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Month September 2014 Archive

 Modern Family Home Tastefully Decorated With Natural Light

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Rising in a new neighborhood in Cassà de la Selva, Girona, Spain, this modern family home is known as “Casa en Cassà”. From outside, its bold architectural language hints towards the carefully manicured interiors. Architects Ricard Galiana and Yago Oliva imagined an impressive space, where light creates geometric games at different times of day and sunshine accompanied meals, time spent with family and friendly encounters.Balancing the concrete appearance presented on the facade, main social areas are bright and comfortable. This mixture of raw concrete, glass and the Mangas Rug and Pouff designed by Patricia Urquiola make the double-height living room a perfect place for both entertaining and relaxing.Spreading over 580 square meters, interiors designed by Georgina Figueras attract attention with a high degree of transparency. Natural light floods the spaces, creating a permanent connection to the beauty of the ever-changing outdoors. Photographs by Nani Pujol surprise the home from different angles, making it easy to observe the slightly sloped terrain shaping the architecture. Working with 1 million Euros as a budget, architects imagined a modern family home on two levels facing south, where the family would feel at home.According to the architects, “the main rooms are distributed along a single floor divided in two concrete blocks –“night and day areas”– , with a double-height living room and a mezzanine creating a transparent space connecting both blocks. The two blocks offer the needed degree of privacy to each space while taking into consideration the private views, the street, the forest and the solar orientation. The northern backyard provides a pedestrian access in contact with the forest. The south porch-terrace faces the swimming pool.”Upstairs spaces were reserved for main social areas, private quarters and the alluring swimming pool where entertainment and panoramic views converge. Underneath, the garden and parking areas create the lower level. Let’s take a short tour of the modern family home to observe details like the mezzanine level with glass railings drawing light deep inside or the scarcity of furniture making the space appear aired and cozy…

 Perfectly Balancing Rural and Urban Lifestyles: House JA in Portugal

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Located on the north-center of Portugal, House JA by Filipe Pina and Maria Ines Costa was envisioned to combine a rural and urban lifestyle. The lot is surrounded by different types of constructions, consequence of the informal settlements, characteristics of most Portuguese city neighborhoods. The existent stone ruins, vestige of a traditional house and the configuration of the lot were the main aspects for the new project. The first principle was to separate the new and the old construction, even if they are connected inside. A stone volume represents the existent building; a concrete volume the new one.The second principle was to introduce light in the middle of the house. Two different empty spaces were generated: the entrance, and the heart of the house – the courtyard. The courtyard and the stairs are the center of the house and its living. These are the key elements for the spatial relationships between the different parts of the house, the interior and the exterior. The program was divided in two levels: the living room, the kitchen and the garage were positioned on the ground floor; the bedrooms and the library at the first floor.The suite was placed in a privileged point – the memory of the old house. The scale and the site identity were always present on the construction details and material choices: stone, concrete, steel and oak wood. Inside the white and the wood comfort. Outside a granitic and a new concrete mass were sculpted on the same way. [Information provided via e-mail by Filipe Pina and Maria Ines Costa; Photography: Joao Morgado]

 Difficult Run Residence in Virginia Parading An Abundance of Outdoor Living Spaces

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Bordering a stream in Mclean, Virginia, this green, steep seven-acre lot accommodated an old building known as the Difficult Run Residence. Robert M. Gurney Architect took on the challenge of renovating the construction and extending it with a detached garage and guest house. Additionally, “stone paths and stairways, corten steel walls, gabion stone walls, a swimming pool with an infinity edge, a reflecting pool, terraces, decks, and structured plantings continue to organize the site and provide an abundance of outdoor living spaces.” The simple narrow, meandering driveway on the property was thus replaced by a rich and visually appealing landscaped environment.Initially built in 1965, the building was gloomy and cluttered: “The space was wrapped in a muted palette of materials including dark flagstone flooring, gray stone walls and fireplaces, and dark wood walls and ceilings. In renovating the main house, all interior finishes were stripped, walls were removed, spaces were opened up and windows were enlarged and replaced, in an effort to reflect the light rather than absorb it. A series of small additions were implemented as required and located within the footprint of the existing roof.” Complex and rejuvenating, the villa is now a holiday-inspiring refuge offering pleasant surprises at every step. [Photography by Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer]

