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.
Montauk home Hither Hills gives residents stunning views and poolside relaxation thanks to Bates Masi + Architects
By Courtney • 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.
View in gallery
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.
By Courtney • 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
By Courtney • 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
By Courtney • 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
Stunning rehabilitation of Coura House by Luís Peixoto blends fresh wood with rustic stone in unique ways
By Courtney • 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.
Photographs by Armenio Teixeira
By Courtney • Jan 22, 2019
Amidst the lush trees on the edge of the Washington forest, nestled in the greenery at the base of a mountain, PBW Architects recently finished a stunning but simple holiday home project called the Lot 6 Cabin.
Lot 6 Cabin is the kind of place that countryside lovers who are still caught up in the hustle and bustle of city living might use as a goal for their eventual dream home in the far future.
The architectural team, which is local to Seattle, built it with the idea of offering serenity, calming forest views, and welcome, quiet seclusion in mind. The area is intended to be idyllic and sweet rather than remote or isolated and it really hits the mark.
The outside of the small home, already striking for its light and dark wood colour contrast, is intriguing for the way it harnesses an “open-ended living” approach. By this, we mean that it utilizes design elements that feel limitless and spacious, even if they’re not actually particularly large of sprawling.
That feeling of openness continues throughout the home thanks to the way large glazed doors and wonderfully wide floor to ceiling windows run the entire length of the structure. These can be opened entirely, letting fresh breezes drift through the house on warm days and making it easy for guests and dwellers to follow suit, drifting from interior rooms to outdoor spaces without interruption.
The cabin is rooted to its natural foundation at the mountain’s food by a lovely wooden deck that gets the sunlight just right. Its primary feature is an outdoor fireplace surrounded by comfortable seating, making it the perfect place to curl up in late into the evening almost all year round.
Compared to the rustic wooden exterior of the cabin, the inside rooms are quite modern in their aesthetic and atmosphere, but no to the extent that things look mismatched. Wooden frames, features, and fine details provide a bit of continuity while more contemporarily shaped furniture keep things looking more updated than your average cabin in the woods.
Like the deck, the living room boasts a stunning central fireplace as a primary feature. This is actually the same one as you’d have encountered outside on the deck. The piece is dual sided, meaning that guests and dwellers can enjoy the warmth of the same flames inside and out!
Uniquely shaped and literally named Parallel House, created by En Route Architects, provides perfectly framed seaside views
By Courtney • Jan 21, 2019
Unlike some seemingly randomly named homes, the relationship between Parallel House’s name and its structure is wonderfully clear! Built by En Route Architects, this unique home located on a Greek island provides perfectly framed views of the sea that are nothing short of breathtaking.
More specifically, the house is located in the Cyclades Islands, a cluster of small, stunning islands just off the coast of mainland Greece. It sits beautifully above the water, perched just so on a quiet hillside.
The intent of Parallel House’s shape and orientation was to pay direct homage to the seaside that surrounds it. Its beauty, however, is not the only thing this home has to offer. This contemporary, concrete residence is also actually completely self-sustaining. A collection of solar panels, a complete rainwater collection system, and some energy-efficient insulation allow the house to run independently and completely off-grid.
Even though it looks extremely modern, the building techniques employed by the architectural teams were actually very traditional. Because the house sits on a very sloped surface, the unique topography of the area needed to be accounted for in order to keep the building stable and safe as well as lovely to look at.
Designers achieved this by partially embedding the backside of the house into the actual landscape it sits upon. This afforded it some resilience, holding it in place like an anchor. It also gives the house a bit of extra natural insulation, protecting it from strong winds and rain during storms typical of islands and seasides.
Because the back of the house is so well anchored and insulated, designers were able to keep the front side, or that facing the beautiful sea view, much more open. Here, the house’s main volume is broken up into various sections shaped like large squares. These sections help to frame the view of the water differently from each room in the house.
As you can see, the house is made almost entirely of exposed concrete. Besides being a welcoming but slightly industrial looking aesthetic choice, this material usage serves a practical purpose too when it comes to reducing energy and water consumption.
