies at the centre of Tel Aviv’s historic Neve Tzedek neighbourhood, which is part of the reason it was chosen for this refurbishment project. Despite the fact that designers on the project had previous experience with authentically and respectfully redoing historical buildings, this particular spot presented a unique set of challenges.
Previously to being redone, this property as derelict and abandoned for many years. When designers arrived on scene, they found what looked like a collection of ramshackle shacks, all hacked together in a way that appears shoddy and unreliable. The effect of this construction was to make an inner space that appear like a sort of dark, disjointed maze with only a hidden back patio for private outdoor space.
Additionally, a slanted wall that divided the main inner spaces presented something to think about and work with or around. In short, the space needed thorough renovation. Within that, however, it was essential that contractors remain diligent and careful, since they were, in fact, working in an historical space. The team aimed to work carefully enough to protect the building’s outer shell and preserve the home’s historical integrity.
In the early planning stages, designers came up with three distinct potential layouts that might work within the unique space. Each of these accounted for the sharply slanted wall in different ways; one tried to hide the wall to create an illusion of wide open rectangular space, a second worked it into the plan in a way that was subtle, and the third made is a central part of the layout, relying on it quite heavily.
In the end, designers went with the first plan, option for openness and free flowing space with as little slanted interruption as possible. They did this by taking advantage of both horizontal and vertical space, eventually dividing the apartment’s interior into four distinct spaces, each one rectangular in shape.
Now, the spaces are organized into a sleeping area, a living room, and kitchen, and a stunning outdoor patio. Each of these are divided by beautifully intersection vitrine windows that open from room to room or onto the patio using a Belgian style pivot door. The patio is accessible from both the living room and the bedroom, while the bedroom is separated from the two inner social spaces by an additional wall of windows.
The use of only glass walls within the apartment itself and surrounding the patio has a practical function as well as a decorative one. This way, natural light is permitted to flow freely into the rooms, reaching just about every corner. The same goes for fresh air when the windows are pivoted open. The stone wall surrounding the patio, however, keeps the inner space nice and private despite the clear line of sight from the patio inward.
In order to keep the flow of space and open concept construction of the inside rooms even and symmetrical, designers opted to hide the apartment’s bathroom behind a subtle door in the kitchen. This stops the apartment from having an uneven visual space and makes it feel like a standard modern one-bedroom, despite its old fashioned courtyard and lovely historical outer aesthetic.
On the more public side of the house, which faces the street, designers opted to glad windows with wooden shutters that are more standard of the buildings in the area. This gives the inner spaces privacy without interrupting the visual aesthetic of the local area. The effect is that the modern appearance of the apartment inside and the way it contrasts with the exterior is sort of a surprise for visitors entering for the first time.
The clean, simple layout plans might make the apartment look like it was easy to manifest, but that’s not so. First, designers had to essentially rebuild and replace the original infrastructure due to rotting beams near the roof. The original flooring, worn and unsuitable after years of both use and neglect, also needed redoing.
Each of these radical project aspects, of course, had to be completed within the parameters set out by local preservation authorities. Designers could not, for example, change the height of the building. Any changes or updates that were made to the outside fo the home were done using locally sourced supplies that would have been authentic to the area in any era.
This sense of natural, raw materiality continues on the inside of the apartment as well. A calming grey colour palette was chosen as a happy medium between old fashioned and minimalist, modern aesthetics. The bathroom features grey tiles while the kitchen and bedroom boast impressive woodworked details that have been painted a matching grey.
In contrast, the kitchen island, granite countertops, and steelwork around the pivoting glass doors were all done in black in order to ground the space and create periodic focal points. Greenery in the serene, old fashioned patio completes the space, bringing that sense of a natural escape home.
Photos by Amit Geron
Cubic looking Mariana House created by Laboratorio de Arquitectura [mk] with bright glass walls to create feelings of limitlessness
By Courtney • May 14, 2019
In a generous corner plot in the midst of a calm neighbourhood in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico, the impressively cubic Mariana House was recently completed by Laboratorio de Arquitectura [mk] to blend stunning outward views and calming intimate spaces.
Casa Mariana, or Mariana House, is built on the corner of its street in a space that bears quite a number of strict building regulations, making it the culmination of designers having overcome several challenges and constraints. Throughout the entire building process, they found themselves juggling the two main goals of preserving the breathtaking views afforded by the location and creating a sense of relaxing intimacy and privacy within the home itself.
