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Month March 2015 Archive

 Inspired by the Concept of an Umbrella: Botucatu House in Brazil

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Completed by FGMF Arquitetos, Botucatu House by FGMF Arquitetos was especially designed for a young couple in Botucatu, Brazil. Inspired by the concept of an umbrella, the architectures positioned the roof so that it protects the entire house from the sun during the summer: “This very simple concept brought up interesting aesthetic and spatial complexities as the project was being developed, enhancing this intention to create new spaces and so reinventing the traditional Brazilian terraces”, explained the team. The main level is expanded with a swimming pool and lounge area, offering opportunities for outdoor entertaining.Connecting the residence with its landscape was one of the main targets of the project: “The indoors is organized in diverse sections under a wide exposed concrete roofing in reference to the modern architecture from São Paulo, specially concerning the work of Vilanova Artigas. Each section is covered with different coating, improving immediate apprehension of the different functions. The terrace area that surrounds every ambient has simple height here and double height there, depending on where is the visitor located and relatively to the different internal volume.” Enjoy the virtual gallery! [Photos by Rafaela Netto]

 Creative Multi-Generational Family Home in Virginia: The Bridge House

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Bridge House by Höweler + Yoon Architecture is an original looking residence in McLean, Virginia, United States. The multi-generational house is located between a forest area and a suburban neighborhood, offering the inhabitants a feel of both lifestyles. The structure of the project consists of three volumes, each  interacting with the landscape: “Views from the suburban street through to the sloped landscape are informed by the programmatic volumes of the main floor and the bridge-like volume above, which frame the scene from interior and exterior vantage points. Each tubular volume contains a carefully organized relationship of private and public areas that correspond to the family’s generational structure”, explained the architects.A creative layout answers the living needs of all generations living in the residence: “The smaller volume of the ground floor is the private master suite for the grandparents (the clients) who are first-generation Korean-American immigrants to the United States. The larger volume of the ground floor is the collective public area of the multi-generational home, which includes all shared programs, such as the kitchen, family room, dining room and garage. Physically bridging between these two spaces is a long volume that houses the family’s second and third generations.” The interior design scheme includes furniture units made from recycled materials, as well as a fireplace and staircase fabricated from hot-rolled steel and wood. [Photos courtesy of Höweler + Yoon Architecture]

 Breezy Minimalist Black&White Residence in Poland: The “D74? Project

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Widawscy Studio Architektury completed the design of D74, a modern minimalist residence in Tarnowskie Góry, Poland. According to the architects, on the first floor you will find a private area for the residents: bedroom, bathroom, dressing room and daughter’s room. The bedroom is divided into two conventional zones: white – sleeping and black – wardrobe. Monochromatic colors of bedroom is broken by yellow accents in the form of a comfortable chair. In the middle of the interior a white bed was added, with an upholstered headboard fixed to the wall. The kitchen, dining room, hall and living room are four conventionally separate areas that actually link smoothly together, giving residents a sense of freedom.The ground floor is a bright and organized in an open space, dominated by harmonious combinations of white and wood, broken by accents of black and mint. Wooden ceiling stands out in the open space of the ground floor and adds lovely visual accents in the dining area. Black TV wall creates a contrasting background for the interior elements and visually  minimizes the visibility of the TV. Large windows overlooking the garden heighten the feeling of space. The bathroom on the ground floor is dominated by contrasts; the black and white tiles together with the plate in the triangles create a remarkable space. [Information provided via e-mail by Widawscy Studio Architektury]

 Upgrading Modern Architectural Heritage on the French Riviera: Villa Le Trident

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One of the few residences built on the French Riviera between 1925 and 1950, Villa Le Trident was initially designed and implemented by American modernist architect Barry Dierks. The project soon became an architecture highlight of the Mediterranean Coast. With the change of ownership in 2011, studio 4a Architekten took on the challenge to restore the residence. The team kept the original volume of the building and its snow-white exterior facade, but gave up most of the internal walls separating the rooms. Space, simplicity, elegance and light are general characteristics of the updated villa.The ground floor of the residence accommodates the living room, dining room and open-plan kitchen, a library and two guest bedrooms. The four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms are located upstairs. According to the architects in charge of the renovation, long windows, white furniture, white varnished oak solid wood flooring and glass elements give the rooms a bright and peaceful atmosphere. Striking elements dynamically interfere in the design scheme; the focal point of the living room is a suspended black fireplace which adds a highly contemporary touch, while ensuring a powerful contrast with the white window frames. The freestanding wooden cubes bring their contribution both aesthetically and functionally. Enjoy the virtual tour and discover more inspiring details!

