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MENU Launches a Warm, Soulful Collection by Famed Midcentury Designer Arthur Umanoff

Permalink - Posted on 2020-10-01 03:16

“They tell a story in your home,” says his daughter, Wendy Umanoff, who helped the Danish brand bring these obsession-worthy pieces back to life.

“They tell a story in your home,” says his daughter, Wendy Umanoff, who helped the Danish brand bring these obsession-worthy pieces back to life.

American-born industrial designer Arthur Umanoff worked prolifically during the midcentury period, wielding cutting-edge materials with a forward-thinking attitude that helped forge the sleek, simple aesthetic of the era. Nearly 70 years later, Arthur’s approachable designs have proven timeless: On sites like 1stDibs and Incollect, his pieces are highly prized by midcentury-modern collectors.       

"He definitely accomplished a lot in his life," Wendy Umanoff says of her father, the prolific industrial designer Arthur Umanoff (1923-1985) whose work embodied the "less is more" approach. Now, his designs live on through a new collection by Danish brand MENU.

"He definitely accomplished a lot in his life," Wendy Umanoff says of her father, the prolific industrial designer Arthur Umanoff (1923-1985) whose work embodied the "less is more" approach. Now, his designs live on through a new collection by Danish brand MENU.

Courtesy of MENU

Arthur launched his career in the 1950s at The Elton Co., designing pieces such as walnut-veneer, modular storage cabinets and the Swing Chair, which had a shifting seat made possible with ball-bearing swivels. For Shaver-Howard Furniture in the 1960s and ’70s, he left his mark with furnishings constructed with jet-black wrought iron frames, slatted wood, and natural fibers. And for Contemporary Shells Inc., there’s his reinterpretation of the famous fiberglass tulip chair and table, along with his burl wood-and-chrome tables. The Pratt Institute graduate also designed clocks for Howard Miller.

An advertisement for Shaver-Howard Furniture from the 1960s bills Arthur Umanoff’s furniture designs as "informally styled for the budgeted contemporary interior."

An advertisement for Shaver-Howard Furniture from the 1960s bills Arthur Umanoff’s furniture designs as "informally styled for the budgeted contemporary interior."

Nicole Franzen

Now, midcentury-modern aficionados won’t have to look too far to own one of Arthur’s streamlined, accessible designs: Copenhagen-based company MENU has licensed five of his most celebrated pieces—a trio of planters, a pendant, a side table, a candle holder, and a wine rack.

The collection, which replicates his work from the 1950s and ’60s for companies like The Elton Co. and Shaver-Howard Furniture, was launched in early September. It’s expected to arrive in European stores in October and November, and will make its way into stores stateside in the next few months. 

Arthur embraced materials that were advanced for the time—metal, glass, and contoured wood among them—creating elegant, durable, and handsome pieces.

Arthur embraced materials that were advanced for the time—metal, glass, and contoured wood among them—creating elegant, durable, and handsome pieces. 

Nicole Franzen

"I think some of his best designs were done in the 1950s for Elton," says Wendy Umanoff, who’s based in Richmond, Virginia. Arthur’s daughter, she’s the lighting designer behind Umanoff Design, helping MENU get the collection off the ground. "My father’s earlier work wasn’t very ornamental. It was no-frills, and there was a simplicity in his designs."

Originally designed for Shaver-Howard in 1961, the Umanoff planter comes in three sizes at MENU: 27 inches ($139.95), 32.5 inches ($239.95), and 69 inches ($279.95). The powder-coated steel-and-rattan planter is an example of the black metal and natural fiber pieces that the designer created for the furniture manufacturer in the 1960s.

Originally designed for Shaver-Howard in 1961, the Umanoff planter comes in three sizes at MENU: 27 inches ($139.95), 32.5 inches ($239.95), and 69 inches ($279.95). The powder-coated steel-and-rattan planter is an example of the black metal and natural fiber pieces that the designer created for the furniture manufacturer in the 1960s.

Nicole Franzen

"The mix of materials is so intriguing, and the way that his products stand out, they are iconic in a way and don’t really look like anything else," says MENU’s design and brand director Joachim Kornbek Engell-Hansen, who has always been fascinated with the midcentury aesthetic. "That made me really interested in Umanoff." 

The partnership between MENU and Umanoff is a natural fit. Upholding the modernist principle of stripping away unnecessary ornamentation and focusing on the product itself, MENU’s designs are straightforward and beautifully executed, much like Umanoff’s midcentury pieces. 

The candle holder was originally a design for The Elton Co. from the 1950s. An Elton advertisement during that time reads, "Umanoff turns his unique talents to Gift Accessories with the same brilliant results."

The candle holder was originally a design for The Elton Co. from the 1950s. An Elton advertisement during that time reads, "Umanoff turns his unique talents to Gift Accessories with the same brilliant results." 

Nicole Franzen

Arthur Umanoff’s candle holder retailed for $3 in the 1950s; there was also a three-taper candle holder and a seven-taper candelabra available through The Elton Co. Today, the polished brass-and-walnut Umanoff candle holder retails for $99.95 at MENU.

Arthur Umanoff’s candle holder retailed for $3 in the 1950s; there was also a three-taper candle holder and a seven-taper candelabra available through The Elton Co. Today, the polished brass-and-walnut Umanoff candle holder retails for $99.95 at MENU.

Nicole Franzen

"The principle of ‘less is more,’ Umanoff managed that in a super-fine way for a lot of his products," Engell-Hansen says. "His designs stand out as icons even though they are simple." 

Engell-Hansen refers to Arthur Umanoff’s wine rack, which is one of his favorites in the new MENU collection, as exemplary: "It’s super simple. It’s just a few lines and a mix of three different materials." 

Arthur Umanoff's wine rack was originally a design for Shaver-Howard Furniture. "The wine rack was really popular and he made different versions of them—square ones, tall ones," says Wendy. "I think those leather straps are a play on his last name. They are U-shaped, and they could’ve been done straight. I always felt that way." The Umanoff black metal wine rack retails for $359.95 at MENU.

Arthur Umanoff's wine rack was originally a design for Shaver-Howard Furniture. "The wine rack was really popular and he made different versions of them—square ones, tall ones," says Wendy. "I think those leather straps are a play on his last name. They are U-shaped, and they could’ve been done straight. I always felt that way." The Umanoff black metal wine rack retails for $359.95 at MENU. 

Nicole Franzen

Bringing his classic designs back into production, MENU has created a dialogue linking midcentury and contemporary design.

"His designs and the materials he used are still really prominent today," Wendy says. "Organic materials are so popular right now. Natural materials don’t go away, and he was in touch with that early on." 

The Arthur Umanoff walnut-and-brass side table at MENU comes in two sizes and retails for $899.95 (45 cm) and $1,069.95 (60 cm). When Arthur originally designed the table for The Elton Co. in the 1950s, it came in walnut and brass or black and birch. At the time, it was advertised as "tray and table" and retailed for $16. "I’m really excited they chose this table," says Wendy. "He was really testing how far he could go here. It’s very elegant."

 The Arthur Umanoff walnut-and-brass side table at MENU comes in two sizes and retails for $899.95 (45 cm) and $1,069.95 (60 cm). When Arthur originally designed the table for The Elton Co. in the 1950s, it came in walnut and brass or black and birch. At the time, it was advertised as "tray and table" and retailed for $16. "I’m really excited they chose this table," says Wendy. "He was really testing how far he could go here. It’s very elegant." 

Nicole Franzen

For companies like Shaver-Howard, Arthur used wrought iron to create the framework for his pieces, ensuring hardiness while maintaining a restrained silhouette. He also incorporated natural materials like rattan, woven fibers, leather, and wood, which gave his pieces an affable warmth and approachability. 

"Modernism isn’t considered warm and fuzzy, so these materials helped to warm up a house," Wendy says of pieces like his iconic lounge chair with a contoured birch slat seat and woven fiber backing for Shaver-Howard. 

Arthur Umanoff originally designed his brass-and-walnut pendant light for Mobilite.

Arthur Umanoff originally designed his brass-and-walnut pendant light for Mobilite.

Nicole Franzen

Arthur Umanoff's brass-and-walnut pendant light retails for $489.95 at MENU.

Arthur Umanoff's brass-and-walnut pendant light retails for $489.95 at MENU. 

Nicole Franzen

"The objects that [MENU] chose, they tell a story in your home," Wendy says of the collection. "They are intimate pieces, and personal. There are special moments that happen around pieces like that. And it’s interesting that they are midcentury designs, but they feel so present."

Learn more about the Arthur Umanoff collection at MENU, which is slated to expand in the future.

Related Reading: A Design Duo Made in Heaven: Norm Architects and Menu


Own a Piece of Literary History by Purchasing a Flat Inside Oscar Wilde’s Former Home

Permalink - Posted on 2020-10-01 00:06

Located in London’s Chelsea neighborhood, the garden-level apartment features a modern, glass-walled addition.

The flat’s current owners commissioned a new addition at the rear of the building to make room for a modern kitchen and dining area.

At the height of his career in the late 1800s, Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde lived along the now-famous Tite Street in London. Oscar and his wife, author Constance Lloyd, purchased a townhouse on the street shortly after their wedding in 1884. Although Oscar lived at the property on and off in the subsequent years, he maintained his residency there until his infamous arrest in 1895. Today, the four-story building consists of several individual flats—one of which just hit the market.

Tite Street in London’s Chelsea neighborhood was home to nineteenth-century Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde from approximately 1884/85 until 1895. Originally number 16 (and later renumbered to 34 Tite Street), the building Oscar purchased with his wife Constance has since been subdivided into several individual apartments.

Tite Street in London’s Chelsea neighborhood was home to nineteenth-century Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde from approximately 1884/85 until 1895. Originally number 16 (and later renumbered to 34 Tite Street), the building Oscar purchased with his wife Constance has since been subdivided into several individual apartments.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

Inside the flat, a hallway leads from the main entrance, past one of the bedrooms and bathrooms, to a living room at the rear. A doorway where the building once ended now leads into a modern, glass-enclosed kitchen overlooking the garden.

Inside the flat, a hallway leads from the main entrance, past one of the bedrooms and bathrooms, to a living room at the rear. A doorway where the building once ended now leads into a modern, glass-enclosed kitchen overlooking the garden.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

During the decade or so that he owned the property, Oscar wrote his acclaimed and only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as his play The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar and Constance also raised their two children in the home.

The property was repossessed during the two years Oscar spent in prison after being found guilty of sodomy and gross indecency—charges for which he was posthumously pardoned only recently, in 2017.

Daylight pours into the apartment through the new glazed addition.

Daylight pours into the apartment through the new glazed addition.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

The flat’s current owners commissioned a new addition at the rear of the building to make room for a modern kitchen and dining area.

The flat’s current owners commissioned a new addition at the rear of the building to make room for a modern kitchen and dining area.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

Sliding glass doors open at the corner to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Sliding glass doors open at the corner to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

The patio also has an elevated section at the rear of the lot.

The patio also has an elevated section at the rear of the lot.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

The approximately 960-square-foot flat comes with two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Most of the home’s interior has been modernized, although some of the building’s original features remain intact.

One of the home’s most alluring features is its location—not only is it Oscar’s former home, but it’s steps away from other properties once occupied by literary giants such as Mark Twain and Bram Stoker. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for £1,695,000 (approximately $2,190,000).

A look at one of the apartment’s two bedrooms.

A look at one of the apartment’s two bedrooms.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

The second bedroom, located along the front of the building, is illuminated by natural light from several windows.

The second bedroom, located along the front of the building, is illuminated by natural light from several windows.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

A closer look at the building’s brick facade along Tite Street in London.

A closer look at the building’s brick facade along Tite Street in London.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

A plaque denotes Oscar’s home in an area famous for its other notable residents throughout history. The surrounding blocks feature other plaques marking the former homes of legendary novelists Mark Twain, Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), and Mary Ann Evans—who is better known by her pen name George Eliot.

A plaque denotes Oscar’s home in an area famous for its other notable residents throughout history. The surrounding blocks feature other plaques marking the former homes of legendary novelists Mark Twain, Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), and Mary Ann Evans—who is better known by her pen name George Eliot.

Photo courtesy of Hamptons International

Located along Tite Street in Chelsea, London, the flat is currently listed for £1,695,000 (~$2,190,000) by Hamptons International Sloane Square.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.


A Daring Home Clad in Shining Copper Armor Fends Off Natural Disasters

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-30 22:57

Set in a grove of coastal oaks, this art-filled home by TOLO Architecture has survived fire and flood.

Working closely with an arborist, the design team installed concrete piers in areas that would be within the drip lines of trees to enable the home to cantilever out and come close to the oak trees without damaging them. "It’s almost like an acupuncture needle," says architect Peter Tolkin. Areas of the home that needed plumbing and other services were located over more traditional foundations that were well clear of the trees.

When Cathie and David Partridge set out to build their own home in Southern California, they sought to create a contemporary dwelling that responded to their love of art and design. They wanted it to be open and airy, have a connection with the outdoors, and celebrate natural materials. It was also essential that the home accommodate the couple’s extensive art collection, which they had amassed over three decades.

Cathie and David Partridge, both avid art collectors, commissioned TOLO Architecture to design a new home for them to respond to their interest in art and design. Cathie is an artist and former dancer, and David—who sadly passed away shortly before construction began on the home—was the founder of a successful manufacturing company and was instrumental in launching UCLA’s business school. The couple were also committed patrons of a number of art organizations in Los Angeles, and were involved in the founding of MOCA, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and Kidspace Museum.

Cathie and David Partridge, both avid art collectors, commissioned TOLO Architecture to design a new home for them to respond to their interest in art and design. Cathie is an artist and former dancer, and David—who sadly passed away shortly before construction began on the home—was the founder of a successful manufacturing company and was instrumental in launching UCLA’s business school. The couple were also committed patrons of a number of art organizations in Los Angeles, and were involved in the founding of MOCA, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and Kidspace Museum.

David Hartwell

The couple found a one-acre site near San Ysidro Creek in Montecito with an existing single-story 1960s ranch house amidst a grove of native coastal live oak trees. "The trees are sacred here, and you’re not allowed to touch them when you build," says Cathie. "I thought, since I’m in the trees, why don’t we build a tree house?"

They approached Peter Tolkin and Sarah Lorenzen of TOLO Architecture, and together they decided that in order to realize the vision of a tree house, it would be necessary to build a new home rather than renovate the existing one, which was typical of American suburbia and the period in which it was built.

Working closely with an arborist, the design team installed concrete piers in areas that would be within the drip lines of trees to enable the home to cantilever out and come close to the oak trees without damaging them. "It’s almost like an acupuncture needle," says architect Peter Tolkin. Areas of the home that needed plumbing and other services were located over more traditional foundations that were well clear of the trees.

Working closely with an arborist, the design team installed concrete piers in areas that would be within the drip lines of trees to enable the home to cantilever out and come close to the oak trees without damaging them. "It’s almost like an acupuncture needle," says architect Peter Tolkin. Areas of the home that needed plumbing and other services were located over more traditional foundations that were well clear of the trees.

David Hartwell

Since the oak trees are protected, it was impossible to build a conventional home within the drip line of the trees. TOLO Architecture suggested floating the home above the ground to enable building as close to the trees as possible without damaging them. "We saw this project as a bit of a restoration project in terms of this almost mythical native landscape of California," says Tolkin. "It was about letting the oaks breathe again."

TOLO Architecture worked with landscape designer Wade Graham to create a garden of native and drought-tolerant plants. The spaces between the volumes of the home—outside the master bathroom and bedroom pavilions, for example—have also been planted to create small native gardens.

TOLO Architecture worked with landscape designer Wade Graham to create a garden of native and drought-tolerant plants. The spaces between the volumes of the home—outside the master bathroom and bedroom pavilions, for example—have also been planted to create small native gardens.

David Hartwell

The home has what appears to be a free-form plan, and it’s conceived as a series of pavilions connected by a glass circulation spine that also acts as a gallery space. The design team developed the plan by layering different pragmatic requirements—the drip line of the trees informed the location of each pavilion; the orientation of each pavilion responds to the movement of the sun throughout the day; and the function of each pavilion was driven by the clients’ requirements, such as space for family to stay and an art studio.

“I wanted the cladding to be something that had a scale that was broken down over the larger volume, and that felt like a kind of armor cladding that would protect the home,” says architect Peter Tolkin.

"I wanted the cladding to be something that had a scale that was broken down over the larger volume, and that felt like a kind of armor cladding that would protect the home," says architect Peter Tolkin.

David Hartwell

"I think it’s an architect’s fantasy to build a series of volumes clustered under the trees with an exterior circulation space—you could do that in Southern California, but you would be exposing people to the elements," says Tolkin. "We had this notion that the connection between the pavilions could actually be this really amazing space for art—so it’s not just a circulation space, but also a gallery."

The circulation space that connects the pavilions doubles as a gallery, so it’s much wider than a conventional corridor. This part of the gallery features a work by Tom Wudl (in the foreground), and a painting by Tam Van Tran (in the background).

The circulation space that connects the pavilions doubles as a gallery, so it’s much wider than a conventional corridor. This part of the gallery features a work by Tom Wudl (in the foreground), and a painting by Tam Van Tran (in the background).

David Hartwell

While there is a conventional front door that faces the street, there are also three other doors that lead into the landscape as you move through the circulation spine. The front door leads directly into a glazed entry foyer that looks through the home to a new oak tree that was planted at the end of the project, marking a desire to give back to the site.

“The home wasn’t an inexpensive house to build,” says architect Peter Tolkin. “At the same time, it doesn’t have very fancy interior finishing. We wanted to design a modern house with a certain kind of spirit, and we didn’t think that the interior materials needed to be overly fancy. The two places where we really splurged—I think to great effect—were on the tiles in the bathrooms and kitchen, and the copper cladding, which protects the house but also has a very strong visual component to it.”

"The home wasn’t an inexpensive house to build," says architect Peter Tolkin. "At the same time, it doesn’t have very fancy interior finishing. We wanted to design a modern house with a certain kind of spirit, and we didn’t think that the interior materials needed to be overly fancy. The two places where we really splurged—I think to great effect—were on the tiles in the bathrooms and kitchen, and the copper cladding, which protects the house but also has a very strong visual component to it."

David Hartwell

To the left of the entry foyer is a living room and dining pavilion, which is oriented to take advantage of the evening and afternoon sun. To the right is a kitchen volume with a space for breakfast dining that is oriented toward the morning sun. "My background is in photography, and there’s this notion of being like a photographer and taking a series of pictures," says Tolkin. "Each volume has a privileged view out to the landscape, and then another view up into the sky."

The dining and living room volume features an eclectic mix of furniture and opens up to an outdoor terrace that encourages engagement with the site and the trees. The circular artwork in this space is by Manny Farber.

The dining and living room volume features an eclectic mix of furniture and opens up to an outdoor terrace that encourages engagement with the site and the trees. The circular artwork in this space is by Manny Farber.

David Hartwell

Every room in the house has a view out to the landscape and another up into the trees or the sky. “In some places, you will see a branch or a treetop framed by a skylight, and in other places it’s about looking up at the changing sky,” says architect Peter Tolkin. The casual dining and lounge area in the kitchen volume, for example, looks over the hills in the distance.

Every room in the house has a view out to the landscape and another up into the trees or the sky. "In some places, you will see a branch or a treetop framed by a skylight, and in other places it’s about looking up at the changing sky," says architect Peter Tolkin. The casual dining and lounge area in the kitchen volume, for example, looks over the hills in the distance.

David Hartwell

As you move back into the site, the spaces become more private—a powder room, the principal bedroom and bathroom, a guest bedroom, and an office that doubles as another guest bedroom. At the rear of the site is a separate studio used by Cathie for her art practice.

The small, salmon-pink powder room offers a pop of color in the otherwise neutral gallery/corridor space. The painting in the background is by Steve Rodin, and the print above the table is by Jim Isermann.

The small, salmon-pink powder room offers a pop of color in the otherwise neutral gallery/corridor space. The painting in the background is by Steve Rodin, and the print above the table is by Jim Isermann.

David Hartwell

"You move through the gallery to get to these spaces, and the doors could be closed off if you really want to understand this circulation spine as a continuous space for art," says Tolkin. The polished concrete floor and simple, white walls provide a neutral backdrop for the artwork that evokes the feeling of being in a gallery.

“There was a notion that the floor and walls could be neutral surfaces, except for these very colorful rooms, and that would really help to make it feel like it’s the art that's the thing that you actually see,” says Tolkin. “When you put art on a more neutral surface, it tends to pop out and it’s very visible.” This section of the gallery features a painting by the client, Cathie Partridge.

"There was a notion that the floor and walls could be neutral surfaces, except for these very colorful rooms, and that would really help to make it feel like it’s the art that's the thing that you actually see," says Tolkin. "When you put art on a more neutral surface, it tends to pop out and it’s very visible." This section of the gallery features a painting by the client, Cathie Partridge.

David Hartwell

The couple’s art collection is diverse, representing their different tastes. This part of the gallery features work from Tam Van Tran (left), Yunhee Min (right), and a didgeridoo from Northern Australia.

The couple’s art collection is diverse, representing their different tastes. This part of the gallery features work from Tam Van Tran (left), Yunhee Min (right), and a didgeridoo from Northern Australia.

David Hartwell

The interior showcases engineered laminated veneer lumber (LVL), complete with visible lamination lines and stamps. The material is usually used for rough structural framing, and it would typically be clad. "We tried to take something that was rough, and not normally very visible in most projects, and let it be exposed," says Tolkin. "It has a rustic quality and a rough precision that, in my mind, relates to the kind of things that have come out of California—plywood skateboards, the Eameses’ plywood furniture… it ties back to a history of craft. That’s very much part of this house."

The geometric shape of the roof was driven by the desire to capture a “perspective view” out into the landscape, through both windows and skylights. “The volumes of the roof extend that view out into the landscape,” says architect Peter Tolkin. “The angle and shape of these various views were all connected, which is how the shape of the roof structure got produced.” As a result, each volume has a unique shape and section.

The geometric shape of the roof was driven by the desire to capture a "perspective view" out into the landscape, through both windows and skylights. "The volumes of the roof extend that view out into the landscape," says architect Peter Tolkin. "The angle and shape of these various views were all connected, which is how the shape of the roof structure got produced." As a result, each volume has a unique shape and section.

David Hartwell

The wet areas in the home—the four bathrooms and the kitchen—sit as a series of colored ceramic vessels against this backdrop of raw, natural materials. Each of these rooms is entirely clad in handmade tiles of a singular color—salmon pink in the powder room, pastel yellow and grass green in the bathrooms, ocean blue in the master bathroom, and electric blue in the kitchen.

The handmade tiles used to clad the wet areas are by Heath Ceramics. “It was definitely a splurge,” says architect Peter Tolkin. “I thought that there would be something very powerful about having these colorful, enclosed volumes. It’s almost like being inside of a ceramic vessel.”

The handmade tiles used to clad the wet areas are by Heath Ceramics. "It was definitely a splurge," says architect Peter Tolkin. "I thought that there would be something very powerful about having these colorful, enclosed volumes. It’s almost like being inside of a ceramic vessel." 

David Hartwell

“Cathie has an incredible love of color,” says Tolkin. “This was an opportunity for engagement that would feel very authentic—this kind of engagement with our clients is vital to what we do.”

"Cathie has an incredible love of color," says Tolkin. "This was an opportunity for engagement that would feel very authentic—this kind of engagement with our clients is vital to what we do."

David Hartwell

Originally, when the clients said that they wanted a tree house, Tolkin had considered a timber-clad exterior. As California is at high risk for wildfires, however, they wanted to create a fire-resistant armor. While they initially considered fire-rated timber, and then zinc, they eventually settled on copper.

The architects considered a number of different fire-resistant materials for the exterior cladding, including zinc and a special kind of pre-burnt wood. “It was my husband’s idea to do the copper,” says Cathie. “He said, copper is down, so buy all the copper you can buy!”

The architects considered a number of different fire-resistant materials for the exterior cladding, including zinc and a special kind of pre-burnt wood. "It was my husband’s idea to do the copper," says Cathie. "He said, copper is down, so buy all the copper you can buy!" 

David Hartwell

"The bark on these beautiful oak trees has a color that is sometimes silvery, and sometimes warm and almost coppery because of the way the earth reflects the light and the leaves flicker," says Tolkin. "We also wanted a cladding that would change and develop a patina over time, much like the trees change their color and transform."

"I was horrified initially," says Cathie. "I didn’t want a shiny house! I knew it would turn dark, but what was shocking is how it happened in just six months. Now it’s a very dark, almost purple color. It blends in, and it looks fantastic."

“There’s a ‘matter of factness’ to the detailing,” says architect Sarah Lorenzen. “You see this in the LVL beams, and the chain-link fence—very much like you’d see in a skate park—that forms the handrails and the fence for the exterior.” She likens this use of materials to the work of the L.A. School of Architecture in the 1970s and ’80s. “Architects, like Frank Gehry, had a real interest in how materials fit together, but not in a precious way,” she says.

"There’s a ‘matter of factness’ to the detailing," says architect Sarah Lorenzen. "You see this in the LVL beams, and the chain-link fence—very much like you’d see in a skate park—that forms the handrails and the fence for the exterior." She likens this use of materials to the work of the L.A. School of Architecture in the 1970s and ’80s. "Architects, like Frank Gehry, had a real interest in how materials fit together, but not in a precious way," she says.

David Hartwell

This protective approach to the design of the home—both in the cladding and the raised platform on which it sits—is essential given the volatile nature of the region, and it has already saved the home on two occasions. The fireproof cladding protected the home from the devastating bushfires that ravaged the area in 2018; and the following year, the raised concrete piers saved the home from floods and mudslides, which damaged many of the neighboring homes. "My house survived both the fire and the mud, which is incredible," says Cathie. "It’s a miracle."

A concept diagram of Branch House by TOLO Architecture shows how the home changes as you move around and through it.

A concept diagram of Branch House by TOLO Architecture shows how the home changes as you move around and through it.

TOLO Architecture

"This home isn’t designed to be seen from one vantage point as a complete object—it’s seen as you move around it," says Tolkin. "It’s about assembling something new from many different influences—the architecture of the ’60s and ’70s, the California Arts and Crafts tradition, the architecture of Southern California that pays homage to the modernists... It’s also about letting the relationship with the client filter through in a way that really affects the project. That relationship with the clients was really my favorite aspect of this whole project."

Site plan of Branch House by TOLO Architecture

Site plan of Branch House by TOLO Architecture

TOLO Architecture

Floor plan of Branch House by TOLO Architecture

Floor plan of Branch House by TOLO Architecture

TOLO Architecture

Elevations and section of Branch House by TOLO Architecture

Elevations and section of Branch House by TOLO Architecture

TOLO Architecture

Related Reading:

This Breathtaking Ranch Home Was Constructed Without Felling a Single Tree

A Dramatic Copper Roof Funnels Light Into This Sculptural London Home

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: TOLO Architecture / @toloarchitecture

Construction: RHC Construction

Structural Engineering: Joseph Perazzelli Structural Engineering

Civil Engineering: Michael Viettone Civil Engineering

Landscape Design: Wade Graham Landscape Studio

Lighting Design: Lighting Design Alliance

Energy Consultant: Monterey Energy Group

Arborist: Westree

Photographer: David Hartwell


Budget Breakdown: An Architect Couple’s Net-Zero Home and Studio Runs on $12 a Month

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-30 21:27

eMZed Architecture builds a sustainable, durable, high-performance residence and storefront in Portland, Oregon, for $950,000—an impressive feat given the challenges.