 How Modern Transit and Highways Affect Property Values

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What happens to our home value when the busy city life and modern roadways invade? Image Source: Zack DevitoBEEP! BEEP! Do you hear that everyday? Whether you are hurrying along your daily commute, or whether you live adjacent to a busy highway— the stress and noise of modern transit seem unavoidable.While new highways are great for commuters, they are not so great for those whose homes are impacted by traffic and noise pollution.We already know that highways can impact the value of your property, as well as other neighboring communities. The resulting noise, smog, and traffic that comes with a highway obviously has a major impact on property value and quality of life.Although, highways are not all bad news, new transit ways can actually increase property values and improve traffic flow.So, let’s look a little further into some of the ways modern roadways are affecting our way of life. After all, modern transit is only growing more popular as population skyrockets and more people squeeze into busy cities.While the views may be great, living in the city brings with it traffic and highway noise/pollution. Image Source: JT LivingAs was mentioned above, noise from a busy highway has a seriously negative impact on property value. This would seem especially true for individuals whose property is closer to the highway. However, the opposite may be the case— statistical models from one transit rail study  showed that with every meter a house was located to a particular railway station, property values went up by $2.29. While this doesn’t seem like much, the study showed that houses immediately adjacent to the stations sold for 38% more.So is closer always better?  Is there some truth to the classic economic theory—when a highway is initially built, large parcels of land that previously had poor accessibility – or none at all – are suddenly undervalued?   Yes, it seems intuitive that if you go from limited transit access to immediate proximity of modern transit, then your home value will increase.However, let’s say a highway was not present during the time your home was purchased or built—wouldn’t the introduction of a busy highway decrease your property value? Well, the answer is— it depends. This study on property values and highway expansions shows that home values depend on numerous factors such as proximity, noise, emissions, vibrations etc… Simply put, it’s complicated.You may be surprised to discover that closer proximity to transit stations may drastically increase your property value. Image Source: CSS ArchitectureHighways can also create what is known as a land-locked situation. This situation can also decrease the value of a particular property. This is mostly due to its lack of appeal for buyers when they have to find an alternate route into the property.A land-locked property occurs when the Department of Transportation (DOT) turns a ‘back road’ into a highway. Most often, this happens in rural areas where DOT decides to put a highway through a current farm or farm road. After all, expansion is the name of the game, right? And a new highway usually means the future encroachment of big cities into the suburbs.When DOT does this, individuals may not be able to access their properties as they once had. They may have to go through neighbors’ properties or find new routes.When a property cannot be easily accessed by the owner, it decreases the property value—nobody wants to invest money into a property they cannot get to without a hassle. On the flip side, access to a new highway may drastically increase the value of surrounding homes. It’s all about perspective.What happens when the the big city encroaches on your quiet home? Landlocked issues and city encroachment are a source of frustration to many homeowners. Image Source: EladgonenObviously, a highway brings more traffic to the area. While this is a positive impact from a business perspective, it can be a  negative impact in a residential community. Areas that have been looked at as being good family neighborhoods may not hold this appeal once a highway is put in.Highways bring a lot of vehicles driving at various speeds. Homeowners, particularly those with children, will find this unappealing when purchasing a home. If a home is already built in a area and then a highway comes in, it becomes less appealing, for safety reasons.Parents want to know that their kids can play in the yard without having to worry about a 6-car pile up, or drunk drivers, or vehicles traveling at high rates of speed. Not to mention, the new accessibility of your home to devious people.  All of these factors will make home values decline and make it hard to sellTry to protect your assets by investigating future city plans before buying. If it is already too late and the highway has been constructed, then be creative with exterior home designs such as fences, gated courtyards, water falls to drown out noise, security and green walls that beautify and act as sound barriers.Drown out the sounds of the highway and city-life with a stone barrier wall and water fall. Image Source: Lombardi DesignAs mentioned above, not all properties are negatively impacted by highways. In fact, there are several situations where highways can actually increase property value. This is particularly true for commercial areas.Commercial properties that have limited access can benefit from the addition of a highway. More people passing through, equals more business.Of course, this increased exposure increases the profits of the business and the property value.  You do, however, want to make sure that when the highway is put in that your business can be easily and safely accessed. You may want to talk with city planners to discuss whether your business needs a traffic light, as safety and available parking can make the difference between a person dropping in, or driving on by.Not all properties are negatively impacted by highways. In fact, there are several situations where highways can actually increase property value. Image Source: RNW ConstructionAs you can see, there are numerous ups and downs to having a property near a major highway. There are so many factors to consider, and whether your home value goes up or down truly depends on accessibility, noise, location, safety and emissions etc…When purchasing a new home it is important to take into consideration the transit ways and highways around the property. If there is plans for a major highway, it could cause some noise issues, causing your property value to decrease. On the other hand if there are plans for a new transit station that makes the big-city commute more accessible, you could watch your property values soar!Are you living near a busy highway? If so, do you love it or hate it?

