Whether you’re lucky enough to be shopping for a beachside retreat or are just looking to incorporate some luxurious resort design elements in your home, HomeDSGN has just what you need. This collection of resort residences is the stuff of dreams –from seaside villas to mountaintop chalets, all these homes sport the latest in design. Scroll through and dream about spending time in these magnificent spaces and be sure to enjoy the views!
By Magaly • May 26, 2020
Soori Bali by SCDA Architects:
“Soori Bali lies within the Tabanan Regency, one of Bali’s most fertile and picturesque regions. Here, the landscape ranges from volcanic mountains and verdant rice terraces to beautiful black-sand beaches overlooking the Indian Ocean. The location provides for a complete hideaway and offers numerous quality views of the surrounding beach, ocean, mountains and rice fields.
Soori Bali was designed with the overt principle of green sustainable initiatives in mind. The project is conceived to be both climatically and socially reactive to its locale. The design responds to the notions of climate and place, and endeavors to engage the local landscape and community. The design of the resort was approached with a sensitivity to the nuances of the site setting, and thus executed with the strategy of minimal environmental impact, minimal built footprint and with local cultural practices (religious and ceremonial processions) taken into consideration.
With an understanding that the beach is an important socio-economical aspect of the site, deliberate efforts were taken to consult and incorporate the customs and contributions of the local community within the conceptual design process. The construction methods adopted also creates training and jobs for the neighbouring villages. About 50% of the workers currently on site are recruited from the surrounding community.
The resort reflects on its privileged location by adopting the predominant use of locally sourced materials, together with a careful integration of indigenous motifs, forms and elements. The result, a harmonious balance between the clean, contemporary lines of the architecture and the soothing tones and textures of the internal and external finishes and finishing.
The design of the restaurant terrace and spa facilities incorporates terracotta screens; adapted and stylized from traditional Balinese motifs. These screens generate a marked visual contrast when combined with the dark terrazzo floors and feature walls clad in dark grey volcanic lava stones, such as Batu Candi and Batu Karangasem.
The villas are characterized by the interplay of materials which flow from the interior to exterior spaces. Smooth terrazzo walls and floors are combined with hand brushed natural timber screens, soft silk upholstery and custom designed dark stained timber furniture to form a serene internal space. The use of timber flows into the external spaces, where timber screens wrap a private bale overlooking a private plunge pool lined with Sukabumi stone. Paras Kelating, a light grey volcanic stone is applied to feature walls along the pool edge which combine with soft hues of beige and warm grey textured paint to complete the palette.
A mixture of Villa types were sensitively designed to respond to the local climatic conditions whilst maximizing views out to the surrounding beach, sea and paddy fields. Careful consideration is given to each villa plan and its built form and details to create a comfortable, energy efficient resort style living.
PASSIVE DESIGN ELEMENT
The climatic parameters particular to site, sun movement and prevailing wind direction, were established to assist in the formulation of the orientation of villas and common areas, and their planning concept.
The major building orientation is toward the North-South direction. Some are tilted a few degrees to the East to incorporate the morning sun. Openings were maximized on North-South face to encourage filtered natural light into the building whilst minimizing large openings on west side to reduce heat gain during daytime. Provision of overhanging roof eaves, roof screen systems and deep ledges were employed to reduce heat from direct sunlight.
Operable windows are provided on at least two sides of each room plan, and on each end of the villa to encourage effective cross ventilation and to bring in natural air to the interior spaces. Cross ventilation to all room interiors would provide natural cooling and sufficient fresh air intake in room to minimize CO2 level, thus reducing the reliance on Air Conditioning Systems.
In addition to the siting aspect and layout design of the villas, several design elements and materials were intentionally selected to control the buildings on a micro-climate level.
Provision of a 2nd layer of timer trellis on villa roof would minimize direct heat absorption to the roof itself; the actual roof incorporates additional insulation to further reduce heat gain internally. Material finishes are using “cool colors” in both the paint and stone selections to minimize the absorption of thermal energy, local materials selected naturally respond to the local climate, for e.g. Paras Kelating, Paras Kerobokan, Batu Chandi & Batu Kali for Feature Walls throughout the resort. Location of planters and position of low shrubs and taller trees would be placed to maximize wind flow through villa and common spaces, thus avoiding creation of wind barriers.
The exterior hardscape and softscape designs are intended to create a seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces, with the specific goal in preserving the natural topography. Built elements are planned to sit ‘lightly’ on the land. The selection of trees responds to both the local climate and the resort planning with tree types playing a key role in the creation of ‘shaded spaces’, private pavilions and communal areas.
Due to the relatively severe coastal conditions which exist during certain periods of the year, the landscape design also incorporates a variety of indigenous local plants and coastal ‘hardy’ species, for e.g. Ipomoea Pes-caprae, Scaevola Taccada, Cocos Nucifera & Cerbera Odollam. This selection identifies and responds to the need for less long term maintenance and reduced water requirements for irrigation.”
Photos by: Mario Wibowo
By Courtney • Sep 5, 2019
On the edge of a windy but gorgeous ravine in Matanzas, Chile, creative design and architectural teams at Cristián Izquierdo Lehmann have recently completed the beautiful, view rich vacation home called House in Matanzas.
The orientation of the home is key to its enjoyment thanks to its cozy little spot near the ravine. The structure is actually purposely situated to face towards the Pacific Ocean, but its elevation above the water gives it a view from just about any direction that’s nothing short of breathtaking!
In terms of its layout, the home was built with a nice, wide open and centralized pavilion. This makes it feel bright and spacious, but it also places the hub of the house in the centre of the home for harsh oceanside weather days when one wants to take refuge from the landscape outside and, say, curl up with a good book. Large, gorgeous windows ensure that no natural light is lost even on days that one chooses to enjoy the cozy areas inside.
