Alpine Chalet was designed by AKB Architects as a contemporary barnlike structure located on a cul-de-sac in a private ski club development in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. This chalet was designed as a social hub for an active family of six. With 4,650 square feet of living space on the ground and second floors, a generous double height kitchen, dining and living room facing the ski hill serves as the family’s central gathering space offering extensive views and abundant natural light.
The master suite is also located on the ground floor with children’s bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor mezzanine above. The basement incorporates a large recreation room, guest bedroom with en-suite and a spa zone consisting of sauna, steam shower, powder room and change area with direct access to a hot tub deck. The home features several challenging architectural details, including a large cantilevered stone fireplace and extensive exterior copper work.
Ceilings that reach for the stars belong in a home with plenty of windows and bring the outdoors in, sans the uncomfortable cold and wet aftermath of actually being outdoors. A cantilevered fireplace is the showstopper here, keeping you warm when you do head home after a day on the slopes.
Photos: Courtesy of AKB Architects
Lovingly coined ‘the Shack,” this rustic modern cottage designed by Feldman Architecture is an escape from City life for a busy San Francisco couple in Ross, California. The existing home was composed of low ceilings and partition walls creating dark spaces. However, the home held the potential for beautiful mountain views and if one looked carefully, hints of character and charm emerged. Rare old growth redwood siding of the original home and a Sonoma stone fireplace were both maintained as prominent features of the renovation.
During phase one, the original Douglas Fir ceilings were revealed as the sloped roof was opened up and inspired the use of reclaimed, local woods for the mantel, floors and interior doors. These woods warm the interiors and compliment the views to the gardens and Mount Baldy beyond. The kitchen and living room were opened up to an outdoor seating and dining area. Given the limited space and the open views from the living room, the kitchen cabinets were planned down to the details, much like a ship’s galley. The bathroom was brightened with a large translucent window and light porcelain tiles.
SIZE OF HOME: Phase 1 – 706sf / Phase 2 addition – 657sf + 260sf garage
Shortly after the first phase finished, design and construction began on phase two, including a two story addition, garage with green roof and stepped terraces with a swimming pool. The addition extends the area of living room and adds a second floor master suite with sweeping views of Mount Baldy. The addition and garage are primarily made of materials similar to the original house with board and batten siding in a natural stain.
Photos: Phil Bond
Linear House is nestled on a private 22-acre site with spectacular views to the Elk Mountain Range in Aspen, Colorado. It was designed by Studio B Architects, providing both a cozy refuge from the cold and a stunning perch at an elevation of 9,500 feet from which to gaze at the surrounding peaks. With a confined building envelop set against the White River National Forest and within a dense aspen stand, the construction and staging area was quite limited. The Hong Kong-based clients requested that every tree possible be saved. A licensed Colorado geologist was required for county approvals, verifying historical avalanche chutes and established Aspen groves. This process required a year and was subject to controversial review.
With clients circling the globe and often in differing places themselves, communication, material/sample review and securing decisions proved very challenging. At an altitude near 10,000 feet, winters offered complexities in construction with shortened seasons and heavy snows. Our design solution embraced its natural setting, minimized site disturbance and reflects the clients demand for a calculated detailed architecture second to its remarkable setting.
The horizontal L-shaped plan appears to float above a partially buried stone plinth. The upper level plan contains the public areas and houses the meditation room, library and master suite. This solution offers views from all rooms and a rooftop terrace accessed from the inner courtyard has a viewing platform and sitting area. An exterior stair divides the lower level and accesses the rear courtyard underneath the upper plan. Materials consist of Japanese plaster, weathered teak siding, glass, and hand carved Yangtze River limestone.
Photos: Derek Skalko
Cat Hill Barn is nestled in the rolling hills of Yorkshire, an historic county of Northern England, constructed in the late 16th century as a beautiful grade II listed barn. Designed by Liverpool-based Snook Architects, the 3,810 square foot (354 square meters) home originally had some problems with the local planning office, yet won permission on appeal, with the provision of a restrained aesthetic of the scheme which deliberately avoided being too domestic in appearance. The architects created a flowing open plan interior that avoided compartmentalization and opened up to reveal the splendor and scale of the original barn and its trusses. Snook completed the scheme in 2012 and subsequently received two nominations in the 2013 RIBA awards in the regional category and small projects. Snook won in both categories.
The main living spaces read as one generous volume set off by the new pegged oak trusses and stone fireplace. This space alludes to an upper floor by a floating glass gallery that neatly separates the main bedroom from the children’s bedrooms.
The budget was extremely tight but the keenness of a local contractor and the proximity of the joinery workshop all helped to keep costs down. Avoiding the tendency to planner-twee that bedevils so many barn conversions, this simple scheme builds on the lofty agricultural aesthetic and injects it with all the intimacy and fun of a good domestic project.
Photos: Andy Haslam
Parthenon Place Residence is a striking modern waterfront property located in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, that has been designed by SCHMIDT Architecture. As a luxury seaside home, there are plenty of wonderful design features offered, including an incredible open floor plan, high ceilings, a neutral color palette and large expanses of windows offering incredible water views. The boundaries between outdoors and in are blurred through sliding, over-sized, glass panel doors in the expansive living and kitchen areas. The two-storey home also offers plenty of outdoor living areas overlooking the water, as well as a spacious swimming pool which has a covered ceiling but is open to the elements along the exterior perimeter.