Because the walls and floors are both concrete, a tight thermal insulation is created, which reduces the need for electricity in heating during colder months and helps the space maintain a more controlled temperature all year long, no matter the weather outside.
Keeping warm isn’t the only concern, particularly when Greece has such intensely hot summers and mild seasons between that and winter time. To help regulate the air even on the warmest days, a recessed corridor exists in the back of the home. This creates some cross ventilation that helps keep the spaces cool when the concrete does heat up more than usual.
You might think you don’t see the rainwater collection system we mentioned before in these photos, but we promise you it’s there! This system is actually installed on top of the house in the roof, where it can drain grey water (or fallen water that has yet to be purified) down into tanks submerged under ground. There, the water is filtered to be re-used.
Nearly the same subtle installation process is true of the solar panels we mentioned as well. In order to prevent large panels cramping the style and aesthetic of the home, designers chose to situate them adjacent to the house itself. The panels are actually hidden in the landscape and rigged accordingly, generating sufficient independent energy to power the entire house.
Structurally, you’ll also notice the way the floor-to-ceiling glass walls face the see in order to frame that stellar view. To make things even better, however, those walls actually open back all the way, transforming most rooms in the house into lovely open concept spaces at whim. This lets fresh seaside air play through the home on warm days and makes the spaces inside the home feel even bigger and brighter than they already are!
Photographs by Yiorgis Yerolymbos
Orchid tiny houses beautifully harness all the beauty and aesthetic of a full sized modern farmhouse, but much littler
By Courtney • Jan 18, 2019
The innovative designs emerging in the world of tiny houses have been inspiring and shocking the housing industry for a little while now, but every time a new model is released, it’s like breath of fresh air to see even more space efficient ideas being put into action. The Orchid houses created by New Frontier Tiny Homes are tangible proof of that!
In the world of architecture and interior design, the concept of making a place look like a “modern farmhouse” has quite taken the world by storm, like a bit of a design phenomenon. By nature, genuine traditional farmhouses are old fashioned, rustic, and not often up to date on contemporary amenities. Clever decor and design techniques, however, have lead to homes with a wonderfully modernized version of the old fashioned concept, which is the kind of aesthetic the Orchid homes harness.
Thanks to the way designers mixed a farmhouse inspired, “barn-worthy” frame structure with more polished finishing touches, Orchid tiny houses are a unique and atmospherically pleasing balance of rustic comfort and modern living. This can be seen in the way repurposed local woods contrast with floor-to-ceiling windows and bright LED lighting, for example.
Of course, a tiny home can’t contain everything a full sized farmhouse has to offer, but the Orchid homes still provide a stunning glimpse into a more traditional style of living that’s practically irresistible. This is partially in thanks to the designers’ intense attention to detail. The way that narrow planks of cedar line the entire exterior of the home, all across the walls and up onto the gabled roof in order to create a sort of “unibody” appearance from the outside perfectly exemplifies what we mean.
Besides their seamless appearance, the outer planks of this little home are notable for being leak proof despite being specifically spaced and actually also raised off the walls and roof a little bit. This was intended to give the whole little structure the appearance that it is floating.
Of course, the inside of the house is just as notable as the outside! We absolutely adore the cozy-chic atmosphere created by the surprisingly welcoming contrast of rustic materials and efficiently organized contemporary features. From the comfortable living room, you’ll encounter an elevated kitchen that, despite being “miniature”, has enough space for a family dining area.
Unlike some miniature houses, the Orchid homes are actually still big enough to comfortably sleep four people. It features a master bedroom upstairs, in a small loft type area above the kitchen, as well as a love seat in the living room that slides out easily to reveal a queen sized trundle bed underneath. Simply slide it back in and stash it away once everyone is awake!
Orchid tiny homes also have a very unique and notable feature that we haven’t seen in other similar designs before. Inspired by the 2017 solar eclipse, designers embedded a bright strip of LED lights into the outside trim of the house. The intention of this was to create a sort of ethereal glowing effect that mimics the eclipse itself!
The Gouse , a uniquely named residence by Marta Nowicka, is a beautiful houses where a garage used to be
By Courtney • Jan 4, 2019
In the heart of London, England, innovative designer Marta Nowicka has created The Gouse, a lovely three story residence that stands on the site of a former garage in Dalston.