 Oak Pass Residence in Beverly Hills Surrounded by Lush Vegetation

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Blending in with the natural surroundings, this modern residence in Beverly Hills USA offers two levels of luxurious living. The Oak Pass Residence by Walker Workshop is the main house on a site which also accommodates a guest dwelling and one hundred and thirty beautiful oak trees. Defined by a high level of transparency, the project opens its rooms towards the majestic landscape and there is also an inner courtyard for inhabitants can enjoy. The concrete walls and stairways are partially covered in vegetation, in an attempt to make the dwelling as unobtrusive as possible.According to the architects, the Oak Pass Main house uses an “upside down program, with public spaces above the bedrooms, which are buried into the hill and beneath a green roof of edible herbs. This relatively large house at 8,000 square feet appears much smaller and carefully integrated into the surrounding landscape, which includes over one hundred and thirty Coast Live Oaks. A seventy five foot swimming pool, with infinity edges on three of four sides, bisects the house and slips below one of the largest Oaks on the property.” Enjoy the virtual tour and let us know what you think! [Photography  by Joe Fletcher]

 Exceptional Faucet Designs From The World of 3D Printing

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You haven’t seen faucet design until you’ve seen these modern 3D printed faucets from DXV by American Standard. The shockingly beautiful 3D printed faucets are “the first ready-for-market working faucets to be printed in metal.” Proudly displaying unique designs, these amazing 3D printed faucets reinvent the way we use water. Their exceptional design adds value to our sensory experience every time we do an apparently mundane task like washing our hands.Visionaries of American Standard say that “the incredibly high strength of the alloy enables fine structures of concealed waterways that converge at the top, shortly before reaching the aerator. This construction creates the impression that water appears magically out of the faucet.”One of the new 3D printed faucets was adorned with an intricate latticework that confers a sculptural design edge. The second design has its waterways separated into four thin sections, making it appear more traditional, but stealing the light nonetheless. These two new faucet designs that offer a new perspective on how water reaches you are complemented by a third design. This one shapes focuses on “designing the experience of water.”This is how they imagined water flowing organically: “The water is presented to the user as a stream bouncing on rocks in a riverbed. To achieve this poetic effect, the design team used Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) technology to adjust each of the 19 waterways to achieve the proper effect. The rest of the faucet is extremely pure and simple not to distract from the play of the water.”The actual printing of a faucet takes about 24 hours and you can learn here how that is done through selective laser sintering. After having been printed, each faucet is hand-polished to get a “feel that mimics texture found on silver pieces after years of being hand buffed and polished.” Their estimated retail price will be somewhere between $12,000 – $20,000.Let’s see how that price drops over the next years, as with any evolving technology. Keep your fingers crossed for 3D printing, everyone, and let’s see how 3D printing is disrupting mainstream manufacturing processes. 

 Delightful “Grand Blvd Residence” in California Exuding Freshness Throughout

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Designed by Robert Thibodeau of Du Architects, the Grand Blvd Residence in Venice, California exudes freshness throughout. With a living surface of over 3,000 square feet, this three bedroom home encompasses gorgeous architectural and design elements. A rich color palette brings in a vibrant, dynamic feel, one that can be experienced from every part of the house. Two outdoor decks, an outdoor shower, a barbecue area and a site located just seconds from the beach make this a delightful family retreat.The layout of this home is practical and inviting: enter into the warm, modern open floor-plan with polished concrete floors, walls of glass, soaring redwood ceilings and a spacious gourmet kitchen. It is here that art blends in with the day-to-day rituals of the inhabitants, contributing to a healthy, beautiful space. Extensive use of wood also adds up to the cozy feel.  Move onto the second level and enjoy two generously-sized bedrooms and baths. The additional mezzanine spaces are perfect for an office or reading corner. The third level consists of a spectacular master suite, with a spacious built-in closet and a chic master bathroom with large his and her’s shower and soaking tub. See any details you find inspiring?