Keyan Mizani and Alexia Zerbinis work from a ground-floor storefront studio that could be converted to either a garage or a leasable accessory dwelling unit.

Keyan Mizani and Alexia Zerbinis, the husband-and-wife architects behind eMZed Architecture, have grown accustomed to passers-by pausing on the sidewalk outside their home and studio in Portland, Oregon.

"I’m just thrilled by the number of exclamations I hear, how intrigued people are," Keyan says. "We did build this as a demonstration house. We wanted to show what you can do with limited means."

$6,000
Deconstruction & Salvaging (After City Grant)
$382,250
High-Performance Shell
$2,400
Mini-Split HVAC
$10,100
Zehnder Energy Recovery Ventilator
$32,000
Cabinets & Counters
$3,000
Sliding Sunscreen
$12,200
9.5 kW Solar PV Panels (After Rebates)
$19,200
Wood Flooring
$5,775
Wood Stairway
$19,500
Tile
$35,000
Drywall
$13,575
Steelwork
$418,000
Construction Costs


Grand Total: $950,000
The Treehouse uses a combination of materials, native plants and design cues to break down its form into distinctive pieces.

The Treehouse uses a combination of materials, native plants, and design cues to break down its form into distinctive pieces.

Gabe Border Photography

With its pitched roof, inviting front porch, and lush landscaping, the Treehouse, as its designer-owners call it, fits well into its leafy neighborhood of early 20th-century bungalows. Looking closer, though, reveals not only an ultra-green home with a carbon footprint dramatically less than that of a conventional design, but also an architectural Swiss Army knife of indoor/outdoor configurations, spaces within spaces, and creative use of materials to save money.

In the kitchen, where fresh air flows continuously in Oregon's mild climate, Ikea cabinetry helped keep costs  down, while the same maple surface was used for an island and flooring to achieve visual clarity.

In the kitchen, where fresh air flows continuously in Oregon's mild climate, IKEA cabinetry helped keep costs  down, while the same maple surface was used for an island and flooring to achieve visual clarity.

Pete Eckert

The couple’s ground-floor architecture studio not only has its own glass storefront entrance, but can be converted to either an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or a garage. A sliding exterior sunscreen on the top floor helps minimize summertime heat gain.

The cantilevered front balcony can become an extended part of the living room thanks to a sliding glass partition behind it, and its automated roll-down screen can make it feel even more like interior space. A guest room and full bath on the ground floor can be closed off with pocket doors to create a private suite in keeping with barrier-free design principles, should the couple need as they age. 

The home's cantilevered front balcony utilized pre-stained cedar to save money versus Shou Sugi Ban charred siding.

The home's cantilevered front balcony utilized pre-stained cedar to save money versus shou sugi ban charred siding.

Pete Eckert

Yet those neighbors pausing on the sidewalk may miss Treehouse’s most important design feature: its achieving net-zero energy.

While the couple readily admit their $950,000 budget doesn’t seem cheap, the amount—$250 per square foot—represents a home and a separate design studio (as well as potential revenue if the space is leased as an ADU). But more importantly, Keyan and Alexia pay nothing for electricity or heating while staying comfortable year-round. That’s because the house has as robust a building envelope as a certified Passive House.

Although testing confirmed the home is as well-sealed as a certified Passive House, it's designed to be filled with light, including a frosted-glass front door and a stairway teeming with windows.

Although testing confirmed the home is as well-sealed as a certified Passive House, it's designed to be filled with light, including a frosted-glass front door and a stairway teeming with windows.

Gabe Border

"We focused on creating a sustainable, highly durable, high-performance building shell," explains Keyan, "which costs money: specialized windows, an extra layer of insulation wrapped around the outside of the structure, and super energy-efficient HVAC equipment and lighting. The challenge was, ‘Can we do this for about $250 a square foot?’"

Glo European thermally broken aluminum dual-pane windows, shown here in the master bedroom, give the couple a corner view over the treetops without compromising the building envelope, and can be opened in a variety of configurations.

Glo European thermally broken aluminum dual-pane windows, shown here in the primary bedroom, give the couple a corner view over the treetops without compromising the building envelope, and can be opened in a variety of configurations.

Gabe Border

The couple, who share the five-bedroom, 3,200-square-foot home and office with two teenage sons (along with Keyan’s mother for several recent months in the guest suite), estimate they spent about $10 extra per square foot on the thermal envelope. This allows their 9.5-kiloWatt rooftop photovoltaic system to supply the home’s total electricity and heating needs throughout the year (more than they need in summer and slightly less in winter, equaling out over the course of a year), save for a $12 grid-connection fee.

A pair of vintage Ingmar Relling chairs anchor a living room that can take on an indoor-outdoor feel once its moveable wall of front-balcony glass is opened.

A that can take on an indoor/outdoor feel once its moveable wall of front-balcony glass is opened.pair of vintage Ingmar Relling chairs anchor the living room.

Pete Eckert

Once the glass is opened, the balcony joins the living room for an indoor/outdoor feel.

Once the glass is opened, the balcony joins the living room for an indoor/outdoor feel.

Pete Eckert

To offset the investments in insulation and other high-performance systems, the couple found other ways to save. They used HardiePlank fiber-cement lap siding for much of the exterior instead of wood. What appears to be Japanese-style shou sugi ban charred siding on the balcony is actually just stained cedar.

Keyan Mizani demonstrates how the movable glass doors in front and back can make the great room one free-flowing, indoor-outdoor space.

Keyan Mizani demonstrates how the movable glass doors in front and back can make the great room one free-flowing, indoor/outdoor space.

Gabe Border

Inside, walls are mostly simple drywall, and the kitchen makes use of IKEA cabinetry as well as simple birch plywood. They also made creative use of color, creating a green, blue, and orange painting scheme to further break down the house into parts; outside, plants like tangerine scream, witch hazel, and Washington Hawthorne trees were chosen in part for their matching tones.

While the house can be sealed as tightly as a Thermos, the design is all about fresh air and natural light. Glass patio doors at the rear dining area act in tandem with the front-balcony movable glass to make the inside feel like an extension of the outdoors. Above each doorway is a transom window.

A sliding exterior screen helps keep the master bedroom cool, while the design cuts into the facade to create more corners and windows for better light. Rooftop photovoltaic panels provide all of the home's energy needs.

A sliding exterior screen and large overhang helps keep the primary bedroom cool, while rooftop photovoltaic panels provide all of the home's energy needs.

Pete Eckert

"We always try to paint with light," Alexia says. "Make the shapes simple and beautiful, and let the light make them sing."

The Treehouse design may stop pedestrians in their tracks not just because it balances traditional and contemporary sustainable design principles, but also because it reflects Alexia and Keyan’s complementary architectural skills. It’s teeming with ingenious design moves, but also retains a visual clarity.

Keyan Mizani and Alexia Zerbinis work from a ground-floor storefront studio that could be converted to either a garage or a leasable accessory dwelling unit.

Keyan Mizani and Alexia Zerbinis work from a ground-floor storefront studio that could be converted to either a garage or a leasable accessory dwelling unit.

Pete Eckert

"It would be easy to say that we split by personality into big picture, pattern ideas (me) and precise, detailed ideas and project execution (Keyan)," Alexia adds, "but that would be missing the alchemy of how it gets mixed up between the two of us. Keyan is good at generating many options; I’m often useful in paring them down. We both like residential projects as an act of technical problem solving and tailoring to merge the pragmatic and the poetic."

More Budget Breakdown:

Two Couples Turn a Dated Cabin Into a Dreamy Mountain Retreat for $39K

A Santa Barbara Ranch House Gets a Sophisticated New Look for $626K

A DIY Couple Turn a Bus Into a Dreamy, Off-Grid Home for $20K

Project Credits:

Architect: emZed Architecture

Builder: Birdsmouth Construction

Structural Engineer: BK Engineers

Energy Modeling and Net-Zero Certification: Earth Advantage


An Updated Log Cabin–Style Home in Colorado Seeks $2.4M

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-29 22:36

Just a couple miles from the Steamboat Springs Resort, this mountain retreat nestles within an aspen grove.

Back of home that overlooks east side of aspen grove.

Conveniently located four miles from downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this newly remodeled home is in a prime location for skiing while offering lush forest views and upscale living year round. Built with reclaimed materials, the property echoes the aspen trees just outside while enjoying privacy and seclusion on its site within an expansive grove.

A close-up of the living area displaying the gas fireplace.

A tiled gas fireplace warms up the open-plan living and dining area, and sliding glass doors open up to the wraparound deck.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Another view of the living room offers a glimpse into the kitchen.

Another view of the living room offers a glimpse into the kitchen.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

With a design that nods to the quintessential log cabin, the 2,717-square-foot residence borrows its interior scheme from the natural colors of the gray aspens. Elegant steel finishes elevate the kitchen, bath, and living areas, which also complement the pale wood exterior and interior. 

The updated kitchen features high-end, stainless steel countertops appliances, and finishes with glass cabinets and kitchen island. Contrasting exposed  beam ceiling visually opens up space.

The updated kitchen features high-end, stainless-steel countertops appliances and finishes with glass-front cabinets. Contrasting exposed beams run across the ceiling.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

A close-up of the kitchen displaying the drop-in sink, pull-down spray faucet, and the updated gas oven with range hood.

Stainless-steel countertops run throughout the kitchen, which features a drop-in sink with a pull-down spray faucet and an updated gas oven. A pass-through opening offers a peek into the living and dining area.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Dining area features pendant and recessed lighting.

The entrance to the dining area is flanked by logs.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

While cooler wood undertones make up the majority of the home, the contrasting floors feature radiant floor heating that visually and literally warm up the interior.

Room offers picture windows and open floor plan connecting the bathroom just behind sleeping area.

The primary en-suite bedroom offers views of the aspens. 

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

The bathroom located just behind the sleeping space features picture windows that open up views to aspen tree grove.

The bathroom located just behind the sleeping space features picture windows that open up views to aspen tree grove.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

For any mountain escape, outdoor views are a must. Large picture windows invite in natural light and feature the natural surroundings.

Bedroom across from master bedroom.

Another bedroom is located across the hall. 

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Bathroom features pale wood countertops to align with exterior and interior.

Green tiles and a pale wood vanity echo the landscape. 

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

In winter, the property is an ideal home base for snow activities by being just a few miles from the local Steamboat Ski Resort. After a long day on the slopes, residents will be able to wind down in the spa or hot tub, or warm up by the gas fireplace and fire pit. And during the summer, the property features a large, wraparound deck to take in the fresh mountain air.

Bedroom on ground floor featuring sliding glass doors and full bathroom.

A ground-floor bedroom leads to the lower deck. 

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Enclosed shower is attached to picture windows for open views of the surrounding forest area.

Mosaic tiles enliven another bathroom with a rainfall shower head.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Another view of the back of the home featuring the large, wrap-around deck located on the first floor.

The residence borders more than 13,000 acres of Forest Service land. The lower-level deck leads to a backyard and hot tub area.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

Large wrap-around deck area provides ample room for comfortable, outdoor furniture.

A large wraparound deck area provides ample room for lounging and entertaining.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

View from wrap-around deck on first floor of property.

An outdoor dining space is ideal for summer nights.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty

With three bedrooms, three full baths, and partial bathrooms, this refined home offers a taste of log-cabin living with refined amenities.

Mudroom offers exposed, shelf storage and stainless steel hooks with picture window overlooking aspen grove.

The mudroom offers built-in bench seating and shelving.

Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty


A Towering Tree Grows at the Heart of This Super Skinny Hanoi Home

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-29 22:25

ODDO Architects creates a spacious and airy home that’s just under 14 feet wide.

Tasked with creating a new home in the middle of Hanoi, Vietnam, ODDO Architects sought to incorporate essentials—like plenty of natural light and ventilation.

ODDO Architects describe Hanoi as a city dense with people, traffic, and air pollution. They say it lacks parks and public spaces, but it’s strong in Vietnamese culture and tradition. In 2019, they designed the CH House for a family of six spanning three generations, drawing on tradition to create a tranquil refuge in the middle of the bustling city.

Tasked with creating a new home in the middle of Hanoi, Vietnam, ODDO Architects sought to incorporate essentials—like plenty of natural light and ventilation.

Tasked with creating a new home in the middle of Hanoi, Vietnam, ODDO Architects sought to incorporate essentials—like plenty of natural light and ventilation.

Hoang Le

A window breaks up the street-facing facade composed of perforated cement blocks.

A window breaks up the street-facing facade composed of perforated cement blocks.

Hoang Le

The project started with "a typical plot for long and narrow local tube houses," says the firm. The site allotted them enough space for a home measuring just under 14 feet wide and 114 feet deep. In order to admit enough light and air flow into such a long and narrow footprint, the firm drew inspiration from traditional Hanoi houses with interior courtyards. 

From inside, a view of the steel-and-glass framework behind the cement blocks, which ensures light flows through the narrow home. Glass panels open to increase airflow, and an integrated planter fosters foliage.

From inside, a view of the steel-and-glass framework behind the cement blocks, which ensures light flows through the narrow home. Glass panels open to increase airflow, and an integrated planter fosters foliage.

Hoang Le

To create that same courtyard effect across the elongated, five-level plan, the firm formed empty voids by stepping the various floor plates. The volumes are capped with sections of clear roofing (notably where stairs are located) that allows light to cascade deep into the center of the home. "This design makes the space properly open, and provides an unexpected spacious feeling, despite the limited width of the house," says the firm.

On the exterior, a perforated cement block screen overlays an internal framework of steel and glass. Opening the glass panels allows air to flow throughout the entire house. Exterior terraces (one is located at the rooftop) offer even more access to the outdoors.

Inside, integrated planters are interspersed at every level of the home. Filled with trees, trailing vines, and clusters of tropical houseplants, the planters offer a lush green contrast to the spare material palette, and the plants cast a tranquil effect. 

At just under 14 feet wide, the CH House could have felt cramped. But the architects created empty volumes within the plan to make it feel more spacious and airy. Standing in the double-height library, where there’s enough vertical space for a tree to grow, one can see down into the shared living areas and up into a kid’s bedroom at the fifth floor.

At just under 14 feet wide, the CH House could have felt cramped. But the architects created empty volumes within the plan to make it feel more spacious and airy. Standing in the double-height library, where there’s enough vertical space for a tree to grow, one can see down into the shared living areas and up into a kid’s bedroom at the fifth floor.

Hoang Le

Staggered floor and ceiling heights maintain sight lines into the different rooms in the home.

Staggered floor and ceiling heights maintain sight lines into the different rooms in the home.

Hoang Le

Natural light cascades over the stairwells to reach the tree growing in the dining room.

Natural light cascades over the stairwells to reach the tree growing in the dining room.

Hoang Le

Shop The Look

Sossego Amsterdam Table

The Netherlands city steeped in rich architectural history is famous for the luxurious gabled brick buildings lining her crisscrossing canals. Dating from 1306, through the Dutch Golden Age, and into the 21st century, the capital city of Amsterdam is a living gallery of modern mixed with Renaissance and the baroque. Italian, Roman, Dutch functionalist, traditionalist, it’s all there. With a nod to this great city, the Amsterdam table offers clean lines with geometric angles cut into its base and legs. Modern table by Aristeu Pires made of Brazilian wood. Tops available in wood, glass, or Corian ®.

Maxim Lighting Dianne Mini Pendant

A familiar theme with a fresh feel. The Dianne Mini Pendant by Maxim Lighting has a way of fitting in with contemporary or traditional décor. Its pear-shaped shade of clear glass suffuses brightness and is perfect for showcasing a vintage-inspired lightbulb (not included). Perfect for adding simple elegance, ambience and task lighting to kitchens, dining rooms and living spaces, this is a dimmable ceiling fixture that can be adapted to hang at the desired height. Maxim Lighting, headquartered in California, offers high-quality lighting fixtures in a variety of designs, finishes, and glass styles that complement contemporary and transitional interiors. Photo Courtesy of Lumens

Hans J. Wegner Wishbone Chair

Using the best natural materials and refined steam-bent methods, Wishbone is made to last for generations. In 1944, Hans Wegner began a series of chairs that were inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Ming Chairs. One of these chairs was the Wishbone Chair (1949), also known as the “Y” or “CH-24,” which has been produced by the Danish firm Carl Hansen & Søn since 1950. The son of a shoemaker, Wegner was trained as a cabinetmaker before attending the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, after which he began his career as an architect. Just three years later, Wegner started his own design office, and his work soon caught the eye of Carl Hansen. The Wishbone Chair fit what the Hansen company was looking for to supplement the heavier forms popular at the time. Made in Denmark.

"Nature is an important element that provides a positive effect on people’s mental health," notes the firm. "However, the rapid development of large cities has resulted in a lack of green spaces for people to relax. That is why planting trees and plants inside the house is necessary—and it helps create a peaceful living space to release stress."

The constrained material palette—from the cast concrete stairs and minimal metal railing, to the simple wood accents—further instills a sense of tranquility.

The double-height volume over the kitchen and living room creates an airy feel. An elevator provides an alternate way to ascend to the upper levels.

The double-height volume over the kitchen and living room creates an airy feel. An elevator provides an alternate way to ascend to the upper levels.

Hoang Le

At the first floor, a water garden sits in an integrated basin. Folded metal stairs climb above the water’s surface.

At the first floor, a water garden sits in an integrated basin. Folded metal stairs climb above the water’s surface.

Hoang Le

An exterior terrace lies just off the main living spaces on the third floor. It can be seen through the window at the stairs.

An exterior terrace lies just off the main living spaces on the third floor. It can be seen through the window at the stairs.

Hoang Le

The five-level floor plan is divided into two zones, with a commercial business occupying the lower two levels. The staggered floor and ceiling heights create intimacy in the private quarters and a sense of openness in the main living spaces.

"The common spaces of the family area (such as the living room, library, dining room, and kitchen) are positioned at different levels with varying ceiling heights in order to compose an open, continuous space that facilitates ease of communication among the family members," explains the firm.

The stepped wooden platforms provide built-in seats for the library. Down the stairs to the left is a guest room.

The stepped wooden platforms provide built-in seats for the library. Down the stairs to the left is a guest room.

Hoang Le

After all, the firm’s ultimate goal was to create an urban refuge where the family could slow down, rest, and more easily connect with one another. "In the world of modern technology, with smart phones and televisions, family ties are weakened," says the firm. "The space design emphasizes connections among the family members, especially in the context of today’s hurried lifestyle."

Dappled shadows are cast by the exterior concrete screen and the cantilevered tread at the stairs.

Dappled shadows are cast by the exterior concrete screen and the cantilevered tread at the stairs.

Hoang Le

The fifth-floor kid’s bedroom is made to feel more cozy with wood flooring and folding wooden screens, the latter of which facilitate privacy or connection to the main spaces.

The fifth-floor kid’s bedroom is made to feel more cozy with wood flooring and folding wooden screens, the latter of which facilitate privacy or connection to the main spaces.

Hoang Le

Stairs lead from the kid’s room to a washroom, and trailing vines spill into the void.

Stairs lead from the kid’s room to a washroom, and trailing vines spill into the void.

Hoang Le

The rooftop terrace has an incredible view of the surrounding city.

The rooftop terrace has an incredible view of the surrounding city.

Hoang Le

CH House first- and second-level floor plans

CH House first- and second-level floor plans

Courtesy of ODDO Architects

CH House third- and fourth-level floor plans.

CH House third- and fourth-level floor plans.

Courtesy of ODDO Architects

CH House fifth-level and roof floor plans.

CH House fifth-level and roof floor plans.

Courtesy of ODDO Architects

Related Reading:

Indoor Gardens Bring Light and Air Into This Brick Home in Vietnam

A Vietnamese Abode Draws In Light With a Glass Atrium

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: ODDO Architects

Construction: B-Up Construction

Structural Engineer: Ngo Anh Tuan

Civil Engineer: ODDO Architects

Landscape Design: ODDO Architects

Interior Design: ODDO Architects


This $1.2M California Midcentury House Looks Like It Came Straight Out of “Mad Men”

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-29 20:42

Architect Gus Stamos built the canyon home for his family in 1968—and not much has changed since.

A corner fireplace separates the living area from a formal dining room. Both the living room and dining are offer direct access to a covered balcony overlooking the canyon.

Available for only the second time since its construction in 1968, a recently listed home in Glendale, California, is a haven for someone seeking a retro-style interior. Designed by architect Gus Stamos for himself and his wife, Sophie, the family reportedly lived in the home for decades. The current owners, who purchased the home in 2002, retained most of the original finishes, replacing only the flooring and painting some of the concrete block walls.

Located along a winding dirt road in Glendale's <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">Chevy Chase Canyon, this '60s-era home was for decades the family residence of Los Angeles–area architect Gus Stamos. The home's second owners recently listed the home for sale in most original condition.</span>

Located along a winding dirt road in Glendale's Chevy Chase Canyon, this '60s-era home was for decades the family residence of Los Angeles–area architect Gus Stamos. The home's second owners recently listed the home for sale, having made only minor interior changes.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

Inside the front entryway, a living area fills one side of the upper level. Original beamed and wood-clad ceilings mix with original wood paneling and vintage light fixtures.

Beyond the front entryway, a living area fills one side of the upper level. Original beamed and wood-clad ceilings mix with vintage wood paneling and light fixtures.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

According the listing, the home's original details include tongue-and-groove ceilings and formica counters, as well as wood-paneled walls clad in an array of cabinet doors salvaged from the stereo manufacturing company where Gus's wife, Sophie, once worked.

The upper level features the main living and dining area, as well as the kitchen and laundry area. Downstairs, a split-level floor plan divides each of the three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a family room. Both an upper-level balcony and lower-level deck are accessible from multiple spaces throughout the home.

A corner fireplace separates the living area from a formal dining room. Both the living room and dining are offer direct access to a covered balcony overlooking the canyon.

A corner fireplace separates the living area from a dining room on the opposite side. Both the living room and dining area offer direct access to a covered balcony overlooking the canyon.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

A look at the outdoor space.

A look at the upper-level outdoor space.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

Back inside, the formal dining area is located next to the kitchen. The current owners replaced some of the hardwood floors throughout this level.

Back inside, the formal dining area is located next to the kitchen. The current owners replaced some of the hardwood floors, leaving other original finishes intact.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

The kitchen features original cabinetry and formica countertops.

The kitchen features the original cabinetry and formica countertops.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

Another view of the kitchen. Only some fixtures and appliances have been updated since the home's original construction in '68.

Another view of the kitchen. Only some fixtures and appliances have been updated since the home's original construction in '68.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

A small breakfast area is located in another corner of the kitchen.

A small breakfast area is located in another corner of the space.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

The home offers nearly 2,500 square feet of interior space and sits on a .28-acre lot. With only a few neighboring structures, the location affords privacy while being just a few miles from central Glendale and Eagle Rock. New solar panels and some updated utilities complete the package. Keep scrolling to see more the home, currently listed for $1,198,000.

Downstairs, a split-level floor plan divides a family room and a principal bedroom suite from the home's secondary bedrooms.

Downstairs, a split-level floor plan divides the family room and principal bedroom suite from the home's secondary bedrooms.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

Another view of the family room reveals a fireplace, more wood paneling, and a large sliding glass door that leads to the outdoor space.

Another view of the family room reveals a fireplace, more wood paneling, and a large sliding glass door that leads to the lower-level deck.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

The outdoor area extends along the rear, offering access from the bedroom as well.

The deck also extends to provide direct access from the principal bedroom. 

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

A look at one of two full bathrooms. The current owners updated this one by adding a mosaic of floor tile and painting a concrete block wall behind the vanity.

A look at one of the two full bathrooms. The current owners updated the space by adding a mosaic of floor tile and painting a concrete block wall behind the vanity.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

One of the home's other two bedrooms also features original concrete block walls along two sides. The current owners painted these walls in a bright magenta.

One of the home's other bedrooms also features original concrete block walls along two sides. The current owners painted these walls in a bright magenta.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

A look at the third bedroom.

A look at the third bedroom.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

The lower-level deck runs along nearly the entire width of the home and opens to the sloping lot at one end.

The lower-level deck runs along nearly the entire width of the home and opens to the sloping lot at one end.

Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Sotheby's International Realty

1105 Outlook Lane in Glendale, California, is currently listed for $1,198,000 by Jacqueline Tager of Sotheby's International Realty. 

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Designers’ Tips for Creating a Productive Remote-Learning Space for Kids

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-29 20:25

For little ones attending class online, a well-designed space can make all the difference.

A worktable sits next to a sleek storage unit—perfect for tucking away either work or toys when not in use—in this family room by Kate Lester Interiors.

Those of us working from home during this pandemic know that it can be a challenge, to put it lightly. Now, try being in third grade. 

As schools around the world integrate or mandate at-home learning, millions of families are adapting—for better or for worse—to the new reality of distance learning.

Hufft Projects designed this marker-board table, which was cut in the shape of the state of Missouri.

Hufft Projects designed this marker-board table, which was cut in the shape of the state of Missouri.

Photo: Mike Sinclair

For most, maintaining life, work, and school under the same roof is less than ideal. But just as our home offices can benefit from good design to make the best of a bad situation, so too can kids’ workspaces. 

So we reached out to a roster of interior designers—all with children of their own—for their study-space wisdom. Here’s how to design for your little learner’s productivity and focus, and build a positive homework/life balance for the whole family in the process.

Designate a Consistent Workspace (It Might Involve Getting Creative) 

A worktable sits next to a sleek storage unit—perfect for tucking away either work or toys when not in use—in this family room by Kate Lester Interiors.

Whether you’ve got a spacious home or a studio, it’s essential to carve out a space just for learning. Consistency is key, says Sara Barney of Bandd Design in Austin. 

"Be sure that the space that you are turning into a workspace is a designated spot that won’t change from day to day, so that your child knows that it’s time to work when they are there," says Beth Dotolo, co-principal of Seattle- and Dallas-based Pulp Design Studios. Dotolo has her kids roll over their own IKEA carts of school supplies to the dining table at the beginning of each day to set up and start learning time. When the school day ends, everything goes back in the cart and rolls out of sight. 

Find Kid-Friendly, Flexible Furniture

In a pinch, a desk can replace a bedside table, as demonstrated in this bedroom by designer Kate Lester.

Sourcing ergonomic furniture for a kid who’s not done growing can be tricky, so seek out adjustable furniture that keep up with growth spurts. For non-adjustable pieces, work out conversions to help them sit comfortably: Learning cushions can double as a booster for smaller bodies and a way for them to, as Dotolo puts it, "get their wiggles out." 

If you’re struggling to find a place to put a standard desk, a wall-mounted option is a great alternative. A small desk could replace a nightstand in the bedroom (where you can still put a drink or lamp for bedtime). Or, for younger kids, a play table can do double-duty as a desk and a surface for games, crafts, or snack time. "Monday to Friday, my daughter ‘goes to school’ at this Willy table from Crate and Barrel," says L.A. interior designer Kate Lester. "On the weekends, we can clear it off and do crafts and play games." 

Design Against Distraction

Though the patterned wallpaper in this room by Pulp Design Studios is playful, the neutral color scheme keeps things feeling calm, not chaotic.

Take distractions into account right from the start. A workspace in a room full of toys and games, like a bedroom or a playroom, is going to be a tough place to concentrate. Instead, if possible, set up a desk in an under-utilized space—a mezzanine, a reading nook, or even a large stairway landing.

