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Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-19 05:11
Here at Dwell, we love houses with a good backstory. So it's no surprise that some of our favorite features from years past spotlight homes patiently and passionately built by residents with a tight budget, an obsession with modern design, and a willingness to put in plenty of sweat equity. Here, a look back at some homes renovated or built, to one degree or another, by hand.
"I’m a little wary of the construction-on-a-dime myth trumpeted in the press. Construction is ridiculously expensive," says architect Jeff Sherman (above). Nevertheless, thanks to a little elbow grease, a helpful dose of naïveté, and a decade of sustained effort, he managed to renovate his Brooklyn rowhouse for about $100 per square foot. Check out his story in New Prospects.
In a quest to develop a quartet of affordable sustainable-housing projects, Philadelphia developers Chad and Courtney Ludeman depended on inexpensive, humble materials. To achieve what they imagined people like themselves want—small, sustainable houses for reasonable prices—they first had to prove they could make one for themselves. The perpetual question in the numerous iterations of the cost-conscious design, say the couple, was "If we do a little less, can that actually be cooler than [doing what people have come to expect, but] cheaping out on it?" Learn more about the process and check out the final result in See What Develops.
Inspired by the work of Japanese architect Teronubo Fujimori, Dutch architect Pieter Weijnen clad his family's low-energy passive home with larch wood boards that he charred himself—a natural way to preserve timber and make it fire resistant. Get the full story in Second to None.
To build his small, green home in Bozeman, Montana, Brian Whitlock, a sound mixer, sourced local design talent and rolled up his sleeves. Whitlock's flexible work schedule permitted him months at a stretch to labor full-time on the house with his contractor, Josh Blomquist of CWJ & Associates. Though hardly a journeyman homebuilder, Whitlock wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty, especially if it meant saving some cash. Check out the end result in Builders Special.
Falmouth, England-based interior designer Kathryn Tyler designed her home with the help of an architecture student friend, developing a floor plan around specific pieces of vintage furniture she'd amassed over a decade of collecting. "It’s probably a very weird way of working, but I’d never built a house before so I didn’t know any better!" She and her boyfriend proceeded to do a lot of hands-on labor themselves (including shifting 15 tons of earth in two days using a mini digger, buckets, and wheelbarrows). See everything in hCollector's Choiere.
Architect Jayna Cooper had never designed a house before, much less played general contractor, when she broke ground on her new home in the middle of Los Angeles in 2009. After a grueling four months of hands-on hard work—managing subcontractors, sourcing materials, driving the front loader—she moved in. In the story of the 131 Day House, she walks us through her completed home and reveals what it took to make this $200-per-square-foot abode a reality.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-19 05:09
This house on Lake Wenatchee in Washington was designed to be "cozy for two and comfortable for a crowd," as architect John DeForest puts it—thanks in part to a hidden media room.
The owners of the house, empty-nesters who have three kids in college, "asked for a small and rustic modern cabin that would be flexible enough to accommodate the kids and their friends," says DeForest. "The challenge for us was to design a small house that could sleep from two to 15 people!" Part of the architects' solution was a secret room, hidden behind a bookshelf.
The shelf swings in to reveal a large media room equipped for sleeping and movie-watching, with couches and a Murphy bed.
When the bookshelf is pushed flush with the wall, you'd never know there was anything behind it. We love this clever and playful approach to space planning. For more examples of smart approaches to small spaces, see this 400-square-foot cabin with a plethora of built-ins, this Seattle houseboat, and many more on Dwell.com.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-18 04:47
Located in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood, House Grace is a full renovation and addition to a house from the 1890s creating a connected and light-filled home for a young family with a segregated second suite at the lowest level. Three distinct service pods organize and anchor the kitchen, dining and living areas and form a filter to the main entry. Overlooking the street from a counter related window, the kitchen is located at the front of the house. The living room opens directly onto the garden through a new rear portico, with the dining room nestled between them. Bedrooms are arranged around a breakout space on the second floor, which can change function as the family grows and changes. Located on the third floor, the family room accesses a large roof terrace with views to the downtown core. The front porch was reduced in length defining an open court and stairwell as a discreet, yet generous entry for the lowest level second suite. Two offset double height openings straddle the second floor breakout area bringing light and active connection between the three levels of the home. The second washroom and breakout area borrow light from across an opening between the ground and second levels. The new staircase to the third floor is edged with a slatted wall and has multiple facing windows that lend morning and evening light to the second floor. Colour changes in light are registered in this space as the sun moves through the course of the day. The Ground floor is finished with white oak flooring and panels with white panel millwork and is anchored by black slate in the kitchen and the hearth at opposite ends. The palette simplifies vertically where the third floor family room is reduced to all white surfaces, revealing the rich complexity of the roof geometry, layered slat walls and multiple sources of daylight. The front elevation is modestly updated yet relates to the neighbourhood context. The original red brick is countered with black stained wood elements while thin white elements are utilized as tracings outlining distinct features. White becomes the dominant element on the rear facade through the use of cement board, aluminum slats and articulated with cedar siding that frames views to the internal living spaces and the original brick house beyond. The new portico is mirrored across the garden in the new garage creating continuity across the site. All flat roofs are designed and planted as green roofs to connect adjacent interior spaces to the garden below.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:56
Using the same roof form and materials as the houses surrounding it, this Australian residence reinterprets the pitched-roof silhouette and traditional elevation of its Victorian neighbors—but with a new, modern twist.
The new-build family home in the northwest Melbourne suburb of Ascott Vale was designed with two living areas, a kitchen, dining area, study, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an undercover entertainment area, and three outdoor spaces. Designed by Australian architecture studio FIGR, it measures 2,013 square feet and was built to comfortably accommodate a growing family of five.
The envelop of the building, which takes cues from the classic Victorian cottages on the block, was sited on a slim, sloping plot in order to allow the facade to be at the same level as the other traditional pitched-roof houses that flank it.
The architects used a split-level arrangement to respond to the sloping site, and inserted black metal shrouds into the envelope, which serve as openings that bring in light and frame outdoor views.
The house is divided into three levels. The ground level features an open-plan living area, linear kitchen, and dining zone—with a backyard to its south and a central courtyard to its north.
The first level also houses a carpeted study retreat, the main bedroom, and laundry room. Three children’s bedrooms and two bathrooms are located on the lower ground level.
From the entrance alcove, one can go straight towards a central courtyard, turn left, and enter the main living area—then turn right and take five steps up towards the study retreat, or take 14 steps down into the children’s bedrooms.
On the far end of the kitchen, a corner daybed extends out into the rear yard.
Here, a large window can be opened to connect the daybed to the outdoors.
"The idea to subtract a volume from the envelope of the building in order to create a centrally located courtyard, evolved as a strategy to offer the house access to natural light and to provide the rooms with visual amenities," says Michael Artemenko, co-director of FIGR.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 21:16
The Pritzker Prize–winning architect reflects on his achievements and his mentor.
You came to the United States from Ireland in 1948, when you were 26, choosing to study with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology after also being accepted at both Yale and Harvard. You only stayed in Illinois for a year. Why?
I ran out of money and couldn’t continue paying for school. That’s the only reason. Mies didn’t know I’d left—he had absolutely no interest.
Tell me about your first job.