At the same time, designers wanted to give residents as many opportunities and spaces as possible to enjoy the stunning environment around the house on the days where the weather is welcoming and warm. This accounts for the stunning terrace that’s situated perfectly towards the ocean, as well as the way the central pavilion can be fully opened to the outside, blending indoor and outdoor experiences thanks to sliding doors and a series of sprawling patios.
For the most part, the house is a beautifully exposed wooden structure that brings together organic and rustic aesthetics without losing any of the feeling of modern living with fully convenient amenities. The central focal point of the house, that pavilion that makes up the hub, is arranged on a raised circular base that elevates the beautiful views even more.
From this central room, four rectangular spaces emerge, making up the rooms in the rest of the house. The social and functional portions of the house remain in the centre while the bedrooms and private spaces exist in the spokes. These are almost entirely encased in glass walls and windows, keeping every room in the home well stocked in stunning oceanside views and natural lighting.
Outside, the spaces between the four rectangular spokes form a series of courtyards. Designers opted to turn these into useful and enjoyable outdoor spaces, even building a continuous outdoor pathway between those spaces so residents have no problem moving between them. This mimics the wooden path on the upper level of the house that leads to and from the rooftop terrace where residents often sit to watch the sun set over the water.
One of these courtyards acts as a beautiful welcoming spot adjacent to the entryway. Another is a lovely stone patio that has a view of the water below that is nothing short of breathtaking. Finally, another courtyard hosts a beautiful blue pool with plenty of space for lounge chairs. The placement and orientation of this pool gives an equally stunning view, making it an irresistible place to float.
In the primary living space, where that central focus lies, perhaps the most interesting detail is the wooden grid all across the ceiling. This is partially decorative, but it also services a practical lighting function as well. You see, within each of the squares featured in the grid is a small skylight window that keeps the whole inner space feeling free and open.
Photos by Roland Halbe
By Courtney • Aug 30, 2019
In the stunning and sunny seashore town of Inverloch, in Victoria, Australia, creative architectural teams at JDesign Group have recently finished a bright and airy holiday house called the Modern Beachside Home.
Besides an emphasis on lots of natural sunlight and a comfortably airy atmosphere, just like one might imagine in a seaside home, a carefully blended aesthetic made up from mixed materials and mixed colour palettes is perhaps what makes the home stand out most in our minds. The home’s exterior facade is the perfect example of what we mean here! It is made from not only timber, but also cemintel cladding and careful blockwork.
The previously mentioned cladding is more than just a design choice in its materiality. It was actually selected based on a desire for energy efficiency and green home systems as well. Cemintal cladding is a lightweight material manufactured in Australia. The process of making and installing these panels is low-waste and efficient and their effect is to increase passive temperature control and reduce energy waste in homes. They also paint well for colour customization!
This particular beach home puts the cladding to good use across its top level. The house has two storeys with several cubic looking sections and volumes stacked on top of and fit efficiently around each other in a way that is most pleasing to look at from street level. The shape gives it a sense of modernity even while certain decor elements add that more traditional seaside charm.
Rather than concentrating solely on colour scheme, which is undoubtedly important within the home and balances natural woods with a full spectrum of blue, teal, and grey shades, designers chose to establish decorum using texture as well. Clean lines and harder materials like glass, metal, wood, and tile are contrasted with comfy window nooks and floor cushions.
Perhaps the most appealing part of the house, in our opinion, is the fact that outdoor space was built with just as much care and consideration as the inside living areas were. The large deck boasts stunning views, welcoming seating spaces designed for entertaining guests, and a pool for cooling off between lounge sessions. The coated wood keeps things warm and typical of the beach-y setting, but doesn’t heat up to the point that it hurts your feet!
Given that the pool and deck are such central spots in the home’s social spaces, designers wanted to ensure that dwellers and guests could access them easily from just about anywhere in the house. This accounts for the presence of several sets of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, which help blend indoor and outdoor spaces very well. This is also why the winding staircase, which also adds interesting visual detail, was included, giving direct deck access to the bedrooms on the top storey!
In the spots that are painted grey, there’s actually an intentionality behind this as well. Designers strategically placed grey painted walls in spots that might visually reflect or beautifully complement and contrast with the rocky elements of the natural settings around the house. It’s primarily sand, water, and greenery, but the occasional rock face and crag within view lets they grey colour ground the house well.
Photos by Warren Reed Photography
Coburn Design Build creates the rustic inspired Fishing Cabin as a multi-generational holiday retreat
By Courtney • Aug 28, 2019
In the lush green woodland areas of Gunnison River in Colorado, creative design teams and architects at Coburn Design Build have recently completed a beautifully rustic and authentically constructed retreat home called the Fishing Cabin for a large family to share.
The cabin, which is nestled snugly right onto the bank of the Gunnison River, is actually shared between three different generations of the same family. It spans 2,100 square feet and boasts three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and all of the modern home amenities a person could hope for despite its quit rustic aesthetic and materiality.
From the beginning, the primary goal of the team was to create a place where modern comforts and local architectural history might meet and blend as seamlessly as possible. Although the cabin is new, it was specifically designed to look and feel as though it has existed in that very spot for centuries, becoming part of the scenery.
Besides offering a relaxing retreat space on its interior, the Fishing Cabin also boasts luxurious outdoor living spaces that give dwellers and visitors all kinds of fantastic opportunities to enjoy the landscape and the rushing river. This is partially thanks to how the cabin is organized like a classic ranch, with large common spaces inside and a degree of blending with outdoor spaces as well.
The cabin’s name is actually a practical inspiration and not just something designers put on for style purposes. It was built specifically with the needs and functions of fishermen in mind. For example, the cabin includes space to store one’s waders and gear safely on the porch to dry, just steps from the rivers edge, where there are plenty of spaces to cast a fly rod from.