Gentry and Dotolo swear by noise-cancelling headphones for the whole family to block out each others’ Zoom calls. Visual distraction can be eliminated by simply orienting the desk away from the action, toward a window, a corner, or a wall. (This also allows parents to keep an eye on the screen.) And the simple act of keeping things out of the sight line can work wonders. "Putting too many things out can be easily distracting, so we keep the storage and display minimal right at eye level," says Lester.

Create Opportunities for Personalization

A desk along the wall is for computer work, but a communal round table in this home office by Bandd Design is a great place for kids to work on art projects or handwritten assignments in comfy chairs.

A magnetic board or bulletin board is a great place to display information (assignments, the agenda for the day, et cetera), but it’s also an opportunity for kids to express their creativity and make their work space their own. 

"Kids love to participate in the design of the room," says Nataly Bolshakova of Ukraine’s Bolshakova Interiors. "Magnetic or bulletin boards allow them to change up the look by themselves easily and create a custom space."

Convert Underused Spaces Into Activity Areas 

 A closet is transformed by Pulp Design into a shared art studio for three sisters.

Of course, online school doesn’t just spell lectures and computer work all day long: Consider designating space for art projects and reading assignments, too. "It allows kids to get a change of scenery, which with their short attention spans can be extremely helpful," says Barney. 

But you don’t need a lot of space to create something special. "What I’ve noticed is that children don’t like big spaces," notes Bolshakova. "They prefer to have places to hide." Some floor pillows behind the sofa, or a cozy spot with blankets and pillows in a converted closet, for example, might be the dreamiest place to read. 

For one family with three tight-knit girls, Pulp even turned a Jack-and-Jill closet between bedrooms into an art station, with a long desk at one wall, and lines with clips strung up to showcase their artwork.

Light the Way 

"Lighting is just as important for kids as it is adults," says Barney. Task lamps, floor lamps, and ambient lighting are all vital to incorporate for a well-lit workspace. 

As the weather starts to turn, Bolshakova suggests lamps with programmable timers to make sure they flick on each evening even if a little one is engrossed in a project. Choose bulbs with a high color rendering index to imitate natural light, and create a warm, inviting space, even on dark nights.

Listen to Your "Clients" 

A whimsical bedroom from Bolshakova Interiors features an inviting rug, Moroccan pouf, and tiny stools that all offer opportunity for kids to read in whatever place or position they see fit.

"Having [kids] be part of the design process—like letting them pick the folders or desk lamp—will make them more proud of their space and want to keep it nice," says Lester. Taking the time to create organization systems together that are easy to use and access will enable kids to keep their own space neat and take pride in it. 

Ultimately, kids are the ones who will be using these spaces, so why shouldn’t they be involved? "I think it’s important to listen to your small clients. They have no influences—no magazines, no resources—just pure imagination," says Bolshakova. She’s seen sitting areas ignored in favor of sprawling on the carpet to read and draw…and that’s just fine. "Just use washable finishings and leave them to their childhood." 


Check Out These 23 Tiny Houses Perfect for an Autumn Getaway

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-29 19:26

If the pandemic put your summer travel on hold, consider bunking in one of these affordable retreats for some much needed rest and relaxation.

With many venues closed, restricted, or limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are spending much more time at home. And while home is a lovely place to be, we all want to venture out and see and do more. These tiny homes, which are available to rent via Airbnb, provide an accessible respite from daily routine.

Secluded In-Town Tree House in Atlanta, Georgia

The treehouse consists of 3 separate areas, mind, body and spirit, that are connected by rope-bridges.
Courtesy of Airbnb

This secluded tree house retreat, located minutes from downtown Atlanta, features a bed on casters that rolls onto the deck, allowing guests to sleep outdoors beneath the treetops. $389 per night

Cozy, Bright, and Lofted Studio in Austin, Texas

The wood-clad tiny home is marked by its pink-painted soffit and window and door frames.

The wood-clad tiny home is marked by its pink-painted soffit and window and door frames.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The one-bedroom, one-bath tiny home in Austin, Texas, features a bright and airy interior and an expansive deck that connects the house to the verdant landscape. $105 per night

The Wagon House in Emigrant, Montana

The Wagon showcases cinematic vistas and a cabin-like interior with wood furnishings.

The Wagon showcases cinematic vistas and a cabin-like interior with wood furnishings. 

Courtesy of Airbnb

Located 30 minutes from the north  entrance of Yellowstone National Park, this tiny home offers breathtaking views of the natural surround, including mountains, trees and the bright blue Montana sky, and resident wildlife such as deer, moose and elk. $125 per night

Tiny House Paradise in Bradenton, Florida

Tiny House Paradise is

 The exterior of Tiny House Paradise is clad with dark wood while the interior displays bright white shiplap walls.

Courtesy of Airbnb

This compact rental—located within walking distance to the beach—is complete with access to a pool, a hot tub and a fire pit. Small families and pets are welcome. $95 per night

Blue Riverview Tiny House in Otago, New Zealand

The Otago, New Zealnd, tiny home accommodates two people and is employed with large windows that flood the home with sunlight and views of the epic landscape.

The Otago, New Zealand, tiny home accommodates two people and is employed with large windows that flood the home with sunlight and views of the epic landscape.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The Blue Riverview Tiny House perches above the Clutha River in Otago's countryside and has panoramic views of the river and surrounding alpine mountains. The home is also a 20-minute drive from the lakeside towns of Wanaka and Cromwell. $100 per night

Bungalow with Tiny House in Oceanside, California

The bungalow and tiny guesthouse's mint-green exterior creates a feeling of calm.

The bungalow and tiny guesthouse's mint-green exterior creates a feeling of calm. 

Courtesy of Airbnb

The Oceanside, California, property includes a one-bedroom bungalow and a tiny guesthouse that are located across the street from the ocean. An enclosed backyard with a hammock allows guests privacy while they listen to the sound of crashing waves. $208 per night


Tiny House on Guemes Island, Washington

This island tiny home is sided with dark green-painted wood that blends into its wooded natural surround.

This island tiny home is sided with dark green-painted wood that blends into its wooded natural surround.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Built in 2015, this dark green tiny home offers two loft areas for sleeping and lounging, an outdoor dining area and a fire pit. Guests can take beach walks and hikes and view wildlife, which includes eagles and deer. $105 per night

Silo Studio Cottage in Tyringham, Massachusetts

The cottage's bedroom features a 35-foot-high conical ceiling, a canopy bed and views to a lily pond; the living room looks to a babbling brook and lush garden.

The cottage's bedroom features a 35-foot-high conical ceiling, a canopy bed and views to a lily pond; the living room looks to a babbling brook and lush garden.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The two-story, one-bedroom cylindrical cottage, formerly a sculptor's studio, is located on the Santarella Estate in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. $248 per night

Byron Hinterland Tiny House in New South Wales, Australia

Guests who visit Byron Hinterland Tiny House have access to five acres of grassland and bush and can pick citrus in an orchard on the property.

Guests who visit Byron Hinterland Tiny House have access to five acres of grassland and bush and can pick citrus in an orchard on the property.

Courtesy of Airbnb

You can hear the sounds of birds and distant cattle—and the odd koala during the right season—from the two-bedroom Byron Hinterland Tiny House in New South Wales, Australia. A large deck on the front facade encourages peaceful outdoor time. $129 per night

Grünen Tiny House in Vocklabruck, Austria

Grunen Tiny House is clad with wood on both the exterior and the interior.

Grunen Tiny House is clad with wood on both the exterior and the interior.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Grünen Tiny House features a porch, a wraparound deck, a greenhouse, and a garden. $47 per night

East Side Beehive in Austin, Texas

The design for East Side Beehive in Austin, Texas, was inspired by Japanese teahouses.

The design for East Side Beehive in Austin, Texas, was inspired by Japanese teahouses.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The East Side Beehive in Austin, Texas, is wrapped in wood shingles and is marked by its idiosyncratic form, sunlight-filled open-plan interior and outdoor shower. $177 per night

Snow Cross Tiny Home in Red Cliff, Colorado

The Snow Cross Tiny Home looks to acres of national forest land.

The Snow Cross Tiny Home looks to acres of national forest land.

Courtesy of Airbnb

An off-grid tiny home located in the Rocky Mountains just 25 minutes from Vail, the Snow Cross Tiny Home is surrounded by mountains and national forest land. $154 per night

Tiny House in the Trees, Durham, North Carolina

A sleeping loft in this Durham, North Carolina, tiny home provides the feeling of a tree house.

A sleeping loft in this Durham, North Carolina, tiny home provides the feeling of a tree house.

Courtesy of Airbnb

This 120-square-foot home is nestled among the trees in Durham, North Carolina and has a rustic, cozy quality. $78 per night

Kiwi Chalet in Lake Hayes, Otago, New Zealand

Courtesy of Airbnb

The Kiwi Chalet, noted for its angular form, is located six-minutes from Historic Arrowtown and is surrounded by a peaceful natural landscape. $124 per night

Unique Tiny House in Atlanta, Georgia

Unique Tiny House in Atlanta, Georgia, offers an area for outdoor dining, a ping pong table and a fire pit.

Unique Tiny House in Atlanta, Georgia, offers an area for outdoor dining, a ping pong table and a fire pit.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The interior of Unique Tiny House in Atlanta, Georgia, is wrapped in white-painted shiplap and features two bedrooms and large kitchen with wood counters and a backsplash covered with subway tile. $94 per night

Dreamy Tropical Tree House in Fern Forest, Hawaii

The Dreamy Tropical Tree House in Fern Forest, Hawaii, is located 10 miles from Volcano National Park.

The Dreamy Tropical Tree House in Fern Forest, Hawaii, is located 10 miles from Volcano National Park.

Courtesy of Airbnb

This Hawaiian tree house is perched on stilts and clad with bamboo. A trap door access the upper level, which is surrounded by treetops. The bottom level is a pavilion-style living area with a hanging bed. $300 per night

Two Cedar Tiny House in Winthrop, Maine

Two Cedar Tiny House in Winthrop, Maine, is sided with corrugated metal and features a covered front porch.

Two Cedar Tiny House in Winthrop, Maine, is sided with corrugated metal and features a covered front porch. 

Courtesy of Airbnb

Two Cedar Tiny House in Winthrop, Maine, is an off-grid retreat on 20 acres of woodland with lake access. $95 per night

Cactus Jack in Twentynine Palms, California

Located near Joshua Tree National Park, Cactus Jack has a homestead like quality and uses solar power and a generator.

Located near Joshua Tree National Park, Cactus Jack has a homestead like quality and uses solar power and a generator.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Cactus Jack is an off-grid tiny house on 5 acres just minutes from Joshua Tree National Park. The house uses solar power and a generator and there's an enclosed outdoor shower with hot water. $62 per night

Adirondacks Tiny House in Wilmington, New York

Adirondacks Tiny House is situated near Whiteface Mountain and the village of Lake Placid.

Adirondacks Tiny House is situated near Whiteface Mountain and the village of Lake Placid.

Courtesy of Airbnb

This tiny house in the Adirondacks in Wilmington, New York, is conveniently located near Adirondack activities, including biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing and swimming. $93 per night

Tiny River House in Damascus, Oregon

A converted military ammunition trailer, the Tiny River House was crafted using reclaimed wood and industrial accents.

A converted military ammunition trailer, the Tiny River House was crafted using reclaimed wood and industrial accents.

Courtesy of Airbnb

This 200-square-foot tiny home in Damascus, Oregon, sits on the bank of the Clackamas River, 3o minutes  from Portland. $160 per night

Delightfully Danish Tiny House in Broager, Denmark

With its proximity to Flensburg Fjord, this tiny home in Broager, Denmark, offers a peaceful living experience.

With its proximity to Flensburg Fjord, this tiny home in Broager, Denmark, offers a peaceful living experience.

Courtesy of Airbnb

This two-bedroom tiny wood cottage in Broager, Denmark, features expansive views of Flensburg Fjord. $68 per night

Sapling Tree House, Fredericksburg, Texas

The Sapling Tree House is tucked into a grove of young Texas Live Oaks and showcases a wall of windows, which open the house to the natural landscape around it.

The Sapling Tree House is tucked into a grove of young Texas Live Oaks and showcases a wall of windows, which open the house to the natural landscape around it.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The Sapling Tree House is a luxury cabin stilted among young oaks on the slice of Hill Country called HoneyTree Farm. It overlooks the south bank of Palo Alto Creek to the distant hills beyond. It has a king bed, a well-appointed kitchenette, and a large master bath with a double rain shower and soak tub. The home also features a modernist gazebo on its large private deck. $252 per night

Portland Tiny House in Portland, Oregon

Portland Tiny House is complete with access to a backyard chicken coop and fresh eggs.

Portland Tiny House is complete with access to a backyard chicken coop and fresh eggs.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Full of natural light, Portland Tiny House is located just steps from the Alberta Arts district. $83 per night

Related Reading:

Book a Stay in This Whimsical Trio of Tiny Tree Houses 

At This Quirky Campsite in Rotterdam, You’ll Sleep in Upcycled Grain Silos and Calf Igloos 


An Imaginative Courtyard House in Singapore Makes Room for Multiple Generations

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-28 22:56

Colorful, reclaimed teak windows and doors punctuate a renovated home for a Pilates instructor and her parents.

The reclaimed teak timber fenestrations in Sandra Heng's room ensure privacy when she leads Pilates sessions in the studio across the courtyard. The architect used indirect ceiling lighting so that Sandra and her students will not find it glaring when they are facing upward when they're practicing.

When architect Goy Zhenru was introduced to this terrace house in Singapore, it was dark, cloistered, and suffered from many poorly designed spaces: The kitchen was small and narrow, and rooms—while spacious—were awkwardly shaped.

"It was previously renovated to maximize the floor area within the house’s envelope," says Zhenru, founder of Goy Architects. "An additional mezzanine reduced natural light and ventilation into the house, so the former owners would switch on the air conditioner all the time."

Before: The facade was closed off.

Before: The facade was closed off.

Courtesy of Goy Architects

Heng House’s facade was brought forward with a concrete breeze-block screen and a recycled front door and windows.

Heng House’s facade was brought forward with a concrete breeze-block screen and a recycled front door and windows.

Photo by Fabian Ong

The current homeowner, Sandra Heng, lives with her parents. On weekends, she holds free Pilates workshops for people with mobility issues caused by injury or old age. Her father volunteers with prison services and meets weekly with former inmates to reconnect them with the local community. Sandra needed a studio for her work, and her father required a space that could accommodate large gatherings or simultaneous intimate groups. 

Architect Goy Zhenru took advantage of the house’s original split levels, connecting the different areas across the new courtyard.

Architect Goy Zhenru took advantage of the house’s original split levels, connecting the different areas across the new courtyard.

Photo by Fabian Ong

To bring a sense of harmony to the home, Zhenru looked to vernacular kampong (or village) houses whose simple, passive cooling techniques would allow occupants to feel comfortable for long periods.

As with the traditional Southeast Asian shophouse, the courtyard functions as the social hub of the home and connector between the different spaces.

As with the traditional Southeast Asian shophouse, the courtyard functions as the social hub of the home and connector between the different spaces.

Photo by Fabian Ong

A new, central skylight and courtyard open up the interior. Here, planters and built-in seating frame a welcoming indoor garden. Zhenru also restored an existing louver window in the attic, which helps cool the interiors. 

Zhenru opened up formerly concealed attic dormer windows, which usher light into the mezzanine room and down into the courtyard.

Zhenru opened up formerly concealed attic dormer windows, which usher light into the mezzanine room and down into the courtyard.

Photo by Fabian Ong

"It is beautiful in the afternoon when you see sunlight passing through the house, as it brings a sense of life in," says Zhenru.

The kitchen was shifted to the front of the house, which was an unconventional but highly functional maneuver.

The upcycled timber windows enliven the wet kitchen.

The upcycled timber windows enliven the wet kitchen.

Photo by Fabian Ong

"Sandra iterated that most of their daily interactions involving food and conversation were mostly done in the kitchen," says the architect.

The dutiful daughter wanted it to be connected to the other spaces so that her parents would spend more time interacting with each other and other family members while preparing food or reading a book, instead of watching too much television. 

Before: The house’s interiors were cloistered and dark.

Before: The house’s interiors were cloistered and dark.

Courtesy of Goy Architects

Light enters the long terrace house's plan via a new courtyard, which functions as a casual gathering spot between the kitchen, dining, and living rooms.

Light enters the long terrace house's plan via a new courtyard, which functions as a casual gathering spot between the kitchen, dining, and living rooms.

Photo by Fabian Ong

Visitors enter the front door to an open-plan area comprising the dining area, and dry and wet kitchens. At the latter, concrete breeze blocks create a privacy screen and filters the harsh, tropical elements. The back facade is equally porous to enhance cross ventilation. 

As the house has dual access, Zhenru placed the parents’ quarters at the rear, so they can have an alternative entrance should Sandra be holding a gathering up front. 

Glass sliding doors separate the wet kitchen from the other spaces, limiting cooking smells while still maintaining a visual connection.

Glass sliding doors separate the wet kitchen from the other spaces, limiting cooking smells while still maintaining a visual connection.

Photo by Fabian Ong

The house’s common areas are subtly segmented into several "micro spaces" through furniture and changes in floor levels. For example, visitors can gather around the large dry kitchen island counter, sit at the courtyard steps, or convene at the wet kitchen’s sitting area. 

A new semi-outdoor space is created by enclosing the former house’s foyer with a skylight and concrete breeze-block screen. It functions excellently as a wet kitchen, with cooking smells filtering through the screen.

A new semi-outdoor space is created by enclosing the former house’s foyer with a skylight and concrete breeze-block screen. It functions excellently as a wet kitchen, with cooking smells filtering through the screen.

Photo by Fabian Ong

The courtyard is a particularly effective visual and sensory conduit between the first and upper stories. It also offers a clear view of the striking montage of reclaimed teak timber windows at the front facade and the room overlooking the double-height wet kitchen. 

"It started when I showed Sandra a reclaimed Javanese door and window set," says Zhenru of the design. "We both loved the intricacies of the timberwork and felt compelled to use them in her new home."

The architect retained and buffed the existing teak timber floors of the upper levels, which complement the reclaimed teak timber elements.

The architect retained and buffed the existing teak timber floors of the upper levels, which complement the reclaimed teak timber elements.

Photo by Fabian Ong

Like the concrete breeze-block screen, the wooden louvers manage light, wind, and views. Added color enlivens and unifies the various elements. 

It was not easy sourcing the timber doors and windows from different timber collectors in Yogyakarta, Java. Zhenru also had to track down local carpenters who could put together these delicate, aged elements. 

The graphic matrix of windows, with their bright colors, is the only artwork needed in the house.

The graphic matrix of windows, with their bright colors, is the only artwork needed in the house.

Photo by Fabian Ong

"It was important that the pieces retained their function and were not purely decorative," she says, who used 3D modeling to work out the puzzle of parts. "The entrance door and window set were reclaimed from a 1950s family house in East Java. It is made of jackfruit tree wood, which was widely used alongside teak," she adds. 

Javanese artisans restored the closed lotus bud motif carving on the transom. It symbolizes the innate potential for enlightenment in humans, which aligns with Sandra’s life philosophy and the project’s ecological roots. 

Zhenru consulted with lecturer Andi Putranto from the Department of University Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, who specializes in collecting and restoring teak doors and windows from dilapidated houses around Java. The front door and window set was salvaged from a 1950s-built house.

Zhenru consulted with lecturer Andi Putranto from the Department of University Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, who specializes in collecting and restoring teak doors and windows from dilapidated houses around Java. The front door and window set was salvaged from a 1950s-built house.

Photo by Fabian Ong

The upcycled aspects of Heng House showcase the feasibility of making good use of what others perceive as waste. This, and the house’s passive methods, is proof that sustainable living does not always have to be high-tech. 


By opening up the ceiling, the architect provided the studio with a sense of loftiness.

By opening up the ceiling, the architect provided the studio with a sense of loftiness.

Photo by Fabian Ong

The home’s clever redesign proved especially vital during Singapore’s two-month partial lockdown due to COVID-19. "The natural light and breeze gave a sense of well-being compared to air-conditioned spaces, especially when practicing Pilates at my second-story studio," says Sandra. She also found different pockets of space to work in. 

Compared to the former cloistered house, the new scheme enables an open yet layered experience through the different parts of the home.

Compared to the former cloistered house, the new scheme enables an open yet layered experience through the different parts of the home.

Photo by Fabian Ong

Sandra’s bedroom is well lit from rear windows as well as windows looking into the courtyard.

Sandra’s bedroom is well lit from rear windows as well as windows looking into the courtyard.

Photo by Fabian Ong

Meanwhile, her father happily honed his green thumbs. "The pockets of green in the front, middle, and back of the house provided great reprieve from being confined," says Sandra. "My father kept himself busy growing bananas, papayas, and garden herbs. We even started fermenting and composting."

The house’s porous nature is a drastic contrast to its former iteration. The front garden was used for fermenting and composting during the partial COVID-19 lockdown.

The house’s porous nature is a drastic contrast to its former iteration. The front garden was used for fermenting and composting during the partial COVID-19 lockdown.

Photo by Fabian Ong

Now, the home not only hosts Sandra and her father’s clients, but also visiting family. The adults can whip up a meal in the kitchen while watching the children, who gleefully bustle about the open spaces.

Heng House first floor plan


Heng House second floor plan
Heng House mezzanine floor plan
Heng House section

Related Reading: 

These Radically Reimagined Shophouses in Singapore Break the Co-Living Mold

An Open, Airy House in Singapore Frames Rare, Verdant Views

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Goy Architects / @goy_architects

Project Team: Goy Zhenru, Dessy Anggadewi, Sam Loetman

Builder: Towner Construction Pte Ltd 

Photographer: Fabian Ong / @fabian_ong_ar


Before & After: An Outdated Venice Beach Bungalow Becomes a Light-Filled Bachelor Pad

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-28 20:55

Nwankpa Design reimagines a tired coastal home while helping their forward-thinking client plan for the future.

Nwankpa Design reimagines tired coastal home while helping their forward-thinking client plan for the future.

Magical things can happen when a renovation considers not only the owner’s present living situation—but the future as well. That’s exactly what happened when Susan Nwankpa Gillespie of Los Angeles–based Nwankpa Design connected with a recent NYC transplant who had moved out west in search of a more laid-back lifestyle and a place to put down roots.

The dark wood kitchen cabinetry contrasts with the light wood paneling and terra-cotta tiles.

The dark wood kitchen cabinetry contrasts with the light wood paneling and terra-cotta tiles.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Nwankpa Gillespie was introduced to the client, an entrepreneur, via a mutual friend on his real estate team. She was originally brought on to consult on the site and its potential for future development, however she soon took on the task of renovating the home to suit the needs of the client’s bachelor lifestyle, while remaining flexible enough to one day evolve into a comfortable living space for a young family. "Our shared goal was to create a space that felt contemporary and masculine, but also cozy and inviting enough to eventually be a family home."

Before: The Sunporch

The entrance to the home was through a door that led to the sunporch and into the living room.

The entrance to the home was through a door that led to the sunporch and into the living room. 

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

Dating back to the 1920s, the existing 1,300-square-foot bungalow had undergone recent updates that had definitely run their course. The layout was composed of small and segmented spaces with low ceilings that made the two-bedroom, one-bath home feel cramped. However, the bungalow had good bones—and by uncovering the potential of the existing structure, Nwankpa Gillespie was able to create a contemporary bachelor pad that could one day evolve into a cozy family home.

Leaving the front door in place, the renovation would remove the wall that separated the sunporch from the living room.

Leaving the front door in place, the renovation would remove the wall that separated the sunporch from the living room.

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

Before: The Living Room 

The living room felt cramped and dim.

The living room felt cramped and dim.

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

After: The Living Room

Removing the sunporch added extra square footage to the home. The redesigned front entrance opens directly into the living space.

Removing the sunporch added extra square footage to the home. The redesigned front entrance opens directly into the living space.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

"The biggest transformation involved opening up the ceilings to reveal the shape of the existing roofline," explains Nwankpa Gillespie. "It was a bit of a risk, with the different shapes of a pitched and flat roof coming together, but cladding the ceiling with cedar planks unified and celebrated these moments."  

By removing the walls that made up the original bungalow’s small, cramped rooms, Nwakpa Gillespie created a spacious living room. She added windows and vaulted the ceiling, giving the space an airy and expansive feel.

By removing the walls that made up the original bungalow’s small, cramped rooms, Nwakpa Gillespie created a spacious living room. She added windows and vaulted the ceiling, giving the space an airy and expansive feel.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Nwankpa Gillespie built out the fireplace with dark bricks that add texture and contrast with the tongue-and-groove ceiling.

Nwankpa Gillespie built out the fireplace with dark bricks that add texture and contrast with the tongue-and-groove ceiling.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Before: The Dining Area

The dining room before.

The dining room before.

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

After: The Dining Area

Removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room expanded and enhanced the flow with minimal changes to the layout. A breakfast bar off the kitchen adds additional casual seating.

Removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room expanded and enhanced the flow with minimal changes to the layout. A breakfast bar off the kitchen adds additional casual seating.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

The additional height gives the living space an airy and expansive feel, while the tongue-and-groove ceiling creates "a feeling of intimacy and refuge." Nwankpa Gillespie loves how the material palette came together, and the way the light "dances across the surfaces." "It just feels good to be in the space," she observes. 

Oversized rectangular windows improve the home’s indoor/outdoor connection.

Oversized rectangular windows improve the home’s indoor/outdoor connection. 

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Before: The Kitchen 

The closed-off and cramped kitchen had plenty of storage, but little prep space or room to eat.

The closed-off and cramped kitchen had plenty of storage, but little prep space or room to eat. 

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

Just off the kitchen was a small laundry room. The renovation moved the entire laundry area into a tiny studio at the back of the home.

Just off the kitchen was a small laundry room. The renovation moved the entire laundry area into a tiny studio at the back of the home.

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

After: The Kitchen

High ceilings and a skylight make the updated kitchen bright and airy.

High ceilings and a skylight make the updated kitchen bright and airy.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

However, the most unexpected source of joy has been the improved indoor/outdoor connection. "My client’s been pleasantly surprised by the front windows that replaced the screened porch," says Nwankpa Gillespie. "They create a vast connection to the outdoors, and have a very dramatic feel to them."

The kitchen features custom black wood cabinetry, Italian porcelain counters, and a black plaster hood above an Aga Mercury range.
For the backsplash, Nwankpa Gillespie chose a cream zellige tile from Cle. The warm, textural flooring is a herringbone-pattern terra-cotta brick.

For the backsplash, Nwankpa Gillespie chose a cream zellige tile from Cle. The warm, textural flooring is a herringbone-pattern terra-cotta brick.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Nwankpa Gillespie loves how the natural material palette came together—and the way the light now “dances across the surfaces.”

Nwankpa Gillespie loves how the natural material palette came together—and the way the light now "dances across the surfaces."

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Before: The Bathroom

The former bathroom was dark and dated.

The former bathroom was dark and dated.

Photo courtesy of @Mak Rock Photo

After: The Bathroom

Nwankpa Gillespie added a skylight and brightened the palette with a marble shower and the same Cle zellige tiles featured in the kitchen.