I decided to come to New York because I wanted to work on the United Nations headquarters. I got a bus, and I went right to the Harrison and Abramovitz office, and I asked for a job. They gave me a job as a file clerk, and I took it.After several months, they moved me to a drafting table. To this day every time I drive by that building, I think, "Wow." I’m always surprised it’s still there, because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. The guy beside me was a former mason and so he had a better idea of what to do and how to put it together. But then I went back to Ireland to see my mother and I forgot to tell them I was going. So, I was fired when I came back, and I didn’t blame them, because I was hopeless.Eventually somebody I knew told me that Eero Saarinen was in town and looking for people, but I wasn’t interested because I didn’t like any of his father, Eliel Saarinen’s, work. But then I figured, "What the hell? It’s a job." I went to his hotel at eight in the morning and he was just getting up, and I just sat on the middle of the bed. I had been up all night with my cousin. We’d been drinking for a week straight. I sat on the bed and Eero’s speech was very slow and very relaxed. I fell asleep. Fortunately, I woke up with a start as he was putting on his coat and walking out the door, "Well," he said, "Come out to Michigan." So I borrowed the money and got on an overnight train. I got off, and carrying my backpack, I walked the couple of miles to the office. It was nine the next morning, and I started working.
What was Eero Saarinen like?
He was an incredible person, truly extraordinary. He was a real architect in the sense that he cared about people’s involvement. He cared about why we do this, how our work relates to the rest of the community. He wasn’t obsessed with the idea of modern architecture, per se. He was obsessed with the idea of architecture that fulfilled a purpose.
I understand that you agreed about many things, but not everything, and he relied upon your candor.
We got to know each other very well. That made a very, very good working relationship. He was very religious, you know? One night we stayed up until four in the morning talking about God. We did that many times. And yes. We agreed philosophically. I think it’s the responsibility of architecture to support and create communities. And if architects thought of it that way, which they don’t, but if they did, it would be quite a different world.
You started at a low rung in his office but you quickly rose to a senior design position and became one of his closest collaborators. How did that happen?
Eero began to be interested in me because we used to talk about things that he understood. You see, he’d grown up in Finland. He understood poverty. We got to be friendly, and eventually I would travel with him everywhere. We just talked about everything. We’d go talk to a client and we’d analyze the meeting afterward and talk about the problem. I just became somebody to talk to for him. I think he liked the idea of arguing about things.
You must have learned very quickly.
It was a great education for me. I began to understand what it was all about, and it wasn’t Mies and it wasn’t Corbu, and it wasn’t any of those people. Architecture had another purpose, and Eero was beginning to thrive. There were a lot of projects. I didn’t always like what I was working on, but I did work on the early stages of the David S. Ingalls Hockey Rink. Eero wanted to have a model with an arch that ran the length of the building, and I just couldn’t agree with that. So I made several other proposals with an arch that would span across the width of the building, but he just threw them out."
Your firm, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, has completed dozens of large corporate headquarters as well as civic structures like museums and academic institutions. How did the values you shared with Saarinen manifest themselves during those projects?
Community is absolutely essential to a mature life. Think of your relationship to all the life around you, and you think about architecture differently.
Eero Saarinen died rather unexpectedly of a brain tumor in 1961. Where were you when you found out?
I was in a meeting in New York with the people at CBS, and we were trying to work out how many elevators we needed for the building. I got a call, got up and left the room, and learned that Eero had just died. I said, "What the hell do I do now?" But I did exactly what I thought he would do. I went back and finished the meeting without saying anything about it, and we determined the number of elevators. Then at the end of the meeting, I told them. Then they all started running for a phone.
And that’s what he would have wanted you to do?
Yes. Finish the business.
Illustration by Sam Kerr
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 21:11
From unique pendant lighting to interesting cabinetry, how you design your kitchen can be just as admirable as what you create in it. Browse through our editor's favorite homes from this week that have excellent modern kitchens.
Architect: Hassan Majd - HMDG Inc., Location: Los Angeles, CA
From the realtor: "Rare opportunity to own one of the first architectural homes in West Adams. This brand new, modern three-bed and three-bath, 1,559-square-foot home represents the only high-end new build currently on the market in 90016. Gourmet chef's kitchen equipped with Wolf range, custom cabinetry, and finished with quartz counters."
Architect: Douglas Fredrikson, Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
From the architect: "The house floats above the desert floor on one side and hunkers back on the other, merging beautifully with the natural site. A timeless mix of desert modern with some old school midcentury. Uniquely, every area has its own courtyard, flooding each room with natural light and offering personal respite."
Architect: Alexey Rozenberg, Location: Moscow, Russia
From the architect: "[The] planning decision came from a non-orthogonal nature of the building plan. At its heart—the node that connects at an angle the three functional areas: living room, dining room and a kitchen hidden behind a pylon. Soft and wide palette of shades of gray, gray-beige and taupe is the main feature of the decor, created from a variety of finishing materials: bleached oak, ceramic tile, plaster, metal. They are all connected in a harmonious ensemble in the interior and create a calm, muted atmosphere."
Architect: StudioAC, Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
From the architect: "For this small west Toronto renovation, rather than imagine a home comprised of rooms within an open plan we conceived a room revolving around a singular mass. The ‘mass’ presents the aesthetic grounding for the project while also containing all of its support functions in a clean plywood wrapper."
Architect: Verona Carpenter Architects, Location: New York, New York
From the architects: "Our renovation of this loft in a Soho cast-iron building followed a fire that ravaged the entire building. The design seeks reorganizes the owner’s daily activities around a spacious live-work area: on one side, the chef’s kitchen; at the opposite end, a media office space."
Want a chance to be featured? Add your home here!
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 19:50
Though marble is widely known for its old-school glamour, it can also bring some simple, modern luxury to a more contemporary bathroom.
As one of the more common natural building and construction materials, marble has made a name for itself by making an appearance in glossy, sophisticated spaces. Even its origin, which is derived from the Greek word mármaros, means a "crystalline rock, a shining stone." Indeed, it's been used for thousands of years, forming some of the most impressive structures of antiquity and remaining a symbol of luxury, even today. However, despite this ancient history, marble can be successfully adapted into modern bathrooms. Take a look at nine of our favorite ways this can be done.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 17:12
On his birthday, we remember Japanese-American artist, designer, and activist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) for a legacy of profoundly imaginative, engaging work.
Beyond his work, which permeated our contemporary conceptions of what design is, Noguchi remains a profound influence on conceptual art and artistic activism.
On the date of his birth, November 17, we remember Noguchi’s prolific and dynamic life’s work that went far beyond the coffee table.
After seeing Constantin Brancusi’s work in 1926, Noguchi changed his artistic direction. Working as an academic sculptor, Noguchi left his practice to study at Brancusi’s studio in Paris. The French sculptor’s influence is profound; Brancusi’s pillars of abstraction and modernism are seen throughout the work in Noguchi’s career.
In 1948, with the release of his Herman Miller coffee table, the artist became essentially the architect of the modern living room. The Noguchi Table is essential design: two curvy wood legs supporting a heavy glass top. In line with Noguchi’s design philosophy, the tables today are affordable and accessible: art for everyone.
Subverting our experience of space wasn’t just kept for grown-ups. In Noguchi’s world, children’s space was just as important to re-think and re-shape as the rest of urban life. Noguchi’s experimental and beautiful spaces present more opportunities for play than just a slide or a swing. Children can climb and explore Noguchi’s work in Sapporo, Japan, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Noguchi’s work has been preserved at both the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York, as well as a mecca in the village of Mure on the Japanese island of Shikoku.
After hearing of the attacks at Pearl Harbor and the subsequent signing of the Executive Order 9066 (which sent thousands of citizens of Japanese heritage to camps around America) Noguchi drove to Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona to volunteer his services to improve the lives of those interned. Hoping to establish an arts and crafts program and design infrastructure in the camps, Noguchi soon learned that there was no intention at the camp to have any such facilities. Instead, Noguchi found himself essentially imprisoned, missing his own solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1942.
Later, Noguchi created haunting and sparse works that speak to the isolation and cruelty of internment.
