First-time home buyers and veteran home owners alike look for ideas and vision when it comes time to look for a new house. Remodeling projects can also benefit from a spark of creativity spurred by viewing great houses that you love. HomeDSGN has gathered fabulous homes from across the world and design style spectrum to feed your need for beautiful house inspiration.
By Courtney • Feb 15, 2019
Amidst the hustle and bustle of busy Chicago streets stands a new townhouse with a modern and yet reclaimed aesthetic. Thanks to impressive thinking and insight from moss Design, Cortez Street House stands high, providing new clients a place to both run their shop and live comfortably with their family, each in healthy balance.
The building that the house sits in now was originally a slightly out-of-place two story masonry building nestled amongst more traditional looking family homes. Because it was already a structure that possessed its own shop space on the ground floor, it made the perfect site for this collaborating team for two reasons; first, because this is the kind of “odd” building that these architects specializing in giving a new lease on life to, and second because the new owners actually run a store and needed a new retail space of their own as well.
Most likely a butcher shop originally, the ground floor already boasted several features before renovation that designers decided to keep because they could prove useful for the new clients. These features included a large cooler that is now used for its intended purpose but also as a de facto divider between retail and living spaces. To maximize the large space afforded to the ground floor around the building, designers chose to add a cantilevered extension at the back where they established a beautiful master bedroom and bathroom. Sure, it’s on the same floor as the store, but creative layouts and space management help maintain a good work-life balance even so.
On its upper floor, the house features a second bedroom, a second bathroom, and a private outdoor deck. Extending all the way up from the ground floor, large windows provide lovely natural light. At the same time, the edges of the newly built extension serve more than one purpose. Firstly, they provide shade on days that might otherwise get a little too hot. Beyond that, they actually collect rain water for use in the garden!
If you think the rain collection edges are awesome, wait until you read what else these designers added. In order to make the house even more green and sustainable, the team actually built a Corten siding and VaproShield drainage system within the siding of the house’s exterior walls, allowing even more water collection and protecting the house from potentially damaging moisture build-up.
Besides enabling fantastic run-off and water collection, this kind of siding also bears a natural rust colour that complements the Chicago Common style brick of the main building fantastically. The aesthetic is at once stylishly weathered looking and more traditionally expired despite being brand new. The two materials in combination make the outside a focal point of natural looking materials and warm hues on the otherwise slightly industrial looking street.
As we mentioned, the new owners put the original retail space on the ground floor to great immediate use as their very own corner store. This hearkens back to a historical tradition in Chicago itself where corner stores were essential to neighbourhoods and owners did, in fact, live behind and above their stores. Now, locals appreciate a slightly modernized version of that tradition that has an authentic feel thanks to the way designers kept several original features in place in their renovation.
Photos by Carmen Troesser
By Courtney • Feb 13, 2019
In the heart of busy Padalarang, in Indonesia, a stunningly modern but extremely comfortable dwelling dubbed PJ House has been created the innovative by Rakata Studio to give owners all the amenities of contemporary life while also still providing the comfort and escape of a vacation home, no matter what day of the week it is.
Within this project, teams aimed to bring home the feeling of relaxation and vacation-level calm through the actual design of the home and not just its decor schemes. The home is located in a quiet exclusive residential area of Padalarang called Kota Baru Parahyangan, which assisted in the team’s ability to create an “escape” kind of feeling; sure, it’s in the heart of the city, but it’s still afforded a plot that feels a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of bust streets.
Harnessing the beauty of tropically influenced Indonesian living, PJ House is surrounded by nature and even features a small lake as the focal point of its backyard, removing the atmosphere of its grounds even further from its accessible city location. Designers purposely built the house so that a calming lake view was a huge priority.
Inside the house, however, modern decor makes the place look nothing short of glamorous and creates beautiful contrast with the natural features outside. At the same time, stone and marble textures and finishes throughout the home’s surfaces bring a touch of that natural theme right into the main living and social spaces as well.
While the shining white stone and marble serve to make things look neat, clean, and bright, contrasting wood finishes were chosen to create a warm and cozy feeling. A similar aesthetic contrast is created on the outside of the house regarding its shape and structure. The house is box-shaped with a flat roof, which makes it look modern, sleek, and simple, but it’s also surrounded by trees and nature, which seems cohesive thanks to the black outer details that ground it into its habitat.
Inside the house, a foyer greets visitors with illuminated artwork and a reflecting pool. Extending from there, a lovely courtyard garden, which features a vertical garden wall as a focal point, leads you simply from public to private areas of the house. Besides looking lovely, this garden also establishes a sort of private barrier between visual spaces in the house and the outside world.