This is how the home’s unique L-shaped layout was conceptualized. Two main corridors help organize the home’s public and private spaces, which are joint in the centre by an impressive stairway that connects the building’s two storeys.
On the ground floor, designers sought to create a distinction between public and private spaces so that each feels easily understood and sensical to use independently of one another. At the same time, they wanted to maintain a free flow of space and establish a relationship between spaces so that the room inside don’t feel too isolated or closed off.
Part of this spatial priority was established using a sequence of sliding doors, clean glass walls, and pivoting glass partitions. These make the spaces feel adaptable depending on the situation or needs of dwellers and visitors. Rooms might be closed off for privacy and quiet or opened entirely for air flow and feelings of limitlessness.
On the home’s upper floor, the space is more classic and straight forward in that the master suite is slightly removed from the guest bedrooms to privacy. In contrast to other homes, however, this house features a common intimate living space where the family might bond or spend quiet time alone. This space overlooks the storey below, sitting under a sloped ceiling.
The materiality and aesthetic inside the house, on both floors, is quite natural and suited to the environment surrounding the house. Greenery is made a huge part of the inner decor thanks to the way large fronds rest against the glass, like the hallways are deep within a forest or jungle. This lets glass walls enable floods of sunlight while also hiding intimate spaces from view.
Wood and concrete make up most of he space where glass isn’t present. On the facade, however, an aluminum screen is featured where the house takes the brunt of the sun. This provides privacy but also helps with passive heat regulation, without blocking light from entering the spaces inside so that things can stay beautifully bright.
Photos by Alejandra Urquiza
Angular, open concept Gwaneum-Ri House completed by Architecture Studio YEIN to put a modern twist on local living styles
By Courtney • May 14, 2019
In the mountain village of Gangneung, South Korea, the Gwaneum-Ri House was created by Architecture Studio YEIN only feet from where the ice skating heats of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics took place. Named for the Korean Buddhist term Gwaneum-bosal, the house embodies the values that the local people hold dear.
Besides being a previous Olympic site, the village was also the site of a terrible forest fire in May 2017. This rendered the area quite vulnerable thanks to dry mountain winds and harsh weather coming in off the Easy Sea. Many of the forests and high numbers of houses were damaged in the fire, including the family of home a young couple with a brand new baby. This family’s house has now been rebuilt on the same site where the ashes of their lost shelter once stood, like a symbol of hope.
The site on which the original little wooden house stood is small but held a lot of potential for innovative contemporary designers. The plot is decently sized but triangular in shape, leaving the only space that’s suitable for a yard quite narrow. Teams accounted for this by building a triangular house that nestles comfortably in the back of the plot, leaving the forward strip free for a yard.
Inside, the slightly trapezoidal house is split into two functional spaces. One is intended for the couple and their daughter for everyday use and the other is more suitable for guests and visiting family, sitting closer to the central courtyard. Between the two volumes sits a triangular transitional space that’s specifically intended for sharing and bonding.
An apple tree was planted here in this serene common space, taking advantage of the slight difference in level between the home’s two halves due to the fact that the plot sits on a bit of a slope. Designers took advantage of the land’s natural slope in another way. Ramps were built into the home’s front deck and inner space to make movement through the house friendlier for the couple’s elderly parents and even themselves as they age within the home in years to come.
To the right of the house and its entrance ramps sits a lovely garden. The roof of the house slopes towards this garden, creating a natural visual flow that’s pleasing to the eye. Close to here, the wall of the guest room has a window to keep things bright, but it is minimal in size in order to block noise from the road and keep the guest bedroom comfortable and private.
In contrast, the living room has a large window that perfectly frames stunning views visible from the home’s slope. This window is set right into a corner, accounting for the house’s triangular shape. This corner is also situated such that it becomes a kind of vestibule between the kitchen and the living room.
From the kitchen, the central garden is clearly visible. This was specifically placed so that the owning couple, whose favourite things are gardening and cooking, can enjoy the flowers growing in the garden while they cook together. Their bedroom is located at the furthest back point of the plot so as to block out noise from the road but still provide it with a view of the central garden too.
Between the bedroom and the public spaces sit the master bathroom and a dressing room. An impressive staircase leads upwards from this dressing room into a sunny, quiet loft that might be used as a diverse space depending on the family’s needs. The materiality of this and each of the other rooms in the house reflect their mountainous setting, using a neutral colour palette and placing locally sourced stonework detailing at the forefront of decorative built-in features.