Noguchi worked with groundbreaking dancer Martha Graham to design some of dance’s most elaborate and avant-garde stage designs. The pair first worked together for Graham’s solo show Frontier in 1935 and continued to work together on pieces such as Appalachian Spring and Cave of the Heart. Brass cages, curved horn headdresses, and other such cumbersome accessories have become the subject of many dancers’ ire. Yet for the audience, they are marvelous.
In 1937 Noguchi designed the Radio Nurse for the Zenith Radio Corporation. A two-part set, the system was designed to have a kind of straight-forward aesthetic to mimic that of a dutiful nurse. While the design never became popular (it also picked up other frequencies), it is now regarded as the first of the technology.
For the Osaka World Expo, Noguchi created fountains that doubled as visions of the future. Soaring above the ground, his floating fountains spoke to the developing technology of the 1970s and placed Japan directly at the center.
The artist, unlike many others then (and now), didn’t scoff at the opportunity to work within commercial and mainstream models. Commercial opportunities, such as designing furniture, were a chance to create work with functionality and purpose at the center of the piece.
During Noguchi's stay in Mexico City in 1936, he and Kahlo fell into a brief and passionate love affair until it was discovered by Kahlo's husband, Diego Rivera. The two remained friends for the rest of their lives.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 17:10
Sited on a sloping plot in Suffolk County, New York, this cantilevered house takes full advantage of its forest-meets-sea locale.
Designed, built, and furnished by New York City-based firm Leroy Street Studio, this 5,935-square-foot home was born from the client's request to create a warm and stylish modernist house that would be intimate enough for private family retreats, yet impressive and expansive enough for entertaining large groups.
Upon approaching the house from the forest-facing side, one sees a cedar facade and green roof, along with narrow windows that present glimpses of the ocean beyond.
The subterranean entrance is formed by a cut in the earth, so the house looks as if it's tucked under a hill. This entrance leads to a sequence of interior and exterior spaces that gradually open to sweeping views of the sea.
The water-facing side of the house is surrounded by large glass panels, which open out to a courtyard. This sheltered outdoor area features a large masonry hearth that's surrounded by a sunken lounge area.
Besides serving as a focal and gathering point for courtyard parties, the hearth also supports the upper volume of the house. A hidden staircase leads up to the cantilevered second level, where the sitting room and floating bedrooms are located.
Here, the foreground disappears from view and the sea becomes the focal point.
The house successfully marries abstract modernism with an intimate coziness, thanks to a combination of both grand elements—a cantilevered mass and panoramic windows—and more subtle, textured materials including charred cedar, brushed oak, blackened steel, troweled plaster, and hand-glazed tiles.
Meadow grasses and native woodland plants were used for the green roof. For the interiors, shades of terra-cotta, green and blue pastels, and earthy materials (wood, marble, leather, and woven fabrics) are used in a clean and precise composition to give the communal spaces and private rooms a contemporary, Scandinavian feel.
Taking on the roles of architect, builder, and interior designer, Leroy Street Studio managed the design process from start to finish, which allowed for a carefully planned integration of all production aspects.
"By engaging in a unique design-build process with our in-house construction firm and interior design team, the project cost was reduced from the original budget, while more time was spent both in the studio and on site, responding to design opportunities that developed during construction," says Leroy Street Studio’s founder Marc Turkel.
-Architect of Record: Marc Turkel of Leroy Street Studio
-Builder/General Contractor: Greg Heasley of Leroy Street Studio/BLDG
-Structural Engineer: Nat Oppenheimer of Robert Silman Associates
-Landscape Design: Geoff Valentino of Hollander Design Landscape Architects
-Lighting Design: Clinard Design Studio
-Interior Design: Sybille Schneider of Leroy Street Studio
-Engineering: John Condon (MEP) of Condon Engineering
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 14:05
Accessory buildings are fun to design. They have all the attributes of a real building but often with a far more open ended list of needs. A place to relax, read, play games and a little office space is how our outbuilding in Mill Valley was described. It added an extra living room and some coveted square footage to a hard to add onto home in a desirable part of town. The outbuilding was placed on axis with the main house, connected by a deck with a view to the yard in between. To keep all the books and games in order, the main room was lined with fin-ply cabinetry. The floor is an engineered wide plank rustic oak. A simple clean burning wood fireplace will provide heat when needed. The outbuilding has the feel of a classic summer cabin, only with better insulation for year-round use.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 22:17
New owners of an influential Portland, Oregon, house by Pietro Belluschi discover there’s more than architecture on the property.
Houses by acclaimed architect Pietro Belluschi rarely go on the market. Instead, his son, architect Anthony Belluschi, often acts as a matchmaker, helping to assure that the homes go to a worthy custodian. So it was that Aric Wood wound up halting plans to break ground on his dream home after Anthony convinced him to tour a Pietro-designed gem in Portland, Oregon, that was about to be vacated. Known as the Sutor House, it was completed in 1938. "He just fell in love," the younger Belluschi remembers. "And he had the right sensitivity about the provenance of the house. I knew he’d be a perfect owner."
In the late 1930s, Pietro Belluschi and fellow Portland architect John Yeon jump-started the Northwest Regional style, which drew from Bauhaus modernism, the simple lines of local farmhouses and barns, and traditional Japanese architecture. After Yeon’s acclaimed Watzek House and Belluschi’s Sutor House (built within a year and just a few hundred yards of each other), scores of homes by a succession of local architects followed with similar timber construction, pitched roofs, large overhangs, and floor-to-ceiling glass.
Belluschi later became known for his work on larger projects, such as San Francisco’s Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption and New York’s Pan Am Building. Yet designing houses may have been the architect’s greatest passion.
Though located in Portland’s West Hills section near downtown, the Sutor House feels like a secluded oasis, thanks to its four-acre site teeming with native plants like azaleas and barberry, selected by the original landscape architect, Florence Holmes Gerke. It also borders a forested canyon of Douglas fir, maple, and dogwood. A 1948 Sunset magazine article concentrated more on the house’s garden-like setting than on its architecture.
While designing the Sutor House, Belluschi befriended Jiro Harada, a professor at the Imperial Household Museum in Tokyo and author of numerous books on Japanese gardens and architecture who was in town as a visiting professor at the University of Oregon. Influenced by Harada, Belluschi and Gerke created an elegant, Japanese-style strolling garden at the house that in later years disappeared through neglect.
When Aric and his wife, Erin Graham, bought the property in 2012, they made it their mission to unearth the original garden, one shovelful of dirt at a time. "It was so overgrown you couldn’t even find the rock wall," Aric remembers. "But we uncovered the rock wall to find the stone steps. We dug out the stone steps and discovered pathways leading down into the forest. It’s been kind of a continuous process of uncovering."
"You recognize that the house and the garden are inseparable. We flow through the house with the seasons." Aric Wood, resident
Inside, the challenge was to restore. To provide bedrooms for both children—13-year-old Tucker and 11-year-old Madeleine—the couple hired Anthony Belluschi to reconstruct the former maid’s quarters, which had been turned into a breakfast nook. The kitchen was also modernized, with space gained by moving a wet bar to the dining room.
The public area’s sumptuous materials, such as a woven wood foyer ceiling and the living room’s curved zebrawood wall, were in "unfortunate states of disrepair," Aric recalls. But they, along with the original oak floors and built-in bookshelves, were all refurbished. A wall of mirrored glass in the dining room was replaced entirely.
"We uncovered the rock wall to find the stone steps. We dug out the stone steps and discovered pathways leading down into the forest. It’s been kind of a continuous process of uncovering." Aric Wood
Purely by coincidence, Aric works in a Belluschi-designed office downtown: the 1948 Equitable Building, one of America’s first major glass-curtain-walled works of commercial architecture. But he says it’s at home where he fully appreciates the architect’s gifts, particularly in the bounty of natural light permeating every space.
