Home interior design reflects your personality, lifestyle and aesthetic sensibilities. Whether you’re redecorating or planning a new space, HomeDsgn provides stylish interior design inspiration. Fuel your imagination by perusing some of the most spectacular interior design in homes from across the globe.
By Stefan Gheorghe • Jan 21, 2021
Natural latex has become a popular material choice for organic mattresses, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and resistant to dust mites. It’s breathable, comfortable, soft and springy, but still provides the support you need to wake up feeling refreshed and not stiff or in pain. If you buy the right kind of natural latex mattress, you can avoid synthetic chemicals altogether and improve your family’s health in the long term. And, it lasts forever compared to conventional mattresses.
So, will you make your next mattress a latex mattress? Let’s take a closer look at why you might sleep better if you do so.
Latex Mattresses Are Healthier
You spend a third of your life in bed, and that’s really a conservative estimate that doesn’t account for weekend lie-ins or illness. So it’s understandable that you want to be sure your bed is a healthy, safe place to be.
Conventional mattresses often can’t provide that healthy, safe sleeping environment. That’s because they’re made with synthetic materials, like synthetic foams and rubbers, that have been found to off-gas volatile organic compounds (VoCs) into your home. That means that while you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, or recover from a nasty flu, or stay on bed rest during a difficult pregnancy, you’re breathing in dangerous chemicals that could cause short- and long-term health problems.
The natural latex in latex mattresses is made from all-natural materials — specifically, it’s made from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. So the foam in your new organic latex mattress is made only with natural plant materials, and has no synthetic chemicals to release. When you’re shopping for a latex mattress, look for the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) seal of approval, which signifies that the latex is at least 95 percent organic in origin, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) seal of approval, which speaks to the sourcing of the cotton and other textiles in the mattress. GOTS recognizes two standards: “made with organic,” which means the textiles are at least 70 percent organic, and “organic” which means that they’re at least 95 percent organic.
Of course, it’s not just the chemicals you have to worry about with a conventional mattress. Conventional mattresses are also more amenable to the proliferation of dust mites, bacteria, and molds and mildew inside the mattress. Natural latex is naturally resistant to dust mites, mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. So, between your natural latex mattress and your mattress protector, you can sleep soundly knowing that you’re not resting in years of accumulating dust mites and bacteria (dead and alive) and their waste products, some of which have been found to trigger allergies in humans.
They’re Comfortable, Supportive, and Breathable
If you’re looking at foam mattresses, you’re probably in the market for a mattress that relieves back and joint pain by providing better support for painful pressure points while you sleep. Latex mattresses are extremely comfortable because they’re springy and soft, but firm enough to provide support for the spine and joints. You’ll sink into the mattress, but still feel supportive, and wake up feeling well-rested and without pain.
Latex mattresses have a reputation for sleeping hot, but that’s often undeserved. For one thing, many so-called latex mattresses on the market are actually made with synthetic latex, which does sleep hotter than natural latex. Natural latex has an open-cell structure that makes it breathable, and additional pin holes are added to the foam during molding to improve the foam’s breathability. Choose a latex mattress with a breathable, organic cotton cover to help regulate your sleeping temperature.
Latex Is the Most Sustainable Mattress Material You Can Buy
When it comes to sustainable mattress materials, latex is the final word. It’s made from tree sap, and the rubber trees need to be carefully stewarded so that rubber farmers can continue to make a living from their product. Harvesting the sap doesn’t kill or harm the trees, but in fact they need to be kept alive and in good health in order to produce. So buying natural, organic latex encourages sustainable farming practices, and the latex itself is an all-natural, chemical free product.
Once you’ve slept a few nights on your new latex mattress, you’ll wonder how you ever managed with your old, conventional inner-spring bed. Latex mattresses are healthy, sustainable, comfortable, and supportive — they’re the perfect choice for your bedroom.
In recent years, many households have started thinking about their respective carbon footprints. With climate change ravaging the globe and its effects becoming impossible to ignore, a growing number of families have begun taking active measures against needless energy use. As the primary dining and congregation area in many homes, the kitchen consumes a fair amount of unnecessary power and resources. So, if you’re currently mulling a kitchen remodel, you’d be wise to make energy-efficiency one of your top priorities. When setting out to create a greener kitchen, the following tips are sure to serve you well.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
Your kitchen is home to many of your household’s most essential appliances. From refrigerators to dishwashers to ovens, the kitchen is essentially a collection of appliances that no modern household can live without. Unsurprisingly, these devices can also account for a large portion of your monthly energy costs. So, in the interest of reducing your family’s carbon footprint and keeping your power bills in check, consider making the switch to energy-efficient appliances.
As the name suggests, these appliances are designed to use as little power as possible while performing their respective functions as efficiently as possible. Upon upgrading, you’re likely to see a noticeable decrease in your power bills. However, since energy-efficient appliances often come with higher price tags than traditional ones, many homeowners are hesitant to make the jump. While it’s true that the upfront cost is higher, the amount energy-efficient appliances will save you in the long run should prove well worth the additional expense. As an added bonus, high-end energy-efficient appliances stand to boost the resale value of your home.
Purchase a Home Warranty
Replacing major appliances prematurely can be frustrating on a number of fronts. For starters, these devices should be viewed as long-term investments, and the earlier they kick the bucket, the lower the ROI. Additionally, since high-end appliances don’t come cheap, replacing them well before they’ve completed their expected lifespans represents a considerable expense for most households. In many cases, appliances break down as a result of homeowners allowing small issues to become much larger ones. Since they want to avoid spending money on repairs, a “wait and see” approach is often favored over calling in the pros. Given how expensive major appliance repair can be, not wanting to spend money on them is understandable – but ill-advised. The longer a newly-emerged issue is allowed to linger, the more likely it is to get worse.