The name of this project was chosen by combining the words “house” and “garage” but that’s not the only way that Nowicka decided to pay tribute to the plot’s original purpose. The exterior walls of the house are also glad in cedar shingles, similar to the way the old garage that once stood in its place would have been!
According to Nowicka, the site of The Gouse was a plot that she purchased online without ever even seeing it first. Something about it just emanated workability. The plot itself measures only 45 square metres and is surrounded on all sides by the back gardens of its neighbouring Victorian buildings with old fashioned terraces, except for the side where it faces onto a the road.
Due to the limited space the designer had to work with, teams decided to extend the building upwards, adding rooms vertically rather than horizontally. That’s why the house stands three stories from the ground rather than the more traditional two! This includes a basement featuring light wells to keep the bottom floor lit and bright.
The Gouse has several other extremely unique features as well. These include glass floor sections that show from one storey to another, as well as a “living wall”. This vertical plant display sits on the first floor and establishes a sense of an indoor-outdoor living space and a cohesiveness of the house with the environment around it.
When The Gouse was first being conceptualized, designers decided that they’d like to prioritize two goals: preserving the “end of garden character” the original garage had and improving the way that the new building meets the street and looks from the sidewalk to passersby. Character was established partially by including a few random treasures found in an old shed on the plot back into the new building, preserving the area’s history in a contemporary way.
Inside the Gouse, very large, carefully framed windows give lovely views of the neighbouring gardens around the plot. In the master bedroom, which sits just past the entrance and first corridor, an entirely glazed glass wall faces out onto a small exterior patio space that is enclosed for privacy and peacefulness by a perforated brick wall.
On the basement floor, guests will encounter a beautiful wood burner that adds to the already shed-inspired atmosphere of The Gouse’s decor. This burner creates a nostalgic warmth and smoky scent that reminds one of burning autumn leaves.
Photographs by Voytek Ketz
By Courtney • Jan 3, 2019
On the outskirts of Quito, in sunny Ecuador, the new Tacuri House was created by Gabriel Rivera with a stunning open concept living ideology in mind.
Besides its visual appeal, one of the most interesting facts about Tacuri House was that it was build entirely around the trees that already existed on its plot of land. Not a single tree was felled in its construction process. Instead, designers protected the trees that were already there intentionally and worked carefully between and amidst them so as not to disturb them or their roots.
More specifically, Tacuri House (known locally as Casa Tacuri) is located in a little parish called Nayon. This town is known far and wide for its absolutely stunning views of the Cumbaya Valley, as well as for its flourishing Algarrobo trees, which are native to that area specifically. These trees attract an abundance of singing birds, making the town feel like a natural getaway despite the fact that it’s actually only a few minutes away from a larger, more bustling city.
In addition to working around the trees that have always called its site home, Tacuri House also slopes along with the land, continuing the ways in which it was built to respect the natural environment it was nestled into. Its unique U-shaped floor plan consists of three volumes in total, arranged very precisely around a central courtyard. These volumes are connected with covered glass walkways.
The exterior walls of the house create a lovely colour and texture contrast because of the way they’re made from concrete and honey-toned wood. An additional but slightly less stark contrast lies in the parts of the house that are made from beautifully clean glazed glass framed in black metal.
In the first wing of the house, which is the tallest, the ground floor provides dwellers with a parking garage tucked subtly behind a fence near the street. Up a flight of sturdy concrete stairs, designers placed the dining area, living room, and kitchen together on the first building’s upper level. Here, a part of the roof is lifted and a clerestory window is inset for lots of natural sunlight.
Perpendicular to this first building is the wing of the house containing all the private areas. The sprawling master suite sits on the top level here, while the bottom floor of the second volume provides space for two slightly smaller bedrooms and a cozy den. The master suite up top features lovely glazed walls all around which open onto a sizeable terrace. Because it sits higher in the house, the windows of the suite gives it the impression that you’re actually sleeping high up in the trees.
The third and smallest wing of the house sits at the back of the courtyard. Here, you’ll find a small but pleasant and well naturally lit studio. The atmosphere here is simple yet warm. Like the other rooms, it has a concrete ceiling, wooden accents, and a few contemporary decor pieces place strategically to catch the eye. The floor to ceiling window theme carries on all throughout the house.