 Fresh Canadian Home Renovation Inviting Light Inside

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Springtime brings about not only seasonal changes, but opportunities for home renovation projects. Canada’s season changes are better enjoyed from a home that carries an old charm while flaunting spirited modern upgrades. Within a suburban Montreal neighborhood, this bright home was built by the owner’s father in the 1960s  and its heirloom features were respectfully dressed in modern skin. According to its architects, NatureHumaine, “the original house lacked natural light and had a series of closed rooms surrounding a central stair.” Now known as the Closse Residence, the old structure shines brightly renovated and brings a bit of modern sparkle to its neighborhood.“The first move was to open the south facade with large glazed patio doors. Removing the original partitions let the light penetrate deeply into the house. A new sculptural stair built of hot rolled steel, maple veneer, and frosted glass becomes the focal point of the house. The counter of the central island in the kitchen cantilevers 2.4 meters out from the cabinets becoming the dining table, uniting preparation and eating spaces. Two pivoting glass doors close off the entry creating a winter vestibule. The immense stone fireplace was conserved and restored. It’s textured materiality contrasts with the purity of the new elements. The exterior of the house was restored and repainted and the windows were replaced. A contemporary dormer was added to the roof of the house containing the two second floor bathrooms.”Knowing how to budget for a home renovation makes it easy to completely transform a home from dark & outdated to modern & fresh. An inherited home can be beautifully renovated, opening up interior spaces and capturing all the interior movement around a sculptural stair, as in this example of a modern dream home. This particular Canadian home photographed by Adrien Williams exhibits simplicity and brightness in an exemplary mixture…

 Small Flexible O-table Inspired by Antique Brass Candlesticks

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The O-table by Ola Giertz Designstudio is a small flexible unit inspired by antique brass candlesticks. We usually move this type of candlesticks by inserting our finger into the special eye that allows us to smoothly carry the candle. This is the idea of ??a sideboard based on the same concept, a sideboard with a handle that creates a removable and changeable furniture. The name of the table comes from the circular shapes that are recurrent in the table top, the rounded legs and the round handle.The project started after seeing an increasing need for flexible and easily moving tables. We often move from place to place in the room, and for example, sit and drink coffee in our favorite chair before we maybe move to the couch or the bed. Instead of having a table at each place, you can now instead use one table as you move along. The handle makes it easy to grab and creates a firm grip that makes it easy to carry the table with one hand. The bowl-shaped table top prevents items to easy fall off if you happen to shake or bump into anything.The handle also breaks the horizontal line in the table top which creates greater dynamism. Together these forms create a soft and graphical furniture with a minimalistic touch. [Information provided via e-mail by  Ola Giertz Studio; Photographer: Carl Magnus Johansson]