Anyone looking to alleviate massive economic anxiety in response to major appliance problems should consider investing in a dependable home warranty. The right home warranty will provide comprehensive coverage for your kitchen’s most important appliances and help you avoid making a dent in your savings every time an essential device requires repairs. Fortunately for savings-conscious households, home warranty cost is readily affordable on virtually any budget.
Install Low-Flow Faucets
To call most kitchens prime spots for unnecessary water usage would be an understatement. When cleaning dishes, washing our hands and carrying out other essential tasks with kitchen faucets, many of us inadvertently waste a fair amount of water. This is where low-flow faucets are likely to come in handy. These faucets can help reduce water use in your household by up to 50% and save you a bundle in water costs each year. Best of all, it only takes a couple of fixtures to start making a considerable difference. So, whether you’re actively looking to upgrade your faucets or you simply wish to conserve water, you can’t go wrong with high-quality low-flow faucets.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find an area that hasn’t been affected by climate change in one way or another. Even people who were once staunch global warming deniers have begun to see the writing on the wall in recent years. Although it doesn’t receive nearly as much media attention as it warrants, climate change is arguably the most important issue of our time. Fortunately, many households have taken notice of this fact and are actively striving to reduce their environmental impact. When looking for areas of your home that could stand to be more energy-efficient, you’d do well to start in the kitchen.
Extreme temperatures can be a considerable hindrance to a good night’s sleep. This is particularly true in areas that are prone to bitterly cold winters and blisteringly hot summers.
A sleeping space that’s too warm or too cool is practically guaranteed to leave you tossing and turning all night, which is likely to impact your ability to function the following day.
Fortunately, maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bedroom doesn’t have to entail spending a small fortune on heating and cooling costs. Homeowners looking for cost-effective ways to keep their sleeping spaces at an agreeable temp should consider the following measures.
Install a Good Ceiling Fan
A bedroom-based ceiling fan is an absolute must for people living in areas with hot summers and/or year-round warm weather. Good ceiling fans will be able to effectively circulate cool air throughout your sleeping space, setting the stage for a comfortable night’s rest. During periods of extremely warm weather, run your fan counterclockwise at medium to high speeds. This will ensure that instead of simply blowing warm air around the room, your fan will push cold air down. Furthermore, for maximum safety, make sure ceiling fans are turned off before you adjust them.
Invest in Sun-Blocking Window Dressings
Extreme sunlight stands to increase the temperature in your bedroom, particularly if said room is located in an area that receives a fair amount of sun. Additionally, copious amounts of sunlight finding their way into your bedroom can make sleeping through the early morning hours quite a challenge. You can nip this problem in the bud by investing in sun-blocking window dressings. Not only are sun-blocking tools easy to install and highly effective, they’re also affordable on any budget.
Sun-blocking curtains are a good option for people whose bedrooms are frequently set upon by extreme sunlight. As the name suggests, these curtains are designed to block outside light and are ideal for people who prefer their sleeping spaces to be as dark as possible. If you don’t feel like investing in new curtains, why not try blackout screens. These screens are even more affordable than the aforementioned curtains and can be applied to windows with ease. With proper care, this very small investment can last a very long time. However, keep in mind that many blackout screens aren’t made to be reused, and once you’ve removed them from their respective windows, the adhesive generally isn’t amenable to reapplication.
Select the Appropriate Bedding
The type of bedding you select can have a profound impact on the quality of your sleep. As such, it’s recommended that you take the climate into account when choosing the right bedding. During periods of warm weather, look for bedding composed of lighter materials, and during periods of cool weather, look for bedding that’s conducive to warmth. Linen and cotton, for example, are both materials that are associated with comfortable summertime sleeping. The natural fibers from which these fabrics are woven breathe very well, making them perfect for warmer weather. Conversely, if you live in an area that’s prone to extreme cold, you can sleep comfortably with wool, cotton fleece, cotton flannel and cashmere bedding.
Have Your Central Heating and Cooling Units Professionally Inspected
Having your central heating and cooling units professionally inspected at least once a year is associated with a number of benefits. For starters, it helps ensure that small problems are caught early on – i.e., before they’re able to become costly nuisances or potential safety hazards. Secondly, annual inspections can help these essential devices continue to run at peak efficiency, thereby saving you money on heating and cooling costs. The harder heating and cooling units have to work, the more running them is liable to cost you.
A good night’s sleep is essential for many reasons. In addition to providing you with plenty of energy for the day ahead, getting enough rest can prove beneficial to your concentration abilities and general outlook. However, when dealing with extreme temperatures, comfortably sleeping through the night can be an uphill battle. While maintaining an agreeable temp in your home is often synonymous with increased heating and cooling bills, there are a number of cost-effective measures that can help you combat extreme temperatures in a convenient and budget-conscious manner.
By Sophie • Aug 28, 2020
Getting a comfortable night’s sleep during the balmy summer months can be quite the undertaking. Few things are less conducive to a good night’s rest than extreme heat, and despite the abundance of gorgeous weather summer days bring, summer nights can be a trying time for sensitive sleepers. In addition to difficulty functioning, poor quality of sleep is conducive to a wide range of health and behavioral issues. Fortunately, while maintaining a high quality of sleep throughout the summer months may be challenging, it’s not nearly as daunting as you may think. As you’ll find, turning your bedroom into a comfortably cool summertime sleeping space is well within your abilities.
Install a Good Ceiling Fan
A good ceiling fan can be a boon to your summertime sleep quality. By circulating cool air throughout your home, ceiling fans effectively reduce energy costs while helping your residence maintain a comfortable temperature. During the summer months, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise, as this enables the blades to push cool air down in a column. This, in turn, makes the air feel cooler than it actually is. Anyone serious about summertime sleep comfort needs a dependable ceiling fan in their bedroom.