Photographs by Bicubik
By Courtney • Jan 2, 2019
Casa Bedolla, a lovely little house designed and build in a rather complex terrain between mountains and trees by P+0 Arquitectura, calls Nuveo Leon, Mexico home.
Nestled amongst the cedars and oaks, this home spans only 200 square feet despite the sprawling land around it. This is because the rocky topography presents building challenges that these particular designers were innovative enough to work around wonderfully here, but didn’t want to tempt too hard by making the home too expansive.
From the outset, designers of Casa Bedolla aimed to work with the land, respecting the terrain and working around the existing trees in order to preserve them. The rocky house sits two storeys high, with two separate areas featured on the ground floor; one for private areas and another for social spaces.
These areas appear to float over the ravine below thanks to the way the structure has been firmly anchored into the mountainside. The angle it sits at allows for the collection of water runoff near where beams support the main wall, which is a monolithic slab of concrete with a local stone facade.
Although the house appears quite sturdy and thick walled, two of the walls are actually perforated. This lets warm, fresh air ventilate the house naturally at the same time as it affords stunning views of the mountains and forest through the holes in the stone. You’ll see the walls we mean upon entering the courtyard out front.
Another slab extending from the roof neat the courtyard provides the area with a little bit of shade down below. This is where you’ll find the garage and parking area. Close to the high extension, a terrace is formed at the top of the house, turning the hard roof into a social space akin to a solarium that sits at the top of a linear staircase.
Inside, the rooms are actually quite open concept on each floor. Rather than building more thick walls to divide interior spaces, designers strategically placed furniture to delineate between rooms of differing functions. This makes the home’s interior quite customizable as the family’s needs a personal tastes change in the future.
Throughout the house, generous windows provide natural light and dissolve the separation the thick walls provide, creating a better indoor-outdoor relationship. This co-existence mimics that of modern and traditional construction techniques that are clearly present in the house itself; there’s a sense of dialogue between all facets of your surroundings while you’re there.
Photographs by FCH Fotografia
Breathtaking Lochside House provides off-grid highland haven and wins RIBA House of the Year for 2018
By Courtney • Dec 27, 2018
While Lochside House by Haysom Ward Miller Architects provides an undoubtedly unique highland experience thanks to its off-the-grid location and its breathtaking surroundings, it’s not the traditionally rustic experience you might be expecting!
As the winner of the RIBA House of the Year for 2018, this lovely house gives you a natural neutral experience that simultaneously combines into the landscape of the wild Scottish Highlands and provides a cozy yet modern escape inside its wooden walls, all at once. The effect is truly a feat in blending aesthetics and atmospheres!
Lochside House looks like yet another humble cottage on the edge of a lake, but you know there’s more to it the moment you learn that it was awarded the title of being the UK’s best house in 2018, winning out over a shortlist of seven other rather impressive projects.
Lochside House was created for a ceramic artist who desired private space amongst nature in which to create and seek inspiration. The house consists of three humble buildings and is hand crafted using traditional techniques and natural materials that perfectly complement the home’s beautiful surroundings.
In order to create the proper aesthetic, designers used charred Scottish larch to clad the building’s exterior, complementing sections that are shielded by traditional drystone wall. The wooden theme continues inside but in a slightly less intense way, providing a natural but lighter and more airy aesthetic. High ceilings are lined with oil timber, for example.
In the centre of the living room, a beautiful painted stone fireplace serves as a toasty focal point for guests and family gatherings. Large windows, running almost floor to ceiling, perfectly frame a vivid and wonderfully positioned view of the lake and the mountains outside.
Although the materials inside sound rather rustic and natural in their nature, the scaled back approach that designers took allowed for smoother lines and colour schemes that somehow make things appear more streamlined and contemporary inside, despite the consistency in materials.
Beyond the charm provided by slightly more contemporary colour schemes and shapes inside the home, there is beauty in the more detailed decor and layout as well. Remember that this home was created for a ceramics artist and then view how the home’s shapes and spaces merge with the artist’s own works and wider art collection. This establishes a thorough sense of cohesive style that is all at once impressive, comforting, and effortlessly homey.