That same porch area even boasts its own outdoor shower! This was included so that family members enjoying all the outdoor spaces has to offer can come in from the woods and the river, clean off the sweat and dirt, and immediately feel fresh before they even get back inside. There’s even a porch cooler for cold beverages right there in the shade and breeze.
The cabin is quite large, but it’s built specifically with large groups in mind beyond just its mere size. The way it’s organized and built with open-concept structures in mind is also conducive to the way the family enjoys their time in the space, sometimes visiting separately in smaller groups and other time gathering all together there at once, occasionally even with extra guests as well.
For those periods where everyone gathers together and the two main bedroom suites fill up, there’s the third guest bedroom which boasts enough bunk beds to comfortably accommodate up to eight people. These aren’t, however, the skinny, less than ideal bunkbeds that you might remember from camp. The cabin was built with luxury in mind, after all! These stacked beds are cozy enough that any member of the family would be happy to use them (even though the kids usually still claim them first).
On the outside of the house, designers opted to really prioritize the idea of making the cabin look like it has been standing on that land for many generations. They wanted it to look stylish and beautiful but comfortably natural and weathered. This influence their choice of beautiful stained cedar siding, which can be found on most, though not all, of the facade.
The red section of the house, where the stained cedar ceases for a visual moment, is comprised of reclaimed barn wood. The same is true for several posts and beams all throughout the cabin, both inside and out. This reclaiming of local materials adds an additional element of authenticity to the cabin’s materiality, aesthetic, and over all building process.
The cabin’s facade and structure also features a beautiful stone section, which encompasses the master bedroom and suite on the inside. For extra contrast (and also durability), the roof over this suite is also made from reclaimed metal, which is actually consistent with and resembles the older architecture typical of the area surrounding the cabin.
Inside the rooms of the house, designers wanted to continue the historical rustic feel, but in a way that feels well put together, with great attention to detail. Rather than appearing too weathered or simply “old”, the decor pieces and furnishings feel authentic and handmade, rather than simply rough or unfinished.
A perfect example of the team’s indoor design and decor goals can be seen in the living room, which is open concept for the sake of accommodating the large multi-generational family that spends time there. In this room, a grand and impressive traditional fireplace warms and anchors the room, but that’s not actually all it does. It is also double sided, meaning the family can enjoy the same gorgeous piece from the other side, sitting out on the patio in an open air lounge area!
In addition to doing some local reclaiming, the team on this home also did their best to hire locally for not only their crews on the ground, but also their artisans and handy workers as well. The custom metal railing outside the bedrooms upstairs, for example, was hand crafted by a local blacksmith.
Photos provided by the architect.
Casa Fantini Boutique Hotel created by Lissoni Architettura as a triple stacked, modern escape inspired by rectangular shapes
By Courtney • Aug 8, 2019
By the stunning waters of Pella in Italy, a beautiful triple stacked boutique hotel was recently completed by innovative modern designers at Lissoni Architettura. The stunningly unique and linear looking Casa Fantini Boutique Hotel combines contemporary indoor spaces with sunny outdoor spaces for the ultimate Italian holiday experience.
The three storey hotel is situated in a beautifully green spot that sits right on the shores of Pella’s Orta Lake, not far down the little European street from the ferry landing stage where boats dock or set off into the beautifully rippling waters. In the middle of the lake, right across from the hotel itself is the island San Giulio, which provides a great view from the lovely balconies on the upper floors.
Rather than simply being a hospitality site, this little boutique hotel is actually also an architectural project designed to bring an artistic element to the lakeshore without interrupting it so far as to distract from the already beautiful natural views. The designers’ goals were to create a building that harmonizes with the local topography and that creates a dialogue with the local history and traditional buildings surrounding it despite its more modernized style.
Designers achieved this primarily through materiality. The use of traditional stone provided by local artisans and things like typical metal and reclaimed wood seen in other houses in the area balance out more modern surfaces and shapes on the outside and ground the design so it feels cohesive even in its impressively unique style.
The hotel is the kind of building that, despite being close to all possible local amenities, has certain parts of it that feel pleasantly secluded. Rather than cutting guests off from the beauty of the village, the hotel provides beautiful views from elevated heights or from behind beautiful green hedges and gates that feel like a part of the experience but provide a calming screen against the hustle and bustle of daily routines.
The physical materiality of the building and how it was build isn’t the only thing that links the hotel to the village and its various traditional elements. Water actually plays a huge role as well! The tranquil, sunny waters of the lake beyond the hotel’s wall reflects light the same way and along the same plane that the hotel’s pool does, as if the two are paired or mirroring one another; a complete pair.
Upon closet inspection, the hotel is actually comprised of two different buildings; one older and from an original old hotel that once sat in its place and the other newly built in its entirety. Although one has been standing far longer, it was refurbished and updated when the newer building was erected, so they visually appear to complete the landscape in the same way.
The relationship between the hotel and the local landscape actually continues as visitors approach the front entrance. This is because the main entrance is accessed through a stunning private garden that was specifically designer be landscaping professionals to blend with, look typical of, and look as though it has a visual relationship with the natural greenery of the area and gardens elsewhere in the village.
In this garden, a grey beola stone typical to the area has been used to create a geometric path. The slightly modern shape of the stones is softened into a slightly more classic Mediterranean look by the way it’s surrounded by local herbs, flowers, and other vegetation. This continues around the back to the swimming pool, the edging of which is clad in the same stone.
Varying slightly but following the same sober aesthetic of materiality, despite its slightly more contemporary shape, the exterior of the hotel features a surprisingly natural facade. Particularly prominently on the new building, the facade is comprised of thin slats made from Accoya wood, evenly spaced to create a geometric effect.
These slats are paused only for large windows featured on the lakeside of each room, where the balconies sit. From the inside, these stunningly picturesque windows keep the rooms extremely light and also quite spacious looking, in addition to providing a breathtaking view of the lake and the mountains beyond it.
