The Bella Vita Villa by Prototype Design Lab is located in the picturesque Turks & Caicos Islands, which are part of the Antiles island grouping. Its original appearance is said to honor the natural oceanfront site. Celebrating lightness and soft breezes, the beach facade is open in order to maximize views, while the street side is relatively shut: “Wrapped on the top and bottom by solid concrete bands which extend along the sides of the house to become the solid entrance facade. The entrance evokes a fortress-like grandeur, into which a masterfully crafted, poured-in place concrete frame successively recedes toward a door of a more intimate human scale.”As you step inside, you are greeted by an overwhelming scale: “At the heart of the house, an expansive great room is an entertainer’s dream, featuring 30-foot ceilings, a large chef’s kitchen and a two sided indoor-outdoor fireplace above which sunlight is filtered through the custom laser-cut chimney pattern. The secluded white beach is a focal point with which almost every room in the villa enjoys a connection.” An original, hand-carved wooden door, reclaimed and imported from India is the main focal point of this massive social area. [Photography by Eugen Sakhnenko / A-Frame]
With almost 70% of all offices embracing this open floor plan, we assume it’s working, but is it really? Image Source: Edn DesignWorkplaces are on the move—literally. We have seen the trend tiptoeing into our daily office life for some time now, but it seems 2015 may be the year of the complete office overhaul. The original open office concept was conceived in the 1950’s by a team in Hamburg, Germany—they thought it would facilitate communication.With almost 70% of all offices embracing this open floor plan, we assume it’s working, but is it really? Some results are showing otherwise. There are so many open office concepts that employers are now embracing—some more interesting and creative than others.So, let’s look at the top office layouts for 2015 and why they work—and why they have some employees running and hiding in their cubicle:So, let’s look at the top office layouts for 2015 and why they work—and why they have some employees running and hiding in their cubicle: JAC InteriorsHere’s the concept behind crumbling the walls of the cubicle: Open offices are supposed to improve workflow and communication. Sounds reasonable right? Perhaps not.This article in Digiday, notes that modern, hip agencies are embracing this open-office trend. They cited improved communication, collaboration, and speed of work, as reasons to tear down those pesky cubicle barriers.They also noted that agency leaders were seeing positive benefits and increased productivity as a result of this shift. But what about personal privacy? What about making confidential phone calls and the like? Let’s look how open this concept really is to change, while keeping office employees content.Open offices are supposed to improve workflow and communication. Sounds reasonable right? Perhaps not. Image Source: Hammer ArchitectsGoogle the words ‘open office’ and you will see that the first page results are all headings like, ” Why the Open Office has to Die”, “Why the Open Office has Failed”, and ” Victims of Open Office Pushing Back”. Yikes! Those are some pretty dramatic headlines for something inanimate.It seems that not everyone is open to this out-of-the-box office concept. Here are the biggest downfalls that most are citing:It seems that not everyone is open to this out-of-the-box office concept. Image Source: Work DesignAs a back lash of employees complain about feeling too open, combined with complaints of too much noise, there is a new trend that is being created— finding a happy medium. Yes, it seems that everyone ran to ruin those office walls, yet now want some of them back. Modern offices designs are attempting to achieve a happy medium, without building back all the barriers.Although, one Microsoft information technology team has completely bucked the trend and opted for closed doors, but with an open mind. Essentially, when they need to collaborate, they simply roll their chairs into the hallway and have open chats. When they are done, they wheel back into their private office.Then on the other hand, instead of wheeling your chair everywhere, there are new office options on the horizon that combine comfortable break-out areas with leather recliners where staff can sit and collaborate comfortably. This open concept is being balanced with private phone rooms and closed-door meeting spaces. Indeed, it seems some walls are a must in the modern office.This open concept is being balanced with private phone rooms and closed-door meeting spaces. Indeed, it seems some walls are a must in the modern office. Image Source: CCS-ArchitectureDespite all the ups and downs of the open-office trend, it seems that it is here to stay in one manner or another. The luxury corner office is being traded in for a more even-handed work atmosphere.As those who currently work in a completely open environment have learned, it is not always easy and certainly not always comfortable. Everyone needs their own work space, and many need a quiet retreat to sit and think without over-hearing their co-worker discuss dinner plans on the phone.Yes, the open-office trend is probably here to stay, but designers are keeping their mind open to the possibility that some closed doors are required.The open-office trend is probably here to stay, but designers are keeping their mind open to the possibility that some closed doors are required. Image Source: Olive-AvThe year 2015 is geared to be the year for the office overhaul, with more and more offices entering an open concept. As we have shown here, there are some pitfalls (especially when it comes to privacy), but in one manner or another a more open concept is here to stay.Do you work in a cubicle or an open office? We would love to hear your take on what works best for you!