"I can sit on the sofa at any given hour and feel like I’m outdoors," he explains. "Pietro Belluschi did the same trick with the master bedroom, cantilevering it out so there’s glass on three sides." Most of all, Aric says, "You recognize that the house and the garden are inseparable. We flow through the house with the seasons. Spring and summer, our living room is the portico. The dining room is the terrace. In winter we gather around the hearth. I think he really mastered that."
Timeline: Like Father, Like Son
Nearly eight decades after the Sutor House was built, Anthony Belluschi acts as the caretaker of his father’s architectural legacy.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 22:09
Step into a bright and airy apartment that shows how important the smallest details can be.
Designed by A1 Architects, the Onyx Moon Loft is located in the district of Malá Strana on Prague's Kampa Island. The owner of the 2,368-square-foot residence splits his time between the Czech Republic and Japan, so it's no surprise that hints of these influences reveal themselves throughout the space, including concentric circles, matte-wood surfaces, brass etchings, and walls painted with flowers.
Marrying Japanese minimalism with luxurious European textures and fabrics, the elegant apartment is bright and airy, with a large window in the living room that frames views of the Prague Castle and the streets of Malá Strana.
The team at A1 Architects believe in paying attention to every little detail in each home they work on. This loft is no exception to that rule. "Even very small places like niches for flowers are important. We tailor-make every detail specifically for the person living in the home," says architect Lenka Křemenová.
The owner has a passion for onyx, so the architects installed a large round onyx panel within a cutout section of the wooden wall separating the bedroom from the dressing room.
When the evening light shines through the pearly surface of the stone, the onyx glows like the full moon.
According to architect David Maštálka, A1 Architects’ goal with Onyx Moon Loft was to simplify its view axis, openings, and connections.
The visual focus in the day should be the panorama of the river and castle as seen from the living room window, and at night, the visual focus shifts to the onyx moon above the bed.
Klára Šumová, who designed the furniture and fittings, and Michaela Tomišková of Dechem, who designed the glass items and lighting, worked with A1 Architects to create brass fixtures, chandeliers, and door nobs and handles with glass infills crafted by skilled Czech glassblowers.
Czech illustrator Michal Bačák created the unique graphics on the heating screens, as well as the painted walls.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 21:47
Located in the heart of Burlington Ontario, this lot captured our hearts from the first site visit in late 2015. Our vision for the layout of this home was influenced by the depth of the lot (180’ long), its unique tree coverage and proximity to community walking paths. Large walls of glass at the front and back of this house were designed and installed to incorporate and highlight the natural beauty of the large tree in the front yard and the forest-like setting at the back of the property. The glass panes also allow passers-by to embrace the architecture of the house and the tastes of its owner. The modern industrial steel staircase as well as the interior finishes are visible from the exterior and really showcase the unique style of the client. The handcrafted mill work out of Toronto and the steel components fabricated in Hamilton complete the design and give it true character. From the hand scraped white oak hardwood floors to the naturally patinaed railings and Ortal steel fireplace, 401 Smith is a delight to admire from all its vantage points.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 20:31
Side split renovations have been a staple in our designs since the inception of our studio in 2010; this project, located in the Roseland community of Burlington, Ontario is a prime reflection of that staple. As requested by our client, we were able to modernize yet preserve the wood burning feature of the original fireplaces by re-cladding them with custom handcrafted millwork and quartz. The millwork is from a Toronto based company and is consistent throughout the 2,000 square foot space. In keeping with the streamlined aesthetic of the interior, we added an ACM cladded entry feature to the front door. An architectural fold neatly wraps the garage door and frames a wooden gate that leads to the backyard space of the property. Without adding a single square foot to the 50+ year old structure, we were able to breathe new life into this home for a new family to enjoy for many years to come.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 18:57
Completed in 1885, architect Antoni Gaudí’s first residential project opens today as a museum in Barcelona’s Gràcia district.
This is the first time the modernist masterpiece, which would inform much of Gaudí's later work, is open to the public. Spanish architect David García of Daw Office talks to us about his involvement in the restoration of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally built as a summer home for the wealthy Vicens family between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was converted from a single-family dwelling into three separate residences on different floors in 1925. Additional renovations were undertaken in 1935 and 1964.
In 2005, Casa Vicens was added to the list of the Spanish architect’s projects that have achieved UNESCO World Heritage status, including the still unfinished La Sagrada Familia. Featuring Gaudí’s signature tile work and geometric patterns, Casa Vicens incorporates Moorish architectural elements and pays homage to nature through details such as orange marigolds on the facade.
Architect David García, along with José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elías Torres of Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes, led the restoration efforts. The restoration work focused on recovering and showcasing the original house to the greatest extent possible.
The architects opened up spaces, such as a gallery that originally connected the garden and dining room, that had been closed off during the 1925 renovation, and designed a new staircase to allow movement between the three floors.
García, who has been involved in restoration efforts since 2014, shared the challenges of maintaining the artistic heritage of Casa Vicens while making complex structural and technical changes to its architecture.
Could you elaborate on the restoration work that you did for Casa Vicens? What kinds of architectural interventions were made?
We had three main aims in the project design. The first one was regarding the restoration of the artistic heritage from the house focusing on what we know from historical records and research we undertook, without interpreting (or mis-interpreting) anything for which we have no record.
The second was the conversion from a multi-family residence to a house-museum. This involved big structural and technical changes in order to comply with current construction regulations without jeopardizing the pre-existing ornamental features from the house. Throughout this project we have respected the original artistic heritage at all times.
The house was constructed over two periods of time. One was the original semi-detached family house, designed by Gaudí in 1883 and the second was an extension of the house converting it into a multi-family house in 1925 by his apprentice Serra Martínez. As a result, the third aim was to join these two architecturally distinct phases into one single building that recovers the essence of the original projects as a house museum. We distinguished our interventions in the house from the original style in order to contrast with the original and highlight it.
Could you comment briefly on what it was like working on not only a piece of Barcelona's architectural history, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Of course, any architect would be extremely excited to be involved in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I will probably never have another opportunity to do that. The experience has been a mix of a big architectural challenge, complete dedication, passion, and learning.
What is your favorite architectural detail in Casa Vicens?
For us, all the artistic ornamental features are very interesting in their own right, and also all the rooms have their own unique style and feeling. Nevertheless, the most interesting challenge for me was how to resolve the details at the point at which our architecture and the original architecture meet.
Any suggestions for things visitors should look for when they go to the museum?
Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the first example of Gaudí’s work, and in particular I would highlight that this is the first attempt to connect his architecture with the natural world through ornamental design, which would later evolve through the structure and formal designs, to inspire...projects such as La Sagrada Familia.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 18:37
The small archipelago in the Pacific Ocean has had a big influence on architects and designers across the globe, from São Paulo to the Czech Republic.
Known for its subtle, simple forms and use of natural materials like wood and paper, Japanese architecture has been an inspiration for modern architects and designers outside of Japan since the early-20th century. In contemporary architecture, it remains influential and aspirational in everything from the exterior of a home and its cladding to the minute details of wood joinery and cabinetry—landscaping elements to light fixtures. Here, we take a look at projects where Japanese architectural elements and concepts including shoji screens, shou sugi ban techniques, wood joinery, paneling, and wabi-sabi have had a deep impact on the design.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 18:21
This portable dwelling, made of two shipping containers, is ready for its next move.
After living in hyper-connected Seattle, architect and builder Ty Kelley relocated to off-the-grid Livingstone, Montana, to build a slick, glass-accented shipping container home.