Nwankpa Gillespie added a skylight and brightened the palette with a marble shower and the same Cle zellige tiles featured in the kitchen.

Photo by Jessica Isaac

Related Reading:

Before & After: An Eco-Friendly Family’s Tiny Cottage Teems With Plant Life

10 Best Modern Homes in Venice Beach, California 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Susan Nwankpa Gillespie, Nwankpa Design / @nwankpadesign

Builder/General Contractor: THC Venice

Cabinetry Fabrication: Avonce Cabinets


The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Upholstery Sale Is Here to Amp Up Comfort at Home

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-28 20:22

For a limited time, save 30% on plush, handcrafted upholstery.

After months spent indoors, you’re probably ready to rejuvenate your living room, dining room, bedroom, or home office. Thankfully, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is holding their Custom Upholstery Sale in stores and online. Open exclusively to their Comfort Club members, the sale runs from September 28 through October 12. 

By joining, you’ll not only gain access to the 30% off upholstery sale (and 0% financing for 24 months for those with a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams credit card), but you’ll also receive 25% off everything, every day. Plus, for the long weekend from October 8 to 12, enjoy complimentary white glove delivery on orders of $3,500 or more.

Extensive customization options—the company offers 575 fabrics and over 40 leathers to choose from, including eco-friendly and velvet performance fabric selections—ensure the perfect match for your sofa, sectional, chair, or bed. 

Staying true to their mission of quality design, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has been preserving the craft of furniture-making at their own North Carolina factory, which they’ve been using since 1989. Their upholstery is hand-crafted by skilled artisans they call their "Artisans of Comfort," many of whom come from families that have been making upholstery for generations. Their commitment to quality inspired them to offer a lifetime warranty on upholstery frames, springs, and cushions.  

Their products are kind to the planet, too: All cushions are free of fire-retardant chemicals, use ozone-friendly foam, and are wrapped in 80% regenerated fibers. Frames are sourced from domestic suppliers, compliant with the Forest Stewardship Council. Springs are made from 65% recycled metal. Their sustainable practices also include upcycling fabric and leather scraps, shipping in recycled packaging, and conserving energy in their factory.

To make your decisions easier, the company offers the option to receive up to 10 samples of their fabrics and leathers, free of charge. To order, email VirtualinHome@MGBWhome.com or call 1-855-730-9999. Or, you can explore their fabrics and leathers in their stores and take free samples home with you. Find a store here

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Hunter Sofa

From the versatile Hunter Collection, this low and luxe sofa is great for stretching out or providing seating for several. Lush seat and back cushions make it especially comfortable yet modern. Available in two widths: 90 in. and 100 in. With a choice of single bench seat or multiple seat cushions, and welt or no welt options, Hunter is among the most adaptable of the MG+BW collections. Pictured with square polished stainless steel legs; also available with square brass or round wood legs. Can be ordered in fabric, leather, or slipcovered.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Keaton Sleeper Sofa

From the expansive Keaton Collection, an iconic sleeper sofa that’s sophisticated, yet versatile. With a luxurious tailored look, Keaton features welt detail and box-edged back pillows the same height as the back. Architectural lines are trimmed with optional nailhead to channel an element of tradition with a modern silhouette. Recessed track arms and shelter-like style provide comfortable seating for any space. Available in fabric or leather, with luxe and super luxe mattress styles, and full and queen sizes. The Keaton Collection also includes sofas in four sizes, chairs, endless sectional configurations, and media sofas in two widths.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams London Sofa

Our modern take on the quintessential English-arm classic, features a sweetheart back, T-cushions on the seat, and turned front legs on casters. Wood legs available in 20+ finishes. Choose from three cushion options: Signature Serene™ foam, Eco Down-blend, or Eco-Luxe Poly. Part of our MG+BW Classics Collection.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Vera Leather Sofa

A modern take on the classic curved sofa, designed for conversation. Vera’s graceful crescent shape is accented with a subtle welt and understated tapered wood legs to create a warm, elegant look for any space. Customize in your choice of 20+ wood finishes. Part of our MG+BW Classics Collection.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Hunter Studio Sectional

Designed to save space while giving the same signature comfort as our larger-scale Hunter Collection, the Hunter Studio sectional has a low & lean silhouette sized for urban environments or wherever you need a more compact footprint. It offers a very comfortable sit in classic modern style. The configuration shown is formed from two pieces: a left arm sofa and a right arm return sofa. Featured with square polished stainless steel legs, it can also be ordered with square-brass or round-wood legs. Shown upholstered in fabric. Also available upholstered in leather or slipcovered in fabric. In addition to this configuration, you can create others to suit your space. Note: Most larger-scale Hunter pieces also available in Studio size.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Haywood Right Arm Sectional

Low lounge-like sectional offers a clean-lined design with sink-in style of generous proportion. Ultra-comfortable, highly resilient construction features hypoallergenic down-alternative back cushions and the MG+BW Signature seat cushions, crafted with a CertiPUR-US foam core, and two layers of plush Serene™ foam. Large bolster pillows add comfort and customizable style. Also available with Eco- luxe foam or Eco Down Blend cushions. Collection also includes multiple sectional components, a chair, and ottoman.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Major Leather Chair

Mid-Century Modern armless chair with sleek metal base and grid-tufted cushions. Generous proportions, low sit, comfortably angled back. Shown here with polished stainless steel finish.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Cooper Studio Leather Swivel Chair

Sleek, smart '70s-inspired shelter-style seating. Set on a recessed wood plinth base.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Poppy No Welt Full Swivel Chair

Turn heads with this petite swivel chair, reminiscent of seating styles seen in European cafés. Versatile silhouette features a curved tight back and comfortable seat, with a hidden swivel mechanism to keep the look clean. Works well with vanities, bistro tables and smaller-scale sofas, or in pairs as part of a conversation area with larger-size pieces.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Hunter Lounge

A highlight of the Hunter Collection, this long, low and luxe modern lounge brings so much style to a seating area, bedroom or landing. At 78" wide, it's good for curling up on, or, with the divided back, as comfortable seating for two. A sumptuous bench cushion and plush side pillows enhance seating pleasure. Pictured with square polished stainless steel legs; also available with square brass legs or round wood legs. Featured in fabric. Can also be ordered upholstered in leather or slipcovered in fabric.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Gage Low Dining Chair

Our clean-lined, architectural Gage chair- comfortably upholstered, and set on a metal base with extended back posts that make the chair look like it’s floating. Choose from five metal options: brass, brushed stainless Steel, polished stainless steel, pewter, and vintage brass. Perfectly coordinates with our Essential Parsons Dining collection. Available with arms, in both a tall and low back, and in bar and counter stool heights. Upholstered in fabric or leather.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Ada Side Dining Chair

Tall and slender, sculpted curved-back chairs.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Celina Queen Floating Rail Bed

Contemporary elegance with a winged camelback headboard and footboard accented with nailhead trim. Lavish nailhead trim and dramatic design bring cool sophistication to any bedroom. No need to worry about trends here... Celina will always be a standout in any bedroom.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Franco II Studio Sofa

Create the ultimate oasis with Franco II, a modular sectional collection. Offering large-scale comfort and a comfortable lounge-like sit, Franco II offers endless possibilities in fabric or leather, with three modular pieces and a sofa in two widths. Choose from three cushion options: Signature Serene™ foam, Eco Down-blend, or Eco-Luxe Poly. Also available in a 39” classic depth for larger conversation areas.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Franco II Classic 8 Piece Sectional

Create the ultimate oasis with Franco II, a modular sectional collection. Offering large-scale comfort and a comfortable lounge-like sit, Franco II offers endless possibilities in fabric or leather, with three modular pieces and a sofa in two widths. Choose from three cushion options: Signature Serene™ foam (shown), Eco Down-blend, or Eco-Luxe Poly. Also available in a 34” classic depth for smaller conversation areas. This sectional includes two (2) corner chairs, two (2) ottomans, and four (4) armless chairs.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Dixon Chair

Mid-century modern inspired, this sculptural chair with an overstuffed sling-style seat is a lounge-worthy addition to any space. Sustainably crafted with a steam-bent frame made from FSC-certified ash wood. Available in fabric or leather, and all MG+BW wood finishes.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Luna Chair

A statement-making accent chair that introduces form and function. This Italian-inspired sculptural design features a comfortably curved back and three fully upholstered legs. Create a unique seating area with a pair. Available in fabric and leather.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Cooper Chaise in Fern Vivid Velvet

From our iconic Cooper collection, this versatile chaise works well in smaller spaces and larger seating areas. With lounge-like ease, an understated plinth wood base, and an ultra-comfortable barrel-back, the Cooper chaise is perfect for reading nooks, living, and bedrooms. Available in fabric and leather.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Remy Chair in Brushed Brass

From the Remy collection, a well-sized dining chair with a comfortable curved back. Seat and back appear to float on exposed metal supports, available in two finishes: vintage brass and polished stainless steel. Legs are capped with nylon glide supports for easy movement.


Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Butler Channel-Tufted Bed

Make a refined statement in the bedroom with this parsons-style upholstered bed, featuring a hand-sewn, vertical channel tufted headboard with coordinating side and foot rails. Set on tapered wood feet, offered in select MG+BW finishes. Upholstered beds in this collection are also available for purchase as a platform, headboard only, or a queen-sized storage bed.


“Last Man on Earth” Creator Will Forte Puts His Santa Monica Craftsman on the Market for $2.45M

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-28 19:33

Forte purchased the home before joining SNL in 2002, and later came up with the idea for his apocalyptic hit sitcom while sitting in the dining room.

Opposite the dining area and just off the living room, a sunlit bedroom features windows on each side of the bed and a skylight above.

If you're at all familiar with Saturday Night Live, you likely know some of the characters played by Will Forte. Perhaps most famously, his eight years as a SNL cast member brought us "MacGruber"—a parody on the '80s TV series MacGyver—that later became a movie and was recently approved for a season on NBC's new streaming service. For the last 18 years, Forte's home base on the West Coast has been modest Craftsman bungalow in Santa Monica, California, but he's now ready to hand over the keys.

Saturday Night Live actor Will Forte recently listed his home in Santa Monica, California. Forte purchased the Craftsman-style home in 2002—just weeks before he took the job at SNL.

Actor, comedian, and screenwriter Will Forte recently listed his long-time home in Santa Monica, California. Forte purchased the Craftsman-style home in 2002, reportedly just two weeks before he found out he got the job at SNL.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

Inside, the front door opens into a large living area that runs along the front of the home. Traditional Craftsman features abound in the space—most notably the original beamed ceilings and extensive moldings.

Inside, the main entrance opens into a large living area along the front of the home. Traditional Craftsman features abound—most notably original beamed ceilings and extensive moldings.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

Forte, who purchased the property in 2002, originally split much of his time between living in Santa Monica and New York City, where SNL is filmed. His departure from the show in 2010 coincided with the launch of the MacGruber movie that same year, with Forte and fellow SNL writers reportedly writing much of the screenplay in the home's dining room. Forte and his other collaborators, filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, also came up the idea for his end-of-the-world sitcom, The Last Man Standing, while sitting in that same dining area.

French doors in the living area lead out to a cozy outdoor space.

French doors in the living area lead out to a cozy outdoor space.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

The outdoor space is part of the wrap-around front porch and is also accessible from the formal dining room.

Part of the wrap-around front porch, the outdoor area is also accessible from the dining room.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

The dining area offers continues with Craftsman-style features—including a built-in china cabinet and wainscoting. Forte and his colleagues often spent time in the space writing scrips for the movie, MacGruber, and TV series, <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">The Last Man on Earth.</span>

The dining area continues with Craftsman-style features—including a built-in china cabinet and wainscoting. Forte and his colleagues often spent time in the space writing scrips for the movie, MacGruber, and TV series, The Last Man on Earth.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

Originally built in 1913, the two-level home offers just over 1,900 square feet of interior space. The lower level features a pair of wood-trimmed bedrooms and a charming bathroom, while the upper level offers a sunlit principal suite with beamed ceilings and a second full bathroom. Outside, the characteristic front porch is complemented by a large rear deck, with lush landscaping adding privacy to the corner lot. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $2,450,000.

At the rear of the home, a modern kitchen offers ample cabinetry and a second dining area.

At the rear of the home, a modern kitchen offers ample cabinetry and a second dining area.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

The kitchen also provides direct access to a rooftop deck above the garage.

The kitchen also provides direct access to a rooftop deck above the garage.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

Opposite the dining area and just off the living room, a sunlit bedroom features windows on each side of the bed and a skylight above.

Opposite the dining area and just off the living room, a sunlit bedroom features windows on each side of the bed and a skylight above.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

The adjacent bathroom is also illuminated by a skylight above the shower and soaking tub. A stained-glass window, pedestal sink, and tile floors add additional character.

The adjacent bathroom is also illuminated by a skylight above the shower and soaking tub. A stained-glass window, pedestal sink, and tile floors add more character.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

A second bedroom overlooks the rear deck.

A second bedroom overlooks the rear deck.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

Upstairs, the principal suite comes with exposed beams and a wall of windows, as well as a seating area in the corner.

Upstairs, the principal suite comes with exposed beams and a wall of windows, as well as a seating area in the corner.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

A look at the en suite bathroom.

A look at the en suite bathroom.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

Outside, the classic Craftsman porch provides a large, covered outdoor area along the front of the home.

Outside, the characteristic Craftsman front porch provides a large, covered outdoor area.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

The rear of the home provides access to the driveway and one-car garage.

The rear of the home provides access to the driveway and one-car garage.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

2660 4th Street in Santa Monica, California, is currently listed for $2,450,000 by Jagger Kroenner and Michael Grady of The Agency.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.


These Prefab Cabins Offer the Ultimate Eco Escape in the Heart of the Swiss Alps

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-28 18:48

A new suite of prefab timber cabins welcomes guests at the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel.

Three of the 21 chalets are finished, and an additional four chalets are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. The 14 remaining chalets are expected to be complete by the end of 2021.

Waking up in an alpine wonderland with warm croissants delivered to your doorstep is just one of the many charms of the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel—and the resort recently debuted a new set of timber chalets that are prefabricated and energy self-sufficient.

Located 4,600 feet above sea level, the high-altitude Whitepod resort near Monthey, Switzerland, offers cozy, low-impact hotel suites, wellness-focused amenities, and proximity to 15 miles of marked hiking trails.

Located 4,600 feet above sea level, the high-altitude Whitepod resort near Monthey, Switzerland, offers cozy, low-impact hotel suites, wellness-focused amenities, and proximity to 15 miles of marked hiking trails.

Riechsteiner

Lausanne- and Los Angeles–based Montalba Architects designed the new additions to provide mountain housing for groups and families. The cabins complement the resort’s existing 18 geodesic dome–shaped tents—known as "Pods"—one of which was also designed by the firm.

The sloped terrain and the resort’s dedication to sustainability informed the architects’ decision to prefabricate the timber chalets off-site for quick and easy assembly atop foundation slabs poured on-site.

Three of the 21 chalets are finished, and an additional four chalets are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. The 14 remaining chalets are expected to be complete by the end of 2021.

Three of the 21 chalets are finished, and an additional four chalets are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. The 14 remaining chalets are expected to be complete by the end of 2021.

Riechsteiner

The eco-chalets, the majority of which are still under construction, will be available in two layouts: a single-story 1,010-square-foot unit, and a two-story, 2,150-square-foot unit that takes advantage of the sloped landscape with living areas on the lower level and the bedrooms up above. It takes about three months to construct each single-story chalet, and it takes four to five months to complete each two-story chalet.

Once all chalets are complete, guests will be able to book all of the units in an “eco-village” that accommodates up to 54 people.

Once all chalets are complete, guests will be able to book all of the units in an "eco-village" that accommodates up to 54 people.

Riechsteiner

"The completion of the remaining chalets will give the image of a mountain village that blends seamlessly into the sloping landscape while mirroring the traditional chalet villages found nearby," explain the architects. "Multiple chalet exteriors have been completed with wood paneling to further blend the structures with the mountainous environment, while also evoking the design of a traditional Swiss chalet."

The day zone of each cabin comprises an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchenette.

The day zone of each cabin comprises an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchenette.

Riechsteiner

In addition to millwork by a local fabricator, the interiors feature a handful of locally produced furnishings—including the bedside tables and other fixed furniture elements.

In addition to millwork by a local fabricator, the interiors feature a handful of locally produced furnishings—including the bedside tables and other fixed furniture elements.

Riechsteiner

Inside, the chalets are divided into "day" and "night" zones separated by a central volume containing all the service equipment. The day side holds the entrance, a spacious dining area, and a living area with a kitchenette. The night area on the other side contains three bedrooms and two baths, with each bedroom comprising a king-sized bed or twin beds to accommodate a maximum of six people per chalet.

The kitchen cabinets and appliances were also locally made.

The kitchen cabinets and appliances were also locally made.

Riechsteiner

The larch-clad chalets are minimalist in design so as not to distract from the spectacular alpine landscape. The interiors are lined in OSB wood panels with polished concrete underfoot. Large, triple-glazed windows frame views of the mountains and open up to let in natural ventilation.

Whitepod’s eco-chalets are designed for groups and families in search of a mountain escape with all the comforts of home. Breakfast is delivered daily via a 100% electric Land Rover Defender food truck, and the resort offers complimentary snowshoe and snowboard equipment, electric bike rentals, aromatherapy massages, multicourse meals at its on-site restaurant, and much more.

Whitepod’s eco-chalets are designed for groups and families in search of a mountain escape with all the comforts of home. Breakfast is delivered daily via a 100% electric Land Rover Defender food truck, and the resort offers complimentary snowshoe and snowboard equipment, electric bike rentals, aromatherapy massages, multicourse meals at its on-site restaurant, and much more.

Riechsteiner

A peek inside one of the bedrooms. All of the beds are from Elite.

A peek inside one of the bedrooms. All of the beds are from Elite.

Riechsteiner

Decorative boards, external laths, OSB panels, a wind membrane, a wind barrier, and  two layers of heat insulation keep temperature fluctuations to a minimum. This envelope is bolstered by an in-wall active thermal regulation system and a heat pump powered by local hydroelectric turbines to keep each chalet toasty and warm all winter long.

As part of the resort’s commitment to sustainability, all waste is recycled and ingredients are purchased locally. The staff live nearby and walk to work.

As part of the resort’s commitment to sustainability, all waste is recycled and ingredients are purchased locally. The staff live nearby and walk to work.

Riechsteiner

The prefab chalets are topped with zinc roofs and wrapped in locally sourced larch wood. Like the Pods and the on-site restaurant Les Cerniers, the chalets are energy self-sufficient and draw power from a hydroelectric turbine that also produces enough electricity for over 200 households.

The prefab chalets are topped with zinc roofs and wrapped in locally sourced larch wood. Like the Pods and the on-site restaurant Les Cerniers, the chalets are energy self-sufficient and draw power from a hydroelectric turbine that also produces enough electricity for over 200 households.

Riechsteiner

Whitepod’s eco-chalets are now open for booking, and stays begin at 650 Swiss francs ($700 USD) for a minimum of two nights.

Related Reading:

Go Eco-Friendly Glamping in These Geodesic Domes in the Swiss Alps

This Mobile Studio in the Swiss Alps Is an Artist's Dream Come True


Should We Keep Living in Disaster-Prone Areas?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-25 21:52

After a year of ecological calamity, experts wrestle with whether or not we should rebuild in risky areas—and who will pay for it if we do.

From Tornado Alley to the burning West, from the saturated South to the nor’easter-prone North, natural disasters are bearing down on the U.S. with disconcerting regularity. But these natural disasters are disastrous only because we are in their path. With the bill for 2017’s hurricanes, wildfires, and other catastrophic weather events hitting $306 billion in damages, perhaps it’s time to reset our expectations about how and where we build. 

Illustration by Peter Oumanski

On the East Coast, "there is no conceivable way to get around the fact that eventually we will have to retreat," says Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of geology at Duke University and coauthor of The Rising Sea. "Sea levels will rise at least three feet in this century," he says, citing a majority consensus among the scientific community. Under these circumstances—hurricanes or no—cities like Miami and Charleston are gone. 

Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, whose district includes part of Charleston, isn’t ready to order the U-Hauls quite yet. "Where there is no man-made investment, let nature take its course," he says. But it becomes more complicated when facing the prospect of "substantial levels of public and private investment" being lost, he adds. Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami wants solutions to sea level rise now: "Among the many legislative and policy options available, such as elevating roads and expanding the construction of dykes, we should discuss a managed coastline retreat," she says. How that could happen is a key question. Says Sanford: "What you can’t do is say, ‘I’m going to save my beach house at all costs, and I’m going to use your money to do so.’" 

Taxpayers are footing much of the bill to help California, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and other places recover from 2017’s fury. But questions are growing louder as to why they are paying to save homes from recurrent wildfires and rebuild condos that flood year after year. "The question is the degree of repetition," says Sanford. But deciding where to restrict building isn’t easy: Almost 40 percent of the country live in counties prone to coastal flooding, and a third of all housing developments are adjacent to combustible wildlands, including 60 percent of new housing. 

In the West, the question of repetition is becoming more pressing. Sonoma County’s 2017 Tubbs fire burned thousands of homes built on the ashes of a community destroyed by the Hanley fire in 1964. "People thought, ‘Oh, there are really nice views here—we’ll rebuild,’" says Bill Stewart of UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach. David Ropeik, author of How Risky Is It, Really?, says, "If there’s a benefit to living in a place, we downplay or ignore the risk." From natural beauty to family history to the financial hardships of resettling, there are many reasons people refuse to leave their communities. "Even if one has the option to move, there are disincentives," says Ropeik. "We lose the empowerment of familiarity. Familiarity means control, comfort." 

If giving up on coastal cities and keeping California development out of forestland isn’t likely to happen any time soon, we could start by building smarter and stronger. According to a study of three federal agencies by the National Institute of Building Sciences, every $1 the state invests in disaster mitigation saves $6 in future costs. "If our taxes are not being spent to mitigate risk, they’re being wasted," says James Whittle of the American Insurance Association.

Experts also agree that we need to start pricing in the risk of where we live. While the FEMA-managed National Flood Insurance Program currently offers protection to homeowners in flood zones, its $25 billion debt is not sustainable. "I’ve warned people on the coast to watch out for escalating federal flood insurance prices," says Sanford. In California, Stewart has already seen private insurance policies cancelled after wildfires, in some cases forcing the state to step in. Whittle says, "If the rates don’t reflect risk, somebody is paying. The question is, who is that somebody?" 


22 Powder Rooms That Pack Big Style Into a Small Space

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-25 20:00

Whether they’re tucked away under a stairwell or squeezed in between two rooms, these powder rooms prove you don’t need a big footprint to make a big statement.

Powder Bathroom

Hear the phrase "powder room" and images of tiny (maybe even bordering on claustrophobic!) bathrooms spring to mind. But just because these small half-baths—as they're sometimes called—aren't known for being spacious doesn't mean that they can't be some of the most characterful rooms in a home. Without the issues of humidity that arise in full bathrooms that are equipped with showers and bathtubs, powder rooms actually have even more design freedom, enabling the use of saturated colors, vivid wallpaper, and moody lighting to create an otherworldly feeling. We've gathered up 22 powder rooms that go bold, luxurious, and exuberant despite their small square footage—take a look below!

A Brand-New Powder Room That Feels Right At Home In A 1910 Four Square

Playful wallpaper from Graham & Brown livens up the house’s otherwise staid 

powder room, which also contains a 

pint-size Ikea sink.

Portland, Oregon–based architects Heidi Beebe and Doug Skidmore created an updated addition—consisting of a master suite upstairs and kitchen, pantry, powder room, and covered patio downstairs—that’s perfectly integrated with the original house and vibrantly modern at the same time. Playful wallpaper from Graham & Brown livens up the house’s otherwise staid powder room, which also contains a pint-size Ikea sink.

Photo: Lincoln Barbour

The bathroom set-up echoes that of the kitchen. A single-bowl, apron-front sink sits on a thin steel shelf, with exposed plumbing and separate hot and cold taps. The tall, slim inset mirror conceals a medicine chest in the bottom portion.

The bathroom set-up in this renovated barn in Northern California echoes that of the kitchen. A single-bowl, apron-front sink sits on a thin steel shelf, with exposed plumbing and separate hot and cold taps. The tall, slim inset mirror conceals a medicine chest in the bottom portion.

Joe Fletcher

Lawyer-turned-interior designer Delia Kenza recently renovated her parlor floor powder room, which is tucked behind a staircase. She stuck a piece of glass like a transom near the ceiling, exposing the old plaster. She used a textured wallpaper and a marble backsplash alongside brass fixtures and unexpected artwork.

Lawyer-turned-interior designer Delia Kenza recently renovated her parlor floor powder room, which is tucked behind a staircase. She stuck a piece of glass like a transom near the ceiling, exposing the old plaster. She used a textured wallpaper and a marble backsplash alongside brass fixtures and unexpected artwork.

Photo: Pippa Drummond

Bearstead Rise by Gruff Architects

A 1930s terrace house in London saw a transformation by Gruff Architects, complete with a new powder room whose green leaf wallpapered interiors flow onto the back of the bathroom door. White and green tiles at the floor provide a contrast of scale while still maintaining the color scheme.

Photo by French and Tye

In the 1930s in Australia, bungalows that were built in the Arts and Crafts style were often designed to have their decorative

In a 1930s home in Australia, a bungalow gets a renovation including new bathrooms. A monochromatic powder room in pinky-orange features a wall-mounted sink and mosaic tile with matching grout.

Courtesy of Katherine Lu

A sculptural freestanding washbasin by Gessi is found in the first-floor powder room. The hex tiles are courtesy of Dear Human.

A sculptural freestanding washbasin by Gessi is found in the first-floor powder room. The hex tiles are courtesy of Dear Human, while the concrete floor is softened by natural daylight.

Photo: Ema Peter

If Bradley had to choose a favorite bathroom design in her portfolio, it would be this guest bathroom. "Incorporating a strong, geometric pattern through the use of
white, rectangular mosaic tiles with black grout created the illusion of space," she says.

If designer Lynne Bradley had to choose a favorite bathroom design in her portfolio, it would be this guest bathroom. "Incorporating a strong, geometric pattern through the use of
white, rectangular mosaic tiles with black grout created the illusion of space," she says.

Photo by Anson Smart

In a powder room, a terrazzo basin makes a statement.

In a powder room at a luminous home in Australia, a terrazzo basin in the powder room makes a statement set atop a concrete countertop. Large-scale white penny tile continue the light color palette.

Elise Scott

A peek inside the powder room.

The team behind Randy Bens Architect worked with Moosehead Contracting and Falken Reynolds Interiors to create this minimalist family home on St. George Street in Vancouver, Canada. With 11 skylights throughout the home, even the powder room has one; the circular shapes are mimicked in the circular mirror and sink.

Courtesy of Ema Peter

The powder room features Teselle tiles.

Cement tiles are featured in the bathroom, powder room, and even around the fireplace in this house in LA. The Teselle tile on the wall behind the sink make it a focal point of the small space.

Courtesy of Alex Zarour, Virtually Here Studios

Playful and textural powder room

A meticulously renovated penthouse apartment in Denver, Colorado included this powder room, with graphic blue and white floor tiles that contrast with the smaller scale of the white penny tile on the walls. A triangular vanity for the vessel sink is a smart, space-saving solution.

Photo: Tahvory Bunting - Denver Image Photography

The second floor powder room.