59BTP-House in Bukit Timah, Singapore is a contemporary renovation project delivered by ONG&ONG, an architecture company with offices currently opened in 12 Asian cities. Initially built by the owner’s father, the dwelling lack plenty of features needed to accommodate the modern living needs of the current users: “The client wanted to have two master bedrooms along with four bedrooms – this required additional floor area as the original house area could not comfortably fit in the extra rooms”, explained the project developers. The challenge was met by adding an extra volume to the existing building to accommodate the new en-suite bedrooms.Several changes were made in order to ensure a contemporary look and feel, yet quite a few elements were preserved from the old house as well: “A stonewall in the original house was replaced with a concrete wall to give it a more modern finish whilst still staying true to the spirit of the earlier design. Wherever possible, the original material was retained, such as the plaster that forms the upper levels.” Opened towards the lush surrounding landscape through large expanses of glass, the new bedrooms are welcoming and soothing. [Photography by Derek Swalwell]
Dorrington Atcheson Architectscompleted the design and development of Freeman’s Bay Home, an inspiring contemporary family retreat located in Auckland, New Zealand: “This new build in the heritage suburb of Freeman’s Bay is a composition of concrete, steel and glass that gives a handshake to the past. Horizontal texture on the precast concrete walls echoes the linearity of weatherboards. The roof, styled as a Dutch gable and clad in steel, is conceived as habitable attic space that makes reference to the dormers of colonial times.” Open and closed spaces alternate, creating diverse and fresh living spaces.The original geometry of the residence is emphasized by a few intriguing elements: “At the base of the house, an elongated footprint spans 20 meters to lend a sense of generosity that is elevated by the double-height void above the living zone. The industrial palette meets its counterpoint in a cedar-wrapped insertion that curves into the living room but houses the garage. In the kitchen, a wall of cabinetry in black-stained particle board continues to enclose a powder room and coat cupboard, while lowered ceilings define an intimacy.” Freeman’s Bay House project also includes a separate home office and studio for the owners. Enjoy the virtual tour! [Photography courtesy of Dorrington Atcheson Architects]
Extravagant fabric design can stop you in your way. Whether it decorates a window you walk by or you simply see a photo of this modern fabric, the Eprisma extravagant fabric by Création Baumann looks and feels like a piece of art. Imagine a dull space being adorned with this magical-looking modern fabric and you will understand its power to inspire and amaze.Eprisma’s sophistication resides in the material’s capacity to bounce light of its texture. More a sculpture then a functional decor item, the Eprisma curtain is available in three colors: white, bronze or black. Made out of 100% Polyester, the sleek 3D fabric is made of geometric sequins that shape an unforgettable design. The semi-transparent curtain fabric will definitely become the focal point in any room.According to its designer, “an abundance of gleaming pyramid like triangles in sequin foil compete to outdo each other at the window. The curtain “Eprisma” from the Spring Collection 2015 by Création Baumann transmutes into a striking sculpture. The glistening triangles are appliquéd on the semi-transparent fabric adjacent to each other, in a closely packed strict geometric arrangement. The three-dimensional foil has been moulded and top stitched – an elaborate process. The result is something to behold. The three dimensionality generates depth, the multifaceted light display changes with the angle of incoming sun light.”This sculptural textile is a semi-transparent three-dimensional fabric reminding us of these innovative wooden textiles from designer Elisa Strozyk. Where do you imagine these two fantastic products displayed your own home?
