Peter’s House has been designed by Craig Steely Architecture, located on a steep site bordering a public garden above San Francisco, California’s Dolores Park. The decidedly small house, (only 1,800 square feet) builds on this steep lot as efficiently as possible. Rather than the typical construction practice of locating foundations staggered up the hillside, Peter’s house locates a 24 foot x 24 foot cast-in-place concrete garage at the lowest level and builds a 3-story glass tower above it, altering the land and native hillside drainage very little. The top living floor then spans from a flat plateau at top of the lot to the tower like a bridge, essentially reducing the amount of excavation typically involved in construction of this type by 2/3.
Beyond the structural challenges, the biggest issue in designing Peter’s house was opening the building to the expansive view while maintaining a level of privacy from the sidewalk and garden that pass alongside. Around the time the house was being designed, the new on-ramp to the Golden Gate Bridge was under construction which necessitated clearing a grove of Monterey Cypress trees in it’s path from the Presidio. We secured some of these trees and working with a local milling shop turned them into 90 solid wood louvers (fixed on the exterior/operable on the interior) that regulate openness and privacy.
At street level, the wooden garage door opens its toothed maw.
Outside looking in: a look at the door’s mechanism.
The kitchen is beautifully textured and veined thanks to white Carrara marble countertops installed by New Marble Company and reclaimed cypress cabinets built by Wayne Berger.
A 606 Universal Shelving System by Dieter Rams for Vitsoe hangs tough on the only opaque wall of the living room. The homeowner’s designed the coffee table, and Marcel Wanders gets credit for the Bottoni sofa for Moooi.
The trip from garage to first floor is through a wood-clad spiral staircase that resembles a giant slatted barrel.
The LC4 lounge is by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina. Operable porthole windows on the east facade offer ventilation.
The master bedroom is defined on the north side by a series of indoor louvers, which allow the couple to frame and manage their views.
The drawers and cupboards in the closet feature the same masterful joinery established in the kitchen.
The homeowner’s, a mechanical engineer and industrial designer, designed their bed. Credit for the custom joinery of the closet and cabinets goes to woodworker Wayne Berger.
At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze. The homeowner’s are even planning of rigging some kind of sail over the back patio for shade. The hot tub is by Roberts Hot Tubs.
The public staircase is directly adjacent to the house, though the louvers mitigate the view of passersby in favor of views of San Francisco.
Kuruma House project is a modern remodel by Olson Kundig Architects of an existing house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Bringing light into the 2,230 square foot, three bedroom, three bathroom home and creating a stronger connection to the outdoors were important aspects of the renovation. In addition to extensive skylights, the rear of the house was transformed with the addition of a 10’x10’ custom designed jalousie window, and large sliding and pivoting windows and doors.
The interior of the home was updated to provide a comfortable space to live and work. A simple, dark material palette provides a unified backdrop for elements that carry significant personal connection for the client. Many of the home’s furnishings were custom designed, including a rolling office “kuruma”—a modern interpretation of a traditional wheeled storage chest.
Menlo Park Residence is a modern single family home that has been designed by Dumican Mosey Architects and built by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders in San Francisco, California. The cool modern 5,500 square foot home gets its warmth from the architect’s intentions, the homeowners’ style and two kids just being two kids. While the design exhibits many trademarks of minimalism (clean lines, hard surfaces, high ceilings, and lots of glass), the architect also integrated antidotes to the inherently cool style: a U-shaped courtyard, raised sun decks and a sophisticated playground complete with pool, and raised sun decks. The result was a modern home that still embraces texture, warmth, lightness and a connection to the outdoors.
The ground up project features an aluminum storefront style window system that connects the interior and exterior spaces. Modern design incorporates integral color concrete floors, Boffi cabinets, two fireplaces with custom stainless steel flue covers. Other notable features include an outdoor pool, solar domestic hot water system and custom Honduran mahogany siding and front door.
The entryway, itself, features a living wall by Kevin Smith (no relation to the homeowner). The home has a high-tech system that unlatches as the homeowners approach.
The streamlined Boffi kitchen was customized to hide all the unsightly necessities of a family of four.