Besides the simply contemporary and very comfortable rooms within the hotel, a lot of visitor time and attention is given to the lounge. This is a shared public space that sits at the heart of the hotel’s newer building like a central hub. Although it is another contemporary space, it has a calming atmosphere and colour scheme that make it feel like a place of peace or meditation.
In the older building that comprises the hotel, a more lively space connects the aspects of the structure; The Blu Lago bar! This particular place has been functioning and well known in the community for longer and then revamped hotel, so it was already a part of the local identity and social fabric of Pella when the new iteration of Casa Fantini opened.
Overall, the hotel bears a thorough sense that it is a unique place where history and style blend with success. It is generally regarded by locals and visitors alike as an “intimate oasis” both inside and out.
Photos by Giovanni Gastel
Beautifully named and decorated House of the Winds created by Leo Romano to combine natural materiality with open spaces
By Courtney • May 24, 2019
On a stunning green plot on the edges of a city in Brazil, Leo Romano has recently created a stunning L-shaped house called House of the Winds with the explicit intention of creating a relaxing atmosphere through natural materiality and blending indoor and outdoor spaces into one lovely living area.
The house was built on a lusciously green plot of land that provides a lot in terms of views and garden spaces already. Designers chose to create a building that clearly uses contemporary architectural principles despite its very natural looking setting in order to create some beautiful contrast right off the bat, before visitors have even entered through the front door.
The shape of the house creates a fantastic recessed area in the inner yard where the walls provide some shade for a lovely balcony. The way the house dips inward also gives a feeling of increased green space, contributing even more to the already nature-filled views that same balcony is afforded.
The L of the house is formed by two separate volumes with varying floor plans. The two box-shaped volumes overlap at one end, which is where the differentiation between public and private spaces inside the home takes place. Social and shared living spaces lie in the front volume where the main entrance is, while intimate spaces like the bedrooms and a master bathroom sit in the volume that sits further away from the public entrance.
The base of the volumes on both sides is formed from reinforced concrete which, all around the top half of the house, is surrounded by a screen. This screen is made from steel rebar, which creates a visually interesting effect and makes the structure look rather grand and noble indeed.
In stunning contrast, a smooth wooden partial facade wraps around the side of the house with more windows facing towards the best natural sunlight. Large wooden shades here can be pulled closed for inner shade, temperature regulation, and privacy, as you see in most photos here, or the screens can be pulled back and fully opened to welcome the sky into the room.
A similar fully opened feeling can be achieved downstairs in the primary living rooms and social spaces. Here, the full floor to ceiling patio windows that protect the inside of the house from weather without sacrificing any light can be retracted fully into the solid walls surrounding them, almost as if the barrier between the living and dining areas and the sunny patio has dissolved.
To give the inside of the house as much character as the outside provides viewers from the street, designers on this project chose to furnish and decorate the space using pieces created primarily by artists from the local area. Brazilian made furnishings made the spaces comfortable and stylishly useful while stunningly colourful paintings and impressive sculptures created by local artists make the home feel every more inviting and uniquely contemporary.
Photos provided by the architects.
Villa Helios by SWA Architects is a stunning vacation rental destination in Turks and Caicos with a view that’s practically out of this world
By Courtney • Apr 9, 2019
Along the stunning tropical beaches of Turks and Caicos, as part of the Long Bay Beach Club, the breathtaking retreat Villa Helios was recently completed by SWA Architects. Its beautiful blend of indoor and outdoor spaces and turquoise hues highlight the view so well that onlookers can hardly believe it’s real.
Whether you’re taking a relaxing bath, eating dinner with your family, or lounging on the beach recliners that sit right outside the villa’s doors, the stunning view of shockingly bright, clear waters is never far away. In fact, that was the whole point of the house when designers began conceptualizing it! With a view so perfect so close by, there should be just about no point where you can’t soak it up, even if you’ve gone inside for the night.
Besides just giving you access to the lovely oceanside, this villa also gives you the option of swimming in a private pool. This pool makes it easier to keep little ones close by where you can keep an eye on them while they swim, enjoy some private family time, or take a quick, relaxing dip before you call it day (without getting sand between your toes again).
In order to accentuate the stunning turquoise and blue shades of the water and sky sitting right outside the window, interior decorators finishing off the villa decided to bring those colours inside as well. In every room of the house, small and large details and features can be found bearing the same bright hues as the view just beyond the windows.
The effect of this ongoing colour scheme is profound, creating a cohesiveness throughout the whole building and its surrounding area that feels complete, whole, and uplifting, since it’s such a cheerful colour. The continuity between the view and the decor really makes it feel like the lovely outside area has joined you inside too.
Because the villa is designed for vacation time, relaxation, and bonding, there are plenty of social space to choose from, depending on the time of day. A quiet night in might be spent in the media room, while dinner or snacks might be served at the large dining table or barstool style kitchen seating. If the weather is fine late into the night (which is almost always is), a big patio seating area lets you and all your guests appreciate the view of the water from sun up to sun down.
Besides the pops of turquoise and blue, the villa’s colour scheme is quite natural and neutral, making the bright shades in the details stand out even more. Most surfaces are a pristine, gleaming white that creates a lovely contrast with the teal hues, while other transitionally coloured pieces are made from a lovely reclaimed wood with a natural finish.
The emphasis on indoor-outdoor spaces is so thorough in this heavenly villa that even the bedrooms feature large doors that can be fully thrown open to the seaside breezes, as though the wall has disappeared. In each room, the bed is oriented towards the windows and balconies so that you wake up to that stunning view that attracted you to Turks and Caicos in the first place the moment you open your eyes each morning.