Invest in the Right Mattress
Your bed is undeniably the most important part of your bedroom. Without a comfortable bed, a good night’s sleep is unattainable, regardless of the weather. So, if your mattress has seen better days or is well past its prime, you’d do well to invest in a new one. Given how much use most mattresses get and how important they are to sleep quality, it pays to do your research before making a decision. A plethora of factors go into determining which mattress is best-suited to your individual needs, so you shouldn’t simply sink money into the first semi-attractive option you come across.
Throughout your search, comfort should be foremost on your mind, and a good hybrid latex mattress can more than deliver in this department. Once you’ve found your ideal mattress, make sure you have a bedframe that’s both sturdy and large enough to comfortably support it.
Utilize Lightweight Fabrics
Using your wintertime bedding during the summer is basically asking for trouble. Whereas winter bedding is designed to retain as much heat as possible, summertime bedding is made with breathability in mind. When shopping around for the right summertime bedding, look for sheets and comforters that utilize natural fibers – i.e., cotton or bamboo – and high-tech wicking fabrics, like the ones that are used to create workout clothes. Take care to avoid high thread counts, as these can trap body heat.
You should adopt a similar approach when searching for summertime pajamas. Although silk nightwear is popular, it can trap body heat, making it a poor choice for summer. Instead, look for sleepwear made from lighter materials, like bamboo hybrids, linen and cotton.
Block Out the Sun
The summertime sun stands to add quite a bit of heat to your bedroom. Although air conditioning and ceiling fans can go a long way in keeping this space nice and cool, the heat generated by the sun doesn’t make this task easy. So, if your bedroom is located in an area that receives a significant amount of sunlight, invest in sun-blocking curtains. While a little bit of sunlight is still liable to find its way into the room, the amount of sunlight that penetrates this space will be significantly reduced.
If you’re not thrilled about the idea of spending money on new curtains, consider investing in sun-blocking window coverings. These coverings are affordable on virtually any budget and are very easy to attach to windows. Just keep in mind that blackout coverings aren’t as resilient as sun-blocking curtains and are unlikely to last as long. Additionally, stick-on coverings that have been removed from windows generally cannot be reattached.
The quality of one’s sleep is very important. Not only does a good night’s rest help recharge your batteries and leave you primed to tackle the day ahead, it can also provide you with a healthier outlook and heightened ability to function. Since comfortably sleeping through the night can prove challenging in extreme heat, it’s imperative that you make a few adjustments to your bedroom during the summer months.
By Sophie • Jul 30, 2020
The summer is in full swing and you know what that means: it’s sweltering hot outside. The air inside your home is getting a bit stuffy and you need better air circulation. It’s time for a new ceiling fan. But how do you choose a ceiling fan that’s right for you?
The process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You want something functional, durable, and eye-catching. This article will help take the guesswork out of how to choose a ceiling fan and give you the confidence to install your new fan in the ideal location with no trouble at all.
Understand how a ceiling fan works to help you select the proper location for it in your home
While you may feel cooler standing beneath a ceiling fan, the fan itself doesn’t really cool down the room, it merely circulates the air without changing the temperature of the room. That’s why it feels cool when an individual stands (or sits) beneath it, but not. The fan moves air better if it is running counterclockwise in the summertime. A large, low speed fan will actually move more air than a faster or smaller model, so keep that in mind choosing a new ceiling fan for your home.
How to choose a ceiling fan for your home
Now it’s time to select the right fan for your home. In addition to looking for something that will match the decor of your home (for an indoor fan) or your outside venue/porch (for an outdoor fan). Before starting your search, try to work out your budget to find an affordable and energy efficient fan.
There are a few key steps to follow when considering how to choose your ceiling fan: determine where you’ll install the fan, choose the size and style, decide if it will have lights, how it’ll be mounted, how it’s controlled and check the airflow.
Determine the ideal location for your new ceiling fan
To determine a great location for your new fan, first consider how you’re going to use it. Indoors, it can help move air, provide lighting, or improve the aesthetics of the space.
Outdoor fans are ideal for sunrooms, garages or porches. A damp-rated fan is great for covered outdoor spaces, while wet-rated fans are perfect for spaces constantly exposed to wet weather.
Size and style
Find a fan that is not only functional but fits your room. For smaller rooms, choosing a fan that measures less than 29 inches in diameter up to 39 inches will help avoid an overcrowded appearance in the room’s decor while adequately improving the airflow. Larger rooms (bedroom, living room, kitchen) require larger fans, typically between 42 and 56 inches. This chart from Hunter Fans has a nice break down of sizes/locations:
Ensuring the size and style of the fan fits your space is vitally important when choosing a new ceiling fan. Choosing the style of the fan is the fun part. Aside from modern and traditional designs, you can choose a rustic or farmhouse design to achieve more of a cozy feel to the room or industrial fans for a more urban feel. There are many choices available to help you choose a ceiling fan that’s ideal for you.
Lighting and mounting type
Once you’ve established the size and style of the fan, consider what type of lighting you’ll use (if any) and how you’ll mount it to your ceiling. You’ll need to figure out how many bulbs and what type of bulbs you’ll need to suit your room’s lighting and energy-saving needs.
How you mount the fan depends on the room. If the room has a low ceiling, mounting it close to the ceiling or totally flush with the ceiling is your best bet. For rooms with high ceilings, mounting extension rods may be required.
Controls and Airflow
The final considerations for how to choose your ceiling fan are how your fan will be operated and how well it moves the air in your home or outdoor space. Control is a matter of preference, whether it’s with a pull chain or controlled remotely via a wall switch, a smartphone and/or remote control.