Photos by Joonhwan Yoon
By Courtney • May 10, 2019
In the sunny Brazilian city of Brasilia, the South lake House was recently completed by Estúdio Cláudio Resmini as part of a refurbishment project based around updating old local residences from the 1980s.
The uniquely shaped residential structure that spans 950 square metres is a mixed functional structure that was originally built in the 1980s. Inside, in the original building and the updated version, the service based rooms sit on the lowest lake level, while the social spaces are located accessibly on street level, leaving private spaces to nestle intimately at the top of the three storey dwelling.
The upper floor we’ve just mentioned is arranged according to a triangular floor plan, partially suspended as though it’s almost an independent structure from the rest of the house. This floor is where most of the rebuilding had to be done after the house was acquired for refurbishment in 2017, since its supporting structures had begun to degrade due to a severe lack of maintenance.
Despite its wear and tear, the structure was clearly sound and quite formidable, so designers opted to keep its overall shape and exterior layout, avoiding most intervention that wasn’t absolutely necessary for preservation. Instead of redoing it, they opted to simply adapt and update the look of the building from its original geometric red exterior to a subtler, clean white. This theme continues throughout much of the house in terms of new materiality and changes made in furnishing and decor.
Inside, a little more intervention into the layout of the inside of the house took place, where the lowest floor slopes to meet the lakeside. Here, all walls were removed to create a sense of open concept movement between the kitchen, dining room, living room, and cheerful playroom and toy library. On one slightly detached side, space is delineated more concretely for a laundry room and on-site staff suite.
The intention in the way this part of the house was drastically opened was to integrate the lake and its surroundings more cohesively into the home. Designers aimed to create a bond with the natural environment here, particularly where the home’s floor slops towards a brand new pool area, the shape of which was updated from the original circular pool that was built in the 80s.
Surrounding the pool, a wooden desk provides dwellers with a relaxing, sunny place to sit. Besides affording visitors a view of the pool and lake, this area also presents a clear connection to a lovely table-shaped garden where grass grows in abundance and overflowing fresh flower pots of different heights are scattered throughout.
Continuing the theme of integrating indoor and outdoor spaces, we move onto the “gourmet space”, which is a box-like concrete spot near the pool that features a barbecue grill. This space can actually be fully integrated into the main kitchen thanks to sliding glass panels, giving great access to refrigerators during outdoor cooking sessions.
Close by, a curved wall leads to a staircase, which in turn leads to a calm atrium that serves as another social space with its own suspended garden. This garden mimics the more natural materiality of the upper floor, which has several details that hearken back to the house’s original aesthetic, as can be seen in the wood0heavy master bathroom.
The way that certain small details have been preserved from the original home inside creates a stunning sense of contrast with how the house’s geometrically shaped volume has been modernized. Another example of this is how a black metal privacy structure was affixed to the home’s exterior near the master suite for privacy, but angled such that it doesn’t block out the stunning lake view that inspired the original builders to choose that location for a house in the first place.
Photos by Evelyn Muller
Scandinavian inspired Scandi House created by Lifespaces Group to harness minimalist and scaled back beauty of the style in Australia
By Courtney • May 9, 2019
In the rolling green grasses of Barwon Heads, Australia, innovative designers at Lifespaces Group recently completed a stunningly wooden minimalist dwelling dubbed Scandi House for its clear Scandinavian influenced style, aesthetic, and layout.
In true Scandinavian style, the house is exemplary in its simple geometric shapes and pared back decor schemes and colour palettes. The gabled roofline might be typically Scandinavian in shape, but designers also blended a sense of local architecture into the building by constructing that shape from Australian timber, creating a facade that suits the surrounding natural scene beautifully.
The structure of the house is extremely unique in the way it features over hangs at the end but also fully glass walls that extend floor to ceiling. The tall windows let lots of natural light in while the overhangs give the patio spots created by the inset window alcoves some shade and provide a solid sense of privacy, show almost nothing of the inner house to the public area outside.
In the private entry courtyard, which runs the entire length of the house, dwellers are afforded a space of lush greenery that bears a rather serene atmosphere. This is where much of the daylight that naturally and passively brightens and warms the inner spaces flows in front, as well as the breezes that access the rooms when the large windows are slid open.
Inside the house, cathedral ceilings make both the social and private spaces feel tall and spacious. This suits well with the modernity and clear functionality of the service spaces inside, particularly in the kitchen. Here, materiality changes a little from the lovely stained wood for a bit of natural stonework contrast. The layout of the rest of the social spaces is just as open concept as the high ceilings, fostering a good space for family bonding.