Photos by Provo Pictures
By Courtney • Apr 8, 2019
If you’re the kind of person for whom colour takes an unconventionally large priority for in your life, then we have a feeling you’re going to positively adore this breathtaking Bahamian getaway designed by New York based creative Trish Becker. Chatterbox House is a stunning pastel palace that gives its street a bit of mod but also vintage inspired colonial personality.
Nestled onto the coast of Harbour Island, in the Bahamas, Chatterbox House looks like a small but grand, stately cottage was designed by someone who loves unicorns. Some of the finer details might be white or wood finish, but most of the interior decor is mint and pastel pink. In fact, this lovely colour scheme is so pervasive in the house’s identity that it’s even reflected in the exterior of the house itself!
Located in the heart of Dunmore Town, the original cottage was first built in the 1800s, which is where it gets its classic, slightly more traditional Bahamian charm. In fact, similar cottages can be seen elsewhere on the street that Chatterbox House calls home. Because most of the changes that took place were subtle updates and changes in decor, a lot of the classic architectural style that’s so authentic to the island remains, which is part of the building’s glory.
When Becker decided to restore the old house, she had no doubt that the best way to give it a facelift was to add a little more contemporary personality to its already existing charm. Her and her team chose to do so through colours, patterns, and textures! This exciting blend of visual makes the house a Caribbean getaway that’s more than a little notorious, especially in the local area.
While the inside of the house has a classic wooden element that’s full of traditional Bahamian charm the outside is a bit more like a dreamland. The entire base exterior of the house is a soft, cheerful pink that’s even lighter than bubblegum, while the shutters and some trim details are a lovely mint that stands out against the pink very well and picks up tones in the blue sky and water on the horizon.
The house is abundant in social spaces (because how could you not host guests when you’re living in a place that’s so dreamy?), but perhaps the best one is the stunning white wood deck that’s a detailed recreation of the original. Porch portion of the outer deck features a bamboo mini bar and a fully equipped seating area with low tables and patterned cushion clad chairs.
From there, you can take visitors up to the first rooftop deck, where several sunny day beds lie in wait for those hours you might spend soaking up rays. Near the half-door, a ladder extends upwards one more floor to a crow’s nest style rooftop spot that’s like a prime relaxation destination with the best view around.
Photos by Annie Schlechter
Argentinain GZ House created by by Además arquitectura to provide two families with a stunningly modern weekend house
By Courtney • Mar 23, 2019
Amidst the rolling grasses of a luxurious country club in Guernica, Argentina, the freshly completed GZ House was created by Además arquitectura in order to give two young families a beautiful, relaxing weekend space in which to escape the busy demands of daily life.
Because the families are close friends, common areas and shared social spaces were listed as a priority from conception. The public parts of the house were created with the intention of fostering a simple, continuous, and easily flowing atmosphere where people might drift in and out, join conversation, or simply sit in each other’s company.
Several social spaces exist outside the house as well, just to make sure that warm days and sunshine are fully taken advantage of. A lovely swimming pool with a poolside porch and patio provide lots of seating space, for example. Big doors can be swung wide open from the ground level so that the concept of free flowing movement between all of the different social spaces continues uninterrupted.
The porch isn’t the only place where sunlight is prioritized. Large windows in just about every room also let natural light bathe the corners of the lower and upper floors alike. This works in partnership with the natural materiality of the house to create a rather calming atmosphere that’s almost introspective.
Perhaps the most unique part of the house is the “inner patio”, which is an expansive outdoor space to the side of the pool that passes under an overhang of the home’s top floor. This gives the families a space in which to enjoy meals, read a book, and so on in the pleasant breeze of the outdoors, but shades them from the often harsh and hot Argentinian sun.
Because several doors and windows of the house open onto this patio, the shady overhang actually also has a cooling effect on the main social areas of the house. The dining room, for example, is placed such that when the windows are opened, it gets a cool breeze and even some cooler air in from the shaded patio, which helps create indoor air circulation on hot days.
This particular spot for air circulation helps keep the bedrooms cool as well! The patio is located alongside a long promenade on the back side of the ground floor above which all of the bedrooms are arranged. This placement means that the private spaces are intimate but still easily accessible to the social spaces and outdoor spaces for true open concept and free flowing format. The shade from below keeps the entire space around the bedrooms cool, which keeps them cooler in turn.
Of course, to benefit from all that cool air, the bedrooms need a slightly open concept too. That’s why their stunning balconies and sliding glass doors running all along that long promenade we mentioned are so important. The bedrooms sit high in the unique looking upper floor structure of the house, drawing the public eye from all around thanks to the modern, cubic shape.
Despite the fact that the house is very modern looking indeed, its materiality is actually quite simple. The structure was created primarily using concrete, dark grey plaster, and corrugated metal sheets, keep things shady and cool just like that indoor-outdoor patio we’ve raved so much about.
Photos by Gonzalo Viramonte
By Courtney • Mar 20, 2019
Amidst the calming trees and sunny breezes of Karuizawa, Japan, creative designers at Shigeru Ban Architects have overhauled an already existing retreat to create a brand new, totally transformed boutique resort called Shishi-Iwa House!
This resort is a social enterprise inspired by the need for restorative escapes from busy urban life for working professionals. It is a 10-room building that provides privacy, community, and access to nature and reinforces relationships with the self, human connection, architecture, and the world around us.
Shishi-Iwa House is also intended to embrace the idea of social hospitality, which makes it quite a different experience from staying in the average hotel or resort. By enabling easier, quieter, and simpler bonding in accessible, calm spaces, the retreat aims to allow for reflection and bonding, restore energy, and spark new ways of thinking during one’s stay.
The space and structure itself is also inspiring to look at, and quite visually stimulating. The architecture embraces curves and smooth lines, with an undulating roof that seems to flow visually with the forest around it. The building itself was erected with the careful goal of disturbing as few trees around it as possible which actually resulted in architects developing a brand new technique.