Perhaps the most important aspect in how to choose a ceiling fan is the airflow. The efficacy rating of your fan determines the airflow and CFM (Cubic feet per minute) of the fan. A higher CFM means better airflow with reduced energy cost. Contoured and aerodynamic blades help optimize the airflow of a quality fan and are important considerations when making your ceiling fan purchase. Be sure to select the proper efficiency rating for your needs and by following these steps, you’ll have the air circulating from a great-looking ceiling fan in no time.
By Sophie • Jun 11, 2020
Do you need a new mattress? When most people shop for a mattress, they consider things like price, durability, warranty, and, of course, comfort. But have you ever wondered what materials are used to make your mattress and whether they’re healthy or safe?
Conventional mattresses are typically made with synthetic materials that can off-gas volatile chemical compounds (VOCs) into your home, aggravating allergies, asthma, and other health concerns. Even the natural materials, like cotton, in your mattress can pose a health risk, because of all the pesticides used to produce them. An organic mattress made with natural chemicals is the healthier and safer option, and you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, either. Here’s what you need to know to interpret the labels on organic mattresses and choose the best one for your needs.
Organic Mattress Materials
Organic mattresses are made with many of the same materials that conventional mattresses contain, minus synthetic plastics and polyurethane foams that can off-gas toxic chemicals. Organic mattresses are typically made with organic cotton, wool, or latex, which is a natural material made from the sap of the rubber tree.
Organic is much healthier and safer than conventional cotton because it is grown without pesticides. Cotton is actually the world’s most pesticide-intensive crop, consuming more than 20 percent of all insecticides and herbicides used worldwide. If you choose a mattress made with conventionally grown cotton, you’re sleeping on all those pesticides. So, clearly, organic cotton is the way to go.
Organic wool is also a good choice if you want a comfortable, water-resistant and naturally fire-retardant mattress. Wool is naturally fire-resistant because it contains high levels of water and nitrogen, so it needs more oxygen than the surrounding environment can provide in order to burn.
Many organic mattresses are made with organic cotton and/or wool padding wrapped around inner coil springs, just like most conventional mattresses. However, there’s some evidence that an inner-spring mattress can increase rates of cancer and melanoma. If that’s something that concerns you, an organic latex mattress might be the best mattress for you.
How to Interpret Organic Mattress Labels
It’s best to buy your organic mattress, mattress pads, and protectors from a reputable manufacturer of organic bedding materials. The Avocado Green Mattress, for example, is a popular choice. If you want to shop around, though, you need to do your research on companies and understand what organic mattress labels mean.
Not all of the words and designations on organic mattresses mean what you think they mean. For example, the term “natural” carries no weight, as there are no standards used to define something as “natural.” It’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
You should even be cautious about the word “organic” on mattress labels. Unless the mattress is labeled with the USDA Organic seal, you have no way of knowing that a substantial portion of the materials used to make the mattress are actually organic. The USDA Organic seal certifies that at least 95 percent of the materials used to make the mattress are certified organic and processed without the use of possibly toxic chemicals.
Organic mattress manufacturers use a lot of logos to label their mattresses, and they don’t all indicate the same stringency in processing standards, nor do they even all apply to the entire mattress. For example, the popular Casper line of mattresses is labeled Oeko-Tek Standard 100 compliant, but that label applies to the top of the mattress alone. The rest is compliant with the less-stringent CertiPUR-US standard.
The best labels to look for on organic mattresses include the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, which means that at least 95 of the materials used in the mattress are certified organic, and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), which means that a mattress made with latex is 95 percent organic. Both standards also place restrictions on the use of toxic chemicals in the other five percent of a mattress’s components.
Less stringent, but still good, the Oeko-Tek Standard 100 label doesn’t mean that a mattress is organic, but does mean that certain toxic and allergenic chemicals have been banned in its manufacture. It also sets limits on how many VOCs can be used in the mattress.
You spend a third of your life in bed, so it’s important to use safe, healthy bedding. You’ll get the best sleep of your life knowing you’re safe from toxic chemicals, flame retardants, and synthetic components. When it comes to choosing a new mattress, organic is worth it.
By Courtney • Aug 7, 2019
In the central London neighbourhood of Paddington, in the UK, an old brickwork townhouse was recently refurbished and revitalized as a beautiful office for an investments business in the sustainable agriculture industry by creative design teams at Edward Williams Architects.
Aptly named the Office in Paddington, the building sits in the quiet mews, a traditional looking building in a row of similar structures. While parts of the original building were restored, other parts where years of weathering had taken their toll were rebuild entirely. This is particularly true on the inside as designers wanted to keep parts of the old home authentic while still updating certain aspects to account for the needs of a modern office.
Although the company is growing, it is still quite small in the grand scheme of things, making the house the perfect size for a boutique office of this kind. Because the company’s focus is on sustainability, it only makes sense that the revamped building and the office inside also function along ideas of sustainable systems that have a low impact on the environment. Besides being best for the needs of the office itself, this also displays a real world commitment to the values of their business.
From the outset of the project, a zero carbon sustainable strategy was established for the building, which encompasses 210 square metres. This was achieved by replacing the original gas systems leftover from the house with 100% renewable electricity purchased from an ethical and sustainable local source.
Within their attempts to keep the building as authentic as possible to its original structure while also modernizing the inside, designers chose to work primarily with natural and locally sourced materials. This was where the decision to put so much effort into restoring the original brickwork facade came from; the goal was to make sure the office still looked like part of the street level fabric, fitting in as seamlessly and impressively as possible.