 The Difference Between Hiring A Designer And Going DIY

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Only you know whether you’d rather hire a designer or develop the space on your own. Image Via: Martha O’Hara InteriorsChanging the look of your home is never easy. It’s an investment of time and money that you want to continue falling in love with for many years to come. It’s no surprise that many people seek professional assistance to ensure that they create a timeless look.But hiring an interior designer isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer to be more hands on and thrive under the opportunity to create the look of their own space from scratch.But, how can you tell which camp you fall into? We’ve outlined some of the main differences between hiring a designer and going DIY, or doing the project on your own. Read them over before you start your next remodel. They’ll help you make the decision with confidence.Both professionally designed rooms and DIY projects look great in the end, but there are tradeoffs in the design process. Image Via: Harper Design from HarperCollins PublishersBefore starting any design projects, odds are you have some idea of what you’d like the finished space to look like. Since working with a designer often requires steady communication to get your concept across, take the time to consider how you see the space before you start hiring.For some of us, it’s all about the details. Are you the sort of person who already has the furniture for your new space picked out? Is your heart set on recreating a contemporary Japanese style? If you have very specific thoughts on how you would like to design the space, you may be better suited to tackling the space on your own so that you can be sure your vision is executed exactly how you want it.Others of us, however, are more about seeing the big picture. These are the people who know what they like when they see it, even if they have trouble nailing down exactly what it is that makes that look so appealing. In this case, a designer will probably be your greatest asset since he or she will be able to present you with a multitude of options and help guide you through the decision making process.Going DIY means that you can entirely control how the space looks, right down to the tiny details. Image Via: Andra Birkerts DesignIt goes without saying that DIY projects tend require a large investment of time. Though they are often worth it in the end, if you’re not prepared for the process, they can be more trouble than they’re worth. Before you start your design project, think long and hard about if you can handle the commitment or you would rather consult a professional.If you’re the type of person who is constantly clocking overtime hours at work or is in charge of balancing several family members’ hectic schedules, DIY may not be the best choice for you. It may be better to hire a designer who can do all the legwork of finding contractors and sourcing materials, so that you only have to give final approval.On he other hand, if you happen to have a good amount of free time at your disposal and genuinely think you’ll enjoy spending your nights and weekends giving your home a facelift, go for it. Renovating a space can be an opportunity to hone new skills, not to mention a point of pride that you’ll have for years to come.A designer will handle all the pesky details of your project, so you can just enjoy the end result. Image Via: Upholstery Club’s Shelly LeerWe’ve got some news for you: interior design projects are rarely a one or two person job, no matter how small they may seem. Even if you plan to tackle a lot of the physical labor on your own, the process will be much faster and more enjoyable if you can call in a few connections who are willing to lend a hand.When you’re considering doing the project on your own, it’s often a matter of calling in favors from your rolodex. Do you have any friends and family members who may be willing to help you help you tackle some of your more tedious tasks? Have you worked with contractors on a past project that you’d like to hire again, if need be? As long as you can think of a few names that you can turn to for assistance, you should be fine.But, if you have trouble coming up with some names, a designer may have just the connections you need. He or she will likely have a large network of contacts that they’ve worked with on previous jobs. You should have no trouble getting plenty of recommendations for qualified contractors.Designers have contacts that can assist with every aspect of the remodel. Image Via: IKEAEvery home design project comes with some element of cost and hiring an interior designer is no exception. Fox News estimates that most homeowners spend between $75-$250 per hour on their services. At that price range, cost absolutely needs to be a factor in your decision.Sit down and look at your budget for the project. Are you content with the idea taking a sizable chunk of money out of your budget to pay a designer? Considering the estimated hourly figure, did you also leave a cushion for extra expenses and unforeseen costs? If the answer to either one of those questions was, “no”, we’d strongly advise you to go the do-it-yourself route and put your money towards design elements that you’ll love.However, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford hiring a professional, you still want to be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. As you interview each designer make sure to ask them not only about their price, but what services are included in that figure. Make sure to ask if any additional fees apply and what the procedure is for handling additional incurred expenses.Repurposing items you already own such as using slip covers can also help you stay on budget. Image Via: Leslie Glazier @ PropertiesThe decision of whether to hire an interior designer or develop the space on your own can be a weighty one. While professional help may require a large investment of money, going DIY takes an equally big investment of time. Only you can decide which path is right for you, but we’ve got a few tips to make that right answer become clear. Read them over before you start your next project and let us know what you decide.Do you like to hire a designer or to redo your spaces on your own? What factor makes that decision for you? Tell us in the comments below…