The building is quite open concept, blending indoor and outdoor spaces purposely and explicitly. Between this and the fact that most building materials are natural looking, reclaimed, and locally sourced, there’s a feeling that the retreat hardly interrupts the nature it sits in at all. Windows, patios and balconies, and openings are prioritized and strategically placed in each room to make sure that guests have a stunning view no matter where they’re unwinding, but the social spaces give the absolute best view of the garden.
Rather than separating spaces by function too heavily, designers chose to create each guest room as an actual meditation room in and of itself. Those on the ground floor open onto their own private gardens while those on the upper floors have private balconies or terraces. Social spaces are calming too, but they’re easily accessible to everyone and designed for interaction.
While relaxation is undoubtedly a priority, a particular atmosphere and aesthetic were carefully built by designers as well. Materials and furnishings were curated with intention, created a retreat that also feels sophisticated and intellectual. This is partially due to the innovation of some of the furnishings, where stunning high quality pieces are created from simple materials like cardboard, making them affordable and eco-friendly.
Last, but certainly not least, the retreat puts a huge emphasis on art. Several stunning original pieces are displayed from master painters and sculptors from different areas, from both local artists and renowned names in the wider Japanese scene.
Photos by Hiroyuki Hirai
Entirely wooden Kiyakabin by Atelier Riri is a perfect getaway that feels like a cross between an island and a treehouse
By Courtney • Mar 12, 2019
In West Nusa Tenggara, a part of Indonesia, the Kiyakabin was recently created by Atelier Riri in partnership with the government in order to give tourists an ideal experience of the deeply rooted local culture and mesmerizing tropical scenery in the area. Standing tall on Lombok, a small island near Bali, this house furthers the goal of enticing visitors and giving them the perfect experience, which has been the Indonesian government’s primary goal for that area since the 1980s. These islands offer both beaches and mountains, making them breathtaking to witness and extremely unique indeed to try and build on.
Besides being unique in terrain, the Bali and Lombok area in which Kiyakabin was built is also extremely unique in terms of local culture and ethnicity. While Bali is predominantly Hindu, Lombok’s local culture is rooted in the Muslim practices of the Sasak community. These two island groups have long lived harmoniously and side by side, forging a strong connection and allowing things like architecture and music to be influenced by one another in certain ways.
The Kiyakabin itself was designed and built in 2017. One of the primary goals in planning the project was to make it overtly represent the Sasak culture in terms of materiality, layout, function, visual decor, and overall lifestyle. Building materials, like the various types of wood you see all throughout the structure, were sourced locally, making the building very sustainable indeed for its environment.
Perhaps the most obvious thing this stunning island has to offer is a view that is practically unparalleled. This view can be soaked in from any of the Kiyakabin’s four separate building units, which for a randomly arranged compound that’s fun and interesting to navigate. Designers purposely structure the compound in this way to reflect the character of a typical Sasak village, which is developed at whim rather than along strict plan, but still in purposeful cohesiveness with the rest of itself.
Each cabin in this compound has a different view; for example, one cabin faces directly towards the beach while another is oriented so you wake up to the view of the fantastic swimming pool in the centre of the space. One of the cabins even has a slightly more distance heavy view because it is lifted from the ground on a platform, meaning it can see above the others.
The interior spaces in each of the four cabin buildings is different and unique to itself as well, giving guests a sort of experience shift as they travel from one to the other. Three of the cabins are private with sleeping areas and the fourth is a public space that features a kitchen, a storeroom, and even a restaurant. This cabin, which is the largest of the four, is often used as a communal space, kind of like an activity centre.
The fourth largest cabin is the spot in the compound that acts as a sort of connector between public and private areas. This and the other cabins were all completed using a construction technique that is typical of the local Sasak houses in the area. Adapted to withstand weather and the wear of guests, the Kiyakabin buildings were still created using a connected wood construction technique that can be seen all over the island in traditional Lombok homes.
Speaking of local material sourcing and sustainability, the wood that you see in the slightly darker facade cover on the outside of the cabins was actually taken from a lush garden that was created for and serves the cabin compound itself! This is golden teak wood, which is extremely strong and has been finished using a specific wood burning system that helps it withstand harsh tropical seashore weather and protect the structural wood underneath. In other places, you’ll see a lighter white teak wood, which designers used mostly as an interior coating inside the cabins. This makes things look quite modern and cheerful rather than dark or very rustic.
One of the most unique features of the Kiyakabin building compound is the swimming pool, which lies in the centre of all the buildings. This pool has lovely views of its own and is often used as a place for interaction with other guests, since its so easily accessible from all of the cabins. It has a unique layout, however, that stretches to different parts of the compound, so there are also pool sections that have some privacy to each cabin in the even that someone would rather drift in their own space for a little while. All around the outside of the pool is a wooden path that connects the cabins and the outer area despite the water.
The cabins themselves are kept quite simple in terms of shape and architectural style. They are modern and square, making them look very contemporary but in a way that will age well and last. This shape also pays ongoing homage to the culture, as that’s the layout of most of the local and more cultural homes as well. Additionally, the simple square buildings do very little to interrupt the stunning nature around them, which helps keep the view from surrounding areas beautiful and consistent.
Photos by William Suntanto
In the lush, stunning countryside of Kennebunk, Maine, specialized design studio Caleb Johnson Studio has taken an old traditional farmhouse and its barn and beautifully transformed them into a smartly salvaged and ultra comfortable modernized farmhouse called- you read that right- the Salvaged Farmhouse!
As you might have guessed, this lovely, down-home dwelling is made entirely of… salvaged materials, of course! The original century-old building has been turned into a beautiful home that was affectionately nicknamed Ben’s Barn by the new owners after it was name. Thisis a spacious family home that combines the original cottage and the farm’s barn to create a new house that pays tribute to traditional New England style rural architecture.