Inside, the office rooms maintain a lot of the original style as well, continuing the brickwork theme and working in some natural oak in the linings, as well as grey painted steel throughout the furnishing and details. The office is fully equipped in terms of technology with more open concept layouts than is typical of these townhomes on the inside, but the lead roofing and height of the windows make sure the building fits right in at the front, from street level.
Inside the building, where beautiful oak wood is prevalent on the floors, walls, and ceiling, there are certain parts of storage, partition, and spacial division that were simpler to build the bases of off-site, bring into the space, and construct there, rather than working from scratch in the small space and risking damaging original aspects of the building that the designers were actually aiming to preserve.
These partitions are minimal, as a sense of collaboration and community is essential to the goals and values of the office, but they do help to provide a sense of delineation and privacy for the few meeting areas that require such a thing or benefit from a little less noise. Elsewhere, the office is a space that feels intimate, friendly, and even a little bit domestic.
In terms of its functional layout, the building features all of its public spaces, or spaces where clients would usually be met, on the ground floor. This leaves the upper floors for private offices, which are all linked by an open stairway. At the back of the ground floor, where clients might be spoken with on a sunny day or where staff might take their breaks, a pair of collapsing doors can fold back, revealing a patio space that makes the cobbles feel like they lead right up to the picnic table style common spaces.
These doors do more than just give access to the outside world from the floor of the office. It also lets natural sunlight and fresh air flood the common spaces, reducing the need for powered light and temperature regulating systems in certain seasons. A view of the neighbourhood and the mews beyond the home’s little plot provide atmospheric context to the refurbished interiors that create a stronger relationship between the modernized indoors and the more traditional exterior.
Photos by Agnes Sanvito
In the financial district of Sydney’s downtown core, in the sunny streets of Australia, Molecule Studio has recently completed a significant office transformation for prestigious wealth management company Escala Partners.
Besides just physically expanding the square footage of the available office space for those working there, this brand new office project marks an interstate expansion for the company’s overall growth, making it a bit of a tribute as well as a workspace. This office is a sibling space to the primary head office in Melbourne, which was also completed by Molecule Studio in 2013.
This new office is, in a number of ways, influenced by the design and aesthetic present in the previous office, but designers still wanted to give the space in Sydney its own distinct character. They used this updated project as a chance to re-investigate and refine some of their basic design ideas, customizing them to a brand new context.
The goal here was balance between related spaces; the company wanted to see that the new office space had some design and function aspects that were all its own, but without deviating entirely from what they know already works for the same team in another city.
In the new Sydney office, most spacial plans centre around the already grand entrance and the stunning harbour views provided naturally by the location. Why not take advantage of what’s already there and doesn’t need changing to be beautiful? Now, clients enter into a wide and impressive reception area with its own lounge. This greeting space is quite flexible and is therefore also often used for informal client meetings during the day and sometimes even functions in the evening.
The reception area is not, of course, the only space where meetings might take place. There is also a large and fully tech equipped boardroom for office wide meetings and conference calls as well as several smaller meeting rooms for quicker proceedings with less people. These are all positioned adjacently to the building’s facade, giving peeking views of the harbour and skyscraper laden landscape below, a pleasant thing to gaze upon during long meetings.
Joining the reception area to these other spaces, as well as collaborative and individualized work spaces, is a nine metre long hallway-like space that displays stunning materiality. The floor and walls are clad in a smooth, light timber veneer while marble gives the place a sense of sophistication. This stretch also serves as a bit of a divider between the reception and the primary workspaces.
At the end of the office, you’ll find a set of pivoting panels that let employees control whether certain parts of the office can be viewed or given more privacy. Behind these panels sit the full equipped staff kitchen and a case. Each of these boasts lovely timber floorboards and veneering, continuing the front area’s rich and slightly formal looking colour palette.
Although overall colour schemes in the office are quite neutral, there’s still a sense of luxury all throughout the space. This is in the fine copper and metallic finishes, the teal green upholstery, some dark stained timber veneer contrasting with the light, and even some smooth, caramel coloured leather. In some spaces, you’ll also find sandstone inspired marble, which is a direct called to the Melbourne office, where it is paired with navy blue, tan, and rosewood colour schemes.
The finished product is a pair of spaces in different city borders that share a sense of principle and philosophy but each bear that own distinct atmosphere even so.
Photos by Prue Ruscoe
Sleek, open concept Business Center Binet created by AZC Architectes using minimalist values, concrete, and wood to create a multipurpose space
By Courtney • May 23, 2019
In a historic neighbourhood located just northwest of Paris’s 18th arrondissement in France, AZC Architectes has finished the stunningly minimalist Business Center Binet, presenting those who use it with nearly endless spacial possibilities.
The centre is located in the Porte de Montmartre neighnourhood, bordering the stunning town of Saint-Ouen. Freshly renovated in several areas and capacities, the place where the new business centre sits is part of an extensive urban renewal project taken on by the city of Paris in order to better facilitate modernizing changes to its historical local architectural fabric.
In fact, this is actually one of the several projects that were named priority in its particular location! This business large complex was created to provide a brand new home for up to 59 businesses. Alongside those premises, it also features shared spaces like communal areas, a large multi-purpose hall, a fully equipped conference room, and a cafeteria. There are even 33 easily accessible underground parking spots!
Besides providing new (or newly moved) businesses with flexible, modern, and diverse spaces to work out of, the goal with this business complex was to provide a structure for local businesses that is actually sustainable. The building’s solid facade and simple but sophisticated interior communicates a certain quality of life and business and takes fantastic advantage of available space.