 High-End Soho Residence Flaunting Pristine Open Spaces

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Spacious and boasting a neutral color palette that oozes simplicity and elegance, this memorable Soho residence was designed by Bulson Management and architect David Hotson. A pure white sofa thrones in the double-height living space that visually opens to every other social space in the home. With massive experience in high-end residential and commercial construction, Bulson Management and leading architect David Hotson imagined an open space where light and air flow freely. A dark piano breaks the monotony of a pure white room, while the darker library room under the mezzanine works wonders on the owners on cozy nights when all one wants to do is watch a great movie alongside loved ones.Photographed by David Paler, the welcoming home in Soho was imagined as an elegant space for socializing, enjoying good music and home cooked meals with friends and family. The modern Soho residence was tailored to the needs and desires of the owners, embedding high style and an open floor plan they can be proud of. Innovative design and simple elegance were instilled in this New York residence. This is how people live in the city, above clouds and enjoying the best that design can bring in terms of comfort, aesthetics and space.How would you like to live in this New York dream home? What would be the first thing you would do if you moved here today?

 Private Penthouse in Kazakhstan Celebrating Multisensory Living

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Berlin-based studio COORDINATION has completed a new private penthouse in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Located on the 30+ floor in the highest and most prominent building of the city, the Esentai Tower, this apartment is aimed to be a place for sensory and intellectual stimulation as well as a refuge for relaxation. The brief was to create a setting purely for leisure, mainly intended for weekend breaks or short stays. Starting with a blank core & shell canvas, the space was equipped with everything necessary for a luxurious multisensory experience celebrating a unique setting.Initially intended as a three-bedroom apartment, the layout was turned into a luxurious one-bedroom loft-style space. The scope of the project encompassed the complete spatial planning, interior architecture and engineering. This included the design and selection of all surfaces, lights, built-in furniture elements, kitchen units, loose & bespoke furniture pieces, accessories, design editions and a curated, bespoke art selection. Every joint and screw was considered and carefully planned to create a completely harmonious experience.The L-shaped floor plan was composed with a clear spatial hierarchy between social and private areas. It reveals 270° city views while „leaning“ against the impressive setting of the surrounding TianShan mountains. The use of landscape-related structures and natural metaphors helped to shape the floor plan, spatial rhythm and atmospheres of the individual areas. Certain areas where emphasized by sloping and shifting and create physical sensations uncommon in a normal home. The experience is a new sensation of space, elegantly flowing without interruption.  [Information provided via e-mail by COORDINATION; Photography by Dirk Dähmlow] 

 Colorful Hand-Braided Mirror Frames for Artistic Modern Decorating Schemes

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The New Craftsmen recently unveiled Colour Wheels, a series of hand-braided mirrors that add an artistic touch to modern interiors. The project is a result of a  collaboration with textiles designer Aimee Betts and John Jones Art Conservation Studio. The new mirrors combine brass metal frames developed by John Jones, with cords developed by Aimee Betts on a circular knitting machine, inspired by the diverse metal finishes and process of patination realized at the John Jones workshop.
“The process of taking a raw material and transforming it through oxidization was the starting point of my design, and the beautiful patination effect created by the John Jones craftsmen provided me with a colour palette to draw into my textiles practice”, explained Aimee Betts. From there the design was developed into a continuous flow of colours to create a visually stunning ombre fading effect referencing the complementary relationship of colors on a color wheel.
At the John Jones workshop, using rolled brass strips, the frame was formed into a loop and braised at the ends, finished in John Jones’ unique Jax finish which has a deep brassy brown hue. The mirrors come in two sizes, (1600mm diameter & 800mm diameter), and can also be commissioned to new sizes and color palettes. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by The New Craftsmen]

 Settled Between a Stream And a Steep Hillside: Ross Residence in California

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Designed by Los Angeles based firm Griffin Enright Architects, Ross Residence opens up towards a beautiful natural landscape located in a small town just north of San Francisco, Ross, California. The home is perfectly settled between a stream and a steep hillside, offering its inhabitants a healthy and remote living space. According to the architects, ” entry to the site occurs via an existing bridge that crosses a small stream to a new entry made of charcoal concrete board that wraps around a new foyer and becomes a floating bench“.
The environmental energy is preserved in the elegant interiors, all showcasing large floor to ceiling windows and state-of-the-art materials: “A custom fabricated, textured ceiling made of CNC milled MDF enhances acoustics and integrates a seemingly randomized lighting pattern, while reflecting light into the space. The loft-like living space opens to the north, optimizing the view of a luminous landscape that is perfectly lit for the majority of the day.  A custom white powder-coated steel hearth floats off the wall and provides seating at the fireplace”. We know there are probably many things “right” with the design of this residence, but can you see anything wrong with it?