The house’s structure itself is quite unique in its openness. In several places, the interior and exterior spaces are blended well by openings that lead out towards the larger garden and the swimming pool. Even the staircase is quite open concept; it’s a hanging style stair made of wood and marble, extending towards the family bedrooms.
The final point in the home’s openness is the sleek, clear, entirely glass walls that separate some spaces between inner and outer areas. Naturally, some delineation is required to create a sense of belonging, but designers still really wanted to avoid making the house feel closed off. This is why partitions between the living and dining rooms are made of pristine glass, extending all the way from floor to ceiling. As a result, these spaces feel larger, more open, and more in tune with the nature outside.
Photos by Mario Wibowo
Generation Gain, designed and built by Architectural Farm, gives multi-generation family an idyllic, comfortable Irish home
By Courtney • Feb 12, 2019
The Generation Gain house, which is a redesigned and renovation project recently completed by Architectural Farm in Ireland, was created with a unique family structure in mind. You see, rather than accommodating the average family consisting of two parents and a few children, this home was built specifically for a family that spans three different generations aiming to live together under one roof!
This project was one of renovation and extension in its natural. To increase available space, an addition was made to the rear of a semi-detached house from the 1930s. The space was redesigned to house a 3-generation family that includes several elderly individuals and several children, so its structure was reframed and redone with their needs in mind.
One of the first things designer noticed upon visiting the original house was how incredibly under-utilized many of the ground floor rooms were. This was because of poor connection areas between rooms, so opening up the areas between spaces, particularly as one moves through the house towards the south-facing garden, was one of the first things to be addressed.
Sleeping and bathroom spaces were also quite heavily re-evaluated in their design and structure. Builders aimed to create a semi-independent area for the family’s older generations in order to give them privacy but keep them from feeling secluded or unable to seek assistance if needed.
Additionally, a new family room was added to the back of the house with the intention of providing all three of the family’s generations with a large and comfortable space to share, socialize, and engage with each other in. Besides just engaging with each other, this space was also designed to create increased interaction with the house’s garden thanks to its open concept doors.
Perhaps the biggest reconfiguration that happened on the ground level of the home was the removal of most internal partitions that stood in the original house. The only structured partition that was re-inserted after the addition was made to the back near the garden was one closer to the front of the home. This was designed to create an independent room that might be used a spare bedroom without interrupting the flow elsewhere on that level.
Besides the structural changes, several smaller details or specific spaces were included in the new design in order to give the family’s generations various contexts and spaces to spend time with each other in. These spots include the covered back patio that the living room opens onto, a comfortably sprawling window seat that gets a lot of sunlight, and a heated stove area that’s perfect for reading together during the winter.
Just like the family itself, this unique home harmoniously blends older aspects of the house with seamless additions and new pieces, creating a space that’s cohesive, comfortable, and wonderful.
Photos by Ste Murray
Vietnamese Lan House, conceptualized by H2, stunningly blends business and home life in open, plant-filled space
By Courtney • Feb 11, 2019
Nestled into the heart of Vietnam’s Vung Tau Province, the Lan House, a recent design completed by innovative company H2, provides a family with a space that allows them to both live comfortably and conduct business easily, each in perfect harmony with the other.
The owner of this unique house worked with designs to divide the house into two theoretical parts; the body and soul. In practicality, these parts are the ground floor, on which the family’s rice business functions and flourishes, and the second floor, where they love together in peace and privacy. The ground floor becomes a semi-public space because it’s here that the facade of the house runs along the bustling street, allowing customers to pop in and out as their needs arise. At the same time, the family’s private quarters above stay just that; private, quite, and calm.
Despite the fact that most living functions are located all together on the second floor fo the home, the space feels far from cramped or limited. The floor holds all the necessary pieces a family would need to live comfortably and with space. The private parts of the house are located further to the back, away from the busy, dusty street filled with the activity of the business space below. Designers created some delineation upstairs using ventilation bricks, closing the space off for privacy without making it feel entirely shut in.
Immediately upon entering the upper living quarters, you’ll encounter a stunning indoor garden designed to make the space feel bright and breathable. Beyond this, the floor also features a kitchen, dining room, living room, and a restroom with its own laundry space. Smaller version of the main inner garden spill over into each of these rooms, continuing the theme of fresh greenery throughout.
Past the common living spaces nearer the front of the structure, two spacious bedrooms, each with their own restroom, rest at the back of the upper floor, with a large terrace connecting them on the far side. This allows for privacy or social space, as dwellers choose.