Mineral Springs Project by Toronto architecture firm superkül consisted of an intriguing modern addition to a century-old farmhouse. Clad in Corten steel and ipe wood, the extension was developed as extra living space to serve the needs of a family of four : “Built on 16 acres of land in the Niagara Escarpment, a working countryside and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this house extension makes a strong connection to its natural environment and the existing century farmhouse on the site.” The new wing is connected to the main house through a glazed link.An array of visually contrasting materials was employed for the design of the modern extension: “Polished concrete floors run throughout the addition. White oak cabinetry lines the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom wall. New white oak millwork in the farmhouse, along with a new front door complete with a Corten steel shroud, tie the old and new together.” Sustainable elements include heat-mirror sealed window units, passive cooling systems, increased wall and roof insulation, geothermal ground source heat pump and radiant concrete floors. How would you comment on the overall design of this addition, in relationship to its environment? [Photography by Shai Gil]
Applecross House by Brian Burke Homes is an original looking two-level residence located in Perth, Australia, close to the Canning River foreshore. The aim of the architects was to maintain the essence of a traditional home, while planning an unconventional luxury retreat. Due to extensive use of glass and large terraces adjoining both levels, the retreat perfectly balances open and enclosed spaces. The swimming pool mirrors the construction during the day and completes the image of an opulent lifestyle.Local weather conditions had a powerful influence on the overall design and layout: “Opening up to the north allows the warming winter sun to penetrate deep into the heart of the home while the large roof and balcony overhangs keep the summer heat at bay. Two large formal entertaining areas, a massive gym, triple car garage, kids playroom, massive kitchen and a generous outdoor alfresco area comprise the ground floor while the four main bedrooms & a study cleverly cantilevered out over a garden make up the top floor.” Enjoy the gallery below and let us know if you find contemporary home design powerful and/or appealing! [Photography by ShutterWorks]
Owned by a father with grown children, the fascinatingly contemporary Chautauqua Residence was designed by Studio William Hefner. Collecting rare books is one of the owner’s biggest satisfactions, so the house was envisioned to shelter a home library anyone would be proud of. Overlooking a canyon in the Pacific Palisades, the panoramic home known as the Chautauqua Residence has plenty of intimate and social spaces that turn it either into an oasis of relaxation or the perfect place for entertaining.It would have been a pity not to take advantage of the panoramic views. So architect William Hefner and designer Kazuko Hoshino imagined the … as a site-specific dream home. Working with an amazing location, architects found it easy to determine the interior space arrangement and orientation for this astounding panoramic home. Interior spaces draw in light via large floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors that erase the lines between inside and out.Neutral colors and textures combined resulted in a visually appealing, warm and comfortable living environment. Imagine entering this panoramic home only to find a functional modern great room opening to an infinity pool spilling over panoramic views. Check out the photos before you decide what else this home would need to be your dream home. Enjoy the virtual tour!