 The Exclusive Cozy & Breezy Villa Olive in Saint-Tropez

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Located in the most famous resort on the French Riviera, Saint Tropez, Villa Olive is one of those fancy luxury houses where dreaming, relaxing and last but not least, pampering are highly recommended. Preserving its fishing village ambience, the picturesque small town is known for two things: the Provençal authenticity and celebrities. Billionaires from all over the world come here, boasting their super-yachts. It never fails to surprise me how did this place draw in such a mass of tourists along the years! The truth is that even more surprising is the fact that it still does! However, a 10 minutes drive from the city’s medieval centre and here we are, in front of a lovely contemporary villa, with uninterrupted views of the Bay of St Tropez.
Encompassed by a maze of greenery, the house exhibits a clean-lined interior, breezy and very bright. The living room opens to the outdoor terrace, perfect for both, dinning and lounging.“Large panoramic windows throughout Villa Olive allow the sunlight and view to flood in, and with its open-plan layout it has a wonderful feeling of space running through its living room, dining room and gourmet kitchen areas. Upstairs, the contemporary comfort continues, with bedrooms benefitting from wide sunny views towards the horizon and bold spa-inspired ensuite bathrooms.” The house can be booked. For more information, please check Firefly Collection…

 Neighboring The Lush Jungle of East Bali: Exclusive Jasri Beach Villas

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Sixty miles east of the jostling streets of Kuta and Seminyak are the Jasri Beach Villas, a pair of pristine villas bordering the attenuating seas of the Indian Ocean and lush jungle of East Bali. Camouflaged against the exotic landscape, the villa estate only reveals itself to those searching for the ultimate retreat. Finished with hand-dressed stone and Merbau wood, the owner/architect Warren Sunnland in collaboration with Bali Mekar Studio envisioned traditional Balinese bales or pavilions amidst a living, breathing backdrop, brilliantly furnished with luxury in mind.
The villas elegantly juxtapose traditional Balinese architecture with the finesse of contemporary design. The interior space is superbly functional, mashing together the best of digital-age comforts—flat screen televisions, infinity pool, spa, air condition, walk in showers, without redefining the architect’s original concept of bringing the true essence of Bali in and through each space. At night, the villa estate lights up under the stars, leaving you feeling weightless and malleable as the warm night air whisks you away to a dream-like state of mind. [Photos and information courtesy of Tai Sunnland]

 Striking Beverly Hills Luxury Residence With Exquisite Details

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Defining the necessities of a luxurious lifestyle, this exquisite villa located at 818 N Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills boasts a unique combination of building materials – stone, glass and wood – composing a functional, well-proportioned property. Spreading over 9,302 square feet, the two story residence features four bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms, a private spa and swimming pool and a large collection of extraordinary spaces beautifully designed to astound anyone who has the privilege of visiting. Additional spaces like the gym, China storage and art storage room give this home a sense of customized art-loving collection of spaces. Located in the sought after 800 block of the flats in Beverly Hills, the imposing residence is part of Leonardo Umansky’s portfolio. Featured in “The World’s Best 100 Homes” edited by Images Publishing, this exceptional example of luxury architecture displays its luscious cluster of social and private spaces with an unprecedented proudness. Priced at $12,850,000, the fabulous villa would make a splendid residence for those who know how to appreciate it…

 green and brown living rooms

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There are a few specific styles and themes which come alive in the bedroom with the addition of a green tinge. The first that comes to mind is here is the exotic tropical style. Whether you wish to combine a hint of tropical charm with modern aesthetics or want to create a guest bedroom that is full of tropical flair, green is the color to turn to. A splash of bright or mossy green can turn your boring bedroom into a fun and playful space that reminds of your recent holiday trip to a stunning tropical getaway. Another look that revels in green is the beach style and you can replace the traditional white and blue blend with white, green and a hint of orange to create a unique and exquisite bedroom.