Throughout both floors, greenery-filled, cushion clad nooks and seating areas can be found throughout the house. This keeps the entire building feeling social and lively without sacrificing family spaces. At the front facade of the building things feel closed because of the closed off, cube-like brick structure featured all up the front, but towards the back, things open up considerably for a much airier experience. To really drive home how spacious this place remains despite the inclusion of a whole business on the ground floor, three entire generations of family live comfortably together in this space!
Within their central tenet of valuing the “body and soul” of the house, designers also worked with the owner to uphold their appreciation for religion and the passing of time. Homages to the owner’s Catholicism can be seen throughout the decor steam, in several stylish statement pieces. At the same time, several aspects of the original house outlived the renovation untouched in order to preserve the fact that this space in its first iteration was actually also the owner’s childhood home once upon a time!
Photos by Quang Dam
Concrete House MC2 created by Gastón Castellano to stand out strongly without interrupting the surrounding landscape
By Courtney • Feb 8, 2019
Besides the structure itself, perhaps the best feature of the House MC2 land plot is the sprawling carob tree in the centre of the yard. This tree was native to the land, so designers opted to work around it and incorporate it into the layout of the new building project, disturbing it as little as possible. Designers aimed to wrap the house around the tree’s natural space while still building closely enough to it that a cohesiveness is created between the two.
The house itself is built in two primary volumes in order to account for the space the carob tree needed. The first volume sits at the ground level and houses the public or common areas of the house, where visitors might be entertained. Keeping these rooms on street level was intentional for giving the house sensical flow. The perpendicular orientation of this floor was intentional as well, making it a sort of dividing wall between the private yard and where the plot beings at the street.
The second volume, which sits up top in the concrete building, is where the private areas of the house are located. While the ground floor volume is quite open concept, with openness due to wooden slatted screens leading into the yard, the private areas up top are much more closed in. Even so, they remind quite bright and calm in their atmosphere thanks to emphasis on lovely windows and some skylights.
Because the building itself is made of such heavy materials, designers put some concentration into making sure a cohesion between inner and outer areas existed in full bloom, complete with greenery and plants throughout. One of the loveliest features that falls into the vein is the screened off area that serves as a patio when open on warm days and a sun room when it’s closed off in colder weather.
Besides atmosphere, designers also put a lot of emphasis on incorporating entertainment right into the home by building certain spaces specifically intended for hosting, socializing, or hobby time. The basement, for example, is noise insulated for music and recording. There is also a fully equipped entertainment room for movies and television and a wine cellar to give owner lots of options when guests come over.
Now, we’ve talked a lot about the concrete nature of this home but, believe it or not, it actually had a practical and functional goal as well as a stylistic one. Thanks to its solid materials and shape, the house is actually anti-seismic, making it safer in the event of an earthquake. By default, the house is also lower maintenance, which is a perk for new owners.
Photos by Gonzalo Viramonte
By Courtney • Feb 8, 2019
In the quietly developing urban area of a small Portuguese village, contemporary design and architecture company Gonçalo Duarte Pacheco has built the gorgeously sprawling SP House to stand out amongst the local buildings of Salir do Porto.
The house sits close to the wonderfully mesmerizing Bay of Sao Matinho do Porto, affording it breathtaking views from all sides and any room. Thanks to its plot on the outer fringes of the village, the house also benefits from the slightly more peaceful atmosphere of the rolling orchards that lie to the south of the residential spaces.
Because it leads down towards the rolling orchards we’ve already mentioned, the land plot of this house itself also slopes and varies. In fact, one end has a height difference of 3m to the other. Rather than trying to work against this unique terrain, designers opted to work with it instead. They did this by dividing the house into two main levels, each with its own volumes; one upstairs and three downstairs on the ground level.
Besides featuring the public and common spaces of the house, the lower floor also boasts two impressive outdoor spaces that are perfect for hosting guests, including a lovely swimming pool on the side of the house that gets more sun. These are levelled to a certain extent to keep the pool and patios functionally even but they still blend well into the terrain.
Leading up from the ground level into the private volume that houses the bedrooms, you’ll find a smooth, gently sloping ramp that acts like a bridge from the bottom of the plot’s slope to the top. Breaking off from this bridge, you’ll also find the spot that gives main access to the street, where cars can pull in and drive slowly downward to access the parking. You’ll also find another outdoor space in the form of a sunny terrace.
Besides the slopes and bridges, perhaps the most notable part of the house’s layout is the inclusion of clear glass. SP House is rife with picturesque, sprawling windows, terrace fences built from glass, and skylights that help keep the inside of the house just as bright and well lit as the stark white finishes you’ll see all throughout.
Photos by the architects.
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