In the private volume of the house, four very large bedrooms are nestled together, each one featuring its own built-in wardrobe. This is a clear example of the value of good storage in a Scandinavian family home. That theme is continued throughout the house, with subtle cupboards and storage solutions secrete throughout social and transitional spaces as well.
Under one of the wooden overhangs at the back, you’ll find more than just a pleasant patio to sit on. Here, designers built an actual outdoor living space designed to be enjoyed all year round, no matter the weather. This, along with the free-standing limestone bath and the impressive formal guest powder room, give the house a unique sense of near novelty that guests will always appreciate.
Photos by Stefani Driscoll
Concrete, cubic Cientocinco House create by JAMStudio arquitectos + Ivanna Cresta with a stunning blend of modernist looking and natural materials
By Courtney • May 7, 2019
Near the San Martin Nature Reserve and a series of ravines in Cordoba, Argentina, the Cientocinco House was recently finished by JAMStudio arquitectos + Ivanna Cresta. This house, built primarily from concrete, is cubic in shape and combines it’s hard materiality with sleek, natural wood for a modernist but relaxing aesthetic.
The house is located in the northwest part of the city, which is partially responsible for its stunning views of the reserve and the nearby ravines. These natural features of the landscape appear to add breadth and charm to the surrounding area extending beyond the house, giving it an increased sense of character before other, manmade elements are even considered.
While designers were planning the home, there were several elements of the plot’s natural land that they were determined not to alter or interfere with if possible. They wished to build a house that had a foundation that worked with the land, rather than cutting into and disturbing the ground on which the house sits.
Building a foundation of cast concrete let it mould to the land in a way that could be built upon sturdily without vastly changing the overall landscape surrounding the house. Designers opted to continue these concrete themed further until it become the majority of the structure. Its natural beauty once it was polished was so immense that they kept it as a main element and embellished it with softer accents to create the bulk of their modernist aesthetic.
This is how smoothed wood became the secondary element of the impressively stacked looking, cubic inspired house. Doors, window castings, ceilings, and furnishings all bear a wooden nature that adds a sense of warmth to the concrete and steel found elsewhere in the home’s interior and exterior.
Inside the house, the home continues the same straight edged, cubic inspired shaping as can be seen in its actual shape from the street. Furniture is boxy and pleasantly symmetrical. Stairs are solid and made of concrete blocks. Windows are neat and even (though big enough to let in wondrous amounts of natural light, which also assists in warming the concrete spaces).
Even the relaxation and leisure elements of the house follow that same cubic shaping. The patio where outdoor lounge chairs sit has a curtain frame that forms a steel cube around it. The patio itself even possesses a grid texture with greenery sprouting from each squared off space. Even the pool itself has a right-angle in its angular L-shape!
The grass growing from the grid-like patio isn’t the only greenery involved in the house. Decor teams made sure to incorporate plants throughout, which brightens the place even further than the high windows already did and adds a sense of nature and cohesiveness with the environment surrounding the plot. Towards the back of the house, on the opposite side of the pool and patio, sits a row of lush trees, providing a fresh, relaxing atmosphere and shade from the summer sun.
Overall, between its sturdy frame and inclusion of greenery, this cubic house has a sense of privacy and tranquility despite its close proximity to a busy city street.
Photos by Gonzalo Viramonte
The Ibiza Campo Loft created from an old, transformed warehouse by The Nieuw + ibiza interiors in Spain
By Courtney • May 6, 2019
In the rolling hills of San Juan Bautista, Spain, The Ibiza Campo Loft was recently completed by The Nieuw + ibiza interiors as part of a transformation and upgrading project in the local area. What was once an abandoned warehouse is now a beautiful contemporary home.
The house sits on a remote mountain towering from the centre of an island. The rugged landscape was once home to workshops and storage warehouses but these structures were long ago abandoned and left to degrade and become dilapidated. This particular warehouse was actually 100 years old before it was even scouted to be turned into a stunning modern guesthouse.
Although designers were intent on updating the space, certain aspects were actually preserved as they are in order to keep some of the original industrial integrity. Some of the concrete columns and steel beams that supported a typically Ibizan ‘sabina beam’ roof, for example, were deemed solid even after all that time and were incorporated right into the new home’s design.