The home’s seamless connection to the outdoors is best represented by the great room’s clerestory windows, skylights and a 40-foot-wide series of sliding-glass pocket doors. During the day, this allows for an abundance of warm sunlight and fresh air, bringing life to the stark architecture. By night, the McIver-Smith household takes on a new vibe, when two fireplaces and an ensemble case of static light fixtures are turned on.
The dining room, located to the right of the entry, is like a glass vitrine at night with 36 Bocci pendants and a glossy white table. Is in the living room, the fireplace surround was custom-designed and fabricated by Concreteworks’ Mark Rogero.
Fatboy beanbags and playful “Scrabble” tiles by Justine King make the kids’ playroom the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon with movies or video games.
The master bedroom’s entire corner opens to the pool area by way of a sundeck featuring an automated shade canopy. Owner Bridget McIver furnished the house with Italian pieces from Dzine, such as Paola Lenti’s outdoor seating.
The integration of the pool area and patio with the living room allows for easygoing entertaining—as does a separate guest suite. The homeowners have hosted everything from a 40th birthday bash to a make-your-own-pizza social to a karaoke blowout.
Both of the kids’ rooms are decorated with Blik wall decals. This room has an added touch, a wall-mounted fishbowl.
The master bedroom uses a serene, relaxing color palette of soft greens.
The master bed and bath are tucked into the lot’s far corner, allowing for plenty of glass but ensuring privacy.
The Promenade Residence is a luxury waterfront property that has been designed by Bayden Goddard Design Architects (BGD Architects), situated on an exclusive residential street in Queensland, Australia. This dream home was designed for a family of four with the brief to achieve ideal spaces for work, rest and play. The internal planning required a clever balance to achieve a house of private spaces with maximized outlooks to the Surfers Paradise skyline. Corten steel screens wrap the first floor bedrooms providing a veil for the bedroom spaces facing the river and the road.
The approach to the house, presents a structured and grounded design, balanced by the delicate screen pattern and soft landscaping. At night, the house transforms to a glowing lantern, welcoming guests for the views to come. Entry via the side arbour gradually opens upon a generous internal courtyard which looks through the main living area, framing the city skyline.
A major design feature was the inclusion of a luxury two storey space to the waterfront edge with custom double storey sliding doors. This enables views to be brought right into the heart of the house and across the internal courtyard to the street front rooms. Each layer of glazing and the waterfront screens can be pulled back almost out of sight to allow the house to breath effortlessly all day long. Louvered glazing has been utilized throughout the home to promote cross ventilation via natural breezes. The indoor / outdoor waterfront room, provides a multifunctional extension that capitalizes on the property locale and climate conditions.
The external finishes including recycled timber, corten steel and polished concrete provide a low maintenance and contemporary solution. The internal finishes compliment the external color palette and provide a practical and beautiful aesthetic.
Underground water tanks, solar hot water and LED lighting were incorporated to ensure efficient living for the owners and reduced environmental impact.
Monsoon Retreat has been designed by Abraham John ARCHITECTS, situated in Khandala, a famous hill station in the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra, India. The 8,363 square foot (777 square meters) private residence is surrounded by a swimming pool and evergreen gardens. The living room was conceived as an “outdoor space” with abundant light and natural ventilation. It opens onto decks and gardens on either side, in keeping with the concept. A continuous wall serves as a textured backdrop to the living room and continues onto the deck, lending it a rustic feel. The cantilevered wood and steel staircase connecting the two floors is set against imposing double height windows; it is bathed in light, allowing luxuriant indoor plants to thrive. The indoor courtyard pathway continues from the staircase area towards the garden. Showers of light are suspended from the ceiling creating a serene ambiance.
The Villa showcases Five Bedrooms (optional Media Room) with attached Bathrooms and balconies. In addition there is a Staff Room, a Kitchen and a Powder Room.
Landscape and lighting design play an essential role in the project: outdoor areas and even indoor courtyards, namely the staircase and dining courtyards abound with greenery. Earth was mounded up, boulders & exotic plants were added to create an interesting entrance. The parking area was paved using green paver blocks which allow grass to grow.
The Dining Room suspends over the private pool, giving the room an island-like feel; the tree in the dining area adds an element of surprise. The Dining island becomes an exotic “outdoor” space where one can enjoy the breeze, the proximity to the water and to the greenery.
The open floor plan makes the Living – Dining – Swimming Pool and Deck areas feel like an expansive lounge.