Now, when we say the house is “off the grid”, we don’t just meant that it’s rural; we literally mean it’s off the power grids provided by local municipalities. Instead, Lochside House produces its own electricity using solar panels. It also sources clean water from its very own independent borehole.
Part of what influenced RIBA judges to choose this house as the UK’s best home of the year was the beauty and efficiency with which it was built despite the nature and weather challenges presented by its remote location. Not even the often harsh weather of the Scottish highlands during the winter prevented the team from achieving their vision.
By Courtney • Dec 27, 2018
Using the seemingly regular concept of stacked boxes as inspiration, Brazilian studio Bloco Arquitetos has designed a wonderfully spacious family home that is, in essence, a series of stacked “boxes” itself. These form a series of courtyards and terraces that provide private and social spaces almost unparalleled in its beauty.
The House of Courtyards is located in the capital of Brazil, in a residential neighbourhood in the city of Brasilia. Totalling 950 square metres, the home sits on a flat plot that lacks a bit in vegetation. Designers built and stacked a series of “boxes” or volumes that sit at angles such that they appear to push outward and pull inward at once, all from their place on the home’s base.
The angles of the volumes and how they’re stacked do more than just look directionally intriguing! Parts of certain “boxes” also protrude over the edges of the parts of the house they sit on, creating a sort of covered porch area or shady shelter from the sun at different spots around the house.
Besides the unique shape, the first thing people often notice about House of Courtyards is how incredibly stark white it is. The exterior walls of the volumes and main house are made of carefully white-painted ceramic brick, which contrast quite well with vast, inset glass. These expanses of glass are provided some shade thanks to a recessed window structure. Short eaves, also formed by the edges of the stacked volumes, give the windows a bit of shade so the rooms inside don’t take on too much solar heat on long Brazilian summer days.
From the main windows and doors, a lovely view of Brasilia’s city centre can be enjoyed. A little closer than the city, which lies 10 km away, a pretty view of the house’s own yard with its stunning swimming pool can be seen with ease. The neighbourhood the house sits in has undergone a bit of a green overhaul to counteract all the flat land and the abundance of paved surfaces. Residents have fostered large stretches of lush grass, young trees with space to grow, and lovely flowering shrubs; all plants in species and types that are native to the local area.
Inside the house, public rooms where guests might visit or where the family might work from home are all located on the ground floor for easy access. Private rooms, like bedrooms and bathrooms, on the other hand, are built across the upper level, distributed throughout the stacked volumes or “boxes”.
The volumes where the bedrooms are located are positioned according to what’s best for each area specifically. By this, we mean that there is no hierarchy of rooms; no “master bedroom” or “small guest room” that might have more or less value in experience. Instead, each room has a perfect level of view, privacy, and orientation according to sunlight based on where it sits in the stack.
In addition to fantastic views, most of the rooms are also afforded direct access to one of the house’s six courtyards. On the upper floors, this is through lovely patio doors that open onto grassy terraces. The top of the home even features a rooftop “sightseeing terrace” accessed by a beautiful white stone, open air staircase.
Following the stark white theme, the interior decor scheme also includes white walls, light wood flooring, and white cabinetry. Though the furniture was brought from the owner’s previous residence, most of it also fits the white theme quite nicely, rounding out the whole visual experience well.
Photographs by Haruo Mikami
By Courtney • Dec 24, 2018
Fig Tree House is a stunning example of how longstanding city buildings can be updated and modernized without losing their old fashioned, more traditional appeal. Located in La Haya, The Netherlands, this tall home recently underwent a small transformation in the back in the form of a beautiful open concept extension designed and created by by Bloot Architecture.
Because the house is located in an historic area, namely The Hague’s Vogelwijk district, the style of the house extension was kept a minimalist, making it contrast sharply but beautifully with the slightly more rustic red brick of the 1927 house.
In the front, the house maintains its original structure while, around back, the lovely old fig tree it was named after stretches its branches across the yard. Previously to the extension, however, that namesake wasn’t actually visible from inside the house, something the owners lamented. This is why owners and designers agreed that a full glass extension, with floor to ceiling window walls, was the best solution!