Most spots up for grabs to businesses are generously open in their arrangement and concept. Many offer terraces and uniquely shaped workspaces, with spots for individualized tasks and collaborative efforts. At the same time as it offers several things that are practically useful for a workplace, the building also gives employees and clients there breathtaking views and carefully landscaped green spaces that contrast in a lovely way with the still quite urban setting in which the building sits.
In terms of its actual layout, the building turns at a right angle into a sort of L-shape, letting it run parallel to two different roads. This shape affords it more window spaces in each business premises, making the rooms bright and well lit no matter where they’re located within it. Large, spacious hallways are featured right from the ground floor upwards, with elevators easily accessible, central, and simple to find on each floor so that movement through the building is simple and flows well.
The building also offers a certain level of welcoming, contemporary transparency throughout the floors, where the fronts of most office and work spaces are comprised of stunning, glazed floor to ceiling windows just as tall as those on the outside of the building letting daytime pour in. This lights flow throughout the whole building itself, traveling through the rooms rather than hitting them all individually and differently but then being collected and left to sit still in the interior of each.
In fact, the emphasis on natural sunlight and its flow was so high on the designers’ lists when they began planning the new business centre that it was actually listed as being inspired by the concept of building a “daylight factory”! The clean, simple materiality inside lets sunlight bounce off polished concrete floors and warm smooth, light wood in a way that gives each space plenty of character before they’re even occupied and furnished by a business.
This heavy emphasis on maximizing the amount of sunlight that reaches an interior space is actually one of the main ways the business centre displays its little bit of Westernized influence, since that’s actually a North American architectural priority. In other places, however, the building is still distinctly European, as can be seen in the fact that it’s topped by a sunny, quiet rooftop terrace, something that isn’t as common across the pond from Paris and its outlying towns.
Photos by Sergia Grazia
By Courtney • Feb 22, 2019
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy New York City streets in The Bronx, Concourse House boasts a stunning escape directed at children and their imaginations. Created by Michael K. Chen Architecture, The Children’s Library is designed to feel like its own little world, built like a colourful pod where kids can slip into fact and fantasy and learn about the world around them without feeling the pressures of it for at least a little while.
Concourse House was already a fantastic building and initiative even before this lovely little library was built. The House is a home for women and children that aims to provide women with young children under the age of nine a safe place in which to transition from homelessness. The shelter was established in 1991 and, since then, has been working tirelessly to try and eliminate homelessness in the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The shelter’s emphasis lies in safety, stability, and access to social services and programming that will help women who seek space there successfully transition into more permanent living circumstances, rather than just receiving temporary reprieve from life on the streets. Besides addressing the practical and functional aspects of escaping homelessness, however, Concourse House tries to provide the families under its roof with access to information and learning resources. That’s where the concept to build a Children’s Library came from; kids deserve access to knowledge just as much as adults do.
The new Children’s Library is part of a shift towards increasing educational programs. Besides just providing books that kids in these difficult circumstances might find helpful or enjoyable, teams working on the project aimed to create an actual immersive space geared specifically towards not just reading but experiencing the joys and benefits of books and reading. That’s why the space includes quiet reading alcoves and areas fit for various kinds of events surrounding books and learning.
The comfortable, safe, and calm feeling of the space was inspired by the relationship between reading and the cognitive development and emotional wellbeing of children. Designers wanted to provide a room that inspired a hunger for knowledge and a passion for exploration, rather than created an intimidating space that might feel like yet another institution. They chose unique colour combinations and shapes that feel playful and engaging in order to appeal to kids specifically.
Particular attention was paid to how designers might keep the space well lit and safe but also prevent it from feeling isolated and small. This is why the shelves are brightly illuminated and the external wall is made from a screen of wooden dowels. The rest of the House’s regular library and resource centre can be seen but the space is still a comfortable little world of its own. Kids can even write on the walls when they’re feeling creative thanks to the inclusion of erasable surfacing!
Perhaps the most beautiful part of The Children’s Library, besides the visual appeal of the space itself, is that it was completely almost entirely thanks to pro-bono work and kind financial and material donations. Something about this makes the library feel collaborative, inspiring, and very welcoming indeed.
Photos by Alan Tansey
By Courtney • Feb 19, 2019
Thanks to creative design and architectural teams at Suppose Design Office, Airbnb Tokyo’s head office officially has a new home on one of the busiest streets in Shinjuku, Japan. With its combined goals of created productive and functional workspaces that are also enjoyable, and tying in the company’s philosophy of being able to “belong anywhere”, the team really established a space with distinct personality.
In conceptualizing their space, even before they began building, designers decided to aim for making a space that feels a bit like a neighbourhood. From the friendly reception area that greets both guests and employees every day, to the break areas that are inspired by cheerful outdoor cafes, to the wooden paths that lead from meeting room to meeting room, the entire atmosphere is simple, fluid, and comfortable to be in.
Rather than simply establishing the floor plan and layout themselves as a design company, this team actually decided to get employees of their client company actively involved. To do this, they interviewed actual Airbnb Tokyo employees to get their take. From here, they chose what kinds of communal work tables, adjustable desks, project tables, and private or semi-private phone booths would be included. This makes for a space that the people working there feel truly comfortable in.
In terms of the actual productivity spaces, one of the primary features of the office is the Engawa, or the elevated platform in the centre of the office. This features tatami mats that are inspired by traditional Japanese culture, once again working on that theme of belonging wherever you are. In this space, employees are encouraged to remove their shoes, sit cross legged on their cushion, and face the spectacular view the platform affords them.
In adapting an already existing building to an office group that wanted a more diverse space, one of the biggest challenges was dealing with the very low ceiling that’s typical of Japanese architecture in that area. Rather than trying to build an entire new ceiling, which wasn’t possible, designers created the illusion of a higher ceiling by painting it black and dropping the lights a little lower, as though the space behind and above the lights extends much higher up.