At a family compound in Nantucket, the materials in the restroom speak to the local vernacular, with wood paneling and countertop, but the minimalist detailing and light finish make it modern. The black sink and accessories contrast against the white walls, adding another dimension.

Photo: Donna Dotan

Powder Bathroom

In a four-story, ground-up project with dramatic ocean views, the powder room exudes clean, simple vibes with a warm palette and mix of walnut, stone, and white walls. The undulating, unfinished edge of the marble backsplash recalls the waves of the nearby water.

Photo: Nicole Franzen

Powder Room

In Brooklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood, a home from the early 1900s is completely renovated and expanded. The tranquil powder room features marble tile floors and a marble vanity, and the walls have a warm gray paint with an undulating off-white wallpaper.

Photo Courtesy of rodriguez studio architecture pc

Powder Room

A large apartment in the Indian city of Mumbai features a range of materials, textures and patterns throughout the spaces, and the powder room is no different, with hexagonal tiles on the walls and a marble vanity that serves as the support for a gold and white vessel sink.

Talib Chitalwala

Powder Room

An under-the-stairs powder room is transformed into an exciting space in this home in Australia, where the gray subway tile gives way to a colorful printed wallpaper.

The Palm Co

Powder Room

A large condo in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood has a powder room whose cheery wallpaper has pops of yellow, which are repeated throughout the space with accent towels.

Photo: suzanna scott photography

powder room

One of the great challenges in powder rooms is finding sinks that are small enough to fit into tight or narrow spaces, but that still work with the style and aesthetics of the room. Here, the all white tiling, walls, and fixtures including the sink provide a visual consistency that make it feel more spacious.

Photo: Martin Knowles

Powder Room

A dramatic black and gray marble brings subtle glamour to this petite powder room, which was originally designed in the 1920s by noted female architect Frankie Faulkner. Dark  floor tiles and accessories like a black-framed mirror and dark window treatments tie the black-and-white theme together.

Photo: DISC Interiors

Powder
Powder Room

The powder room in a renovated 1957 midcentury modern home in Portland takes on a moody vibe with textured, irridescent floor-to-ceiling tiles but stays sleek with streamlined fixtures in polished nickel and marble.

Photo: David Papazian



In Golden Beach, Florida, a new residence was designed with a minimalist, zen-inspired approach that carried through to even the small powder room, where the focal point is on a sculptural sink and a textured tile wall behind the sink.

In Golden Beach, Florida, a new residence was designed with a minimalist, zen-inspired approach that carried through to even the small powder room, where the focal point is on a sculptural sink and a textured tile wall behind the sink.

Photo: Robin Hill


Coyuchi Presidio Organic Pillow Cover

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-25 19:18

A textural herringbone weave highlights a refined blend of organic cotton and organic linen. The combination of yarns and fibers brings dimension and drape, with large hand-knotted tassels that showcase the full array of colors at each corner. Self-backed pillow cover is secured with an envelope closure in the back.  


This Charred-Cedar Waterfront Home Embraces the View From Every Angle

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-25 19:02

Step into this waterfront home in Prince Edward County, and find an instant reprieve from the city.

The house isn’t specifically passive, but it’s “exceptionally efficient,” Handa says. Responsible materials were used wherever possible, and the triple-pane windows from Germany have an extremely high R-value.

Anyone who’s been on holiday—whether a weekend road trip or a multi-leg international journey—knows the "We’re here!" feeling well: that moment where you feel like the journey (and real life) are behind you, and you’re officially, truly, on vacation.

Light oak panels by Finsa clad both the kitchen cabinetry and the built-in units that appear in the living room and entryway. "We used natural materials where we could, but we were also mindful of keeping high-touch surfaces durable," explains Anne-Marie Armstrong, co-principal of AAmp Studio.

Light oak panels by Finsa clad both the kitchen cabinetry and the built-in units that appear in the living room and entryway. "We used natural materials where we could, but we were also mindful of keeping high-touch surfaces durable," explains Anne-Marie Armstrong, co-principal of AAmp Studio.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

It’s a sensation of letting go, and entering into a new frame of mind—at least for a little while. And it’s exactly what homeowners Aaron and Orlee (and their kids) wanted to amplify in their own vacation retreat, the Ell House.

"You look down to the water, and you know you’ve arrived somewhere and escaped the world behind you," says architect Ravi Handa.

"You look down to the water, and you know you’ve arrived somewhere and escaped the world behind you," says architect Ravi Handa.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

The large sliding doors in the common area open to the courtyard to bring the outside in.

The large sliding doors in the common area open to the courtyard to bring the outside in.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

"They just really wanted to arrive in the space," says Montreal-based architect Ravi Handa, who collaborated with AAmp Studio on the couple’s 2,240-square-foot getaway on the shores of Lake Ontario. "They want to just put down their bags and forget about the city."

The parents’ bedroom is intentionally small, with a custom storage unit framing a giant window. “It makes the views feel that much bigger,” says Handa.

The parents’ bedroom is intentionally small, with a custom storage unit framing a giant window. "It makes the views feel that much bigger," says Handa.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

A classic Jeanneret Chandigarh armchair sits by the fireplace.

A classic Jeanneret Chandigarh armchair sits by the fireplace.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

It’s easy to do just that, as you step through the house’s massive vestibule, which acts as a literal and metaphorical buffer zone between the home and the rest of the world. From here, a sweeping view of the water is the first thing to greet you: welcome to vacation mode.

In the kitchen, a concrete Caesarstone countertop echoes the flooring material; the slatted pine mezzanine is a nod to the ceiling finish. “Everything is referencing something else,” says Armstrong.

In the kitchen, a concrete Caesarstone countertop echoes the flooring material; the slatted pine mezzanine is a nod to the ceiling finish. "Everything is referencing something else," says Armstrong.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

In the bedroom hallway, a window is placed specifically in front of each door. “It’s like you have your own personal relationship with the window as you come through,” says Andrew Ashey, co-principal at AAmp Studio.

In the bedroom hallway, a window is placed specifically in front of each door. "It’s like you have your own personal relationship with the window as you come through," says Andrew Ashey, co-principal at AAmp Studio.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

The property is in Prince Edward County, a region popular with vacationing Torontonians. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s rural, it’s waterfront, and just down the road from Ontario wine country. "It’s a bit of a rural paradise," says Handa.

But while the building takes some cues from an agrarian architectural tradition, this is anything but a country shack: the modern cottage features four bedrooms and two baths in one wing, in addition to the open-concept common area with the kitchen, dining room, powder room, and living room on the other side.

The white walls, concrete floors, and wood detailing are a neutral combination that will age well. “The clients wanted something timeless,” says Handa.

The white walls, concrete floors, and wood detailing are a neutral combination that will age well. "The clients wanted something timeless," says Handa.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

During storm season, nature’s awe-inspiring light show is on full display through the oversized windows.

During storm season, nature’s awe-inspiring light show is on full display through the oversized windows.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

Shop The Look

Ben Soleimani Harper Sofa

Crafted in a timeless silhouette, our Harper Sofa features heavy linen, modern track arms, and double-cushioned seating. With sleek lines and natural textures, this piece is the perfect anchor for a room that is calm and light. Photo Courtesy of Ben Soleimani

Ben Soleimani Linen Chunky Hand Braided Jute Rug

Master artisans hand-plait our heavyweight rug from thick jute fibers, alternating each braid with a slim twist that adds dimension and texture. Hand-bound edges are slightly uneven, reflecting the rug's casual style. Smooth and sturdy, it offers exceptional beauty and durability. Ben is inspired by the natural variations within fibers, textures and weaves; each one of our handcrafted rugs is slightly unique. This proprietary design and style was part of our collection featured at Restoration Hardware (RH) Photo Courtesy of Ben Soleimani

Minka Aire Fans Kewl Ceiling Fan

The Minka Aire Kewl Ceiling Fan is modern, retro, fun and cool, all rolled up into one. And it's available in (make a statement) Red, in addition to Silver, White and Black. Includes a 2-wire wall control and a 6" downrod. The Minka Group, located in Corona, CA, offers a variety of products, including Minka Aire fans, Minka Lavery lighting, and George Kovacs fans and lighting.

The exterior is clad in burnt cedar, and the carbon-colored building pops against the sun-washed grass and blue sky. ("Lake Ontario is so vast, it looks like an ocean, so we really wanted a sharp contrast," says Handa.)

But inside this black box, conversely, it’s pure light. "The idea was to have the whole place as outward looking as possible," says Handa. So he and the AAmp Studio team went through, room by room, to determine how to maximize the views at every moment.

The vestibule is the entry point, and it also separates the sleeping area of the house from the communal areas.

The vestibule is the entry point, and it also separates the sleeping area of the house from the communal areas.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

Appliances are hidden behind white panelling in the kitchen. A built-in nook in the kitchen entrance creates a niche to drop your things and disconnect from the road.

Appliances are hidden behind white panelling in the kitchen. A built-in nook in the kitchen entrance creates a niche to drop your things and disconnect from the road.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

Wherever you are, so is nature: a sliver of the water, grass, or sky is visible from almost anywhere in the home. "From an architectural perspective, you’re in connection with the outdoors always," adds Anne-Marie Armstrong, co-principal of AAmp Studio. Even the interior reflects the colors and textures of organic materials—from the pine slat ceilings to the concrete floor to the stone countertops.

A window placed unusually low on the wall in the living room is designed specifically so the family’s youngest son could have his own special view.

A window placed unusually low on the wall in the living room is designed specifically so the family’s youngest son could have his own special view.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

The walls are painted a soft white, and white-washed pine lines the ceilings to draw attention to the cathedral ceilings and amplify the natural light that pours in. The minimalist finishing also acts as a quiet backdrop for the changing seasons on view via the dozens of windows, with each vista framed by warm pine like a veritable work of art.

The neutral palette fosters a sense of calm and quiet, whether in the bedrooms or the common area, and gives the space a timeless appeal.

The neutral palette fosters a sense of calm and quiet, whether in the bedrooms or the common area, and gives the space a timeless appeal.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

Extensive storage in the kitchen hallway provides plenty of spots to put beautiful objects on display or tuck them neatly out of sight.

Extensive storage in the kitchen hallway provides plenty of spots to put beautiful objects on display or tuck them neatly out of sight.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

The mezzanine is fenced by slats of whitewashed pine, and acts as the children’s playroom and hangout space.

The mezzanine is fenced by slats of whitewashed pine, and acts as the children’s playroom and hangout space.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

In the process of accomplishing that "arrival" sensation, the design team created another feeling, too: that of never wanting to leave. "The family love going up here, and the peace they get," says Handa. "Every time he’s in the living room, Aaron sends me a picture of the view." 

The siting of the home was intended to take advantage of the proximity to Lake Ontario, with windows aimed at the waterfront wherever possible.

The siting of the home was intended to take advantage of the proximity to Lake Ontario, with windows aimed at the waterfront wherever possible.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

The gable roof and L-shaped structure add a buffer against the sound of winds blowing at up to 45 miles per hour. “You don’t hear the outside,” says Ravi.

The gable roof and L-shaped structure add a buffer against the sound of winds blowing at up to 45 miles per hour. "You don’t hear the outside," says Handa.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet

The house isn’t specifically passive, but it’s “exceptionally efficient,” Handa says. Responsible materials were used wherever possible, and the triple-pane windows from Germany have an extremely high R-value.

The house isn’t specifically passive, but it’s "exceptionally efficient," Handa says. Responsible materials were used wherever possible, and the triple-pane windows from Germany have an extremely high R-value.

Photo: Maxime Brouillet


Roeg Sutherland’s Private Villa in the Hollywood Hills Asks $4.75M

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-25 16:52

The film exec’s collection of art and curios helped inform the design of this gallery-like home.

The streamlined, modern interiors feature white gallery walls—perfect for showcasing Roeg’s art collection.

Los Angeles–based interior designer Mandy Graham transformed this classic, Mediterranean-style villa into a chic, contemporary home for film industry executive Roeg Sutherland—who happens to be the son of legendary Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland. Set within a private compound just above the Hollywood Dell, the home was crafted to display Roeg’s collection of artwork and curios. 

The white stucco exterior and red terra-cotta roof of the Mediterranean villa are set against lush green landscaping.

The white stucco exterior and red terra-cotta roof of the Mediterranean villa are set against lush green landscaping.

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The collection, which Roeg says "predates the furniture," was essentially the starting point for the project. "It gave Mandy an opportunity to merge her love of furniture design with the playful art that surrounded it," he shares. Graham designed custom pieces for the 4,434-square-foot home while paying careful attention to the volume, light, and proportion of the white-walled interiors.  

The home is full of lovely, light-filled indoor/outdoor spaces.

The home is full of lovely, light-filled indoor/outdoor spaces. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

Ample outdoor seating around a fire pit creates a perfect spot for entertaining.

Ample outdoor seating around a fire pit creates a perfect spot for entertaining. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The villa’s highlights include sleek concrete/epoxy composite flooring on the lower level, oak hardwood floors on the upper level, high-design touches throughout, and a stunning minimalist kitchen—which also happens to be Roeg’s favorite part of the home.

Graham designed the kitchen with a custom-made, freestanding, ebony-stained oak storage unit. The clean-lined silhouettes of the storage unit and the kitchen island even served as the inspiration for Graham’s most recent furniture collection.

The streamlined, modern interiors feature white gallery walls—perfect for showcasing Roeg’s art collection.

The streamlined, modern interiors feature white gallery walls—perfect for showcasing Roeg’s art collection. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The expansive living room features two separate sitting areas.

The expansive living room features two separate sitting areas. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The white gallery walls serve as the ideal backdrop for the artwork and curios in Roeg’s collection.

The white gallery walls serve as the ideal backdrop for the artwork and curios in Roeg’s collection. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The kitchen is the perfect example of Graham’s streamlined aesthetic.It features a custom, freestanding storage unit and countertops made from Macaubas granite and Fenix NTM.

The kitchen is the perfect example of Graham’s streamlined aesthetic.It features a custom, freestanding storage unit and countertops made from Macaubas granite and Fenix NTM.

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

Lighting from Ingo Maurer hangs over the dining table.

Lighting from Ingo Maurer hangs over the dining table. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The home also features are multiple indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces and thoughtfully-landscaped grounds that unfolds to reveal a wooden barrel sauna and an Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool with breathtaking views that stretch across the city. 

An oversized screening room connects to a large terrace outside.

An oversized screening room connects to a large terrace outside.

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

French doors open to the outdoor space.

French doors open to the outdoor space. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The spacious principal bedroom.

The spacious principal bedroom. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The dressing area of the en suite bath.

The dressing area of the en suite bath. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The bath also features a spacious glass-enclosed, marble-tiled shower.

The bath also features a spacious glass-enclosed, marble-tiled shower. 

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

Outside, a barrel-shaped sauna offers sits below swaying bamboo trees.

Outside, a barrel-shaped sauna offers sits below swaying bamboo trees.

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

The Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool features spectacular views stretching across Los Angeles.

The Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool features spectacular views stretching across Los Angeles.

Photos courtesy of Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass

6453 Bryn Mawr Drive is being privately offered by Joe Reichling, Boni Bryant, and Diana Braun of Compass for $4,750,000.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.  


Asking $3.75M, This Bohemian Hillside Home in L.A. Comes Complete With a Potter’s Studio

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-24 22:47

Originally built in 1939, the main house was renovated by renowned interior designers Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe.

A large deck surrounds the pool at the bottom of the lot.

A recently listed home in Los Angeles embraces its hillside location with rambling walkways that unfold from the street. Located in the Silver Lake neighborhood, the .25-acre property is marked only by a detached garage at the end of a cul-de-sac, with stairs and paths connecting the main house with a sparkling pool and guesthouse at the bottom of the lot. Inside, a chic interior renovation by L.A. design house Nickey-Kehoe offers warm colors and wood tones mixed with starkly white spaces.

A gate from the hilltop garage leads down to the main house. Additional paths lead around the house and down to a green-roofed guesthouse <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">designed by local architect John Umbanhower.</span>

A gate from the hilltop garage leads down to the main house. Additional paths lead around the house and down to a green-roofed guesthouse designed by local architect John Umbanhower.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Inside, an entryway leads down into the sunlit living area. The interior renovation was led by Los Angeles–based designers <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe of Nickey-Kehoe.</span>

Inside, an entryway leads down into the sunlit living area. The interior renovation was led by Los Angeles–based designers Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe of Nickey-Kehoe.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Offering nearly 3,000 square feet of living space, the two-story main house features three bedrooms and four full bathrooms. The sunlit main level offers numerous picture windows overlooking the lush yard and Silver Lake's Ivanhoe Reservoir. Also on the main level, the master suite features a small seating area and covered balcony, along with a clawfoot tub in the en suite bathroom. Downstairs, a sunny family room offers an additional space to relax, while a timber bar top provides an expansive spot to work.

Another view of the living area reveals the large picture window at one end.

Another view of the living area reveals the large picture window at one end. 

Photo courtesy of Compass

French doors lead out to a porch and down to the poolside patios.

French doors lead out to a porch and down to the poolside deck.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Back near the main entrance, another dining area features built-in seating along a bay window. Additional built-in cabinetry flank both sides of the doorway.

Near the main entrance, another dining area features built-in seating along a bay window. Additional built-in cabinetry flank both sides of the doorway.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Opposite from the dining area the brightly lit kitchen features colored cabinetry and wood countertops.

Opposite from the dining area the brightly lit kitchen features colored cabinetry and wood countertops. 

Photo courtesy of Compass

A large pass-through in the kitchen connects the space with a smaller breakfast area on the other side.

A large pass-through connects the kitchen with a smaller breakfast area on the other side.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Outside, multiple patios and a poolside deck await. Leading from the back porch, yet more stairs and walkways lead down past a hot tub to the pool and guesthouse, which features an additional bedroom and full bathroom. A small lawn, vegetable beds, and fruit trees round out the landscaping. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $3,750,000.

In the master bedroom, a large picture window frames a view of the surrounding hills.

In the master bedroom, a large picture window frames a view of the surrounding hills.

Photo courtesy of Compass

The master bedroom also offers a small sitting area and a private deck area.

The master bedroom also offers a small sitting area and a private outdoor area.

Photo courtesy of Compass

The master bathroom features a clawfoot tub, custom vanity, and glass-walled shower. A skylight illuminates the space from above.

The master bathroom features a clawfoot tub, custom vanity, and glass-walled shower. A skylight illuminates the space from above.

Photo courtesy of Compass

A look at one of the two secondary bedrooms.

A look at one of the two secondary bedrooms.

Photo courtesy of Compass

A full bathroom is located across the hall.

One of the homes four full bathrooms.

Photo courtesy of Compass

A look at the third bedroom downstairs.

A look at the third bedroom downstairs.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Barn-style doors divide the bedroom from a family room and office.

Barn-style doors divide the bedroom from the family room and office.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Pieces of timber run along a wall to create an expansive work area in the office.

Pieces of timber run along a wall to create an expansive work area.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Around a corner, the sunny family room offers another place to relax.

Around a corner, the sunny family room offers another place to relax.

Photo courtesy of Compass

A rear patio is accessible from the living room and kitchen.

Outside, a large rear patio is accessible from the living room and kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Back around front, the lower level of the detached garage doubles as a studio space.

In front of the home, several paths join at stairs that lead up to the street. The lower level of the detached garage doubles as a studio space.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Inside, the structure is currently used as a potter's studio.

Inside, the partially finished structure is currently used as a potter's studio and offers several storage areas.

Photo courtesy of Compass

A view looking over vegetable beds shows the pool and guesthouse down below, as well as the Ivanhoe Reservoir and Hollywood Hills in the distance.

A view looking over vegetable beds shows the pool and guesthouse down below, as well as the Ivanhoe Reservoir and Hollywood Hills in the distance.

Photo courtesy of Compass

A large deck surrounds the pool at the bottom of the lot.

The pool is surrounded by a large deck.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Inside, the guesthouse features wood-clad ceilings and offers a full bathroom.

The interior of the guesthouse features a wood-clad ceiling that extends to form an overhang.

Photo courtesy of Compass

Another view of the pool area shows a small lawn along one side. A terraced area between the pool and house contains several fruit trees.

Another view of the pool area shows a lawn along one side. A terraced area between the pool and main house contains several fruit trees.

Photo courtesy of Compass

The two-level home follows the sloping lot with multiple patios, decks, and porches to enjoy the outdoors.

The two-level home follows the sloping lot with multiple patios, decks, and porches to enjoy the outdoors.

Photo courtesy of Compass

2503 Silver Lake Terrace in Los Angeles, California, is currently listed for $3,750,000 by the Tracy Do Team at Compass.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.


Before & After: An Eichler Swaps a Chopped-Up Layout for Connected, Colorful Spaces

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-24 21:33

Without adding square footage, Re:modern enlivens and streamlines a jumbled 1959 Eichler in Northern California.

Reeves relocated the kitchen to the back wall and separated it from the adjacent dining area with a large, quartzite-covered island. "When extended family comes to visit, they do quite a bit of cooking. [They use] a lot of spices, and so there was concern about staining the countertop," says Reeves, who chose Luce de Luna quartzite, a variety that has low porosity. Fireclay glazed brick floor tile defines the space from the rest of the great room.

When Sudipta Bhowmik and Dwipal Desai first reached out to architect Mona Ying Reeves, the couple were only calling about a potential bathroom remodel for their Eichler home in Palo Alto, California.

"They bought their dream bathtub," says Reeves. "And then it showed up behind their garage. And they realized, ‘We don’t have a bathroom plan. We don’t have a contractor yet. And we need to fit this into a tiny bathroom.’" 

During that initial conversation, Reeves learned that it wasn’t just a small bathroom that troubled the couple: "We realized that there were many little, modern amenities that they wished to have." Reeves, who founded the San Mateo design firm Re:modern, worked with Sudipta and Dwipal to reconfigure the first floor of the home to eke out bigger living spaces within the existing footprint and fully embrace the indoor/outdoor vibe that Eichlers are known for. 

This 1959 Eichler is 2,354 square feet and has an atrium at the entry. The upper floor, with three bedrooms, was added by a previous homeowner and not touched in the 2018 remodel with Re:modern, which focused on the 2,000-square-foot main level.

This 1959 Eichler is 2,354 square feet and has an atrium at the entry. The upper floor, with three bedrooms, was added by a previous homeowner and not touched in the 2018 remodel with Re:modern, which focused on the 2,000-square-foot main level.

Helynn Ospina Photography

In the original plan, the kitchen was in an odd spot, positioned in the middle of the living spaces and blocking views to the backyard on one side, and to the atrium on the other. The layout cramped the floor plan, creating a series of small rooms "which seemed to go counter to the open, indoor/outdoor feel of the home," says Reeves. Despite floor-to-ceiling glass, the solid mass of the kitchen also prevented natural light from flowing throughout.

Before: Kitchen and Dining Room

Before: The kitchen was a cramped cube flanked by living spaces on either side. "The kitchen was also really inefficient because it floated in the middle of their house, and [walls] didn't reach the ceiling," says Reeves. "And so, they didn't really have enough storage, or counter or appliance space."

Before: The kitchen was a cramped cube flanked by living spaces on either side. "The kitchen was also really inefficient because it floated in the middle of their house, and [walls] didn't reach the ceiling," says Reeves. "And so, they didn't really have enough storage, or counter or appliance space."

Courtesy of Re:modern

Before: The kitchen cube blocked natural light from flowing through the living spaces. This room with a fireplace was set up as a dining room since a couch couldn’t comfortably fit.

Before: The kitchen cube blocked natural light from flowing through the living spaces. This room with a fireplace was set up as a dining room since a couch couldn’t comfortably fit.

Courtesy of Re:modern

The team took down the interior walls and swapped the location of the kitchen and dining room in order to create one fluid great room that accommodates living, dining, and cooking areas. This was done without moving any exterior walls. "To start off with such a compartmentalized house and open it up without adding square footage was quite a bit of a challenge," says Reeves.

After: Kitchen and Dining Room

Reeves relocated the kitchen to the back wall and separated it from the adjacent dining area with a large, quartzite-covered island. "When extended family comes to visit, they do quite a bit of cooking. [They use] a lot of spices, and so there was concern about staining the countertop," says Reeves, who chose Luce de Luna quartzite, a variety that has low porosity. Fireclay glazed brick floor tile defines the space from the rest of the great room.

Reeves relocated the kitchen to the back wall and separated it from the adjacent dining area with a large, quartzite-covered island. "When extended family comes to visit, they do quite a bit of cooking. [They use] a lot of spices, and so there was concern about staining the countertop," says Reeves, who chose Luce de Luna quartzite, a variety that has low porosity. Fireclay glazed brick floor tile defines the space from the rest of the great room.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Now, all of the main living spaces benefit from the expansive glass wall that looks out on the backyard.

Now, all of the main living spaces benefit from the expansive glass wall that looks out on the backyard.

Helynn Ospina Photography

IKEA cabinet boxes with wood doors from Semihandmade outfit the kitchen. The bright red uppers are custom-built and have a lacquer finish. "We really try to create a custom look by blending the inexpensive material—the high and the low, if you will," says Reeves. The backsplash is a reflective white glass tile.

IKEA cabinet boxes with wood doors from Semihandmade outfit the kitchen. The bright red uppers are custom-built and have a lacquer finish. "We really try to create a custom look by blending the inexpensive material—the high and the low, if you will," says Reeves. The backsplash is a reflective white glass tile.

Helynn Ospina Photography

The fireplace chimney became the stove backsplash and vents the custom exhaust hood.

The fireplace chimney became the stove backsplash and vents the custom exhaust hood.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Custom sidelights reveal how the dimensional Heath Ceramics tile wraps the chimney inside and out in a nod to the original construction.

Custom sidelights reveal how the dimensional Heath Ceramics tile wraps the chimney inside and out in a nod to the original construction.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Before: Living Room

Before: The plywood accent wall in the living room had degraded over time.

Before: The plywood accent wall in the living room had degraded over time.

Courtesy of Re:modern

After: Living Room

"To honor that tradition of having this beautiful exposed wood through the house, we brought in a wood accent wall in the great room," says Reeves. The single-pane glass was replaced with double-pane glass for improved energy efficiency.

"To honor that tradition of having this beautiful exposed wood through the house, we brought in a wood accent wall in the great room," says Reeves. The single-pane glass was replaced with double-pane glass for improved energy efficiency.

Helynn Ospina Photography

The accent wall was rebuilt with stained rift-sawn white oak; each plank was handpicked by Reeves and the homeowner for their grain pattern.

The accent wall was rebuilt with stained rift-sawn white oak; each plank was handpicked by Reeves and the homeowner for their grain pattern.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Before: Hallway

Before: "You can tell in its hey-day, the materials were really fabulous to live in, but [when] they bought the house, everything was aging, and the floors were coming up," says Reeves.

Before: "You can tell in its hey-day, the materials were really fabulous to live in, but [when] they bought the house, everything was aging, and the floors were coming up," says Reeves.

Courtesy of Re:modern

After: Hallway

Engineered wood flooring now runs throughout.

Engineered wood flooring now runs throughout.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Another key to modernizing the home was reconfiguring the number of bathrooms on the main floor. The team forfeited a bedroom in order to enlarge the bathroom attached to the primary bedroom, create a suite for the second bedroom, and add a powder room. (The home now has six bedrooms instead of seven.) "That was really the heart of the project: how to give them bigger rooms without adding on to the house," says Reeves. 