Because the new section extends beyond the perimeter of the original house into the yard, and also because its glass walls can be slid back to open the room entirely into the open air, it appears to create a more cohesive relationship with the house, the fig tree, and the environment around the two.
In conceptualizing the extension, designers aimed to bring sharp contrast to the old building. The brick house, which hearkens back to older elements of Art Nouveau styles and the Amsterdam School, stands out masterfully agains the black and glass of the new section, outlining its stunning minimalism.
The new structure is built from seamless glass with subtle framing, meaning that there are virtually no visible barriers between the house’s warmth and comfort and the natural space around the fig tree if one looks out from inside the house. This means that daylight is given free reign throughout the bottom floor, keeping spaces bright and cheerful. When the walls are slid back and the sun shines in the evening, dinner at the regular dining table can feel like a picnic outside in the fresh air!
Perhaps the most stark meeting of old and new aesthetics and materials takes place in the kitchen. Here, the concrete floor of the original house meets the new kitchen walls that the extension frame is rooted in, creating a beautiful blend of materials and design styles.
Photographs by Christian van der Kooy
By Courtney • Dec 13, 2018
Allotment House is a stunningly simple modular home project by Kristian Olesen that blesses any visitor with a fragrant wood aesthetic and a cozy atmosphere that immediately makes them feel right at home. It is located in Aarhus, Denmark, nestled right into the scenic area around the Brabrand lake.
The house itself was inspired by a Nordic tradition that eventually became its namesake. Allotment houses are classically self-built wooden cabins that are extremely space efficient and leave you wanting for nothing despite their small size. They are typically built entirely recycled materials and this particular Allotment House follows that custom to the letter.
The purpose of the little house was to give owners a place to escape city life so they can enjoy spending some time closer to nature. Designers place this home on a lovely green patch that’s perfect for gardening, allowing dwellers to grow their own vegetables. These gardens also help connect the little house better to the landscape, helping it look much less like it was just placed down on a patch of grass to stand out.
On the southwest side of the modular home, folding terraces extend, letting dwellers open up the interior space like a continuation of the living room. This blends indoor and outdoor experiences in a beautiful way that lets people take in the view even better than they already can naturally from the setting of the house.
In terms of its shape, the house is purposely compact, which works well in the limited size of the plot. To avoid making it seem too small (or being buried in the snow in Danish winters), the house is raised slightly on a stilt foundation. This provides a better view as well and protects the floors from spring flooding.
Inside, the house features a singular space that spans the whole length and width of the building, like a fully open-concept home. A vaulted ceiling gives things a unique shaped by mimicking the actual exterior structure of the building closely. In the centre, visitors encounter a divided volume that visually separates the open space into main rooms like a living room, a kitchen, and a bedroom.
Just in case open-concept living isn’t your thing, Allotment House actually also features interior sliding doors. These come out of pockets in the walls, pulling across the room on either side in order to create more physically distinct spaces. This is useful for hosting guests who want some privacy when they’re sleeping, for example.
When designers first conceptualized the house, they aimed to place the functional features and spaces in a continuous line so as to foster seamless movement that reflects the owners’ needs and lifestyles. This is why storage, the kitchen, the utility room, and an outside shed can be found all organized in a linear fashion called “the function-line”. With the practical features all kept in a company solution, extra space is created and saved for socializing, relaxing, and leisure!
As you’ll notice immediately, the house is rich in smooth, light wooden surfaces. This lines up with Nordic building traditions and creates a calm cohesiveness all throughout the house, both inside and outside. Continuity and interesting geometric shape is created by the way the wood travels all across the floor, up the walls, and undisturbed into the peak of the roof, both inside and outside. Galvanized wooden furniture keeps things consistent and traditional as well.
Between the lovely pine minimalism of the whole interior and the fully glass walls and doors at each end of the house, designers created a sense of vast spaciousness despite working with a limited square footage. This lets the owners take in a stunning view but also keeps things natural and in line with the landscape and the design’s traditional Nordic roots.