As with all Airbnb offices, certain elements are inspired by different iconic cities that the company has well known listings in. In the case of the Tokyo office, several meeting rooms were actually themed after different cities, including Barcelona, Prague, and Tiajuana. This truly harnesses the sense of traveling the world but finding yourself able to work in any “city”.
Photos by Studio Periphery
Carney Logan Burke Architects Build Beautiful Fishing Cabin with a Sweeping View of the Teton Mountain Range
By Courtney • Dec 19, 2018
A new building project located in the mountainous lands of Jackson, Wyoming has wowed guests with its breathtaking views. Architect and design teams at Carney Logan Burke Architects nestled a fishing cabin amongst the rocks and trees, letting visitors breath in the fresh air as they absorb the surrounding beauty of the Teton Mountain Range.
Rather than creating a stereotypical fishing hut that feels temporary and makeshift, this team decided to build a structure on 10 acres of rolling land that feels like a true escape from busy cities and routines. The aesthetic and shape of the temporary home is somehow both contemporary and classic, giving guests an upscale experience without losing that mountain fisheries inspired charm.
Besides being a beautifully nature inspired structure, this fishing cabin is actually surrounded by natural features and wild lands that fishing enthusiasts and outdoor lovers will thrive in. The property that the home sits on has plenty of natural privacy thanks to the rock lands surrounding the mountain range. It also sits wonderfully close to a fishing creek and is a short distance from a calm and safe feeling wildlife habitat that is supported by the creek’s waters.
When designers procured the original site, there was actually already a home existing on the land. Rather than tearing the building down and starting again, the team decided to take advantage of the existing structure by stripping it to its barest bones in order to avoid having to move the home back from the water’s edge. You see, the house was nestled right into a stream setback that the land’s new owners didn’t want to disturb, nor did they want to put distance between their home and the water they so dearly wanted to reside near.
In total, the new home that those structural bones were transformed into encompasses 5,600 square feet of comfortable, open feeling living space. Rather than looking like a bit of a country western cliche (the way the original home might have been described), the new cabin features reorganized elements of the original building to create a country chic aesthetic that makes more visual and material sense.
To create a new, upscale but still homey escape, designers replaced the previous shellacked logs, shiny river rock decor, and scattering or separate buildings across the plot. They reorganized the plot of the cabin to create a more streamlined grouping of buildings, connecting the smaller cabins together with a long, classically Western styled porch that sits low but still lets guests enjoy their surroundings, as well as that incredible mountain view. This porch creates cohesiveness between the different structures, preventing any visitors from feeling cut off from social experiences or shared spaces in other parts of the house.
Of course, in a space that’s designed to let guests enjoy as much of their outdoor surroundings as possible and even get involved in nature based activities, it only makes sense to blend interior and exterior experiences and spaces! These designers achieved that through the presence of large window openings cut into the log structures, preventing them from feeling too dark and heavy.
While it was certainly important to the new homeowners to preserve a country western kind of aesthetic, they and the design team both agreed to tackle the challenge of blending that idea with a more contemporary style, just to put an interesting spin on things inside the home. Part of creating this new atmosphere involved a simple black scheme for the exterior facade, which was created using stained black logs, black steel in the detailing, and black painted wood in furnishings.
In great contrast, the interior decor scheme features a predominantly white colour scheme. This includes several elements that directly balance out what’s seen on the outside of the house, such as the whitewashed logs bolstering the ceiling. At the same time, a few exterior details are brought inside so that the two communicate. This can be seen in the presence of black steel elements and Belgium slate flooring.
Photographs by Audrey Hall Photography
The stunningly minimalist and cleanly designed OAV offices, recently completed by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos, are located in the heart of Valencia, Spain. This office space is small but effectively built, with a rectangular floor plan that makes communication between parties easy and open.
The OAV office are built in the centre of a residential building, but they’re laid out such that they don’t take up too much space from the building’s tenants. The offices are wonderfully open concept but they still span two rooms splitting off the main hallway.
Designers laid this office out with the idea of “working up against the wall” in mind. This meant that they wanted to keep work spaces organized to one area while leaving the rest open for communication, meetings, breaks, and more social aspects of work that might take place outside one’s desk.
Aesthetically, the decor of the office area is minimalist and industrial, sticking to whites and greys in colour scheme and shining surfaces or concrete structures. Besides the central storage unit, shelving and so on is hidden behind discreet sliding doors in the hallway, keep everything very neat and organized looking indeed.
The organization of work desks and valuing of open space isn’t the only thing that keeps the OAV offices feeling spacious despite the smaller area. Designs affixed lights in high places, letting clean, white light beans shine down from the ceiling to reflect off the clean surfaces and keep things bright and wide open looking.
Between the clean lines, minimalist materials, open spaces, and emphasis on organization, the OAV offices present a clutter free space that’s nearly free of distraction, letting employees serve their customers with a discreet sense of tranquility.
Photographs by: Diego Opazo
By Courtney • Nov 15, 2018
In Helsinki, Finland, SevilPeach recently completed a transformative refurbishment in order to create a high concept new office for Artek HQ Helsinki. The new office is located on 4th floor of classic 19th century structure that was once an elegant apartment building. It is conveniently located in the heart of the city’s centre, surrounded by amenities. Once comprised of small rooms that say off long, dark hallways, the layout has been restructured for a brighter, more open concept space.
For architects and designers, the challenge was to transform the environment into one they believed would promote democratic interaction, productivity, positivity, spirit, and a little bit of company and client product placement. The team also wanted to increase the level of sunlight flowing into the space.