Texture adds liveliness to any space. Image Via: Dempsy Hodges Construction, LLCYou know how sometimes you can just look at a room and know that something is missing? All the components of a complete design are there – color scheme, furniture, décor items – but the entire room just feels a little flat. If this scenario feels familiar, you are not alone and we might just have the answer you need: texture.For some reason, texture seems to always to be an afterthought when it comes to interiors and we’re here to change that. Our reasoning: Texture is the thing that makes a room pop. It’s what brings a perfectly fine design up to enviable levels.Don’t worry if this all seems new. We’re here to offer you a brief primer on the importance of texture, as well as how to effectively apply its design tenants in your own home. You’ll be crafting complexly textured rooms in no time flat.You should always consider texture when tacking design projects. Image Via: Blackbird InteriorsGood question. In design parlance, it is often defined as, “the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch.” Basically, how thing feel. Think about squishing soft carpet between your toes, running your hand along a rough wooden tabletop, or sinking down into leather couch cushions.Honestly, we think that the “sense of touch” part of the definition should be revised to say “perceived” sense of touch. Anyone who’s ever watched an interior design TV program or flipped through the pages of a magazine can tell you that you don’t need to have physical contact with a room to feel the power of texture.While texture may play a supporting role to the function of the space, it is no less vital to a design’s success. Instead of examples of texture above, picture trying to get comfortable on a seating set made of granite. Always consider how texture will elevate the overall experience of your design.Texture can be conveyed visually as well as tactilely. Image Via: Summer Thornton Design, Inc.Odds are, if you’ve been hanging around design websites like our site for a while, you’ve heard the term “visual weight” getting thrown around a lot. All that means is that an object – or space as a whole – has the ability to draw attention to itself. A healthy dose of texture will makes sure that is not a problem.Remember how when we talked about color theory, we discussed how using a warm or cool color can effect how a space feels? Texture works in a similar way. Rough textures are more likely to make a space feel intimate and grounded while smooth textures bring a sleeker more aloof tone to the room.You should also consider the placement of textures as you go about designing your room. Putting a smooth texture directly next to a rough one while make the rough object stand out more and seem weightier than if you space them apart. Use distance to determine how subtle of a visual weight you would like to achieve.Throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to add visual weight. Image Via: Bassett FurnitureWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, contrast is essential when essential when it comes to design because it keeps things balanced and also provides visual interest. Think about it: If everything is too similar, our eyes have trouble focusing and tend to glaze over. Use texture to make sure your most important elements pop.Restraint, of course, is also key, so try not to go too texture crazy. Stick to two or three distinct textures in any single space. Choose three when you want people to take in the space as a whole and stick to two when you want to emphasize a prominent focal point.Texture is particularly important if you’re working within a particular color palette where the shades are very similar. When a monochromatic or analogous color scheme, make sure you choose items that heavily contrast. When they come together, they will bring a sense of harmony to the space.Contrast textures to create an overall sense of harmony within your space. Image Via: Renew PropertiesAll that reasoning as to why you should use texture is well and good, but it only goes so far if you don’t know how to effectively bring it into your home. Here are a few ways that we suggest adding texture to a room:But, if you’d rather experiment digitally before buying, the Home Design 3D app lets you see how different colors and textures will look in your interiors – all via your smartphone.A note on choosing Texture vs. Pattern: These two things are usually talked about together, but they are two distinct – and necessary components of design. Pattern refers to a visual print while texture is about how something feels. Make sure you incorporate both into your interiors instead of choosing one over the other.Layer textures for added effect. Image Via: Noha Hassan DesignsWhether you choose a throw rug to warm up your bedroom room or a wooden coffee table to bring life to your living space, the importance of texture is clear. It completes the room. Texture is the component that helps elevate your interiors to the next level. Don’t be afraid of it in your own interiors. Instead, use it to create interiors that feel fit for a magazine.Do you consider texture when redesigning your interiors? What are your favorite ways to lend visual weight to space. Tell us in the comments…
Archlin Studio sent us photos and information depicting an inspiring apartment remodel in Yangming National Park,Taipei, Taiwan. The apartment has an amazing view of picturesque Mt. Shamao from its windows but it was very heavily partitioned by either walls or columns that obstructed the line of sight to the windows from most parts of the house. “We knew right away that the biggest asset of the apartment is its natural surroundings and the mission is therefore to come up with a design that connects the natural space outside with the internal space and maximize the amount of point of sights from the house to the windows and in return maximizing the amount of natural light permeating through the apartment“, explained the designers.To overcome the previously fragmented pockets of restrictive spaces, the studio removed the solid walls in the living area and built movable see-through bookcases between the study and the kitchen. The additions effectively define the spaces without closing off one from another. Similar strategies are implemented in the two bedrooms at the back of the apartment. Sliding timber veneer panels are used to substitute traditional solid doors between the two bedrooms to introduce flexibility in the configuration of the sleeping areas.Low key color tones and natural interior materials such as timber veneer and natural stones combine to design an apartment that fits comfortably in its tranquil surrounds. Be sure to check out the before&after photos uploaded at the end of this post for a better understanding of the project! [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Archlin Studio]
Emerald is a color that has consistently topped trend charts in recent times and its jewel-toned glamor is perfect for bedrooms with Hollywood Regency style. Malachite pattern and color is also a smart choice if you love that luxurious look in the bedroom while eclectic bedrooms drenched in green goodness steal the show with sheer audacity and flair.