The home, newly available for purchase and relocation, is listed at an attainable $125,000. The one-bedroom, one-bath, 720-square-foot home is a sleek and modern abode with handmade finishings, many done by Kelly himself.
"A lot of it is reclaimed materials," Kelly explains. "I built the counters myself out of two-by-two, all out of leftover lumber, and the wood flooring is reclaimed as well." Natural wood elements extend from the interior to the outside of the home, where the container is partially wrapped in wooden planking.
The back of the property is lined with glass to take advantage of the sweeping Montana views, as well as an outdoor shower to even more fully embrace the Treasure State.
The home also features traditional features such as a wood stove (to really get into the rustic spirit), as well as contemporary conveniences like a dishwasher and washer and dryer—because roughing it should never be, well, rough.
To learn more about the home, visit the listing here.
Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 17:18
Adding a light fixture (or two) to your dining room is like putting the icing on a cake: it’s that final, special touch that can imbue style, atmosphere, and just the right amount of illumination—but finding the ideal setup is not always easy.
In the dining room, a light fixture is a particularly significant design element because it not only provides adequate light while you eat, but it can also have a powerful impact on the mood or vibe of the space—thus playing a vital role in its overall aesthetics. Continue reading to learn some helpful tips on the right height, type, and size of fixture you should be looking for. Once you have a good idea of what you need, take a look at our lighting selection for some great modern options.
First of all, it’s critical to find a fixture you like and can see yourself liking for several years. Although it may be tempting to move in the direction of something that's "in" right now, this can prove to not be the wisest decision in the long run, because installing (and removing) complex and heavy fixtures can often require an electrician and contractor, making what might sound like a simple fixture swap a more complicated and expensive endeavor.
Therefore, it’s best to invest in an item that you really love and won't get sick of. This might mean a classic, simple light fixture, or it might mean a bigger statement piece. Either way, make sure you choose wisely!
Secondly, choose the location of the fixture carefully. A chandelier or low-hanging fixture should be centered over the dining table, not placed in the middle of the room. If you have other furniture in the room, your table probably isn’t exactly in the center of the space—and that’s okay. You want the lights to create focal points centered on specific pieces of furniture, so make sure you have your table in place before installing the lighting.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the length and size of the fixture. In general, experts recommend that the dimensions of the fixture should be approximately one-third of the width of the dining table. For example, a five-foot round dining table (60 inches) should have a diameter of about 20 inches; a rectangular or oval-shaped table could have a wider or elongated chandelier. Having a row of three or more smaller pendant fixtures is also an option.
In terms of the length of the cord of a pendant or chandelier, you should play around a bit and see what feels right. You don’t want the chandelier to be so low that it’s blocking your view of people across the table or hitting a centerpiece or flowers, but you also don’t want it to be so high that it doesn’t shine light on the table. See if you can turn the fixture on while it’s being hung to see where you like it best—usually, this is about 30 to 36 inches above the top of the dining table.
When considering the brightness of a fixture, remember that lighting plays a key role in setting the ambiance of a space, so you don’t want it to be too bright—but you also need to be able to see what you’re eating! The total wattage of all the bulbs in a fixture (a single fixture often requires multiple bulbs) should be between 200 and 400 watts. Putting the light fixture on a dimmer switch and purchasing dimmable bulbs is a great way to accommodate different levels of lighting throughout the day in your space.
Finally, don’t forget that a central fixture over the table might not be the only light you need. Recessed lights can add extra brightness, especially in dark corners. Consider purchasing some wall sconces to light up artwork or a beautiful credenza.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 02:05
A scion of Frank Lloyd Wright erects a modular hillside retreat near the architect’s estate.
When you’re a grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright and planning to build near Taliesin—Wright’s studio and architecture school near Spring Green, Wisconsin—you have no shortage of design resources. Tim Wright, a documentary filmmaker who teaches at Taliesin, and his wife, Karen Ellzey, managing director for a commercial real estate firm, live in Boston but had a set vision for a flexible second home on a rolling hill seven miles from his grandfather’s estate. After consulting with several architects, they decided that a prefab house would best respect their plan for a flexible home that would sit lightly on the land, and they settled on Blu Homes, a start-up based in Vallejo, California, to execute it. Blu Homes’ steel-framed structures, manufactured in a factory north of San Francisco that once churned out nuclear submarines, fold out on hinges like a pop-up book. Wright and Ellzey chose the Balance model for its flexible floor plan, spacious interior, and modern design. Unlike some other prefabs, it didn’t resemble a "glorified trailer," Wright says, and the company’s energy and drive were a draw. The components were trucked out on two semis in 2012 and assembled in seven and a half weeks. Wright and Ellzey’s house, Blu Homes’ first Midwest project, is a 2,984-square-foot statement in simple living that cost a relatively modest $475,000, including the foundation and the added 1,184-square-foot basement.
Tim Wright: We stopped right up by the big oak [at the entrance to the property], got out on that hill, saw the 14-mile view to Blue Mounds, and something went boing: We must have this land. So we got it, 112 acres, with no clue as to what we would do. That was March 2006. We didn’t build this until 2012. There was a long period where we would just drink wine on the hill.
Karen Ellzey: I felt very at peace out here. We wanted the ability to come out here and have a space to call ours, something flexible that could become a gallery or be a place for meetings. We actually had a few architects do drawings—Tim’s cousin Eric Lloyd Wright even tried to adapt an old sketch of an unbuilt Wright home. We all agreed it was a nonstarter. One day, I decided to check modular homes and came upon Blu. I saw this layout and it felt right. If I had sketched a floor plan, this would have been the one I wanted.
Wright: Blu doesn’t give you measurements in square feet because they believe you don’t live in square feet, you live in cubic feet. The interior is 1,800 square feet of interesting space. And when you see the 16-foot ceiling, it changes things enormously.
Ellzey: It really did kind of pain me a little bit that we’re doing this manufactured home instead of working with an architect. But when you go back to someone like Frank Lloyd Wright, he’s fundamentally interested in affordable homes for the average American. While we knew it would be a little controversial, it seemed like investing in this innovation path. In a sense, it’s the most Frank Lloyd Wright thing we could have done.
Wright: I’d describe this house as artisanal. Our furnishing concept is based on transformation, with a video projector instead of a TV, a dining room table that expands to seat 12, and mounting wires for blackout curtains or canvases, so we can easily entertain friends, show a documentary, or host an art exhibit.
Ellzey: When we visited the factory, we could see the two boxes side by side. The main space really appealed to me—you can get a real great sweep of the house. And Blu was flexible. They added two windows to the great room, since it was important for us to have a space that looked like a porch. All the architects in Tim’s family thought we chose the wrong site [facing the oak]. We fell in love with this view. As Tim said, the house wasn’t going to be the star; the landscape was going to be the star. This was just a way of accessing it.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 02:00
A couple turns a cramped Montreal quadruplex into a spacious and flexible family home on the very street where one of them grew up.
By the end of the aughts, Molly Alexander and Graeme Anthony were getting restless in the Victorian that they had owned since their 20s in Montreal’s lively Plateau neighborhood. Their son, Max, was five, and Alexander says she had grown "tired of having drunks lying on my stoop and yelling at three o’clock in the morning. I was like, ‘I’m over this.’"
The couple had long entertained a fantasy of buying a multiunit building in La Petite-Patrie—a gentrifying, formerly working-class neighborhood northwest of downtown, where Alexander had grown up—and renovating it into a spacious family home. One Saturday in 2009, they visited Alexander’s childhood home, where her mother, Patricia, still lived, and saw a For Sale sign on an unremarkable four-unit building next door.