The home’s unique mix of industrial framing and rustic detailing provides a comforting and authentic feeling character and atmosphere that can be seen in countless places throughout the house. This contrast is how the guesthouse was afforded its name, which essentially translates to “industrial open living space on the field”.
Although they changed certain aspects of the inside, designers really strove to keep as much of the outside fo the building as unchanged as possible in order to stay true to the typical character of Ibizan architecture. Most materials used in the creation of new spaces and renovation of old ones were locally sourced whenever possible to keep things authentic.
Even some authentic building techniques that are typical of the local area were used. The walls, for example, are chalk and mud plastered stone. This contrasts beautifully with more modern elements like a powder coated steel around the windows and a custom raw steel kitchen.
In the original building, electricity, water, and sewage systems were not present, so these were all added new upon redesign in order to make sure the new building has all the amenities of a contemporary home. Now, the water coming into the house comes from a private well. Much of the electricity, on the other hand, is sourced by solar panels that also contribute to water and floor heating.
The beauty of these new systems is that they were installed in efficient ways that make the house independent of the main grid like houses in cities would be attached too. This makes the house not only low impact on the environment, but also a lot more sustainable and self powering.
Working within the directions that were already already established by the building’s original floor plan, designers aimed to harness as much of the stunning view afforded by how the building is situated as possible. part of their efforts culminated in the building of a big, stunning private terrace where the sun hits and spills into the main living space.
In contrast to this, the bedrooms are situated in the north side corner of the building in order to keep hem as dark and cool as possible, since the local weather is so bright and hot year round. The bedrooms become a relaxing, cool escape. In the dining room, however, light is allowed to spill in to its full capability thanks to a skylight that sits level with an upper loft.
In the bathroom, guests are usually thrilled to find a a freestanding stone bath with low windows that preserve one’s privacy while still providing a breathtaking view of the nature surrounding the house while bathing. The bath is also cozily close to a fireplace. on the floor, the bathroom features a herringbone pattern constructed in terra cotta tiles, which is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Spanish floor designs.
In the loft, comfortability and modern living are prioritized explicitly. At the same time, local materiality that provides a serene, almost rustic atmosphere is found throughout every room right down to the beds. This, combined with the presence of art pieces created by local artists, fills the house with character. The effect is the contrast of old and new, light and dark, and so on.
As if the atmosphere of the whole house has been building up to it, visitors can climb to the highest point in the house and discover that the roof actually features its own yoga platform! Between that, the stunning pool below, and the yard’s many fruit trees, accompanied by a whole vegetable garden, the whole place bears the air of a small paradise.
Photos by On a Hazy Morning
Colonial style De La Huella House created almost entirely from recycled materials by NBBO Arquitectos
By Courtney • May 6, 2019
In the neighbourhood of Parque Leloir, deep in the city of Udaondo, Argentina, innovative designers at NBBO Arquitectos have finished the De La Huella House, an updating project that involved creating a stunning new colonial style house from the recycled parts of an older home that previously stood in its place.
The new home sits on a large expanse of land that was recently declared to be ecologically protected by the local environmental authorities. The vegetation in this part of the city is valuable to the area’s plant life ecosystems and efforts are being made to preserve it. This meant that designers were tasked with taking its protection into consideration wherever possible within the renovation process of this house.
On the ground floor of the well contrasted, stacked style house, visitors encounter a living room, dining space, and kitchen not far from the door and spacious entryway. Just beyond that sits a large games room designed for more active friend and family bonding than the cozier interactions one might have on the living room couch.
The first floor is also home to a generous guest bedroom, a laundry room, and even the home’s own art gallery! Two bathrooms are available on this floor as well for convenience, since it is quite spacious. The aesthetic in these spaces is a mixture of smooth wooden facades and furniture with white base features and shining marble floors, all appearing quite sophisticated in combination.
On its upper floor, which sits slightly higher than the average home measures, this house boasts a stunning master bedroom with an expanded closet and its own en suite bathroom. There are three other bedrooms for the family’s children down the hall, a full sized shared bathroom for the kids, and a work study space that’s fully equipped for home office use.
Although this house has been changed and built upon, designers set one main goal right from the outset: to preserve as much of the original house as possible in their updates. Besides the removal of unnecessary walls to open up and expand some interior spaces, the only larger structural changes that took place involved adding more windows in order to increase the home’s view of the stunning preservation park just beyond its plot borders.