The new plan creates two bedroom suites on the main floor. While one is a child’s room for now, the setup can be flexible in the future to accommodate visiting family and international houseguests who stay for extended periods. Now, family members can retreat to bedrooms yet come together easily in the great room; previously, "you didn’t know where you were in relation to anybody else in the house," says Reeves. 

Before: Main Bath

Before: The previous bathroom was too small and compartmentalized.

Before: The previous bathroom was too small and compartmentalized.

Courtesy of Re:modern

After: Main Bath

The hallway to the bathroom is flanked by walk-in closets.

The hallway to the bathroom is flanked by walk-in closets.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Bright yellow tile now surrounds the tub picked out by the owners at the beginning of the remodel process. They wanted this room to feel "like a spa or a happy place to retreat to," says Reeves.

Bright yellow tile now surrounds the tub picked out by the owners at the beginning of the remodel process. They wanted this room to feel "like a spa or a happy place to retreat to," says Reeves.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Fitting for a midcentury remodel, cheerful colors now accentuate much of the main floor. "[The homeowners] were drawn to really deep and saturated colors, and also midcentury classic colors," says Reeves, pointing to the cobalt blue in the kitchen, the sunny yellow in the main bath, and midcentury mint in the kids’ bath. "There [are] lots of moments of color now."

Before: Kids’ Bath

Before: The kids’ bath was also cramped and had unneeded exterior access.

Before: The kids’ bath was also cramped and had unneeded exterior access.

Courtesy of Re:modern

During: "All of the plumbing is embedded within concrete," says Reeves of the original Eichler construction. "So, in order to redo the layout of the bathrooms, there was quite a bit of jackhammer-ing up of the concrete involved."

During: "All of the plumbing is embedded within concrete," says Reeves of the original Eichler construction. "So, in order to redo the layout of the bathrooms, there was quite a bit of jackhammer-ing up of the concrete involved."

Courtesy of Re:modern

After: Kids’ Bath

Stacked rectangular tile lines the walls in the kids’ bath.

Stacked rectangular tile lines the walls in the kids’ bath.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Mint green tile encases the tub.

Mint green tile encases the tub.

Helynn Ospina Photography

After: Powder Room

Penny tile wraps the new powder room that the team was able to fit into the revised first-floor layout.

Penny tile wraps the new powder room that the team was able to fit into the revised first-floor layout.

Helynn Ospina Photography

Before: Floor plan

Before: Floor plan

Courtesy of Re:modern

After: Floor plan

After: Floor plan

Courtesy of Re:modern

More Before & After:

A Trio of Brothers Turn Their Father’s Boatbuilding Workshop Into a Family Retreat

A Remodel Connects an Isolated Kitchen to the Rest of a Pre-War Brooklyn Apartment

A Philadelphia Architect Opens Up Her Historic Row House

Project Credits:

Architect: Re:modern (@remodern)

Builder: California Home Improvement Solutions

Structural Engineer: Rick Lennen

Interior Design: Re:modern

Custom Cabinetry Design: Woodmaster Custom Cabinetry

Other cabinetry: Ikea and Semihandmade custom doors


A Lakeside Canadian Cabin Channels Golden Summer Camp Vibes

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-24 19:17

This family getaway—which is only accessible by boat—has a bunk room below and a mess hall above that takes advantage of spectacular views.

“It’s only an hour and a half from the north edge of Toronto,” says Knezic. “But, because it’s water access only, it feels like you’re far away from everything—and you have a real sense of isolation.”

Back in 1987, architect Tom Knezic’s parents bought a plot of land overlooking Kahshe Lake, in the Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada. They built a small "bunkie" on the land and planned to build a lake cabin for family holidays. Then, the 1989 recession hit and their plans were put on hold. More than three decades later, Knezic and his wife Christine Lolley—co-founders of Solares Architecture—have finally designed and built the cabin of their dreams.

“It’s only an hour and a half from the north edge of Toronto,” says Knezic. “But, because it’s water access only, it feels like you’re far away from everything—and you have a real sense of isolation.”

"It’s only an hour and a half from the north edge of Toronto," says Knezic. "But, because it’s water access only, it feels like you’re far away from everything—and you have a real sense of isolation."

Nanne Springer

Over the years, the family had developed the land into an outdoor haven, with various amenities—including a fire pit, slacklines, bike trails, and a hammock zone—built around the bunkie. "Back then, all four of us slept in the tiny bunkie, and I have a lot of memories growing up on this land," says Knezic. "I watched my father build the stairs going up the cliff, and even helped build parts myself."

The site is full of forest and Canadian Shield rock—including a large rock outcrop along the lake that rises up to the height of the second floor.

The site is full of forest and Canadian Shield rock—including a large rock outcrop along the lake that rises up to the height of the second floor.

Nanne Springer

The intention had always been to build the cabin in a clearing by the lakeshore. However, when the family began to start thinking about building again around 10 years ago, regulations had changed and it was impossible to build so close to the water. "We also realized that if we built there we would destroy the open piece of land that we had been using for gatherings and play for so long."

They considered building at the back of the property, and also discussed replacing the bunkie. "That really upset my mom, though," says Knezic. "By then, my father had passed away and the bunkie represented a very happy period for them. We then looked at ways to expand the bunkie, but none of them worked." After a year of discussion, Knezic’s mother suggested approaching the owner of the neighboring plot of land, which was disused, with an offer to buy.

“One of the most interesting parts of the project was the foundation, as we used ground screws,” says architect Tom Knezic. “I’ve never done a foundation like this, but it’s really neat because you just screw into the ground, weld the beam on top, and you’ve got a foundation in two days. It’s a very light footprint, as we didn't have to do any blasting or chipping. We had to remove some trees to fit the cottage in, but we tried to keep as many as possible around the building—by using ground screws, you’re not damaging the roots of adjacent trees.”

"One of the most interesting parts of the project was the foundation, as we used ground screws," says architect Tom Knezic. "I’ve never done a foundation like this, but it’s really neat because you just screw into the ground, weld the beam on top, and you’ve got a foundation in two days. It’s a very light footprint, as we didn't have to do any blasting or chipping. We had to remove some trees to fit the cottage in, but we tried to keep as many as possible around the building—by using ground screws, you’re not damaging the roots of adjacent trees."

Nanne Springer

"All of a sudden, the problem solved itself," recalls Knezic. "We decided to push the cottage to the very north edge of the property to preserve as much of the south edge as possible, and to raise it up on a large rock outcrop. We wanted the building to feel like a summer camp, with a bunk house and a mess hall—so we just put one on top of the other, with a deck leading from the public upper space out over the rock to the very edge. It was all about having an immediate response, and making it as simple as possible. The concept didn’t change, which never happens!"

The entrance to the home is on the ground floor. It’s accessed from a large timber deck, which is separated from a secondary deck by a landscaped gravel area that marks the entry.

The entrance to the home is on the ground floor. It’s accessed from a large timber deck, which is separated from a secondary deck by a landscaped gravel area that marks the entry. 

Nanne Springer

The home was built by the same carpenter who built the original bunkie on the site in the late 1980s. “He was in his early twenties back then, and now he’s nearly retired,” reveals architect Tom Knezic. “He does all the water access cottage builds there, because he’s just on the other side of the channel.” An external stair leads from the front, ground floor deck up to the deck overlooking the water.

The home was built by the same carpenter who built the original bunkie on the site in the late 1980s. "He was in his early twenties back then, and now he’s nearly retired," reveals architect Tom Knezic. "He does all the water access cottage builds there, because he’s just on the other side of the channel." An external stair leads from the front, ground floor deck up to the deck overlooking the water. 

Nanne Springer

Knezic’s mother handed complete creative control over to the design team, with a simple brief that called for a place where the family could come together that would last for generations. It was also essential that the home embraced the morning light from the east. "One of my mom’s rituals in the bunkie was to stand in front of the cabin and enjoy the morning sun through the forest," says Knezic.

The entry hall has space to store boots and coats as you come into the home. The flooring throughout is high-quality vinyl that mimics the effect of a timber floor. “At first, I thought, ‘Everything else in this house is wood, how can we do a vinyl floor?,’” says architect Tom Knezic. “But nobody would do a hardwood floor in a cottage, because you don’t heat it all winter and they tend to buckle. The vinyl is a very premium product, and it looks fantastic—but it can freeze and get wet. It was perfect because you don’t have to worry about the kids coming in with wet clothes, or with sand on their feet.”

The entry hall has space to store boots and coats as you come into the home. The flooring throughout is high-quality vinyl that mimics the effect of a timber floor. "At first, I thought, ‘Everything else in this house is wood, how can we do a vinyl floor?,’" says architect Tom Knezic. "But nobody would do a hardwood floor in a cottage, because you don’t heat it all winter and they tend to buckle. The vinyl is a very premium product, and it looks fantastic—but it can freeze and get wet. It was perfect because you don’t have to worry about the kids coming in with wet clothes, or with sand on their feet."

Nanne Springer

The central stair connects the entry foyer and the upstairs living space. From the landing, there are views out to the surrounding forest. The interior is clad in Ready Pine, a type of prefinished tongue-and-groove panel. “This was one of the biggest expenses,” says architect Tom Knezic. “But, it was worth it as drywall will start to flake when it freezes in the winter, and it meant we didn't have the hassle of carrying large sheets of drywall up the cliff. It will also last for generations.” The timber casings around the doors and windows were custom stained to match the finish of the Ready Pine.

The central stair connects the entry foyer and the upstairs living space. From the landing, there are views out to the surrounding forest. The interior is clad in Ready Pine, a type of prefinished tongue-and-groove panel. "This was one of the biggest expenses," says architect Tom Knezic. "But, it was worth it as drywall will start to flake when it freezes in the winter, and it meant we didn't have the hassle of carrying large sheets of drywall up the cliff. It will also last for generations." The timber casings around the doors and windows were custom stained to match the finish of the Ready Pine.

Nanne Springer

The experience of the home begins when you arrive at the dock, and cross the landing to the stairs built into the cliffside by Knezic’s father. From here, a path zigzags through the forest toward the house. "You pick up all sorts of leaves, pine needles, and twigs on your feet," says Knezic. "So, we put a pad of gravel between the two lower decks, which acts like a natural doormat to scrape off your shoes as you arrive. It’s important, as it’s meant to be a ‘shoes on’ house."

The ground floor features four bedrooms and two bunk rooms. “They’re the smallest bedrooms we’ve ever made,” says architect Tom Knezic. “They’re meant to be a bit like cabins on a ship—just room for a bed and a place to put your personal things.” All the bedrooms are interchangeable, and have small windows that look out over the forest. “We had to convince my mum about that because there’s always that idea of having a lake view from the master suite,” says Knezic. “But, if you want to enjoy the view you come up to the living area.”

The ground floor features four bedrooms and two bunk rooms. "They’re the smallest bedrooms we’ve ever made," says architect Tom Knezic. "They’re meant to be a bit like cabins on a ship—just room for a bed and a place to put your personal things." All the bedrooms are interchangeable, and have small windows that look out over the forest. "We had to convince my mum about that because there’s always that idea of having a lake view from the master suite," says Knezic. "But, if you want to enjoy the view you come up to the living area." 

Nanne Springer

There are two large bunk rooms—one for boys and one for girls—that can accommodate eight children.

There are two large bunk rooms—one for boys and one for girls—that can accommodate eight children. 

Nanne Springer

Both bathrooms are downstairs, leaving the upper level completely open with the feeling of a summer camp mess hall.

Both bathrooms are downstairs, leaving the upper level completely open with the feeling of a summer camp mess hall. 

Nanne Springer

A deck leads into an entrance foyer on the ground floor. Six small bedrooms and two bathrooms are located on the ground floor and a central stair leads to the shared living space on the first floor. "I love the contrast between the upper and lower levels," says Knezic. "The ground floor is compact and feels a bit like being on a boat, while the upper floor is as open as possible."

“The upper floor is completely open, and it’s supposed to feel like you’re in a big, really nice tent,” says architect Tom Knezic. “It does feel that way when you have all these windows on the south, and the sliding doors on either end of the hall open. You get the breeze through the space, and feel like you’re outside.”

"The upper floor is completely open, and it’s supposed to feel like you’re in a big, really nice tent," says architect Tom Knezic. "It does feel that way when you have all these windows on the south, and the sliding doors on either end of the hall open. You get the breeze through the space, and feel like you’re outside." 

Nanne Springer

The kitchen opens out into the dining room and living area, and features an island countertop from Caesarstone. The lighting throughout is from Lightline.

The kitchen opens out into the dining room and living area, and features an island countertop from Caesarstone. The lighting throughout is from Lightline.

Nanne Springer

Shop The Look

Fernweh Woodworking Oxbend Stool

This bar stool, designed by Justin Nelson for Fernweh Woodworking, evolved out of the Oxbend dining chair. The Oxbend Collection was born from a desire to create seating that is comfortable, organic, and elegant in its simplicity. This Oxbend stool incorporates subtle hand-shaped tubular curves and classic wedged-tenon leg joinery. Available in varying heights from bar stool to counter stool, it seeks to complement your existing furniture. Photo Courtesy of Fernweh Woodworking

SLV Lighting Enola-TR1 Pendant Track Light

The Enola pendant luminaire from SLV Lighting has a classic cylindrical shape and is available in a variety of colors and finishes. Create interesting clusters with different hanging lengths and colors. It provides endless installation possibilities for individual and colorful arrangements. Photo Courtesy of SLV Lighting

IKEA SÖDERHAMN Sectional

If you like the way it looks you have to try it! The deep seats, moveable back cushions and suspension fabric make this seating very comfortable. Create your own combination, sit back and relax. Size: 114 5/8x78 " Photo courtesy of IKEA

“Normally, we do large windows,” says architect Tom Knezic. “But for this project, all the windows had to be carried onto a barge to come across the channel and then carried up through the forest into the building. So, all the windows were made small—especially those south windows, because that’s about the maximum two people can carry.” There are large glass doors—which came disassembled—at both ends of the open-plan living space, which allows for a cross breeze through the space.

"Normally, we do large windows," says architect Tom Knezic. "But for this project, all the windows had to be carried onto a barge to come across the channel and then carried up through the forest into the building. So, all the windows were made small—especially those south windows, because that’s about the maximum two people can carry." There are large glass doors—which came disassembled—at both ends of the open-plan living space, which allows for a cross breeze through the space.  

Nanne Springer

The Regency fireplace is from the local building center, where all the materials and fixtures were sourced to accommodate the challenges of building in a remote area. “It’s not a fancy Scandinavian model or anything,” says architect Tom Knezic. “It was about finding something that didn’t look old-fashioned at the local building center.”

The Regency fireplace is from the local building center, where all the materials and fixtures were sourced to accommodate the challenges of building in a remote area. "It’s not a fancy Scandinavian model or anything," says architect Tom Knezic. "It was about finding something that didn’t look old-fashioned at the local building center."

Nanne Springer

The exterior is a dark timber that allows the home to dissolve into the woods—particularly on the southern facade, where the narrow windows create a vertical rhythm that mirrors that of the trees and breaks up the bulk of the built form. "A lot of older cottages were painted black to preserve the wood," says Knezic. "I really like the look, and it’s effective at hiding the cottage in the forest. It’s very hard to spot from the water."

The front deck overlooks the lake and features an outdoor kitchen, fully enabling an indoor/outdoor lifestyle that reflects the “summer camp” inspiration.

The front deck overlooks the lake and features an outdoor kitchen, fully enabling an indoor/outdoor lifestyle that reflects the "summer camp" inspiration.

Nanne Springer

One of the biggest challenges throughout the build was access to the site—all materials had to be shipped over on a barge and carried up the cliffside stairs. This also meant that it took two years (rather than eight months) to complete the build, as the lake completely freezes over in the winter. Fortunately, the home was completed in early 2020 before the pandemic, and the family was able to use the cottage during periods of lockdown.

The west-facing deck extends right up to the edge of the rocky outcrop, offering spectacular views over the water. “The deck is designed to feel like an extension of the house, just without a roof on it,” says architect Tom Knezic. “There’s a lot of flow inside and outside.”

The west-facing deck extends right up to the edge of the rocky outcrop, offering spectacular views over the water. "The deck is designed to feel like an extension of the house, just without a roof on it," says architect Tom Knezic. "There’s a lot of flow inside and outside." 

Nanne Springer

"That first weekend that we were all there together, I was in the kitchen and looked around at everyone doing different things—the kids were playing in the forest, there were people out on the deck—and I thought, this is fantastic," says Knezic. "There were so many people coexisting, and everything was working in this really magical way. The building had come to life."

The screened porch at the rear of the property overlooks the forest, and it was a response to the request of architect Tom Knezic’s mother for a space that embraced the morning light from the east. “I got a lot of head scratching from people wondering why you would put a porch on the back—but it’s actually kind of nice to look at the forest, and you get the east light,” says Knezic. “It also means we have three aspects, while it’s more typical to have just the single aspect toward the lake.”

The screened porch at the rear of the property overlooks the forest, and it was a response to the request of architect Tom Knezic’s mother for a space that embraced the morning light from the east. "I got a lot of head scratching from people wondering why you would put a porch on the back—but it’s actually kind of nice to look at the forest, and you get the east light," says Knezic. "It also means we have three aspects, while it’s more typical to have just the single aspect toward the lake." 

Nanne Springer

Site plan of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture showing how the new lake cottage is positioned in relation to the existing bunkie.

Site plan of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture showing how the new lake cottage is positioned in relation to the existing bunkie.

Solares Architecture

Ground floor plan of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture

Ground floor plan of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture

Solares Architecture

Upper floor plan of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture

Upper floor plan of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture

Solares Architecture

Site section of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture

Site section of Kahshe Lake Cottage by Solares Architecture

Solares Architecture

Related Reading:

This Award-Winning Cabin Is a Relaxing Antidote to City Living 

This Dramatic A-Frame Cabin Channels Canada’s Rich Maritime History 

8 Outstanding Cabins For Rent in Canada

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Solares Architecture

Builder: Cottage Concepts

Structural Engineer: Canvas Engineering

Lighting Design: Solares Architecture

Cabinetry Design: Solares Architecture

Cabinetry Manufacture and Installation: Muskoka Custom Cabinets

Ground Screw Foundations: Aduvo Systems

Photography: Nanne Springer 


Top 5 Homes of the Week With Beauteous Breakfast Nooks

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-24 19:10

It’s every brunch lover’s dream. Take inspiration from these cozy breakfast nooks from the Dwell community that caught our editor’s eye this week.

Oak Woodland

Featured homes were submitted by members of the Dwell community through our Add a Home feature. Add your home to dwell.com/homes today.

1. Ellsworth Residence

Photo by Peter Legris Photography

Architect: PLANT Architect, Inc., Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

From the architect: "Our clients on this renovation and addition are well-travelled collectors of books and eclectic objects—everything from Barbie paraphernalia to bug sculptures to vintage camera equipment. Previously, many of these beloved objects were wedged in amongst shoes and coats in the mudroom, where they could not really be appreciated. [We] expanded the kitchen of their Edwardian home and added a new mudroom, sitting room, and second-story office. Integrating the collections into these spaces was a crucial part of the project. In the kitchen we consolidated some of the collections into clean-lined, glass-fronted cabinets that keep them dust-free and safely away from vaporized oils from stovetop cooking. We also increased access to natural light in the kitchen and greatly expanded the quantity of displayed storage by inserting bookshelves into ‘remnant’ spaces and at clerestory height." 

2. Bound Together

Photo by Meagan Forbes

Interior designer: Big Sky Design, Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

From the interior designer: "By blending in color, form, and function throughout the spaces and taking into consideration how each element works together holistically, we created a space that is inviting, exciting, and a reflection of our client’s own style and culture—a space where they can live, work, and play. Family is an important thread in everything our client does, so we regarded the use of lines throughout the space as a representation of the close bond the family shares. Steady angles, classic lines, and geometric shapes come together and work cohesively throughout the design."

3. House Withrow

Dining area is defined by wood lined recess.

The dining area of House Withrow by Uoai Studio is defined by a wood lined recess.

Photo: Scott Norsworthy

Architect: Uoai Studio, Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

From the architect: "In renovating a house from the 1920’s in Toronto for a young family, uoai studio structured the new living spaces with crisp bold gestures interspersed with moments of material and textural richness. A continuous wall of white millwork runs the full length of the house unifying the ground floor level while providing plenty of storage. This armature is activated with successive materially and spatially varied vignettes identifying areas for living, cooking and dining. A wood lined dining niche nestles into the large front window." 

4. Pacific Heights Collected Contemporary

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook

Photo by Suzanna Scott Photography

Interior designer: Regan Baker Design, Location: San Francisco, California

From the interior designer: "With three children under the age of 5, our clients were starting to feel the confines of their Pacific Heights home when the expansive 1902 Italianate across the street went on the market. After learning the home had been recently remodeled, they jumped at the chance to purchase a move-in ready property. We worked with them to infuse the already refined, elegant living areas with subtle edginess and handcrafted details, and also helped them reimagine unused space to delight their little ones. Elevated furnishings on the main floor complement the home’s existing high ceilings, modern brass bannisters and extensive walnut cabinetry. Throughout the main floor handcrafted, textured notes are everywhere—a nubby jute rug underlies inviting sofas in the family room and a half-moon mirror in the living room mixes geometric lines with flax-colored fringe." 

5. Oak Woodland

Oak Woodland

"Almost every piece of furniture has an angle or slope," notes David Oldroyd of interior design firm ODADA. "But more natural shapes—such as the curvy chair legs or pebble-shaped poufs—bring in some softness."

Photo: Matthew Millman

Architect: Walker Warner Architects, Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California

From the architect: "Located in a magnificent, park-like setting filled with mature, 80-foot-tall oak trees, this residence meets the clients’ desire for a family home that is casual, stylish, functional, and adaptable. Flexible indoor and outdoor spaces allow for the use and enjoyment of the site in its entirety, both house and grounds. All interior furnishings that were designed and curated for the project compliment the casual yet dynamic architecture while giving a chic air to the residence. Simple sculptural shapes, textural woven fabrics, organic elements and a few accents of forest colors complete the marriage of inside and out." 

Related Reading:

15 Breakfast Nooks That’ll Make You Want to Ditch Your Dining Table

Here’s What You Need to Make the Perfect Brunch at Home

Want a chance to be featured? Add your home here!


A Furnished Tiny Home With Japanese and Scandinavian Vibes Is Offered at $99K

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-24 18:55

Also available unfurnished for $89,000, this 330-square-foot dwelling is an artful example of “Japandi” style.

Less than a year old, this tiny house is up for sale in the Pacific Northwest near Portland, Oregon. The 31-foot-long, 8.5-foot-wide structure features a contrasting facade of natural cedar and painted board-and-batten siding.

It was Stephen Proctor’s dream to swap his life in Nashville for something quieter in the Pacific Northwest. He sold his home, paid off his debts, and purchased a rural lot to park a tiny house along the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland, Oregon.

Less than a year old, this tiny house is up for sale in the Pacific Northwest near Portland, Oregon. The 31-foot-long, 8.5-foot-wide structure features a contrasting facade of natural cedar and painted board-and-batten siding.

Less than a year old, this tiny house is up for sale in the Pacific Northwest near Portland, Oregon. The 31-foot-long, 8.5-foot-wide structure features a contrasting facade of natural cedar and painted board-and-batten siding.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

Inside, the approximately 330-square-foot space features two lofts at either end. The home is currently outfitted with a mix of designer furnishings, which can be negotiated in the sale.

Inside, the approximately 330-square-foot space features two lofts at either end. The home is currently outfitted with a mix of designer furnishings, which can be negotiated in the sale.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

"As a visual artist and experience designer, having a home that reflects my own personal aesthetic was important," says Stephen. "I collaborated with a local tiny house builder, Matt Impola of Handcrafted Movement, finding a nice balance between personal design requests and trusting his overall judgement to create a space that flowed well."

Both the interior and exterior feature contrasting shades of  black and natural wood tones, which Stephen first imagined after picking up a Theo coffee mug and teapot by the brand Stelton. The matte-black ceramic base and simple bamboo handle and lid eventually inspired him to mimic the combination throughout the tiny home. 

In a sunlit corner, a wooden desktop sits on black trestles from IKEA. "I first created the desk setup to mimic the mug and teapot, which Stelton describes it as 'Scandinavia meets Japan,'" explains Stephen. "Similarly, the overall design [of the tiny home] intended to honor the spirit of Japanese tea culture while incorporating the style of Nordic minimalism."

In a sunlit corner, a wooden desktop sits on black trestles from IKEA. "I first created the desk setup to mimic the mug and teapot, which Stelton describes it as 'Scandinavia meets Japan,'" explains Stephen. "Similarly, the overall design [of the tiny home] intended to honor the spirit of Japanese tea culture while incorporating the style of Nordic minimalism."

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

A look from the desk toward the kitchen shows an Italian leather couch from Article along one wall, with a pair of stools by Poly & Bark along another. Cleverly, a pull-down shade across from the couch doubles as a projection surface for watching TV.

A look from the desk toward the kitchen shows an Italian leather couch from Article along one wall, with a pair of stools by Poly & Bark along another. Cleverly, a pull-down shade across from the couch doubles as a projection surface for watching TV.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

"I previously spent time with Japanese-American artist Makoto Fujimura as well as Keiko Yanaka, a Japanese tea master apprentice," Stephen comments. "Between Makoto's ‘slow art’ and Keiko’s tea ceremonies, I’ve been on a journey of learning to be. I wanted my space to reflect this contemplative posture as a place of peace."

After moving the tiny house to its current location in early 2020, the call from local permitting officials quickly unraveled Stephen’s plans. "I found myself in the middle of a perfect bureaucratic storm," he says. "When it comes to tiny house regulations, every municipality is different, as is every county and state. In my area, rules require the home to be put down on blocks and secured. Although there is a way forward to get it properly permitted, at this point I would prefer to sell and start over from scratch."

A closer look at the kitchen area, where leather cabinet pulls and open shelving complement wood counters and a custom stair railing. Stephen’s inspirational tea pot and mug sit along a shelf above the bathroom doorway.

A closer look at the kitchen area, where leather cabinet pulls and open shelving complement wood counters and a custom stair railing. Stephen’s inspirational tea pot and mug sit along a shelf above the bathroom doorway.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

A small window above the kitchen sink looks out at the surroundings.

A small window above the kitchen sink looks out at the surroundings.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

The kitchen also comes with a 21-inch propane stove and oven, as well as a two-door fridge/freezer unit tucked into a cubby along the opposite wall (not pictured).

The kitchen also comes with a 21-inch propane stove and oven, as well as a two-door fridge/freezer unit tucked into a cubby along the opposite wall (not pictured).

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

Stephen isn’t quite ready to give up on his Walden-esque dream, though. "The [long-term] idea was always to live in a modern cabin, and the tiny house was a step in that direction," he says. "I plan to keep the land and rebuild something else—this time in sync with my local permitting requirements and following the same aesthetic."

Stephen recently listed the tiny house with an asking price of $99,000 (fully furnished) or $89,000 (unfurnished), not including transportation costs. "I hope to find [a buyer] who has a deep longing for a creative space that serves as both an escape from this noisy, chaotic world and a place that awakens their imagination," he adds.

A full bathroom along the back of the lower level features a shower and toilet outfitted for septic hookup. The space also features a washer/dryer unit in the opposite corner.