They put in a bid the next day, despite what Alexander encountered when she went inside: a warren of light-starved rooms and a series of questionable decorating choices, including a hot-pink wall and garish artificial grass on an upstairs balcony. A series of cheap renovations had stripped the building, which dates to the 1920s, of any period charm, making it easy for the couple to gut the inside and start from scratch. "We didn’t say, ‘Oh, maybe we’ll keep a wooden beam,’" says Alexander, a union organizer. "The idea was: The uglier, the better; the cheaper I can get it, the better—because I wanted to rip it down."
Alexander and Anthony, the manager and shoe buyer at a men’s streetwear clothing store called Off the Hook, wasted little time finding the right architect. Anthony recalled taking Max to a birthday party at the renovated home of Alexandre Blouin, a founder of the Montreal firm Blouin Tardif, and being impressed with how the architect had opened up an older structure. "I don’t think we even talked about hiring anybody else," Anthony says.
Blouin designed a rectangular staircase at the center of the house, positioning it beneath an operable skylight that draws in sunshine that otherwise would have struggled to penetrate the core of the building, which is 50 feet deep. The kitchen was moved from the rear of the house closer to the middle, freeing up space at the back for a new sitting room and a set of floor-to-ceiling windows.
A shallow crawl space beneath the house was excavated and turned into a finished basement, with a new family room and a door that opens onto a patio where a driveway used to be. A steel footbridge provides direct access to the main level from the garden.
The renovation, executed while Alexander was pregnant with the couple’s second child, took about nine months and was completed in the summer of 2011. Alexander and Anthony share a generously sized master suite at the back of the second floor, while Max, 11, and Chloe, five, each have a room at the front, with a shared balcony.
Signs of happy children at play abound—but more in the form of errant toys than paint colors or permanent architectural features. "I was very conscious when we were designing the house to not design it for children," Anthony says, "because 10 years from now they’re not going to be kids."
The decision to design with the future in mind makes the house a flexible space that Alexander and Anthony conceived as a landing spot for the long term. "I wanted to live in a place where I could get old," Alexander says. "When the kids are teenagers, the house works for that. The kids move out, I can still live here. The idea was: The place is ours regardless of how life changes."
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 01:58
A niece seeks out her uncle to design a home for her family in Ecuador.
When Roberto Burneo, an architect, returned to his native Ecuador after ten years in New York City, the last five in the office of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, one of the first projects that he tackled was a house for his niece Gabriela, her husband, Sebastian, and their three children, ages ten, eight, and three.
"Gabriela is my oldest niece," Burneo says, "and ever since I designed a house for her father back in 1996 when she was a teenager—one of my first projects after finishing architectural school in Brazil—she always said that I would be the designer for her house."
The couple purchased a generously sized lot in a suburb near Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, and Burneo set about walking them through the design process.
"For them, family life is most important," he says. "Since the beginning, the conversations of what they wanted in a dwelling centered on their desire to watch the family grow, take as much advantage of the land in terms of integration with the gardens, and have areas to entertain family and friends. The intent is for the house to be a hub of activity—their own as a couple and that of all their children as they go through their different stages."
The house is located on a flat expanse of terrain with fruit trees. It is, in Burneo’s view, a less-than-interesting landscape, so his design "guides the social areas inward in order to link them to the gardens." He oriented the 5,000-square-foot house in a pair of perpendicular volumes. The ground floor houses the public areas, including a study, while the top volume, housing the bedrooms and a family room, is oriented north-south, allowing for warm sunlight and a visual orientation toward the gardens. The top volume sits atop the lower one on pilings in places, allowing for an easy integration of the indoor and outdoor social spaces.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 01:46
The owner of Flexform’s New York showroom, David Levy, creates an elegant dining room overlooking Mexico City.
In the midst of Mexico City’s ever-changing landscape, a time-honored residential model endures: the high-rise. It is in such a building that David Levy—owner of the furniture maker Flexform’s New York showroom and the head of the Mexico-based development firm Piso 18—has designed an apartment for an art-collecting couple with two grown children and six grandchildren.
"The clients particularly love Italian design," says Levy, who established a European connection in the area most resembling a formal space, the dining room. "We tried to incorporate their love of European finishes and style into their casual yet still quite elegant living environment."
Located just off the entrance to the apartment and separated by a floating Calacatta-marble wall, the room is spare, save for a substantial white-marble-topped Flexform table surrounded by a dozen of Antonio Citterio’s solid-walnut Morgan chairs, designed for the Bulgari Hotel in London. Levy added a custom black-lacquered Italian sideboard to hold tableware.
Levy sheathed the room in whitewashed pine, giving the illusion of more light, and clad the fireplace wall, which divides the room from the living room bar, in matte marble. A deep, low-slung recess in the fireplace offers a peek into the rooms beyond—allowing the space to be at once separated from and connected to them. Similarly, it can expand and contract as the family’s needs vary. "The couple can entertain their large family in the space, yet it still feels intimate enough to relax in at home after a long day," says Levy, who adds that they use the room for "enjoying company, family reunions, casual relaxing, viewing the city, and fun."
With its generous band of horizontal windows, the room looks down to the Piso 18–designed common area for the building’s residents, with walkways and children’s play areas. Beyond is a view of the bustling city, where cranes abound and a brand new batch of high-rises slowly ascends as a silent symbol of progress.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 01:13
This apartment on the fifth floor of an existing building was in complete disrepair and had not been touched in almost a century. Our gut renovation created a series of linked spaces that reengage the south window wall and reorients the entire apartment towards this main facade.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 00:47
Webster Terrace was a renovation project to a single family home in the south end of the Halifax Peninsula. The original house, built in 1961 by architect Douglas Shadbolt, is situated on a steeply sloping site, which is oriented towards Fleming Park and the Northwest Arm. The existing form comprised of two angled bars that stepped down the site’s topography towards the street. The low-er southern bar consisted of public spaces (living, dining and rec room) while the slightly elevated northern bar was nestled into the hill and contained the private spaces (bedrooms) of the house. Both volumes had shed roofs that intersected at a continuous skylight, which provided natural light into the center of the plan. The building envelope had tall south facing windows and was clad in shiplap wood siding and stone veneer. From the clients’ perspective the square footage of the existing house (2500 sf) was insufficient, the home failed to capture the view, the plan was fragmented, the internal spaces did not accentuate the distinctive qualities of the shed roofs and the formal appearance was dated. Based on these criteria the client emphasized the necessity for a complete remodeling of the house and presented our team with the following challenges; 1. maximize the area of the house and optimize the view of the Northwest Arm 2. create an open concept that gives more presence to the spatial qualities of the large sloped ceil-ing plane and provides opportunity for gathering 3. devise a construction strategy that kept the house weatherproof during its transformation 4. incorporate energy efficient systems 5. develop a contemporary formal appearance with minimal maintenance Our response to the first challenge was to increase the area of the house by adding an addition to the main level (200 sf) and designing a second storey (1100 sf) above the existing shed roof. These additions were strategically located to capture the view, while reaching the upper limit of the gross floor area ratio provided by the local Land Use By Law. The main level addition included kitchen and dining space while the second storey consisted of a gallery space along the north and two bed-rooms that spilled out onto a rooftop patio to the south. The resulting rooms provide a clear view of the Northwest Arm ocean inlet. In terms of urban design, the new additions are located such that they preserve the views from neighboring properties. They take full advantage of the sharp slope toward the water on which the house is situated allowing the upper level of each home to see over the top of the next. The second challenge was met by removing the majority of the