Contemporary bedrooms are all about a neutral color scheme that is accentuated by pops of color in an elegant fashion. These colorful additions can be often swapped out with ease to alter the appeal of the room and its color palette with changing trends and seasons. While blue is touted as the most popular hue in the bedroom irrespective of style and season, green is the ‘chosen one’ for those who want to bring a hint of natural goodness indoors. Relaxing, elegant, bright and refreshing, it is a pleasant hue that comes in diverse shades ranging from the brilliant jewel-toned emerald to more subtle and modest minty greens.
Here’s another Caroma tub, this time in a pearly shade of white. In fact, this Caroma Pearl (also available through Reece) boasts an oval organic shape. Note the way its simplicity is the perfect contrast to the ornate wall in the product shot below. Would you choose an acrylic tub for your crisp, clean powder room? This Nazzano Acrylic Modern Bathtub from Modern Bathroom Vanities has the advantage of being nonporous, which means it’s very hygienic and easy to clean.
When you feel like the hectic schedule is putting pressure on you, just breathe. Take a break, stop the routine and enjoy the little things in life. For a few minutes, explore something new. Break the circle. Imagine that time stops for a while. Stop counting the seconds. Just smile. Be grateful for what you have and be a lively human being. Happiness is simple. And easy to …”accomplish”. For some, happiness is the people that surround them. For others, a trip to the Caribbean. But most of us, associate happiness with our homes. Happiness “happens”, most of the times, at home. Wandering and exploring different projects, we bumped into Waiatarua House, a residential project in Auckland, New Zealand, designed by Hamish Monk Architecture.
“One of the design challenges was to insert a bold (in size and placement) intervention into a sensitive bush reserve whilst still maintaining a sense of modesty and poetic. The desire was to seek out a quiet architectural expression, one that is devoid of excessive articulation and noise; a silent witness to its surroundings.” The open space living room interacts with the outdoor, allowing you to enjoy the wonderful relaxing surroundings. Private, warm and comfortable, the Waiatarua House open to an oasis of lush greenery. What a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the day!
Kropka Studio completed the design and development of “House in the Landscape”, a private residence in southern Poland. The project is situated close to the city of Zawiercie, on a spectacular sloping site, in the buffer zone of the Eagles’ Nests natural landscape park. One of the main goals of the design was to visually integrate the structure in its environment, by using natural materials and simple volumes. Gabion baskets filled with local limestone are used as part of the outer skin, while the bedroom cube and the triangle bay are made of wooden slats.