Three bedrooms are situated on the first floor. The master bedroom is separated from the other two bedrooms via a bridge that spans across the double height space of the living room. The Master Bedroom is a complete suite by itself, made up of a large bedroom looking onto a private terrace, a master bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. Wooden rafters span the entire Master Suite ceiling, giving it an earthy, out-of-town feel. The bedroom’s wooden flooring brings in beauty and warmth. A walk-on skylight is a unique feature between the bedroom and the terrace overlooking the garden.
One with nature:
The villa is designed in response to site conditions. Sloping roofs have been designed to withstand the extreme monsoons rains experienced in the area. This house allows one to experience nature. The indoor/outdoor boundaries disappear as every room opens up to a private outdoor space (terrace or garden). Outdoor decks and landscaped gardens serve as expansive entertaining areas with artful illumination and mood lighting. Indoor courtyards, skylights, double height sliding-folding windows add to the outdoor feel. Light and shadow add warmth & texture. The carefully chosen, limited palette of materials ensures consistency in design, minimizes maintenance and encourages sustainability.
Spaces created harmonize with their surroundings and encourage sustainability by using “green” materials that accentuate warmth & transparency, whilst aging beautifully: natural sandstone & engineered wooden flooring, large sliding and operable double–glazed windows, which cut down on solar radiation and air conditioning load, allowing for uninterrupted views and access to landscaped areas; automation & LED lights reduce electrical consumption. Cross ventilation ensures minimum use of the AC.
Photos: Alan Abraham
AR Design Studio just sent us their latest project, 4 Views, a private house situated in a prominent location overlooking the city of Winchester, United Kingdom and its beautiful surrounding countryside. This striking upside-down build contrasts with its conventional neighbors, displaying a flat over hanging roof, dark grey brick, cedar cladding and grey aluminum framed windows. In 2011 the architects were approached by a couple wishing to build a new house. They wanted a life experience to immerse themselves in, having recently lost a daughter; a project that would give them a positive focus and a fresh start for them and their family.
Taking responsibility for their brief very seriously, research into building a house that could help them move forward, heal and bring them happiness began. Through extensive research we found a wealth of information on the connection between good architecture and its positive effects on restoring health. We were given a ‘free hand’ with its design, around a wish for a garden within. The conceptual drive behind this house was the principle of the 3 N’s: Nature, Natural light and Natural air. The form of the replacement house is defined by four interlocking boxes, the negative space at their center forms a ‘Zen’ garden, with a single olive tree at its heart.
This simple layout became the foundation on which the principles of the 3N’s could be built, allowing them to be incorporated into all aspects of the design. A connection to nature has long been believed as good for one’s body and soul. This house connects with nature through three stunning, far reaching views of the South Downs. The long views inspiring the couple to look forward to the future, the courtyard giving space for inward private and reflective times. Subsequently, the house has become known as 4 Views.
The extensive glazing to walls, roof lights and open central garden allow natural light to flood the upper floor, giving a generous feeling of space. The skylights create an enchanting backdrop to the interior, the spaces constantly alive with light and shadow from passing clouds, providing a stimulating continual connection to the elements.
Large sliding panels of glass to the primary elevation and courtyard ensure natural ventilation and also a free flow of natural fresh air.
The courtyard, large balcony and huge covered patio are all designed to offer healthy outdoor living options regardless of weather.
The bedrooms and snug are intentionally darker, giving a cozier retreat downstairs. Views from here frame the garden, contrasting the extended views from the first floor and in turn emphasizing the ground floor as a private retreat for the family.
Photos: Martin Gardner
Kerr House has been designed as a modern family home by Tony Owen Architects, located close to Tamarama beach in Sydney, Australia and enjoys spectacular views of the beach from the upper level. The client sought a minimal light beach house. The existing house had a lush tropical garden at the rear. The architects sought to preserve this garden and focus the house so that it opened onto the garden as a large outdoor room which would be an extension of the living area.
The design is structured around a timber spine wall running along the southern boundary. The new house hangs off this wall. The house opens up to the rear with a large cantilevered concrete wing extending outwards to the garden. This creates solar protection and also extends the space into the garden. The remainder of the house is clad in timber battens and glass louvers to maximize natural ventilation. There is a large central glass enclosure in the middle of the house where the main stair is located. This atrium provides light to the center of the house.