A full bathroom along the back of the lower level features a shower and toilet outfitted for septic hookup. The space also features a washer/dryer unit in the opposite corner.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

Upstairs, a sleeping loft above the bathroom fits a full size mattress by Tuft & Needle, along with a built-in chest of drawers along one side.

Upstairs, a sleeping loft above the bathroom fits a full size mattress by Tuft & Needle, along with a built-in chest of drawers along one side.  

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

A view from the sleeping loft.

A view from the sleeping loft.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

Outside, a pair of moveable six-foot-square cedar decks also come with the sale and can be packed inside of the home for traveling. LED lights, various hookups, and an outdoor shower round out the exterior features.

Outside, a pair of moveable six-foot-square cedar decks also come with the sale and can be packed inside of the home for traveling. LED lights, various hookups, and an outdoor shower round out the exterior features.

Photo by Jeremy Stanley

For more information, see the listing website or @RivendellxPNW.

Also, follow @sproctor to check out Stephen’s future build.

Project Credits:

Tiny House Builder: Handcrafted Movement / @handcraftedmovement

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.


A Bay Area A. Quincy Jones-Designed Eichler With an Epic Backyard Lists For $1.45M

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-24 03:20

This 1960s beauty won't last long....

Set high atop the Castro Valley Hills, and hidden away behind a seemingly unassuming facade, you would never guess that this 1,842-square-foot flat-roofed Eichler hides a spectacular backyard with sweeping panoramic views and a solar heated swimming pool. Built in 1960, and designed by renowned midcentury architect, A. Quincy Jones, of Emmons & Jones, this flat-roofed, one-level post-and-beam construction has good bones, a strong indoor-outdoor connection, and all of the authentic period charm that Eichler lovers look for. 

5664 Greenridge Road features an unassuming, post-and-beam construction that belies its fabulous backyard.

5664 Greenridge Road features an unassuming, post-and-beam construction that belies its fabulous backyard. 

Open Homes Photography

5664 Greenridge Road opens to an airy central atrium, which leads into the four-bedroom, two-bath open-floor plan layout. Although the tongue-and-groove ceilings are painted white, many of the home's original details appear to be perfectly preserved: Rich mahogany wood paneling clads the walls; original midcentury linoleum flooring; refurbished original closet doors; period-appropriate globe pendant lighting and Nelson bubble lights throughout; and the original kitchen—that has been upgraded with high-end appliances including Miele and Electrolux. Improvements to the home include a newly refurbished foam roof and an updated main electrical panel with a Tesla charger. However, the showstopping highlight of this midcentury gem is its spectacular backyard—which offers breathtaking views and a solar heated pool that was completely upgraded in 2019. Scroll ahead for a look inside. 

The home opens to a sleek central atrium with wide concrete pavers and room for alfresco dining.

The home opens to a sleek central atrium with wide concrete pavers and room for alfresco dining. 

Open Homes Photography

The open-air atrium leads straight into the open-plan living space with views straight out to the backyard.

The open-air atrium leads straight into the open-plan living space with views straight out to the stunning backyard. 

Open Homes Photography

The open kitchen overlooks a casual living area with a wall of glass that provides the spectacular backyard scenery.

The open kitchen overlooks a casual living area with a wall of glass that provides a view of the spectacular backyard and beyond. 

Open Homes Photography

There are many original details throughout. In addition to the original midcentury flooring, there are globe pendant lights, the original warm wood paneling, and a tongue-and-groove ceiling that has been painted white.

There are many original details throughout. In addition to the original midcentury flooring, there is period-appropriate lighting, the original warm wood paneling, and a tongue-and-groove ceiling that has been painted white. 

Open Homes Photography

The midcentury kitchen is original, but the appliances have all been updated with high-end models.

The midcentury kitchen is original, but the appliances have all been updated with high-end models. 

Open Homes Photography

A pop-up table adds extra seating.

The open kitchen has plenty of built-in storage and a pop-up table which adds extra counter space and seating to the island. 

Open Homes Photography

A hallway leads to the great room. There is globe pendant lighting throughout.

A hallway leads to the great room. There is globe pendant lighting throughout. 

Open Homes Photography

The living/dining has a strong indoor-outdoor connection and opens to the outdoors on two sides.

The living/dining has a strong indoor-outdoor connection and opens to the outdoors with glass sliders on two sides. 

Open Homes Photography

The dining nook features a Nelson saucer bubble pendant and is wrapped by warm wood-paneled walls.

The dining nook features a Nelson saucer bubble pendant and is wrapped by warm wood-paneled walls. 

Open Homes Photography

A look at the well-appointed living space.

The tongue-and-groove ceiling of the well-appointed great room shows the home's post-and-beam construction. 

Open Homes Photography

The living room is anchored by the bold brick-inlay fireplace.

The living room is anchored by a bold brick-inlay fireplace. 

Open Homes Photography

The main bedroom has glass sliding doors that lead out to the pool patio. There are warm wood walls, a period-appropriate Nelson cigar wall sconce, and an ensuite bathroom.

The main bedroom has glass sliding doors that lead out to the pool patio. There are warm wood walls, a period-appropriate Nelson cigar wall sconce, and an ensuite bathroom. 

Open Homes Photography

The second bedroom is wrapped in warm wood paneling and has a Nelson ball wall sconce.

The second bedroom is wrapped in warm wood paneling and has it's own Nelson ball wall sconce. 

Open Homes Photography

One of the two bathrooms.

The shower of the shared second bathroom has been updated with a brightly tiled shower. 

Open Homes Photography

The second bathroom.

The shared second bathroom also has two vanities. 

Open Homes Photography

The third bedroom.

The third bedroom is currently the child's room. It also has the original wood paneled walls and features a Nelson pear wall sconce. 

Open Homes Photography

The fourth bedroom, in use as an office, overlooks the atrium.

The fourth bedroom, in use as an office, has built-in shelving and overlooks the atrium. 

Open Homes Photography

The stunning backyard was designed for entertaining. There are multiple sitting areas and an expansive deck with extraordinary views—and a lovely, updated solar heated pool.

The stunning backyard was designed for entertaining. There are multiple sitting areas and an expansive deck with extraordinary views—and a lovely, updated solar heated pool. 

Open Homes Photography

The sweeping panoramic view is like the icing on the cake of this well-preserved Eichler.

The sweeping panoramic view is like the icing on the cake of this well-preserved Eichler. 

Open Homes Photography

5664 Greenridge Road is currently listed for $1,450,o00 by Thomas Westfall of Compass.  

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.


Get Fired Up for Fall With These 50 Fashionable Finds

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-23 22:43

With temperatures dropping, it’s officially the season of cozy sweaters, sophisticated footwear, and snazzy coats.

With temperatures dropping, it’s officially the season of cozy sweaters and sweatshirts, sophisticated footwear, and snazzy coats.

On the off chance we leave the house, we’ll be taking these fall styles to the grocery aisle—and treating it like a catwalk.

Tops

Acne Studios Cropped Cardigan Off White

Acne Studios off white cardigan is crafted from an alpaca-wool blend to a boxy silhouette and neatly finished with ribbed edges around the neckline, cuffs and hem.

Naadam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater - Mens

Entering beast mode. Improved with a true men's fit, expanded sizes and new colors, the men's $75 sweater is made from 100% sustainable and ultra-soft cashmere. A classic wardrobe staple, this best seller looks as good over a button-down as it does on its own. Just ask the 50k people who have already rated it 5-stars.

Eileen Fisher Waffle Knit Sweater

A breathable waffle knit and ribbed trims bring rich texture to this drop-shoulder sweater with a relaxed fit.

Entireworld Recycled Cotton Easy T

Easy is as easy, um, you should buy this t-shirt. Fabric: Super soft, lightweight recycled cotton jersey. Fit: Loose, easy around the body; open neck but not too crazy; short in length.

Paskal Atlas Laser Cut Butterfly Stretch Cotton Shirt

A godet featuring a throng of butterflies flares out at one side of an asymmetrical, Italian stretch-cotton shirt that's a cutting-edge take on a classic. Kyiv Institute of Architecture and Engineering graduate Julie Paskal fuses technical knowledge with a keen interest in nature and a reverence for ruffles to make dreamy yet laser-sharp (and often laser-cut) silhouettes.

Everlane The Classic French Terry Crew

Where classic meets comfort. This staple sweatshirt has raglan sleeves, and is made in durable, tightly spun 12 oz french terry cotton with a dry hand that will soften with wear. It’s made to last the long haul, and look good doing it.

Quince Mongolian Cashmere Crew

A timeless staple. Our cashmere crew features 100% Grade A Mongolian cashmere. A versatile classic, it can easily be worn when you need to look your best, and worn casually with a pair of jeans or around the house. It'll soon become a part of your everyday uniform.

Todd Snyder Italian Indigo Western Shirt

Albini, the world famous Italian mill, has been producing premium fabrics since 1876. We figured that was enough to prove their commitment to innovation and dedication to quality. We choose their unrivaled cotton for this vintage-inspired shirt for its resilience and comfort. Tailored in a classic Western silhouette, this shirt is a playful staple for the discerning man. Featuring pearl snap buttons down the middle, front and back yokes, and a classic three button cuff.

Eileen Fisher Button Front Knit Shirt

Keep your look picture-perfect with this button-front knit shirt fashioned with sustainably produced fibers.

Cuyana Silk Button Down Shirt

Timeless by design, our Silk Button Down Shirt is minimal yet sophisticated. Made with a super flattering fit, this piece is crafted with a dramatic high-low hem with a curved shirttail shape. Versatile and effortless, style it for the day or wear it out at night.

Taylor Stitch Headland Sweater in Marled Navy

The Headland Sweater—named for the coast-dominating headlands that provide unparalleled seaside vantages—is built to accompany you during those perspective-expanding moments. Its classic coloring will keep you looking sharp for decades to come, while the cozy texture will provide enough warmth for the harshest of seasons. Steel yourself against the elements, get comfortable, and take it all in.

Richer Poorer Men's Fleece Sweatshirt

Classic Fit Relaxed shoulder seams Back yoke detail Mid-weight fleece Silicone softened for broken-in feel Maintains shape through washing

Theory Striped Crewneck Sweater in Merino Wool

This crewneck sweater offers a fresh take on a classic style with graphic stripes and solid color blocking on the sleeves. It’s crafted from premium merino wool that has a luxuriously soft, cashmere-like feel.

Organic Basics Organic Cotton Oxford Short-Sleeved Shirt

Short sleeved Oxford Shirt made with organic cotton.

Amour Vert Itana Dream Rib Tee

Long sleeve tee with an open neck and shirt-tail hem. A great layering piece made from our lightweight, super soft dream rib fabric.

Bottoms

Rails Delphine Accordion Pleat Skirt

Accordion pleats bring easy, playful movement to a striking skirt that will have you twirling from your office to drinks with friends.

Everlane The Performance Chino

Performance chinos: Great in theory, but most are too crinkly, too tech-y, and too expensive. So we made a pair with all the technical-pant features—they’re sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and have 4-way stretch—plus an authentic chino look designed for everyday wear.

Eileen Fisher Ribbed Wide Leg Pants

Relax and breath easy—these ribbed pants pair easily with your fave tops and are made from a stretchy and eco-friendly blend.

PAIGE The Nines Collection - Genevieve

The Nines is a collection of elevated, everyday denim that allows you to feel confident, empowered and dressed to the nines, no matter what. Each piece has been tailored to perfection and is rooted in PAIGE’s unmatched dedication to quality and fit. The Nines defies the laws of denim to do it all, just like you. Part of The Nines collection, Genevieve is our polished, high-rise flare silhouette that gives your legs a long, lean look. This style was designed with classic trouser styling details such as a clean waistband, a hook and bar front closure, back welt pockets and sleek enamel hardware. One of the most special details of this pant is the interior message along the inside of the waistband that reminds you to "Believe in Yourself." Cut from our famed TRANSCEND denim in a dark and sleek indigo wash with charcoal stitching, this style is luxuriously soft and incredibly comfortable with plenty of stretch and recovery to give it a flawless fit from morning to moonlight.

Theory Straight Jean in Bi-Stretch Wool

This jean-inspired pant is designed to flatter with a high-rise waist and slim-straight cut. Featuring a button-zip closure and topstitching details, this five-pocket style is made from our new couture-like, stretch wool that’s lightweight, structured, and as versatile as denim.

Everlane Straight Leg Crop

Our most flattering pant—now with a straight leg. The Straight Leg Crop has a waist-nipping high rise and a cropped leg—meaning, we took the fit of our bestselling Wide Leg Crop and made it in a cool, straight fit. Plus, each pair is garment-dyed for a soft, broken-in feel.

Reformation Cindy Bootleg Jean

Nice legs. This is a high rise, full length jean with a straight leg and a finished hem. The Cindy Bootleg is fitted throughout.

Taylor Stitch Democratic Jean

Being a Bay Area-based brand, you could say blue runs in our blood—the blue jean is as integral to the local identity as the Golden Gate Bridge or the grizzly bear, and we're honored to uphold—and elevate—that tradition. The Everyday Jean is another step along the way towards crafting the perfect blue jean; it's built for the long haul, relies on responsible materials, and it won't break the bank. We think Mr. Strauss would be proud.

John W. Nordstrom Torino Classic Fit Flat Front Solid Dress Pants

Midweight wool sourced from Italian textile mill Zignone makes these smart flat-front trousers comfortable all year 'round.

Dresses

S/W/F Freedom Plunge Lace Trim Midi Dress

A buckle belt nips the waist for a tailored finish in this full cotton dress styled with lace accents and a plunge neck that curves gracefully around the neck.

Kenzo Belted Cotton Dress

Traditional Japanese garments inspire the wide cap sleeves and side fastening of this cotton dress, while a topstitched D-ring belt keeps the look contemporary.

Rec Room Sheath Dress

A simple sheath dress with t-shirt sleeves that perfectly skims the body. Detachable waist tie adds definition.

Cuyana Maxi Flounce Dress

Our Maxi Flounce Dress is effortless and relaxed, falling at the ankles and designed with a flowing silhouette. Complete with a side-zip closure and partially lined for optimal comfort.

Outerwear

Marimekko Seutu Coat

The classic Seutu coat is made of a soft wool blend. The coat has a concealed snap button closure, a detachable belt, and a slit in the back hemline. There are pockets in the side seams and a large patch pocket in the front. The sleeve ends feature tabs with concealed snap button closures.

Girlfriend Collective Peregrine Windbreaker

Ooh, speedy. A classic full-zip jacket with a hideable hood, cinchable waist, loose fit, and pockets. (Ooh, pockets.) Water and rain resistant for marathon commutes, rainy day runs, and layering post-HIIT.

Wellen Stretch Chore Coat

Soft, sustainable essentials for sun and swell. Pursuing your passion is 99% hard work, countless hours that all culminate into that 1% payoff. For those behind the scenes hours, turn to Wellen’s Chore Coat. It’s the perfect everyday coat you can throw on when headed to the studio, the shop, or into the field to put in the work. The tough hemp canvas can take a serious beating, but it’s also washed for softness and infused with a bit of stretch material so it won’t ever hold you back. Custom finishing touches and a wealth of handy pockets complete this modern update to a timeless workwear classic, and since it’s made with hemp and organic cotton that are better for the environment, you can feel good about wearing it too.

Leith Cozy Long Cardigan

Cuddle up in this shawl-collar cardi knit in a fine gauge from a soft yarn, with a versatile open front.

Everlane The No-Sweat Half-Zip Sweater

The No-Sweat Half-Zip Sweater is an easy, breathable sweater made with COOLMAX® yarn and premium detailing. We spin recycled COOLMAX® Eco with cotton to make our breathable, heat-venting, moisture-wicking No-Sweat yarn. It’s also machine washable. Made in a full Milano stitch, this style is denser and more wind-resistant than our No-Sweat Crew. The half-zip also features a clean, no-rib hem. It hits that sweet transitional middle-ground of a sweater and a light jacket—zip it up for extra warmth, zip it down to let heat out.

Marimekko Nuotio Coat

The Nuotio coat is made of a soft wool blend. The coat has a concealed snap button closure, a detachable belt, and a slit in the back hemline. There are large patch pockets in the front and the coat has an interior lining. The Kitara pattern was chosen from the Marimekko archives and it is designed by Fujiwo Ishimoto. In the Kitara (guitar) design, narrow and broad stripes crossing each other form a nuanced, harmonious pattern.

Amour Vert Beaumont Sharon Corduroy Jacket

Beaumont Organic is an ethical womenswear brand that combines its signature style with classic contemporary pieces. The collections are built on transitional pieces that can be dressed up or down, worn day or night.

Rains Men's Fleece Zip Puller

Fleece Zip Puller has been created to act as an additional layer for dropping temperatures. This in-between layer has been designed to be worn over a base layer or under Rains’ outerwear. Rains’ Fleece Zip Puller is constructed of a 280g/m2 weft knitted, two-sided brushed polar fleece fabric. The style also features a unique PU coating on the front and back yoke of the jacket to guard against inclement weather.

Oil/Lumber Saki Chore 002 - Natural

The second version of our Saki Chore Jacket. Blending Organic Cotton, with 100% fully recycled PET Sherpa lining, this jacket is sure to keep you warm this winter. The jacket features 4 front pockets with bar tack reinforced pockets. Photo Courtesy of Oil/Lumber

Naadam Cropped Hoodie

Crop it like it's hot. Made from our signature cotton cashmere blend, the cropped hoodie in white is the perfect piece to layer over just about everything. With a shorter silhouette and drawstrings at the neck, it can be styled up or down.

Shoes

The Office of Angela Scott Mr. Bernard Boot

Mr. Bernard is made on our Rock last. With its round shaped toe, this last has a roomy toe box. If you have a wide foot, this is a great choice.

Everlane The Day Glove

A shoe that fits like a glove—and hustles all damn day. The Day Glove is made of buttery soft leather that molds to your foot for a perfect, custom fit. With features like a back pull tab, side vents, a rubber sole, and a cushioned insole, it's truly up for anything.

Mansur Gavriel Glove Lace Up Boot

Made of soft supple lamb leather, the Glove Lace Up Boot fits like a glove thanks to its decorative piping detail and features a stacked heel for comfort and ease.

G.H. Bass & Co. Larson Weejuns

The Larson Weejuns have been a signature G.H. Bass & Co. style since 1936. Handsome moc stitching and classic "beefroll" details mean these are the loafers you can pair with a crisp suit on weekdays and your favorite shorts come the weekend. They're a keeper. Photo Courtesy of G.H. Bass & Co.

Mansur Gavriel Glove Pump

Made of soft supple lamb leather, the Glove Pump features a unique décolleté opening for a dreamy fit. Our Glove Pump is the perfect stacked heel to transition into Fall.

Merippa House Shoes - Ivory Grand Plaid / Ivory Fleece

Topdrawer's Merippa House Shoes are hand-sewn in Japan, fully reversible, machine-washable, and come with free iron-on grippers for added traction. We love how they keep our feet cozy and our floors clean, and can be easily rolled up for travel.

Birkenstock Arizona Essentials EVA

The legendary two-strap design from BIRKENSTOCK - the Arizona. The often imitated, never duplicated, comfort legend and fashion staple. Shown in EVA, a synthetic waterproof and lightweight material. Super lightweight - great for after the gym or the beach.

Danner Vertigo 917 Boots

Urban adventure boots with decades of technical boot-making experience to back them up. Drawing on their decades of experience designing the best hiking boots around, Danner designed the Vertigo 917 with the urban explorer in mind. Outfitted with all the technical details that make Danner’s trail boots among the most popular but with a lightweight sole and twin gores for easy on and off, the Vertigo is ready for any urban or outdoor adventure you find yourself on.

Accessories

Coyuchi Sierra Climate Beneficial Wool Beanie

Knit from Climate Beneficial Wool, our beanie offers a sustainable take on a classic style. Structured and cozy warm, it’s made with undyed yarns that highlight the natural beauty of sheep’s wool. Wear it long or fold it up for a contrasting cuff. The wool is directly sourced from a Northern California ranch that uses sustainable “carbon farming” practices to return more carbon to the earth than it releases, helping to lower levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Wellen Seawool Beanie

A traditional fisherman’s beanie made from recycled plastic bottles and oyster shells. Produced with a combination of recycled plastic bottles and upcycled oyster shells, Seawool is an incredible step forward for sustainable textiles. It shares many of the same qualities we love about merino wool—soft to the touch, temperature regulating, quick drying, antimicrobial, durable—while rescuing a great deal of waste from ending up in landfills and oceans. We love the serendipity of an old-school seafaring beanie that’s made with upcycled oyster shells, with all the cozy warmth and rugged durability we would expect built right in.

Organic Basics Recycled Cashmere Scarf

Recycled cashmere scarf created from well-worn cashmere garments that would otherwise go to landfill.

Marimekko Taisa Mini Unikko Scarf

The Taisa scarf is made of cotton and it has the Mini Unikko pattern, which is printed in Helsinki.

We love the products we feature and hope you do, too. If you buy something through a link on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Related Reading:

We’ve Finally Embraced the Athleisure Lifestyle (and You Should, Too)

Here’s the Best Loungewear to Make Working From Home More Comfortable


This Carbon-Negative Cabin Is the Sustainable Home of the Future

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-23 21:41

Perkins & Will designs a mountaintop Passive House that takes energy efficiency to the next level.

Perkins & Will designs a mountaintop Passive House that takes energy efficiency to the next level.

Located in the Soo Valley, about a 20-minute drive from Whistler and 90 minutes from Vancouver, this off-grid house fits right into its pristine natural setting. Designed by architecture firm Perkins & Will, the home is a pilot for a future alpine settlement by Delta Land Development in British Columbia’s Pacific Range.

The SOLO House’s main source of energy is the sun. One side of the structure is lined with solar panels that help power the house.

The SOLO House’s main source of energy is the sun. One side of the structure is lined with solar panels that help power the house.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

A steel roof holds up against the weight of British Columbia’s heavy snowfall.

A steel roof holds up against the weight of British Columbia’s heavy snowfall.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

The house currently serves as a model for what Passive House structures can look and feel like. "It’s a small example, and it represents what I believe to be the way things should be done," says Bruce Langereis, president of Delta Land Development. "It involves being more considerate of energy efficiency, health and wellness, and minimizing your carbon footprint."

An expansive deck maximizes outdoor living opportunities.

An expansive deck maximizes outdoor living opportunities.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Buildings account for close to 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Delta Land, and the developer seeks to lower the impact of homes through sustainable building strategies—Passive Houses require up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings.

The neighboring building houses a storage room and a wood-burning sauna.

The neighboring building houses a storage room and a wood-burning sauna.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

"Buildings are contributors to carbon," Langereis said. "That propelled me to lead our company with a radical new approach to how can we do what we are doing in a climate-positive way."

The home’s windows are strategically placed to provide ventilation and minimize heat gain/loss.

The home’s windows are strategically placed to provide ventilation and minimize heat gain/loss.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

The 2,450-square-foot house is built to the Passive House Low-Energy Building Standard, and it embraces the strict sustainability guidelines set forth by the Passive House Institute in Germany.

The nearly 2,500-square-foot house is built primarily from locally sourced Douglas fir.

The nearly 2,500-square-foot house is built primarily from locally sourced Douglas fir.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Hickory flooring stretches throughout the house.

Hickory flooring stretches throughout the house.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

The Soo Valley house is airtight, with no heat gain or loss. Its walls are lined with wool insulation, and the windows are precisely sealed. In the end, the home’s high-performance envelope makes it super energy efficient.

The home’s wooden construction allowed it to reach its carbon-negative state.

The home’s wooden construction allowed it to reach its carbon-negative state.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Limited glazing helps prevent heat gain or loss, and the three-bedroom, three-bath home is built from energy-efficient (and beautiful) materials like locally harvested Douglas fir instead of traditional drywall.

The design team avoided using carbon-heavy materials (like concrete and steel) wherever possible.

The design team avoided using carbon-heavy materials (like concrete and steel) wherever possible.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Using timber in the construction process allowed Delta Land to get to a carbon-negative state, since trees store carbon. They also avoided using large quantities of carbon-heavy materials like concrete, steel, and glass.

The house is currently being used for gatherings and corporate retreats for companies that embrace a philosophy of planetary wellness.

The house is currently being used for gatherings and corporate retreats for companies that embrace a philosophy of planetary wellness.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Shop The Look

HAY Soft Edge 12 Chair - Oak

As its name suggests, the Soft Edge chair from Hay features a pleasant, rounded design: the edges of the backrest and seat curve back eliminating sharp edges and corners. Iskos-Berlin has utilized the latest innovations in moulded plywood that allow new three-dimensional forms and reduced consumption of natural resources. The lightweight and stackable Soft Edge chair is well suited for homes and public spaces alike. Photo Courtesy of Finnish Design Shop

Studio Tolvanen Terassi Dining Table

The husband-and-wife team of designers Julie and Mika Tolvanen works out of Studio Tolvanen in Helsinki, designing everything from furniture to accessories for companies around the globe. Though they share their lives together, each one approaches design from different directions. “We are both very independent minded,” Julie explains. In fact, the Terassi Collection (2017) was their first project together. Inspired by 1930s-era furniture they came across on a visit to Timberline Lodge in Oregon, they endowed the Terassi Dining Table with a spaced-plank tabletop for excellent outdoor performance and round tapered legs for a leaner profile and rustic yet crafted appearance. “We wanted the overall feeling to be familiar but a bit lighter, a bit friendlier,” Julie says. Terassi is expertly fashioned in high-quality teak with a beautiful straight grain. Includes a removable plug consisting of two concentric rings to accommodate umbrellas of various sizes. Made in Indonesia. Photo Courtesy of Design Within Reach

Threshold Round Cutting Board

With the Two-Tone Wood Inlay Round Cutting Board from Threshold™, you never have to decide between function and style. This rustic cutting board features two dark wood stripes that bring a modern style whether you keep it displayed on your kitchen counter or you use it to serve meat and cheese at your next party. Photo Courtesy of Target

The Passive House–certified building collects water, treats its own waste, and has zero emissions. It also doesn’t use fossil fuels—its principle energy source is the sun. For heating, the house uses a GeoExchange geothermal heat pump. And it embraces natural ventilation with cleverly placed windows. Water is drawn from a well, and waste collects in a septic system.

Delta Land plans to create a future alpine settlement with Passive House–certified homes just like the SOLO house.

Delta Land plans to create a future alpine settlement with Passive House–certified homes just like the SOLO house.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

In order to commit to a zero-fossil-fuels stand, the home’s back-up generator doesn’t run on diesel. Instead, the design team imported a hydrogen generator from Israel that cost around $150,000.

The house was fabricated at a facility 30 minutes away and then assembled on-site.

The house was fabricated at a facility 30 minutes away and then assembled on-site.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

In addition to using sustainable materials and systems, Delta Land used environmentally sensitive and efficient construction methods. Most of the house was prefabricated at a facility 30 minutes away, and then it was assembled on-site with a crane and team of workers.

A simple material palette of wood and glass gives the house a warm, inviting feel.

A simple material palette of wood and glass gives the house a warm, inviting feel.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Passive houses have a long-term positive impact on future generations, and Langereis stresses that we need to think about energy-efficient houses to combat climate change.

"We need to think about the long-term impacts when we make homes," Langereis said. "It’s not just about the person moving in now. What is the impact of the home on future generations, and its affect on climate? Why not hedge against climate change, and do our best to not contribute to the problem and respond in a responsible way? It starts at home."