SevilPeach and their team worked shockingly fast on this project. They had only 7 months to finish the space entirely, from conception to completion, so efficiency in their process was key. Although they gave careful consideration to construction and detailing, some decorative elements were left with an appealing raw or “as found” quality. Rather than looking unfinished, however, these characteristics simply make the finished space look authentic.
First, crews stripped the space back to its barest structure and raised the ceilings in order to let in more light, allowing the space to feel open and airy. The goal was to make a blank canvas out of something with a history, taking it back to a clean slate state for designers to build something new on.
Now, the finished office contains two meeting rooms and five intimate work spaces. There is also a welcoming break area featuring comfortable seating, a kitchen, and even a library. This particular spot allows employees mental rest time without feeling bored.
The office’s hallways have been restructured such that communication and movement between work spaces is simple and effective. More access to outside areas and sunlight has been made a clear priority. These two things in combination, as well as the absence of unnecessary doors, makes the place feel free flowing and social.
Open work spaces and storage units containing diverse supplies let workers complete assigned tasks however they need to, encouraging them to stay focused by letting them go about their day in whatever way is most comfortable for them. Bright, solid primary colours and a combination of uncluttered, efficient areas and soft, comfortable surfaces makes the offices feel both productive but also habitable. It’s really a stylish blend of exposed and white painted industrial elements and friendly, flexible furnishings.
The formal meeting room continues the curtained theme. Long, richly neutral curtains give it privacy and a sense of calm but also an air of unique professionalism. Putting curtains in the place of doors, however, avoids cutting it off from the rest of the space entirely or making it feel secluded and intimidating. The curtains also give the place great acoustics.
Furniture styles throughout the office are largely reclaimed, wooden, or neutral. This creates an interesting contrast with the bright colours and industrial surfaces elsewhere. Products from the different companies and clients interacting in the space are represented in its decor, giving the area a harmonious contemporary interior style.
Perhaps the office’s best feature is the explicit inclusion of art pieces, which work in partnership with the break room library to provide employees and visitors with fantastic access to education, resources, and artistic content. These things enhance their experience in the space.
Photographs by: Tuomas Uusheimo Photography
By Courtney • Nov 13, 2018
The Sa da Bandeira building is a stunning apartment structure that blends old and new. Located in downtown Porto in Portugal, it was recently completed by PF Architecture Studio. It now contains six lovely 700 square metre apartments that feel bright and welcoming in every room.
Because it was previously a commercial service building, Sa da Bandeira has actually never been inhabited. It might look like the kind of typically beautiful 19th century residence that is so characteristic of downtown Porto from the outside, but the interior has a unique history. During its redesign, architects preserved several original decorative structure elements despite also adding new features. For example, the wood floors, oval skylights, and elaborately framed doorways were simply cleaned up and built around, incorporating them into the new apartments.
In addition to remodelling the existing interior, designers expanded one floor to create six newly renovated units. The building now features two apartments on each of its three floors. One of the most evidently unique features, noticeable immediately upon entering the building, is that the original entryway staircase was kept and redone. The apartments on the first floor harness the classic romanticism of 19th century architecture, while newly expanded floors higher up have a more simplified, modern feel.
Inside the units, the apartments were decorated with a pleasing visual aesthetic in mind. Designers aimed to maintain that original romantic atmosphere but also worked carefully to create a look that’s intended to be contemporary, eclectic, and strongly emotional. Some rooms bear patterned floors and graphic sections of wall paper or old fashioned looking alcoves. Others heavily feature pristine white surfaces, neutrally coloured furnishings, and accent pieces from the natural world. These balance the presence of wood in the floors, counters, and tabletops perfectly.
No matter which unit you visit, you’ll find wonderfully tall framed windows at the front of the building. These provide you with a lovely view of the street while also looking grand in their exterior from the outside.
Take a look at the floor plans for the various units:
Photographs by: Joao Morgado
The architectural firm Rob Paulus Architects renovated this construction in 2012 for a doctor. Its size is of 4500 ft2, and is located in Tucson, Arizona, USA. This renovation opens up the house to encompass the lush desert landscape while improving the interior of the property. The new shapes are crisp and clean to contrast with the rounded exterior of the existing building.
Using a reductive approach in the interior, the walls are disassembled to provide better function, circulation, and views. Outside, an existing trellis porch transforms into an outdoor living room and a kitchen with a new elevated canopy.
A palette of colors and natural material dominates the new scheme with an emphasis on fir wood that was influenced by the client’s desire to create spaces inspired by nature. This warm wood is used in all interior cabinets, but it also appears on the outside as the bottom part of the roof plane that hangs over the area of the outdoor room. The existing closed house is transformed to interact with the exterior while creating a relaxing interior space in a decidedly modern transformation.
By Magaly • Nov 8, 2018
This fabulous and modern apartment located in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, has been designed by the architects Ivan Yunakov, Olga Korniienko, Natali Raga, and Yaroslav Katrich, all working for the firm 33bY Architecture. The client was a young entrepreneur, and the home has a distinct industrial style.
It has an area of 97 square meters and was carried out in 2018. In the interior, a palette of dark colors and a variety of materials were used, with different structures. Among those materials were brick, natural African black stone, onyx, leather, copper, and wood. Upon entering the apartment, the first thing we notice is the wall made of black stone on one side, and the black surface with golden decoration elements on the other side. The living room is combined with a kitchen, a dining room, and a work space.
The space was separated by using glass partitions, looking to align the boundaries between the facilities, but at the same time to achieve open and floating spaces. The glass structure is made by using the “smart glass” system technology; it can be converted to matt to achieve greater privacy within the room.
The panel that was used to balance the dark tones is white onyx with backlighting framed by copper edges. It works at night and creates a cozy atmosphere, and is the focal point of our interior, seen from all the main facilities of the apartment.