As mentioned, Ben’s Barn was constructed from a unique mic of reclaimed materials. These were sourced from the local area, the immediately land, and even the original farmhouse getting updated itself. Additionally, some pieces were salvaged from a midcentury modern house that was torn down some miles away in Weston, Massachusetts and transported for repurposing. These well-worn but sturdy materials have been combined in innovative ways with sustainable, modern materials in order to create a home that’s fully functional, stylish, but still comfortably traditional.
Ben’s Barn was specifically created with the intention of last its new family a lifetime. The sun-filled dwelling span 4,425 square feet and includes four bedrooms, four baths, and even a loft of its own. Designers ensured that ample space was available because the clients have several young children. This resulted in an open, fluid-movement layout inside that at once offers lots of indoor play space but also makes the first floor bedroom very accessible for visitors or members of the family who intend to grow old in the house.
Organizationally, this beautiful barn-inspired house is organized into two structures; it has a bedroom wing and a kitchen and master space wing. Each wing has two stories and they are connected with a double-story hallway link made of glazed glass, which keeps things feeling open and bright.
The timber used in the roof, wall siding, interior wooden cladding, and interior doors was all salvaged from the original barn and farmhouse. Contrasting with this wood, visitors will find granite blocks that were also reclaimed from the first house, this time from the foundation. Today, they serve as porch steps and lovely stone seating in the garden and yard. The reclaimed timber from the mid-century teardown, on the other hand, can be found in the cabinetry and other detailed fixtures.
Although modern steel and lovely, contemporary amenities were added to the house for stability and comfort, the overall aesthetic of the space is that of rustic comfort and purposely unfinished countryside identity. The goal was to turn the old structures into something new without making things look too new, keeping the original farm’s charm alive longer.
Photos by Trent Bell
On the edge of Lake Constance in Öhningen, Germany, the ultra modern looking and appropriately named Black House was finished by Benjamin Heller + Freier Architekt in early 2017. This impressive structure might look a tad imposing on the outside, but inside it’s anything but uncomfortable.
Standing out amongst the average architecture in its small village, the Black House differs from anything you’ll see in nearby neighbourhoods and anything you might encounter if you journey towards the close-by national border into Switzerland. The conspicuous building has become a sort of marker of where the village starts thanks to its easily recognizable look in the distance.
In fact, the shape of the building was actually specifically intended to mimic the look of a traditional, hand cut boundary stone. It features differing angles, geometric shapes, and a dark facade that is constant over the entire structure from foundation to roof. Despite its all black appearance, the various angles of different surfaces reflect the sun differently throughout the day, making the colour appear quite multi-dimensional.
Inside, the home’s rooms are organized in a way that is sensical and establishes a comforting sense of flow. First, you’ll encounter public or common spaces intended for socializing before moving onto semi-public spaces that might be used more by family rather than visitors, and then finally onto private spaces like bedrooms and bathroom suites. This gives the dwelling a lovely sense of camaraderie but also provides family members with calm, safe spaces to retreat to.
Within the rooms described above, materials, layouts, and heights vary from room to room. Some spaces are starkly white, others are a little darker and warmer because they heavily feature black finishes, and more still featured a lovely amount of dark and light wood, making parts of the house seem a little more traditional to a German village. Room heights vary too, making the journey through the house exciting and visually interesting.
Although some of its outer angles might seem random, the orientation of the Black House itself was actually chosen very carefully. It faces particular directions from particular rooms to ensure that a beautiful view of the landscape and nearby water is visible at all times. The emphasis on stunning windows makes these view almost panoramic.
Photos by Benjamin Heller
By Courtney • Feb 20, 2019
In the peaceful forests of Karuizawa, Japan, innovative company KIAS recently completed the stunning Four Leaves villa to give owners and their friend and family a natural escape that provides maximum relaxation amongst the natural fragrant greenery.
The villa might only sit 150km away from the bustling streets of Tokyo, but to visit its tranquil setting is to feel like you’re entering a whole new world. Designers specifically faced different areas of the house at slightly variously angled orientations in order to harness the best light and scenery all the way around the building, no matter which room you’re sitting in.
On the brighter side of the house, designers built the living and dining spaces so that social areas might stay light and cheerful as long as possible for family bonding and friend hosting. This doesn’t mean, however, that the private spaces on the other side of the house are dark or dull. Instead, the master bedroom and bathroom to the west get a lovely glow through the leaves with the increased privacy of the forest cover.
Instead of making space for the house in the forest, design teams opted to work with what was already there and fit the home into the landscape. For this reason, the structure of the house is made up of three semi-distinct volumes that are connected by sunny hallways filled with windows.
To give the house character and style and blend it in with the stunning landscape around the building, designers built the roofs of each volume with a breathtaking curved quality that appears to swoop towards the ground and then up to the sky. Rather than building straight across for the inner ceilings, designers allowed the stunning curved beams of the roof to show through, making the rooms inside vary in height beautifully at different points, following the fluid motion of the roofs outside.
The decor scheme on the inside matches the atmosphere of the whole house quite seamlessly. Neutral colours, clean glass lines and natural concrete or stone finished, and a beautifully reflective water feature further blend the home into the landscape in a way that brings the peaceful sun and breeze right through the doors and into the living spaces. This is bolstered by the fact that floor to ceiling patio doors open wide, like a retracting wall, inviting a pleasant blending of inner and outer spaces that makes the whole house feel fresh.
Photos by Norihito Yamauchi
Modern, eye catching Ox’s House created by Leo Romano Arquitetura to push the boundaries of shape and colour
By Courtney • Feb 5, 2019
Located in Goiania, Brazil is a fantastic new project called “Casa do Boi”, or Ox’s House. Recently completed by Leo Romano Arquitetura, the house sits in a stunning valley where the custom tiled panel all along the greeting side catches the eye of anyone who passes it.