While most of the interior is clad in wood, the bathroom is covered in a sleek gray tile.

While most of the interior is clad in wood, the bathroom is covered in a sleek gray tile.

Courtesy of Delta Land Development

Related Reading:

How Does a Passive House Work?

6 Off-Grid Prefab Homes For Self-Sufficient Living

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Perkins & Will

Builder/General Contractor: Durfeld Constructors / BC Passive House

Structural Engineer: Glotman Simpson Engineers

Lighting Design: Integral Group

Solar Design: VREC


At This Quirky Campsite in Rotterdam, You’ll Sleep in Upcycled Grain Silos and Calf Igloos

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-23 17:34

Dutch artists and architects have banded together to create Culture Campsite, where waste materials are reused to create one-0f-a-kind sleeping pods.

Little Pea, one of the most popular sleeping pods, was made out of discarded animal food silos collected from the Dutch countryside.

They’re smaller than tiny houses, more comfortable than tents, and definitely cooler than your average camper: These architectural sleeping pods form an eccentric, open-air exhibition that doubles as a colorful campsite in the heart of Rotterdam. Ranging from reused grain silos to converted greenhouses, these quirky accommodations have one thing in common—they’re made from waste materials.

Culture Campsite is situated on an old parking lot close to the river the Maas.

Culture Campsite is situated on an old parking lot close to the Maas river.

Marc Heeman

Besides 12 architectural objects, the campsite also boasts a fragrant garden.

Besides 12 architectural objects, the campsite also boasts a fragrant garden.

Marc Heeman

Culture Campsite is aimed at architecture fans and art enthusiasts who visit the Netherlands’ second-largest city and are looking for an original place to spend the night. Dubbed "the Dutch Brooklyn," Rotterdam boasts adventurous design and a thriving cultural scene, both of which have turned the city into a popular destination in the past decade. Cheap rents and an abundance of empty buildings enabled lots of creative pop-up initiatives, such as Culture Campsite. The former business park is supposed to be turned into a new neighborhood with apartments and offices, but construction won’t start before the end of 2022. In the meantime, the empty buildings are used as co-working offices for young creatives while the outdoor space hosts 12 quirky sleeping pods.

Little Pea, one of the most popular sleeping pods, was made out of discarded animal food silos collected from the Dutch countryside.

Little Pea, one of the most popular objects, was made out of discarded animal food silos collected from the Dutch countryside. 

Marc Heeman

Architect Boris Duijneveld joined multiple pieces of silo together to create a mobile shelter. He lived in it for three years before placing it on the grounds.

Architect Boris Duijneveld joined multiple pieces of silo together to create a mobile shelter. He lived in it for three years before placing it on the campsite.

Marc Heeman

The campsite is run by four young artists: Isis Hoos and Thijs Masthoff of Studio Made By, Boris Duijneveld of MUD projects, and Laura Abbink. Duijneveld, who says he’s always had a fascination for small-scale architecture, was driving through the Dutch countryside one day and noticed the grain silos used on animal farms. 

"There’s no way to recycle redundant silos, so I was wondering if I could build something new with them," says Duijneveld. He started to take them off of farmers’ hands in exchange for a crate of beer or a few euros and turned them into small sleeping accommodations.

This sleeping pod, called Val Ross (Swedish for walrus), used to be a silo for animal food. Boris Duijneveld turned the barrel-like object on its side, put it on legs, and sawed off the tip, so guests can open it and crawl inside the rocket-like capsule.

This sleeping pod, called Val Ross (Swedish for "walrus"), used to be a silo for animal food. 

Marc Heeman

Architect Boris Duijneveld turned the barrel-like object on its side, put it on legs, and sawed off the tip, so guests can open it and crawl inside the rocket-like capsule.

Architect Boris Duijneveld turned the barrel-like object on its side, put it on legs, and sawed off the tip, so guests can open it and crawl inside the rocket-like capsule.

Marc Heeman

Architect Thijs Masthoff used the same principle when he built Scuba, a capsule comprising two discarded calf igloos (plastic domes that shelter baby cows in the first months of their lives). Looking at the cozy sleeping spaces, it’s hard to imagine they were ever anything else. Says Duijneveld, "We take existing things out of their original context and give them a new purpose. This makes the viewer forget they’re looking at waste materials."

Scuba, a sleeping pod made out of two joined calf igloos, is one of Culture Campsite’s latest additions.

Scuba, a sleeping pod made out of two joined calf igloos, is one of Culture Campsite’s latest additions.

Marc Heeman

Turned on its side, the igloo's original entrance becomes a window.

Turned on its side, the igloo's original entrance becomes a window. 

Marc Heeman

Besides creating their own objects, Culture Campsite also collaborates with local architects, designers, and artists. Renske van der Stoep, owner of architecture firm Roffaa, resides in the building adjacent to Culture Campsite. Her tiny house, called Floating Bricks, looks like a normal brick building from a distance—but upon a closer look, no brick seems to touch the other. 

Van der Stoep collected leftovers from a factory that produces wall brick strips and glued them to discarded glass panels, leaving space between the strips to create the "floating" effect. "When people think of industrial waste, they assume we’re talking about small shards of glass, but glass-cutting leftovers can be as long as 10 feet," she explains.

Floating Bricks is a tiny cabin that sleeps three people; a comfy hammock can be hung above the double bed.

Floating Bricks is a tiny cabin that sleeps three people; a comfy hammock can be hung above the double bed.

Marc Heeman

Tiny house ‘Floating Bricks’ sleeps four people: a comfy hammock can be hung above the double bed.

Like the other objects, this tiny house can be closed from the inside and outside for some privacy.

Marc Heeman

Culture Campsite is striving to add new accommodations every year: Besides the calf igloo capsule, they welcomed a converted delivery van onto the site this summer. These "supermarkets on wheels" went around Dutch cities to deliver groceries, from fresh milk to potatoes. Although thousands of them drove around the country in the 1970s, now only a handful of them are left, mainly in small villages without a regular supermarket.

This electric cart, dubbed Sweet Potato, was produced by a blacksmith from nearby town Spijkenisse in the 1950s. It was used as a delivery van for potatoes.

This electric cart, dubbed Sweet Potato, was used as a delivery van for potatoes in the 1950s.

Marc Heeman

The vans were made by a blacksmith called Spijkstaal from the nearby town Spijkenisse.

The vans were made by a blacksmith called Spijkstaal from the nearby town Spijkenisse.

Marc Heeman

When asked about Culture Campsite’s future plans, Duijneveld says he and his colleagues are looking for an alternative location in case the site owner decides to start constructing apartment blocks here—although he admits it’s becoming harder to find an affordable space. With Rotterdam shedding its gritty image, prices have gone up, threatening the same creative entrepreneurs that turned the city into the cultural hotspot it is today. "I don’t rule out the option of starting from scratch outside of the city. Maybe even abroad," he muses. For now, Culture Campsite will stay where it is—giving you a chance to experience it before it’s gone.

Guests can use the common living room and kitchen.

Guests can use the common living room and kitchen.

Marc Heeman

'Trash Inn' is a former garbage container.

Trash Inn is a former garbage container.

Marc Heeman

This sleeping pod consists of two calf igloos raised on a steel frame.

This sleeping pod consists of two calf igloos raised on a steel frame.

Marc Heeman


My House: The Founders of Backdrop Paint Accentuate the Charms of Their Spanish-Style Home

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-23 17:26

Leaving New York City for the sunnier climes of Los Angeles, color connoisseurs Natalie and Caleb Ebel play up the historic details of their Silver Lake residence.

Natale and Caleb Ebel’s home in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles was built in 1922. It has 2 bedrooms/2 baths upstairs, and there’s 1 bedroom/1 bath on the lower level, which can work as a separate private suite for family from out-of-town, or a studio for the couple.

This was the first home that Natalie and Caleb Ebel looked at upon landing in Los Angeles with their daughter. In 2018, the couple founded Backdrop, a direct-to-consumer paint company with a curated palette of 51 colors in New York City—then followed that up with a cross-country move last year. 

Natale and Caleb Ebel’s home in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles was built in 1922. It has 2 bedrooms/2 baths upstairs, and there’s 1 bedroom/1 bath on the lower level, which can work as a separate private suite for family from out-of-town, or a studio for the couple.

Natale and Caleb Ebel’s home in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles was built in 1922. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs, with an additional bedroom and bathroom on the lower level, which can work as a separate private suite for family from out-of-town, or a studio for the couple.

Cody James

Natalie and Caleb immediately fell in love with the innate character of this 1920s-era Spanish-style home, which included such charming features as 100-year-old doors, textured stucco walls, lots of mosaic tiling, and a large outdoor living room. A neutral paint palette brings those details to the forefront, and creates the perfect setting for the couple’s kid-friendly furniture scheme and personal collections. We chatted with them about their approach.

A 100-year-old door was painted in the Dark Arts color from Backdrop, to make the historic tile surround pop.

A 100-year-old door was painted in the After Hours color from Backdrop to make the historic tile surround pop.

Ye Rin Mok

What motivated you to move to L.A.?

Caleb: We lived in New York City for about a decade, and we love the city, but after having a child and realizing that the apartment didn’t feel so large anymore, that started us thinking, "Well, how do we make this work?" Desire for a change of scenery and better weather and a bit more space—all those things informed moving out to the West Coast. 

We were really pleasantly surprised to find this little area of Los Angeles, in Silver Lake. The east side has a very Brooklyn feel, but with all of the Spanish-style architecture and weather that L.A. is great for. It was the best of both worlds. More and more folks that we know from New York are coming out this way, and we’re trying to encourage everyone we know to come out west. 

Inside the entry, Natalie experiments with color-blocking on the ceiling. “Between the beams right now, I've painted a little bit of a color-blocking palette, which gives this really cool effect,” says Natalie. The colors seen here are “The Early Stuff” and “Miami Parasol” by Backdrop.

Inside the entry, Natalie experiments with color-blocking on the ceiling. "Between the beams right now, I've painted a little bit of a color-blocking palette, which gives this really cool effect," says Natalie. The colors seen here are The Early Stuff and Miami Parasol by Backdrop.

Photo: Backdrop

Tell us about finding the house. What first attracted you to it?

Natalie: We landed in L.A. last July, and it was the very first place that we saw. I found it online, and the pictures did not do it justice at all. It was very confusing. All I saw was this beautiful foliage with the bougainvillea, and then there’s this big cactus in the photos. This outdoor space is amazing. I loved the original, 1920s Spanish architecture. 

But I think what really sold me is [that] there are lot of quirks. The Spanish tile is gorgeous, the arches. I don’t know if you’ve seen any pictures of the original doors—they’re 100 years old. But there were just so many charming things, and I think some people couldn’t see opportunity, but Caleb and I really loved it.  

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In the living room, the trim was painted in Backdrop’s ‘Dark Arts’ in semi-gloss sheen. The Gwyneth Boucle chairs are from the goop x CB2 collection, and chosen because they allow the occupant to swivel and face the dining room. Having a toddler means “picking out furniture is tricky because no sharp edges,” says Natalie. “You can see that all my coffee tables move around, and there are no 90-degree angles, which is a rule when you have kids.”

In the living room, the trim was painted in Backdrop’s Dark Arts in semi-gloss sheen. The Gwyneth Boucle chairs are from the goop x CB2 collection, and chosen because they allow the occupant to swivel and face the dining room. Having a toddler means "picking out furniture is tricky, because no sharp edges [are allowed]," says Natalie. "You can see that all my coffee tables move around, and there are no 90-degree angles, which is a rule when you have kids."

Cody James

Was the home in pretty good shape, or did you have to do any work to it?

Natalie: Other than painting, obviously, because painting is the easiest way to transform a space and in an affordable way. Even repainting some of the exterior doors, repainting the exterior, redoing the trim in here, and just a fresh coat of white paint, makes it look new. That is one of the first things that we did. 

Caleb: Some people see signs of age as a detriment, but we see it as character. We enjoy that. 

Natalie: I think it’s really something special to celebrate the original architecture, or the original lighting and the original doors, and not replace any of that. The chandelier is an original; it’s part of the home, and same with the Spanish-style doors with the carving and the stars. They’re just really beautiful. I think those little details are what made it special for us.  

A framed Joan Miro piece makes for an eye-catching corner. “I really love vintage art,” says Natalie, who scours eBay for her collection. “You can find some really special pieces.”

A framed Joan Miro piece makes for an eye-catching corner. "I really love vintage art," says Natalie, who scours eBay for her collection. "You can find some really special pieces."

Photo: Backdrop

A vintage Murano glass vase sits with a framed etched print from artist Don Corleon.

A vintage Murano glass vase sits with a framed etched print from artist Don Corleon. 

Cody James

How do you describe your approach to putting the home together?

Natalie: We did it pretty fast because with the nature of our lives—we’re running a business, we have a three-year-old—there are enough hectic parts of our life. Getting it together was really important to me. We try not to overthink it, but also make sure that it’s a design that we like and flows with our lifestyle. We’re now spending more time in our home than ever, so it [needs to be] both beautiful and functional. 

I do have white furniture, [and] a lot of people think I’m crazy. But our daughter, she knows. She’s like, "I don't go on the couch with my shoes." Scotchgard is our best friend. Our approach is to mix vintage, old and new, decorate with colorful accents, and then I really like a neutral backdrop. Our Supermoon color is throughout the house, and it’s a pure white. It doesn’t skew warm, doesn’t skew cold. It really just complements any decor that you put in the room. 

Artful stacks of Caleb’s collection of National Geographic and Monocle magazines. “They make for decoration, but I just like having them around after I read them as well,” says Caleb. Adds Natalie: “I love them because my family's Italian, and my grandma would always have bright yellow pieces that she would decorate with. That was my way to celebrate that part of her home and bring it to our home.” The Lincoln Center poster is vintage, and the couple lived nearby it when they were based in NYC.

Artful stacks of Caleb’s collection of National Geographic and Monocle magazines. "They make for decoration, but I just like having them around after I read them as well," says Caleb. Adds Natalie, "I love them because my family's Italian, and my grandma would always have bright yellow pieces that she would decorate with. That was my way to celebrate that part of her home and bring it to our home." The Lincoln Center poster is vintage, and the couple lived nearby it when they were based in NYC.

Cody James

The quirky tiled kitchen holds much of its original charm and is Natalie’s favorite room. The rug is the Schumacher Charlap Hyman &amp; Herrero Caiman Alligator rug from Chairish.

The quirky tiled kitchen holds much of its original charm and is Natalie’s favorite room. The rug is by Patterson Flynn Martin.

Cody James

An assortment of vintage glassware fills the open shelves, as well as ceramics from Don Corleon picked up on a trip to Italy.

An assortment of vintage glassware fills the open shelves, as well as ceramics from Don Corleon picked up on a trip to Italy.

Cody James

How did you choose the color palette?

Natalie: We deal with color so much in our jobs and in our day-to-day that I like having a neutral palette. Especially with the stucco walls and the plaster, the white just made sense for this space. Really, Supermoon was part of the impetus of starting Backdrop. I went to go paint my daughter's nursery when I was pregnant in 2016, and there are 300 whites, and there did not need to be 300 whites. I just bought a vintage rug from Morocco, and that took me seven days to get it, but painting her nursery took months because it was way too difficult. 

I'm a big fan of white paint, and it's so easy to touch up. It's so easy to make a space look new. Complementing that with Dark Arts on the trim to highlight the architecture just felt like a no-brainer. We have such beautiful foliage and views that the Dark Arts trim really frames everything like a picture window. 

A vintage Henri Matisse poster in its original frame that Natalie scored off eBay: “I think I watched this one for over six months and finally got it,” she says.

A vintage Henri Matisse poster in its original frame that Natalie scored off eBay. "I think I watched this one for over six months and finally got it," she says.

Cody James

Accent walls in the bedroom are painted in Backdrop’s ‘Harajuku Morning’ and the bed is the Floyd Platform Bed.

Accent walls in the bedroom are painted in Backdrop’s Harajuku Morning, and the bed is the Floyd Platform Bed.

Cody James

It looks like there's that touch of color in the bedroom?

Natalie: We do have Harajuku Morning in our bedroom, which is a light, peachy-pink color. The name was actually one of my favorites. We also have a playlist that goes along with it, but it was inspired by our trip to Tokyo and Harajuku neighborhood when I was pregnant. 

I like pink in the bedroom, especially this light pink. It's warm enough, but it's also bright and cheerful. When the morning light comes in our bedroom, it just hits it and looks very beautiful. It's so subtle that it's not overwhelming. 

A citrus tree sits right outside double doors in the bedroom.

A citrus tree sits right outside double doors in the bedroom.

Cody James

And then there’s an area in the house where you can test different paint colors that you’re working on?

Natalie: Especially during COVID, since we've been trapped at home, we've used the downstairs area [more]. I painted those walls so many times. 

Right now, it's painted in Shy Boys, which is one of our newer colors, which is a true pink, and then Kismet. It's a dark Dutch green. I'm testing out colors all the time down there. I tested out Ghost Ranch with another color. We have one coming up that's getting ready to go up on the walls called Disco Nap, and it's a yellow color. I like it because we don't spend as much time in that area, so it's like a [makeshift] studio for us right now.

At the lower level, the family dog Winston sits on the The Sofa by Floyd in Mist.

At the lower level, the family dog Winston sits on the The Sofa by Floyd in Mist.

Cody James

The downstairs patio is framed in bougainvillea and has two Boomerang Lounge rattan chairs with a mosaic-topped table, both from CB2.

The downstairs patio is framed in bougainvillea and has two Boomerang Lounge rattan chairs with a mosaic-topped table, both from CB2.

Photo: Ye Rin Mok

Color experimentations in progress downstairs, with the Backdrop colors ‘Shy Boys’ and ‘Kismet.’

Color experimentations in progress downstairs, with the Backdrop colors Shy Boys and Kismet.

Photo: Backdrop

The Ebels have outdoor living and dining rooms. The Span Small table is composed of stone composite and natural fibers and designed by Mermelada Estudio, available at CB2.

The Ebels have outdoor living and dining rooms. The Span Small table is composed of stone composite and natural fibers and designed by Mermelada Estudio, available at CB2.

Photo: Ye Rin Mok

The outdoor area looks amazing, and must be especially nice during COVID times. How did it come together?

Natalie: That was so much fun. I think that in my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined that we would have basically an outdoor living room. But it came together before COVID, and I feel so grateful for that. 

It was really important to celebrate the tiling, which I think is the hero of the space, and we did two parallel couches that are actually modular. You can pull them apart and move them around. We do movie nights out there and we project onto the wall. We really, I would say, spend more time out there in the summer than we do inside. 

The Ebels enjoy their outdoor area.

The Ebels enjoy their outdoor area.

Photo: Ye Rin Mok

The outdoor living room can accommodate anything from movie night to a morning work session.

The outdoor living room can accommodate anything from movie night to a morning work session.

Photo: Ye Rin Mok

What’s the new normal at home now?

Natalie: I like to work from home, and Caleb goes to the office; he's literally the only one that's there right now. I work outside, too. It's really nice in the mornings to go sit on the sofa, listen to the birds, and send some emails, which was never a possibility when we lived in New York. We used to have two tiny windows on the Upper West Side, and we'd pop our head out, and that was the extent of our outdoor space. This is quite different than that.

The living room sports original tiling, the Bizerte sofas from CB2, LED string lights from Costco, and a fresh coat of Backdrop’s ‘Supermoon’ exterior paint.

The living room sports original tiling, the Bizerte sofas from CB2, LED string lights from Costco, and a fresh coat of Backdrop’s Supermoon exterior paint.

Photo: Ye Rin Mok


What Historically Low Mortgage Rates May Spell for Homebuyers in 2020 and Beyond

Permalink - Posted on 2020-09-22 23:52

Near-zero interest rates may have the long-term effect of inflating home prices and setting up another financial crisis.

The interest rates set by the Federal Reserve Bank affect the price of housing and consumer goods in ways that dwarf actions by the U.S. Congress and the president. Low interest rates reduce mortgage costs, encourage home sales, stabilize or increase home values, and generally push the consumption of goods and services.

Compared to the relatively marginal grants and loans allocated by elected representatives to carry out public interest goals, the Fed’s actions are many times more powerful, mobilizing trillions of dollars in capital. Cutting borrowing costs lessens the impact of crises, but the consequences can be contradictory—and risky—in the long run, encouraging borrowing that depends on nonstop increases in prices and economic growth.

The Fed has set rates near zero twice during the last two decades in response to economic crises—first, during an extended period from 2008 to 2015 after the mortgage-backed securities collapse, and again this past March in response to the epic Wall Street crash at the start of the pandemic. In both cases, zero interest rates have been accompanied by "quantitative easing" on the part of the central bank, which essentially printed new cash to increase the money supply and encourage banks to continue lending. This time, officials expect interest rates to remain near zero through at least 2023.

During the last recession, the Fed purchased $3.83 trillion in assets (most of which was government debt in the form of bonds), and it has acquired another $2.7 trillion since March. Normally, this increase in the supply of dollars should decrease their value and increase inflation. But so far, the act has had only slightly weakened the dollar against the British pound. The dollar remains the world’s "reserve" currency: a safe haven considered stable and reliable as a place to store capital. That impression is reinforced by a high level of coordination with the European Central Bank, and by China’s desire to keep its currency low to maintain exports.

A long-term risk of low interest rates is that low borrowing costs artificially push up the real estate market over time in a way that adversely affects affordability compared to wages.

This was the result in 2008: Interest rates had dropped to less than 1% in 2003 to recover from the dot-com bubble (and subsequent crash) and the 2001 recession. Asset prices climbed, leading to the famous "irrational exuberance" of the mid-2000s stock market. Once the lending rates returned to a more normal level, it resulted in massive defaults and foreclosures on the part of over-leveraged property owners unable to withstand increases in monthly payments. 

"Foreclosed Houses. Stolen Tents. Occupy Everything. We'll be back."

The Occupy movement, pictured here in a 2012 Washington D.C. protest, spurred by the mortgage-based securities crisis of 2008-2010, helped passage of incomplete banking reforms that have been dismantled by the current administration.

Photo: democapital via Flickr

"Obviously, there is somewhat of a tension between one group seeking for housing to be affordable, which means low prices, and another group seeking continuing investment return, which requires not just high prices but continually increasing prices," says Peter Gowan, policy associate at the policy and advocacy organization The Democracy Collaborative. "I’m not very sympathetic to the idea that the primary purpose of housing—and the primary purpose of what public policy should do in regard to housing—should be to deliver investment returns to people over time." 

Increases in home prices also tend to increase homelessness, especially in major cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where inflationary property values encourage development and create an incentive for rental property owners to not renew leases, renovate, and sell at the current market rate. Tenants looking for new apartments in tight housing markets with low vacancy rates may find prices for available apartments have doubled at the new market level. In 2019, the U.S. had more than 500,000 people in shelters or on the street, and schools reported more than 1.3 million homeless students.

"I don’t think that we can—or necessarily should—stop the market building housing right now: I wouldn’t go as far as that at all," says Gowan, who mentions social housing, limited equity co-ops, and community land trusts as models that can be scaled up and given more access to capital through public financing and public banking.

Bright Street Co-op in Burlington, Vermont, is managed by the Champlain Housing Trust, the largest community land trust in the U.S.

Bright Street Co-op in Burlington, Vermont, is managed by the Champlain Housing Trust, the largest community land trust in the U.S.

Courtesy of Champlain Housing Trust

"But I do think we need to stop our overwhelming reliance on leveraging private capital for our entire housing stock," he continues. "It’s not going to be sustainable for us in the long run. It’s always going to prioritize profits over other social motives. To the extent that we can get them to do anything else, it’s always going to be through the government subsidizing it, which brings us back to the question: Can we do it in a more controlled and scalable way by having the government build up its capacity to do these things?"

Low-interest mortgages also affect the liquidity of housing for city dwellers considering moving within the city, to the suburbs, or into the country. High prices encourage borrowers to take out larger loans relative to home values and their own income, making it more difficult to sell property when substantial decreases in sales and prices are occurring in some markets. 

Some economists argue there should be constraints on credit markets limiting loan-to-value and price-to-income ratios for borrowers, but that would also prevent low-income households from having access to credit. Taxing second and third homes at much higher rates would also reduce speculation. In New York City, they still do the opposite, offering significantly reduced taxes to non-primary residences—a legacy of the 1970s-era policies meant to stimulate investment which has only encouraged extreme bets on ever-increasing prices by anonymous limited liability corporations and international buyers.

"Home is not meant to be a speculative financial asset—it’s supposed to be something that we fundamentally live in, and everybody should have a right to that," says Frank van Lerven, senior economist at the London-based New Economics Foundation. He points out that the Federal Reserve could easily lend substantial sums to public banks—the money could be used to fund social housing and other infrastructure, and the debt could then be sold to the private sector, just like other government debt, to reduce risk.

"Home is not meant to be a speculative financial asset—it’s supposed to be something that we fundamentally live in, and everybody should have a right to that."

—Frank van Lerven, New Economics Foundation

"You can still make the case also that you don’t need these different quantitative easings, but interest rates are fundamentally low, and in a low-interest-rate environment, the government could borrow to build new homes if it wanted to and invest much more through that route," he says. "The government has access to extreme low interest rates, where an individual perhaps doesn’t. The government might be better placed to help pass the low interest rate that it has access to onto those with underprivileged backgrounds by using its borrowing power to sell at a lower rate—or just rent."

After a steep fall in the spring, San Francisco home sales and prices recovered this summer.

After a steep fall in the spring, San Francisco home sales and prices recovered this summer.

Photo by Sam Ellis via Unsplash

In Manhattan, housing sales have dropped 54% and median prices have fallen 17.7% since the pandemic started—the largest drop in 30 years. After a steep fall in the spring, San Francisco sales and prices recovered this summer, and Los Angeles prices are also up slightly across the region from the same time last year after a drop in the spring.

In Houston, so-called "pandemic buyers" are reportedly searching for new homes after experiencing less-than-ideal quarantine conditions—the city recorded an 18.3% sales increase in June compared to last year, and a 3.6% increase in prices. Denver set price records in July, with a 12.5% growth in sales and a 9.9% increase in values since this time last year. Meanwhile, Detroit had a 4.6% increase in prices across the metro area—but a 27% year-on-year decrease in sales.

With 30 million Americans out of work, and the U.S. economy having declined by 5.9%, low interest rates may be only putting off an inevitable decline in home values. Unemployed workers may marginally keep up with payments while receiving jobless benefits, but uncertainty remains over what will happen with the lapse in benefits as personal savings run out.

Low interest rates may be only putting off an inevitable decline in home values.

Until recently, there had been a nationwide eviction moratorium, but evictions reportedly returned in August during a lapse in congressional action, and the recent executive order will be uneven in its effects. The pandemic is likely to drag into a second year, and many economists doubt hiring will rebound to the same level.

If Congress takes other actions to prevent foreclosures, such as cancelling payments owed to banks during the health emergency, it may prevent lenders from seizing homes, home prices from falling, and abandonment due to underwater mortgages. But if a crash in securities again freezes the monetary system, Congress and the Fed may well follow the script from the subprime loan crisis, capitalize the banks, and let homeowners take the losses.

Related Reading:

How Is the Pandemic Changing the Housing Market?

What Happens When Eviction Moratoriums Expire?

Is the Pandemic Priming Neighborhoods for a New Wave of Gentrification?