“House in the Landscape” consists of two main volumes (the residential zones) and a two-car garage. In between, there is a partially-covered courtyard, where the children like to spend their time. The L-shape ground floor accommodates the double-height living space, an open kitchen and the master bedroom with bathroom and wardrobe. On the top floor there are two bedrooms and a smaller bathroom. All interiors are spacious and welcoming, with massive windows framing views of the peaceful surrounding landscape. [Photography: Maciej Lulko]
Tea House and library is a project envisioned by studio Archi-Union Architect and located in the backyard of Archi-Union Architects’ office in Shanghai, China. Its uncommon appearance obeys the rules of modern design, while adding a little extra. According to the architects, the building “reacts to the site’s environment; the plan layout is a logically obscure quadrilateral, thus maximizing the amount of space. It is divided into three parts. A covered public area is formed towards the open space with the pool, with an enclosed tea house at ground level and library on the first floor where a small triangular balcony extends around the existing tree. Other more private spaces exist such as a lounge, reading room and service room which are arranged towards the rear of the building; a delightful transitional space was created to connect the public space and the private spaces”. Enjoy the interiors of this highly original Tea House and feel free to share your opinions below…
Architect Randy Bens imagined a home comprising natural elements that make it not only visually appealing, but also cozy and seamlessly connected to the outdoors. Located in West Vancouver, Canada, this modern family house was designed to display two separate courtyards that give the structure its H-shaped floor-plan. Known as the St. James Residence, the family home provides more than shelter and comfort, it raises the bar on new constructions in the area, inspiring neighbors to simplify and enjoy their lives.
The architect explains his vision and the way everything was implemented: “The resulting H-shape creates a great variety of exterior spaces (moss garden to the north, and paved surfaces and reflecting pool to the south). The upper floor aligns with the center of the H, and cantilevers over both ends of the lower floor. The cantilevers join the lower roofs making east and west facing porches. The result is a strong fascia / outline that travels both vertically and horizontally, defining the character of the house. The exterior materials are a composite panels with exposed fasteners (where there is no overhang), and stained cedar siding (where there is an overhang). The warmer wood material, with the finer scale, is close to you when you enter and exit the building. The flat, durable, grey panels form the wrapper.”
You might even remember the contemporary architecture geometry displayed by house on Chilliwack Street, from the same architect’s portfolio. We’d love to know which one you like best, so share your thought in the comments below and don’t forget to share!
The Picot Residence is an outstanding penthouse apartment with gorgeous decorations and precious furniture items designed by Pepe Calderin Design, in New York City. Inspiring and chic, the apartment tells the story of the enchanting items that adorn it. A powerful mix of colours and materials are displayed: daring red ornaments meet dark nuances, wood meets leather. Smooth textures add a touch of sophistication. The lighting system plays an important role in creating a special ambience. Elegance and preciousness define this space.
The designers were not afraid to use colours, bringing a fresh, energetic and a visionary approach to the design process. The result is a vivid interior, a space that “has no boundaries, and has endless possibilities.” There are no doors. As a consequence, a fluid space is created, making the apartment look larger than it actually is. With a wonderful and relaxing view over city’s skyline, the Picot Residence is one of the most amazing homes we’ve ever seen. The all-white bedroom inspires tranquility, while the library area connects the viewer with the exterior through floor-to-ceiling windows…
If you believe that green does not work in a trendy and minimal contemporary bedroom, then think again! A green accent wall is easy to shape and it brings that much needed warmth to an otherwise cool and mundane interior. Just repeat the color in the room using vivacious bedding, accessories, nightstands or even a couple of lovely vases and you have an inviting bedroom that is both energetic and relaxing. Those who feel that an accent wall in green or décor are not your thing can still add the color by placing a couple of potted plants to fill up those empty corners. It is an easy, eco-friendly and healthy choice to turn to that will instantly alter the mood in the bedroom.
Benches can be great for increasing storage space, given that you can find options that come with cubbies, shelves, and drawers. Check out this bench from Porch.com that has lots of room for extra towels. Another bench featured again on BHG has a drawer pullout where you can store all your accessories. Everyone knows standing up in the shower is the norm, but if you have a disability, or if you just want to safely be able to wash the soles of your feet, a bench in the shower can really help! Keep that in mind for your next shower remodel. Here’s a beautiful marble bench that extends from the subway tile in this shower, featured on BHG. You can get really creative with built-in shower benches by using different types and colors of material, like this example of a black tiled shower from Carla Aston. Or why not just keep it subtle? Extend the tile to include the bench, like this white and pink bathroom featured on BHG.