 bohemian style bedroom

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Green in the girls’ bedroom coupled with pink works surprisingly well and it elegantly complements other colors such as brown and orange as well. Working with more than 3 or 4 bright colors in a room requires great care, perfect planning and a hint of ingenuity that lets each hue standout even while blending with the overall look. While it does sound like a risky proposition, get it right and you will have a playful kids’ room that is a visual treat.

 Welcoming Family Home in Colorado: Kennedy Residence

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Natural materials such as stone and wood make the Kennedy Residence Boulder in Colorado a warm and welcoming crib. Designed by Semple Brown, the project consists of three major living zones, built around the mature trees on the site and connected to each other by public spaces and courtyards. According to the architects,”the first wing welcomes guests into the main hallway and acts as a connecting axis into Wings 2 and 3. The flowing and unobtrusive layout of this wing, allows the kitchen to function as the heart of the house. The second wing emerges from the family room off of the kitchen and bends back to create the children’s rooms and a secluded master suite at the end of a long stone hall. The entry court is framed by a stone wall that bends around the garage, play room, barn, and guest suite creating the third wing“. We invite to take a virtual tour of this modern home and tell us if you find its layout inspiring…

 Residential Project Inspiring Well-Being and Comfort in San Diego

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Inspired by the housing communities from the 1920’s, Jonathan Segal FAIA has unveiled his latest residential masterpiece in San Diego, California. The Charmer (the name given to this project) is a 19-unit multifamily dwelling, neat and of urban inspiration. It accommodates six one-bedroom bungalows, with the view over the central courtyard, ten three-bedroom lofts, surrounding the bungalows and three two-bedroom units with the view oriented towards the courtyard. The space is envisioned as a spot of comfort and relaxation, where the interaction between neighbors is a pleasant thing to do. The multifamily type of approach, is presented from a very positive perspective by Jonathan Segal. He says that “you get the feeling that all the people who live there have got to be good neighbors to each other.”
Despite this common joy of sharing space and developing a better communication with the ones in your proximity, each and every unit has its private outdoor space. Very interesting and exciting, the interior courtyard buffers the loud traffic sound. The abundance of outdoor spaces creates an equilibrium and encourages people to spend more time relaxing on their terraces, focusing on a green lifestyle in the middle of the urban vibe. The Charmer is rich in interior design details, inspiring elegance and comfort. Patios, fireplaces, ligthweight materials – everything has been carefully designed to celebrate the welfare of the Charmer’s inhabitants…

 Inspiring Pool and Garden Pavilion Geometry For Inviting Backyards

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Astounding architecture comes in many shapes and sizes and responds to a wide array of needs. When your garden needs a pool and garden pavilion, inspiration helps you decide the best solutions, but site-specific challenges make the results worthwhile. Take for example the Nevis Pool and Garden Pavilion in Washington DC – a contemporary garden addition that provides a threshold between the perfectly manicured man-made landscape and adjacent wilderness of the woodland. Imagined by Robert M. Gurney as a modern duo reinforcing the comfort of the main house, the pool and pavilion offer a serene environment for relaxation and entertaining.
Placed at the limit defined by mature trees, the glass and stone pavilion composes a seamless connection to the surroundings via frameless corner glass walls and five steel-framed glass doors flooding the exquisite interior with light. An enclosed dry-stacked slate wall and mahogany space topped off with a low-pitched stainless steel roof shelters an elegant display of materials and furnishings. Heated blue stone floors opposing Douglas-fir ceilings capture the warmth provided by the large Rumford fireplace, contrasting with the airiness of the surrounding geometric landscape. What would be the first thing you would do if owning this exceptional backyard?

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