interior partitions on the main level, exposing the diagonally sloping ceiling plane even more than before and creating a set of wide stairs that serve as gathering seats for entertainment. The lower end of the sloped ceiling was further accentuated by mimicking the profile of the wide stair on the ceiling plane, which enhanced the ex-perience of the users when moving from one level to the next. The resulting open space also provid-ed the opportunity to highlight the connection of the house to the site’s topography by aligning the exterior and interior stairs along the central access of the house. This provided an unobstructed pathway through the house and enhanced the procession up the hill. The removal of interior partitions on the main level and the addition of a second storey required new steel structure to be incorporated into the house. In order to keep the house weatherproof, the third challenge was met by devising an 'eye of the needle' structural strategy. New steel structure was craned over the power lines, threaded through minimal openings in the existing shed roof, aligned onto newly poured concrete piers, and weatherproofed the same day. The floor of the second sto-rey is suspended over the existing sloped roof plane with new steel beams, creating a useful storage space underneath. The new upper deck is also structured to hover over the old shed roof allowing the existing roof to serve as the primary drainage plane. To meet the fourth challenge, the envelope of the existing house was stripped internally and both the old and new walls were insulated with high-performance spray foam. All windows are new, low emissivity, aluminum-framed with thermal breaks. The hydronic heating system of the house was upgraded and extended to serve the upper level addition. Additional heating and cooling was sup-plemented with heat pumps. All lighting and HVAC components of the house can be controlled re-motely and are programmed to adapt to local climate patterns in order to conserve energy. The contemporary formal appearance of the house was achieved through a sequence of architec-tural surgery to meet the fifth challenge. These steps included removing the existing eaves of the shed roofs, constructing the new additions, building out or ‘squaring off’ the façade and minimizing the material palette throughout. The resulting form consists of a wood box that sits on a white shell, which wraps the volumes of the existing house. The new design also enhances the distinctive angled plan of the existing house: the window planes are angled towards the view while the wood box and white shell remain parallel to the street. To reveal unobstructed views of the Northwest Arm, the en-velope consists of zero-edge glass detailing on the corners at both levels. The large expanses of glass on the east elevation were achieved with concealed fire shutters on both levels. The exterior cladding is a combination of thermal wood and fiber cement panels with no exposed fasteners on the entire house. The landscape is zero maintenance river pebbles, allowing the client to leave the house unoccupied for weeks at a time. In summary, the Webster Terrace house was a daring and contemporary form in its younger days and it has been rejuvenated with expanded spaces with improved access to views, a sleek twenty-first-century form and materials detailed in the most minimal manner.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 23:44
SVK Interior Design is an interiors firm based in San Francisco led by principal designer Senalee Kapelevich. The homeowners hired Senalee to help them reconfigure and design their cramped kitchen. The couple have 2 boys and wanted something bright, cheerful and more functional, and they love mid-century modern style. Troy Kashanipour Architecture was brought in for larger structural changes, like moving a small basement staircase out of the kitchen corner, allowing enough space to add an island and dining table. Kai of Kaimade fabricated the beautiful, push-release cabinetry out of elm with laminate fronts, including a custom pantry/command center. Located in San Francisco's foggy Monterey Heights neighborhood, floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors were installed to bring in as much light as possible. We kept the palette minimal for brightness, as well as to highlight the beautiful wood tones and the texture of the Heath Ceramics wall tile.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 23:00
With an unusually angular house, a Canadian studio builds on a practice known for striking silhouettes.
Founded by Sasa Radulovic, originally from Sarajevo, and Johanna Hurme, from Helsinki, the 5468796 Architecture collective explores a different approach to siting, one that abandons traditional footprints in favor of houses that respond to their lots. In setting up shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the pair came to a place quite antithetical to that concept.
Winnipeg is a Canadian prairie city, sprawling in size if only middling in population, where the idea of rigorous space planning has held little value.
Although the city’s arts community is vibrant—and there’s a legacy of both early-20th-century architecture and midcentury modernism—Winnipeg is still largely a rugged, traditional kind of town.
Some of 5468796’s community projects naturally drew flak. One especially controversial structure was the Cube, an open-air performance venue in an aluminum chainmail skin. Critics decried the hypermodern piece in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. But the strong reaction got people thinking, and talking, about architecture. It also gave 5468796—the name is a reference to the firm’s company registration number—a reputation as a group with a deep understanding of geometry, which is reflected in their residential work as well.
One such project, Parallelogram House, is located in a suburban neighborhood of mostly shingle and stucco houses on spacious lots. The owners, Rachel and Nolan Ploegman, have two boys, ages seven and five, and a five-month-old daughter. Nolan, the president of a construction company, had collaborated with 5468796 on other projects. When the couple decided they wanted something different for their own house, Rachel says, "We knew Johanna and Sasa were the right people."
With its wood-and-metal cladding and bent-plate Cor-Ten columns, the 2,700-square-foot home stands out from its neighbors. It is spread over a single story, with an unusual parallelogram shape that fills the width of the narrow site. Hurme notes its form is not just an architectural whim. "Every geometrical shape should come from the requirement of the program or the site," she says.
In the case of Parallelogram House, the focus was getting the most out of a deep backyard. "The idea was to spend more money on the back of the house than on the front," Nolan says. Explains Hurme: "There was a need to hide the garage in the front. We also needed to stretch out the amount of windows facing the back. So the parallelogram felt very natural by the time we got to it."
"Every geometrical shape should come from the requirement of the program or the site." Johanna Hurme, architect
In front, the garage is flush with the facade of the house and tall prairie grass surrounds the driveway. Bob Somers of landscape architecture firm Scatliff + Miller + Murray says the goal was to create a native pastoral feel, almost "an agrarian landscape around the house that kind of made it belong."
Beyond the front door, the living/dining area is set up against a huge span of windows. Wrapped in wood cladding, an elemental box contains a closet, bathroom, and pantry and lends shape to the kitchen. The rectangular box sits in the middle of the space, giving a sense of solidity among the sharp angles. Originally, the architects wanted the exterior’s Cor-Ten in the interior, too, but the Ploegmans found the material too cold, and they ended up using maple pillars instead.
Because of Winnipeg’s long winters, houses can feel quite heavy, as windows are always triple-paned and plenty of insulation is a must. "You tend to see these hermetically sealed boxes that are really sort of impenetrable—we tried to fray that edge," Hurme says. At the Ploegmans’, a sweeping overhang above the main living space’s west-facing window—about 12 feet of cantilever—assists with climate control. The feature prevents solar gain from the strong prairie sunlight on hot days. "We’d probably be cranking up the air conditioning two or three times as much if the roof didn’t overhang the back," Nolan says.
"The idea is that you don’t have to build a house that’s the same as everyone else’s." Nolan Ploegman, resident
Outside, the cedar cladding complements a nearby stand of trees as well as the Cor-Ten steel. Both are materials that look better with age. In designing the outdoor spaces, Somers and his team looked to the unusual form of the house for inspiration. "We continued that [parallelogram] geometry over the landscape to ensure that we created middle ground, foreground, and background perspectives so that the extended landscape is not looking at the neighbors’ houses," Somers explains.
By day, the home’s expansive windows offer the parents a view as the kids play soccer or baseball outside. At night, the family lights a fire in the black-granite pit out back or eats dinner on the screened porch that has become their favorite space in the whole house.
The couple says the neighborhood’s reaction, at first curious, is now complimentary. "All the houses around us are fairly mid-’90s," Nolan says. "We came and kind of shocked everyone. Now that it’s finished, the house has caught people’s attention more toward this style of home and the idea that you don’t have to build a house that’s the same as everyone else’s."
And this is how a dialogue, started with a cube, continues with a parallelogram.