 Contemporary Norway Island Home Sculpted Within a Harsh Terrain

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Located not far from the polar circle, this cottage-like dwelling on the island of Vega in Norway takes in its wild surroundings. Envisioned by Kolman Boye Architects, the project opens up towards wide panoramas of the Norwegian Sea and mountains rising from it. The overall design was inspired by the topography of the site, as well as the existing dwellings here: “We have aimed to build a contemporary Naust with an unpretentious presence and a distinctive character, developing themes from the vernacular architecture. Seemingly growing from the landscape, the house sits on a rock beneath a granite shoulder negotiating the uneven terrain“, explained the architects.The path leading to the house entrance is laid out with sand and seems sculpted in the harsh terrain, among the shrubs and boulders. The structure of the project was imagined on two floors, maximizing social spaces: “The upper level is comprised of smaller scale bedrooms and family rooms, whereas the lower level is a large gallery-like space structured around a stone hearth. Completed in linseed oil painted pine with untreated birch skirting, frames and reveals, the interior is kept subtle with a character of being hand-built, promoting tactile qualities and the attractive patina developed over time.” Each of the minimalist interiors features large glass openings, allowing the inhabitants to contemplate the ever-changing hues of the sea. [Photography Åke E:son Lindman]

 Blending Traditional New England Architecture with Modern Design: Skyfall Residence

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Balzer + Tuck Architecture from Saratoga Springs, New York designed the SkyFall Residence on six acres of this upstate New York horse country property to celebrate the slowing rolling hills, views of the Adirondack Mountains and sunsets. Their task was to blend traditional New England architecture with modern elements and open living. At the same time, the owners set out to design something that was built within the context of the property and not intrude on the natural surroundings.The interior and exterior were designed for comfort and entertaining. The top level encompasses the main living space with an elegant dining area, showcase-worthy front and back kitchen, butler’s pantry, four seasons room and 125 windows to ensure full enjoyment of the spectacular view. The finished lower level includes a guest bedroom suite, home office and theater room with surround sound and wall-to-wall projection screen.Oak cabinets with vertically matched grain make up the kitchen, dining hutch and entertainment area built-ins. Paired with hardwood floors and a neutral color scheme, the mixed materials work together to reflect the home’s naturally beautiful location. The front kitchen features open shelving to display china and glassware. A back kitchen provides additional utility space, which keeps the front kitchen uncluttered and primed as a gathering space.In designing this 4,700-square-foot home, designer Leah Margolis from Leah Margolis Design LLC, also from Saratoga Springs, New York, worked with the homeowners to achieve a joint vision of a cohesive space. Margolis introduced the owners to mid-century modern design beginning with an original Saarinen Tulip Table. The table started the ball rolling and they fully embraced it. [Information provided via e-mail by Balzer + Tuck Architecture; Photography by Randall Perry]

 french country style sofa

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The terms ‘contemporary’ and ‘modern’ are often used interchangeably when describing design. It’s a common faux pas and one of which this writer is certainly guilty. In design lexicon the two words have contrasting and quite distinct meanings. Describing their difference at a somewhat rudimentary level: contemporary makes reference to the present-day – that which is current and of the time – whereas modern alludes to the past, specifically that of Modernism (post the First World War) and mid-20th century modern design and architecture.

 Modern Japanese Home Customized For Dynamic Living Experiences

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Covering almost 166 square meters, the modern family house known as House in Kyobate can be seen rising in a part of Nara, Japan. Its versatility and modern minimalist elegance lies in its architectural simplicity. A mezzanine level looks down on the minimalist social spaces dressed in white and wood and extending to shape a wooden protrusion from the volumetric architecture on the facade. This mezzanine connecting different spaces of the house lies at owner’s feet traditional tatami flooring and constructs visual and social interaction between people at different floors. Alternating between vertical and horizontal wooden lines interrupted by bright walls, designer Naoko Horibe created a dynamic visual effect.
This effect is perfectly adapted to the flexible, forward-moving suite of interior spaces. From Design Milk, we find out that the concept behind this Japanese residence revolves around the family’s two young children. Their energy will fill up the house and the home’s flexibility will encourage their creativity. This customized concept reminds me of another project in the architect’s portfolio, the House of Kashiba. Its owners needed a bath remodel and requested to have a view of the courtyard – architects planted a tree instead and surrounded it with an enclosed courtyard. This way, the second floor bathroom overlooks the “captured” symbolic tree…

 dinner tables for small spaces

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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.