The goal in building this unique looking house was two-fold. Firstly, the owners wanted a house that would have as little impact on the land as possible, so designers decided to take that an extra step and make a space that not only revered the land but also incorporated it and blended with it as much as possible.
On the ground floor of the house, social rooms greet visitors with interestingly shaped furniture pieces, fun use of colour, and lots of space for people to sit together and bond in conversation or eat. Perhaps the best part of these spaces, however, is that each one opens alone one wall thanks to huge glass windows and doors, letting the breeze flow in and making the lush green plants outside feel like part of the inner decor as well.
In fact, the greenery (both local and introduced) actually does spill into the house itself; many plants are featured between the dining room and the kitchen. They also dot the balcony and make the swimming pool, which reflects the sun right outside one of the glass doors off the main social space, feel more like a relaxing lake than a man-made water feature.
The house brings local customs and tradition into its decor scheme in two ways besides just native flora and fauna. Many of the stylish and unique looking furniture pieces you see in just about any room were made by local Brazilian artists in styles typical of the region. There’s also a huge presence of wood in the furnishings and finishes and all of this wood was actually sources locally and repurposed by designers throughout the home on both levels.
Throughout the house, you’ll find works by local artists featuring bright colours and angles that play with the angles of the unique furniture to make the whole place feel lively and eclectic. Even the outside of the house features art! The tiled outer facade we mentioned previously, for example, was inspired by the work of Athos Bulcao. Designers began creating the pattern using a sketch of a stylized ox for inspiration (hence the home’s name) but deconstructed the shape of that original image as they conceptualized it, leaving things a little more interesting and abstract.
Because designers incorporated so much colour into the space, the atmosphere is an interesting combination of simultaneously being able to blend cohesively with the surrounding natural area but also visually stand out from it in a really bold way. This is thanks to the use of almost exclusively primary colours against natural finishes and furnishings, making the pieces still catch eyes and make sense when the doors and walls of the house are thrown open so that people can see the brightest standout pieces even from the yard, patio, or poolside.
Photos by Edgar Cesar
By Courtney • Jan 20, 2019
In the countryside areas of Durango, Colorado, a stunning woodland escape called Bear Hollow Cabin has been given a facelift in order to make a fantastic new escape near the infamous Purgatory Ski Resort.
Although the cabin might comfortably be used all year round, it’s more popular as a cozy getaway in the coldest months of the year, when the area surrounding it becomes a sort of winter wonderland. Bear Hollow Cabin is built like a traditional log cabin, offering guests a quiet escape to sit by a roaring fireplace or take a warm soak in the outdoor hot tub on a private deck.
Although the cabin is quite close to the resort and its town, it is also afforded the perfect amount of seclusion for total relaxation. Nestled deep in the rockies, the cabin is also surrounded by somewhat dense forest, meaning it can’t be seen from the street leading into the area. In reality, the busy ski resort is only three miles down the road!
In terms of its actual structure, the cabin is two spacious storeys made from thick logs on all walls. It might have been recently updated, but the overall atmosphere still has a preserved sense of its original mountain getaway vibe from previous to its reconstruction.
The cabin is built right into the slope, making it blends quite well into the surrounding landscape, similarly to the way the wood logs appears as a complementary feature. From its raised vantage point, Bear Hollow Cabin offers amazing views of the forest, which includes everygreen and aspen trees. Previous guests maintain that the very best view to appreciate is the one you’ll see from the hot tub, out on the expansive raised deck!
Inside the cabin, the space is comfortable and just about as homey as a cabin can get. It is spacious, featuring two separate comfort and living areas, three large bedrooms, and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The cabin also features a fully functional kitchen and a family dining area, both of which are situated behind the main living room in a sort of open concept format.
Another central aspect of the way the house was built was an open focus on cozy common spaces that can be used either socially, for things like having friends over for game night, or for relaxing solo activities, like curling up with a good book. On warmer days, the wrap around deck that also features the hot tub is a fantastic place for outdoor dining with the kids.
Outside the lovely woodsy cabin itself, the surrounding area of Durango has a lot to offer as well. Hiking trails wind throughout the woods and mountains the cabin is settled in and Electra Lake, which lies just a few minutes away, is a fantastic place for all types of fishing.
Photographs courtesy of Vacasa
Chalet One Oak, a retreat near Megeve Ski Resort in France, gives a unique blend of rustic and swanky
By Courtney • Jan 18, 2019
In the picturesque town of Combloux in France, nestled amongst the mountains and lush greenery, is the Chalet One Oak. This gorgeous retreat is situated near the Megeve Ski Resort, a better known and rather swanky resort just a few miles down the road.
Chalet One Oak is a perfect winter escape that can only be described as luxurious. Its 3 floors of decor and relaxation take the idea of a “holiday home” to a new level while also providing unparalleled views of the majestic Mont Blanc in the distance.
Stylistically, the chalet is rather artistic, both inside and out. Rustic looking local and reclaimed wood is a heavy feature in every single room, while slightly more contemporary furniture shapes and lines keep things looking a little “swanky” rather than just old fashioned. Hand carved pieces, animal busts and pelts, and art made from nature bolster the woodsy, rustic feel.
Chalet One Oak includes four bedroom suites, one being an absolutely superb master suite that actually comes with its very own private floor. Nearby, a bunkbed room and a beautiful lounge are located, each featuring furniture that borders on ultra-modern to create stunning contrast with the rustic features elsewhere in the home.
One of the primary features of the house is undoubtedly the main social space that includes a rather high end dining area complemented by high-tech concierge service. The overall goal is to create a genuinely luxurious experience that still feels thanks to things like the grand fireplace and its cozy seating area, like a slightly more traditional winter retreat at heart,