Photographs by: Kristian Olesen
Retro House, Dubbed Re-Open House, Updated With an Appealing Open Concept by Matt Fajkus Architecture
By Courtney • Dec 12, 2018
Re-Open House is a recent transformation project planned and completed by Matt Fajkus Architecture. Located in Austin, Texas, this dwelling harnesses all the retro style of the original home but gives owners an updated structure to enjoy with increased comfort.
During this transformation, designers prioritized several things. First, they made sure the house would get plenty of natural light no matter what room you’re in. Next, they strove to use simple materials that would provide lots of style with minimal cost and ecological impact. Finally, they aimed to created a free flowing space where guests and family members could move seamlessly between spaces without feeling cut off from one another.
At the same time as they wanted to update the house, designers sought to remodel the structure in a way that still preserved the original mid-century mod style it came with. They worked on an interior design scheme that had a slightly retro feel, while also adding features that established a direct connection with nature to offset city living.
In order to open the space up more than the original structure offered, builders raised the roof and knocked out some walls to unify social and common living spaces. This consolidated practical portions of the house used by all members of the family, making the spaces more positive to spend time in, but also letting private bedrooms become more desirable by establishing them as more of a haven than before.
Thought they raised the ceiling, designers did not change the unique angle it sits at. This point of the house remained the same as part of their efforts to preserve some of its original style. The sharp angle also gives the house a little bit of privacy from the street as it nestles behind its bordering trees and hedges.
In order to really drive home the connection to nature we mentioned earlier, designers also built several patios into different parts of the house. First they added some shared patios in the common areas of the house and then they included smaller patios behind sliding glass doors that extend off the bedrooms. This lets dwellers access nature close to where they sleep and enjoy private outdoor moments more easily if they wish.
Inside, wooden ceilings and piled stone walls bolster that sense of natural material used and the incorporation of the landscape. These materials were gathered a purchased locally. The overall decor scheme is kept light in vast colour palette but features several pops of colour in each room, letting those pieces stand out like mod accents. Occasionally, guests will find an entire accent wall as well, as in the kitchen and the guest bathroom, where a brightly coloured, mod patterned wallpaper draws the eye and reminds everyone that this house has a history in its list of influences.
Photographs by: Charles Davis Smith
By Courtney • Dec 12, 2018
Sydney Street House is a stunning transformation project planned and carried out by innovative design teams at Fouché Architects. Located in Brisbane, Australia, this project remodelled an original pre-1946 house that was a boarding house once upon a time.
The original structure of the house was raised and segregated when it was taken over for boarding. Renovators at the time closed all of its verandahs and internalized a lot of what was previously a more open-concept layout. Places where outdoor and indoor areas were once connected were closed off almost entirely and most functional spaces were internalized in ways that reduced natural lighting.
As a result of those changes, this latest renovation sought to reverse much of the closed off work and literally, as its name suggests, re-open the house! Designers aimed to bring light back into the overall space, reinstate the connectivity between rooms and also between the indoor and outdoor spaces, and general add an airier and more cohesive atmosphere to the whole property.
Rather than expanding in their transformation, builders and designers wanted to work with the space they already had but take better, more open advantage of it. They decided on taking a tactile approach to structure and decor that, in addition to making the house’s living spaces more enjoyable to spend time in, will make people actually want to use the rooms. After all, houses are truly meant to be lived in!
In addition to the internal re-opening, designs made sure to invest time and effort in re-opening the outside space in a better connected way as well. They began this process by rebuilding the upper floor verandah that gave the master bedroom a relaxing outdoor connection with a little bit of privacy.
Next, a back verandah was re-added with an extension, making the two areas feel like one thanks for the ability of dwellers to move seamlessly between the two. This makes the primary living space feel much grander and more open-concept. An entire sense of establishing verbal and physical communication was built throughout the home as a result. This is even evident in the way the pool fence was made from durable glazed glass, as though there’s no barrier at all!
Finally, spaces were opened up and better connected visually in the use of natural materials to build the home. This is particularly true in the way wood and stone are incorporated both internally and externally, particularly since the colour finished coordinated with the landscape around the house, blending it into its surroundings rather than making it stand out from its environment too harshly.
Photographs by: Cieran Murphy