 Old Workers Cottage in Australia Transformed Into Modern Family Home

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Hamersley Road Residence is the result of converting an early 1900?s Australian workers cottage into a contemporary and practical family home. Despite being untouched for over 90 years, the existing building was rescued and rejuvenated by the creative team at Studio 53. The most striking element regarding this house design is a yellow ‘box’-shaped volume, gently placed on top of the ground floor behind the gable of the existing home. This distinctive element was wrapped in a perforated screen to shade and protect living spaces from the sun.
Here is more from the architects describing the unconventional addition: “The conception of the box is integral to the design of this house. Internally, the box is its own zone; bedrooms, bathroom and play room for the children. Externally the box defines the character of the extension, highlighting the change from existing house to contemporary home in a sympathetic but contrasting manner”. The intricately patterned screen enveloping the box on all sides offers a high level of privacy, but also opportunities for passive surveillance of the street. A perfect indoor-outdoor connection can be observed throughout the residence and each interior has its own vivid personality. How do you appreciate the outcome of this modern restoration project? [Photography by Christian Sprogoe and Chris Maher]

 Indian Monsoon Retreat Enhancing the Feeling of Freedom

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The more comfortable a home makes you feel, the better! Abraham John ARCHITECTS completed last year, in Khandala, India, the Monsoon Retreat, a dynamic and fluid living space which opens to the gardens, enhancing the feeling of freedom. Light plays an important role in this context, adding warmth and texture. Boasting an open floor plan, with the kitchen, dinning and living room interconnected, the house was specially designed to allow its inhabitants to get the utmost of the outdoor experience. The boundaries between the environments disappear, no matter where you stand in the house: each and every single room opens to a private outdoor space.
“Outdoor decks and landscaped gardens serve as expansive entertaining areas with artful illumination and mood lighting. Indoor courtyards, skylights, double height sliding-folding windows add to the outdoor feel.” The project accentuates the extensive use of sustainable features, to blend in the exotic surrounding site and highlight the clients’ respect for nature. The green materials, openness and earthy palette of colours allows one to experience nature and catch a breath of life. Naturally, the tropical rainy climate determined the structure of the house: sloping roofs were specially designed to withstand the extreme monsoons rains…

 curtains kitchen window ideas

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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.

 small bathroom designs

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We end today’s post by highlighting powder rooms with traditional style. Charming wall tile, an arched window and a clawfoot Astonian Luxor tub grace the light-filled bathroom below. While subway tile adds a modern look to this next featured space, striped curtains and (once again) a clawfoot tub put their traditional stamp on the room. In case you’re curious, that fabulous shower rail can be purchased at Lefroy Brooks. Be sure to check out the brand’s lovely bathtubs as well. The silver feet on this clawfoot tub make it a true standout. Surround it with black tile, and you have a powerful contrast that can’t be ignored.

 Modern US Home Inspired by the Ingenious Functionality of Scandinavian Design

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Showcasing an optimum indoor-outdoor connection, this modern residence designed by Jendretzki Architects offers a practical an healthy living environment. According to the architects, “this new pavilion added to an existing mid century house in the Rustic Canyon area of Santa Monica bordering the Pacific Palisades involved negotiating the high functioning requirements of a Los Angeles based family and their love for Scandinavian design and detailing”. Simple lines and ingenious functionality are two of the main features of the Santa Monica Residence.
The building has a total surface of 12,000 square feet and is well connected with its surroundings: “By utilizing a muted material palette of light toned wood and glass we were able to harmoniously engage the southern California sun and create a tranquil work studio and inviting home.” The interiors are characterized by a minimalist approach, with wood playing a major role in creating a friendly atmosphere; have a look and tell us what you think!

 baby girls bedroom

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As we alluded to earlier, green and white is a smart combination that works well in a modern bedroom and balances energetic overtones with a serene backdrop. The amount of green you use here depends on the size of the room and the amount of natural light that floods into your bedroom. Smaller bedrooms with too much green might seem both overwhelming and visually cluttered.

 green kids room

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We end today’s post by highlighting powder rooms with traditional style. Charming wall tile, an arched window and a clawfoot Astonian Luxor tub grace the light-filled bathroom below. While subway tile adds a modern look to this next featured space, striped curtains and (once again) a clawfoot tub put their traditional stamp on the room. In case you’re curious, that fabulous shower rail can be purchased at Lefroy Brooks. Be sure to check out the brand’s lovely bathtubs as well. The silver feet on this clawfoot tub make it a true standout. Surround it with black tile, and you have a powerful contrast that can’t be ignored.

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