"Being a builder, Nolan really takes pride in things being built well. There are no fast, cheap details." Johanna Hurme
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 20:24
The new family house is positioned along the site’s ridge and oriented toward the creek. Built in October 2016 with insulated concrete form and fiber cement panel, the front cantilever house with the linear composition provided a large front yard with minimal site intrusion, and preserved the vast majority of mature trees and forest on the site. The opening space, on the first floor, is between a guest room and dining area through kitchen and living with a concrete fireplace. The second floor includes master bedroom, other bedroom, balcony, library and outdoor deck. The structure’s natural fiber cement exterior is in keeping with the proximity and rustic character of the park. In the main entrance, an exterior stairway spans the carport and the front door of the first floor, through Cor-ten metal panels, providing natural light and a way for air to move throughout the house. The stairs, supported by metal channels and posts, are placed in different directions between the landscaping and carport levels. The oak wood treads are placed on open risers with max. 4 inches to the centerline of each by the code in between the metal channels and stainless steel cable guard rails. The heating system in the house is radiant heat flooring (both first and second floors) and the A/C system has two fan compressors which is placed on the roof with an access ship ladder to the 2nd floor deck. They are still working in their systems which are more cost effective for a long term. A bridge with the same type of handrails and cables spans the two-story space above the kitchen and living areas, from the library to the bedroom on the second floor. The large expanses of glass of living placed from first floor to the ceiling provide views into the south-west park and forest and toward the creek while admitting sunlight into the house at all times of day throughout the year. Another large north-east translucent panel, which keeps the privacy from the neighbor, provides natural sunlight for both two levels. The Takoma Park House project won a Silver Trophy A’Design Award from the 2017 A’Design Award & Competition. For press release on the Takoma Park House project, please see a link: http://design-milk.com/design-award-winner-faves-architecture/ The house's location on the hill is a second house away from Sligo Creek Park with a short distance walk. The Silver Spring downtown with restaurants, retails, malls, theaters, etc. is a five minutes to drive in a nice neighborhood area. A time travel in car/bus to public schools as elementary, middle school and high school is between 5 and 15 minutes away. If anyone is interesting in visiting the house for sale in Takoma Park, MD, please call me at 202-540-8889 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 19:41
Architect Piers Taylor's renovation of an old gameskeeper's cottage, complete with a castellated roof and sweeping meadow below, is an exercise in dramatic modernization, one that takes advantage of everything its storybook setting has to offer.
Architect Piers Taylor had always wanted to live off the beaten track. For many years he thought he would end up taking his family from England to Australia—where he once lived and studied—to find a perfect home in the bush, away from everything. But when he came across Moonshine, a former gamekeeper’s cottage tucked away in the woods, four miles outside the city of Bath, he knew a continental shift wouldn’t be necessary. With no direct access from the road, the original stone house with a castellated rooftopis reached via a ten-minute walk along a path through the forest and is graced with sweeping views across the green valley spread out below. "I first went to see the place holding our daughter Lily in a shopping basket when she was just days old," says Piers, who now has two children with his wife Sue, along with his first daughter Imogen. "I got more and more excited as I walked down the path to the house, and when I opened the gate and saw the setting and the views, I knew I wanted to live there immediately. I was affected by it like no other place I have ever been to. Within five minutes I had offered near to the asking price."
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 18:56
After a year-long renovation, The Fleming Hotel in Hong Kong just reopened with a new sophisticated look that pays homage to the iconic Star Ferry.
International design agency A Work of Substance—whose branding projects range from websites to interiors—spearheaded the renovation of the 66-room boutique hotel, which was built in the 1970s and is located in Hong Kong's vibrant Wan Chai neighborhood.
Nostalgic and refined, the hotel’s new design concept draws inspiration from the island's maritime locale and history—and more specifically, the iconic Star Ferry, which transported travelers across the harbor from Kowloon to Hong Kong.
On the exterior of the 14-story building, brass light fixtures and black powder-coated iron scaffolding that's been cast to look like bamboo shoots set the tone for the hotel’s cozy and luxurious interior.
During the day, the streets are trafficked by business women and men, and at night, the hip borough comes alive with a vibrant restaurant scene, according to A Work of Substance’s creative director and founder Maxime Dautresme. Since it's located near the convention center, the hotel has continuously been frequented by business travelers over the decades.
The design is inspired by the crafts of fishing and boating. In fact, the bar’s bottle display acts as a nod to lobster cages, while the lanterns draw inspiration from old-school, hand-blown fish floaters. The cobalt color found throughout the space takes cues from the Mediterranean Sea’s deep blue hue, and the banquettes are a riff on the Star Ferry’s seating as they flip from one side to the other.
Washrooms shared by the hotel and restaurant are luxurious with red lacquer walls, brass sinks made in Indonesia, and coin floors sealed with epoxy. "I wanted something really playful—and, I wanted to create a sentiment of surprise," says Dautresme.
Adjacent to the restaurant and bar on the ground floor is a long, narrow corridor that leads to the concierge.
On the first floor is the reception and lobby area with red key cubbies inspired by local post office boxes, and a nautical-inspired seating area for lounging.
The hotel’s narrow elevator was updated with red lacquer walls, along with a brass mirror and hardware. "It’s a small space but also quirky and fun," says Dautresme.
Throughout the hotel, doors echo the design of boat hatchways with curved frames and brass hardware. In lieu of "do not disturb" or "please make up my room" signs, each suite door incorporates brass hardware that guests can turn from the inside of the their room to easily communicate with housekeeping.
Guest suites are worldly with masculine and nautical touches. Sleeping chambers are decked out in a bottle green and cream color scheme as a nod to the Star Ferry’s hull, and wood paneling and brass hardware embrace the materials used aboard the boat. In-line with Cantonese design, bold pops of red and rattan furniture are also incorporated in guest rooms.
Wood skirting around the perimeter of each suite incorporates a narrow ledge to display artwork. It also includes light switches and plugs for electronics and provides guests with a place to empty their pockets.
Homey touches and curated objects include beautifully crafted water carafes, sculptures, books, and terrariums filled with Hong Kong’s unique flora, such as ficus, ferns, and moss. "We wanted something organic in the room," says Dautresme. "The terrarium is great because it lives independently and doesn’t have any impact on the room. It’s poetic in a way."
In the guest suites’ washrooms, glass panels provide privacy and transparency, welcoming in plenty of natural light. Brass sinks and herringbone marble floors add a bit of luxury.
Custom bath products inspired by Chinese herbs are a nod to early Eastern medicine and wellness and encourage guests to unwind in-between their travels and business meetings. The apothecary line includes scents such as sandalwood and amber that harken back to the heyday of Hong Kong’s bustling port.
Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 18:55
The Brennan Avenue residence is a custom home that investigates ideas of simplicity, complexity and how they can interact to create a cohesive whole. While the exterior of the project is comprised of simple forms it is realised through a complex palette of materials and articulations. Projections are framed by fins wrapped in steel cladding. The steps to the front porch, while simple in shape, are complex in their execution as the treads extend in specific locations to form planters. At the back of the house a refined wall of windows is topped with a highly expressive canopy that extends six feet from the edge of the house. The interior spaces are interwoven. The kitchen is at the heart of the main floor and flows into the living room and the dining room. The configuration of the main floor has been designed to create a unique character for both the living and dining rooms even though there are no physical barriers separating them. The living room features a wall of windows looking over the rear yard, making it feel like a floating lounge complete with a custom fire place and TV cabinet. The stairs enhance the intermingling of spaces. The stair from ground to second floor is an open riser stair and offers views of the living room and rear yard while the occupant is moving vertically through the space. The second floor includes an impressive double height space over the entrance complete with guard made from a single sheet of glass. The success of this project owes to the clarity of the design between the interior spaces and the exterior articulations of the house. It is a composition of simple moves that have been put together in a complex way.