The house was designed according to the principles of passive sustainable design. It uses natural materials such as timber. The central atrium and extensive use of glass louvers maximize natural ventilation and the use of large overhangs promote sun shading. The use of expansive upper deck areas maximize the use of spatial flow and integration with the site.
The house has 3 bedrooms and a family room upstairs, it has an open plan living, dining and kitchen on the lower level with separate bedroom/study, laundry and guest bathroom on the lower level.
The external – beach house’ feel of the house is typical of the area. As time goes on, the untreated external timber battens will grey to reflect a weathered sea-side feel.
The house has a sophisticated and luxurious feel but was realized for around $1mil, which is considered modest for this area.
Photos: Courtesy of Tony Owen Architects
San Marino Island House is a 1930s art deco home with a recent modern addition by Robert Kaner Interior Design, located just outside of South Beach in Miami, Floria. The residence is re-conceived as a weekend and vacation home and is designed to provide for either a calm and restful stay or for a high energy collection of people and activity.
Photos: Courtesy of Robert Kaner Interior Design
Nakai House is a cabin designed and built by eight architecture students from the University of Colorado in the southwestern Utah desert for for poet, farmer and entomologist Lorraine Nakai. The design of Nakai House was inspired in equal measures by her love of the land and literature. Under the guidance of tutor Rick Sommerfeld, the students teamed up with charity DesignBuildBLUFF, who regularly work with students to provide housing for some of the 2.4 million Native Americans that live in dilapidated or overcrowded housing on tribal land. The 745 square foot home set in the Navajo Nation was completed in an impressive 180 days for with the use of recycled materials at a cost of only $25,000!
A study in efficiency in both energy use and space, the home is defined by a 50’-long bookshelf that allows Lorraine to show off her large, eclectic book collection while separating an open space for working and entertaining visitors from Lorraine’s more private living spaces. The public zone of the floor plan constitutes an open space subtly layered to provide three zones of privacy. A ribbon window next to the kitchen table frames the nearby Cedar Mesa perfectly, while a window seat projects outward beneath the shade of a tree, providing Lorraine with many places to read, write and be inspired. The fireplace, an integral part of the Navajo Culture, further denotes the transition from the public to the private.
The team were tasked with replacing the home of Lorraine Nakai, an avid collector of books, ornaments and other memorabilia. “When we met her, she had her collections piled and dispersed within her old house. She expressed a strong desire to be able to showcase her eclectic collections in her new home – they were truly a part of who she was,” explains the team.
Rather than a conventional bedroom, Lorraine’s bedroom is merely a sleeping nook nestled within the bookshelf. For her guests, a lofted sleeping space above the library can be accessed by climbing a hand constructed ladder. The ‘stepping’ floor plan provides panoramic views of the northern mountains, while the western splash window frames views of the desert landscape.
The house was sited perpendicular to the three existing buildings to create a communal courtyard. Opening to the south, this exterior courtyard provides cool breezes in the summer while shielding the harsh western winds of the winter. In response to the geomorphology of the site, the roof gestures up to a lone tree on the northeast and the nearby hill to the southwest. A parabolic roof that seems to move with the wind and the surrounding dunes rises above a rainscreen made from reclaimed spandrel glass that reflects the desert landscape. Vertical tongue and groove cedar wraps the house above the band of glass and abuts to the knife edge overhang of the corten steel roof.
Marsh Residence is a stunning rustic modern property that has been designed by Dungan Nequette Architects in Birmingham, Alabama. The project began with an existing house of most humble beginnings and the final product really eclipsed the original structure. On a wonderful working farm with timber farming, horse barns and lots of large lakes and wild game the new layout enables a much fuller enjoyment of nature for this family and their friends. The look and feel is just as natural as its setting- stone and cedar shakes with lots of porches and as the owner likes to say, lots of space for animal heads on the wall! This project was featured in Southern Living, May 2013.
Furnishings found throughout the home are both antique and pieces picked up from Restoration Hardware.
The wood floor and unfinished beams make for a beautiful rustic kitchen. What makes this kitchen special is the bright, open space flooded with light thanks to the custom windows. A floating wood shelf and an antler chandelier bring it all home.
Photos: Courtesy of Dungan Nequette Architects