These windows can be seen in the primary living space, which is now wonderfully open and double height thanks to the removal of an unnecessary central slab that closed its ceiling off originally but served little other structural purpose. Now, there is plenty of room for tall indoor plants to adorn the ground floor while light and air circulation spill through the floor to ceiling glazed walls in the summertime.
Besides the white and wood finishes, a series of light colours have been chosen as accents and pops in the living spaces throughout the house. These were chosen carefully to work with the natural sunlight and give clarity to the spaces they’re present in. The stairway, which acts like a transitionary space between house functions, is the only place clad in a wood that’s slightly darker, making it feel like a sort of central anchor within the home’s interior.
Things are kept as light looking as possible on the outside of the house as well, despite the fact that blending the new pieces added on like extensions was a high priority. Designers chose to add unique character and increase a sense of lightness around the new upper volume by cladding it entirely in sheet metal that glints prettily in the sun.
One of the more practical changes that took place within the house is the adjustment of heating and cooling capabilities to updated, more eco-friendly systems than were available when the original house was first built. Now, the house is much more sustainable and features thermal insulation that works to reduce energy consumption while heating and cooling the house.
Photos by Javier Agustin Rojas
Concrete Bielmann House created by Rob Dubois as a modernist, sunny getaway with incredible unobstructed views
By Courtney • May 3, 2019
The Casa Bielmann, or the Bielmann House, is a iconic look single family dwelling located in Santa Maria de Palautordera, Spain. Visually, it catches attention from passersby on the street for its uniquely blended materiality that makes it look, all at once, both solid and light or limitless.
This innovatively built house sits on a sloping land plot of about 700 square metres not far from the city borders of Barcelona. It boats two above ground floors and a large basement, as well as a sunny outdoor pool on its south side. From the outside, the ground floor makes the upper volume appear almost as though it’s floating thanks to the completely glass walls surrounding it.
These walls are partially for impressive aesthetic, but they also bear several functional purposes as well. Besides just providing views that are practically unparalleled for their lack of limit and obstruction even from inside the house, the floor to ceiling glazed glass windows that stand in place of traditional walls help keep the house lit in a more efficient way as sunlight pours into every corner.
The glass walls of the home’s ground floor also contribute to its eco-friendly heating and cooling systems. The house is built with systems that are passive and self sufficient, saving owners money and creating less waste or energy use as a result of running the house like a functional family home year round.
The views that we’ve spoken so highly of surrounding this house are both near and far. In the distance, a clear view of the Montseny can be appreciated from almost anywhere in the house thanks to the way the ground floor’s perimeter feels limitless. Closer to home, the plot’s own garden right outside the windows gives the place a feeling of serenity and green tranquility.
The fully windowed volume of the house is actually record setting in its beauty and construction; to the designers’ knowledge, it was the house to possess the most possible glass surfacing in a facade of any house documented and recorded at the time that it was finished. This is part of what makes it so impressive! The fact that it makes the living spaces feel spacious and nearly boundery-less certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Continuing that sense of extreme spaciousness despite the house not being one that physically sprawls is the double height section of the main living room. This space faces the home’s own garden, extending up past the higher floor of the house for a certain width. The ceiling, like a concrete overhang that makes space for the upper rooms to sit on, provides inner spaces that have a little more shade and privacy, in case one prefers a quieter, cozy spots away from bright, open windows.
The higher floor of the house, which sits on this shading interior concrete we’ve just described, is home to the more private and intimate areas of the home. This is where the master suite and bathroom, as well as guest bedrooms and a guest bathroom, all sit. This level of the house is encased in a layer of concrete similar to that on which it sits.
Like the interior concrete, this layer has a functional purpose on top of being a decorative facade for the building’s exterior. The way the top floor is folded over into the same material actually protects the inner area from the summer heat. This is bolstered by overhangs at the edges of the building that protect the windows from getting too much heat as well, despite still letting all the light the interior could possibly want in.
Inside the house, in its actual construction, designers built a geothermal energy system and heat pump under the floors, behind the stunning minimalist furnishings and decor schemes that feature neutral tones and pops of red and blue hues. These systems heat the house thoroughly from the ground up in the winter time and keep it passively cool in the summer.
All the while subtle solar panels installed on the roof keep the house powered with electricity in a way that is low impact on the surrounding environment. This also gives the house an electric network that is independent from its municipal power grid. Besides providing electricity, the roof also collects rain water. This is collected in a tank that is buried in the garden and used for irrigation there.
Photos by Jordi Miralles