SCHMIDT Architecture is an international design firm based in West Vancouver, Canada.
Photos: Derek Lepper Photography
Village House was designed as a weekend retreat for a young family in northern Sjælland, Denmark, designed by Powerhouse Company. The house is an exploration on the possibilities of the Summer cabin, the traditional Danish vacation home. While keeping the cabin’s footprint small, spatial as well as sustainable, there is a wide range of spatial possibilities, by using a five-fingered floor plan.
The 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) house is a cluster of five wings, like miniature cabins. These fan out like a hand spreading five fingers over the site, generating a variety of views, light effects and outdoor areas. This variation means the house provides an enjoyable environment all year round and at all times of day. For example, a large window above the living room allows sunlight to bathe the dining table at around midday.
Summerhouses are traditionally family spaces, but when children grow older they need more independence from their parents. Hence the ‘village of cabins’ organization, with radiating individual spaces that are united in the centre. Each member of the family effectively has the option of privacy when they need it. Meanwhile a star-shaped central space, uniting the living room and kitchen, forms the shared area which nevertheless offers pockets of seclusion to spend time alone while still in the family circle. This solution faithfully reflects the rather different desires of the family members. One wanted a picturesque, cozy and archetypal summerhouse, while another wanted a spacious and contemporary feeling. Both desires are united in the design.
In basing Village House on the classic Danish summerhouse, while adding modern ideas of space, Powerhouse Company has created a contemporary harmony. The elementary wooden structure has a pitched roof, and it is black, the most discreet color in nature, like the dark shadows in the surrounding woods. Inside, the uniform white surface maximizes the northern light.
The rustic but modern solution is low maintenance, which is more important for a holiday home than offering lots of space. From an architectural point of view, its close relationship to the context is especially significant in a holiday home. The house contrasts with the routine home of the clients, and provides the basis for a separate lifestyle. Isn’t that what we are looking for when we go on holiday?
Villa Solaire is a converted old farmhouse into a luxury rental villa, revisiting traditional techniques in the village of Morzine, in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. The renovation was carried out by Jérémie Koempgen Architecture and FUGA, built in 1826, it was singled out by the municipality as a landmark for traditional architecture. A uniform cladding wraps the whole farm. One of the challenges of the project was to preserve its appearance, while filtering light into the heart of the 6,673 square foot (620 square meters) building. The traditional technique of decorative cut-outs within the wood strips was used to perform specific perforations within the planks. The design of this simple and contemporary pattern is consistent with the equipment and techniques used by the local carpenter for cutting spruce slats. These cut-outs recall the disjointed battens of the traditional barn, used for drying hay.
Today, these slits bring light inside the building. The glazed elements of the project, which are flush with the inside of the façade, are partially hidden by the cover strips. As they are not visible from outside they do not interfere with the uniformity of the cladding.
Throughout the year, the surrounding roofs and buildings cast their shadows on the facades. The pattern within the cladding is designed to respond to the path described by these shadows: the areas receiving a greater amount of sun are all the more open and provide a certain legibility of the continuity between the common spaces of the house.
This concept of interlocking inside/outside, evokes a lifestyle in harmony with its surroundings and leads to the project being named the “solar house”: a house exposed on its four facades to the path of the sun, perceived as a sundial.
Finding one’s bearings: A living geography
The idea is to move through this house between four “blocks” steady as rocks, located at each corner of the building. Each independent unit forms a suite with sleeping area and amenities.
Between these four blocks, the remaining space is occupied by a succession of stacked floors at different levels in the framework. This continuum of generous space welcomes the activities shared by the inhabitants: cooking, dining, watching a film, conversing in the living room, warming up around the fire…
These four blocks mark the house as the summits punctuate the valley. In Haute Savoie, one instinctively relates the farms to the mountains. Again, this symbolic association is translated in each block as it is identified in its facing mountainous terrain, just as the framework can be interpreted as a forest, whose various topographical lines are recalled within the different floor levels.
Revealing the structure:Nested scales or “the complex of the snail”
The charm of the original farm resides in the existing structure. Conserving its overall appearance was of one of the project’s key challenges, which motivated its restoration: It was fully recovered and the original plastering preserved after brushing and trimming.
In order to clear the room of the nave while meeting the rental house needs, utility functions were closely integrated. A strong contrast results from the scales of the cozy bedrooms, bathrooms and sleeping alcoves, next to the open central meeting space. The complexity of these nested spaces is combined with a similar research in terms of details and materials.
Photos: Julien Lanoo
CH House is the demolition of an old home to make way for a new residential project designed by GLR Arquitectos, located on a privileded site in Garza Garcia, Mexico. The demolition allowed for the adjustment of the topography to coordinate with the new scheme, allowing the home to take advantage of the wonderful city views. The rear garden almost disappears, leaving only a narrow contemplative garden, which acquires a very special character due to a beautiful original existing rock.
The kitchen, breakfast room, family room and master bedroom enjoy this visual effect. Towards the front of the property, a large semi-covered terrace is built around an infinity pool, which makes us forget for a moment the urban condition of the project, thanks to the large green areas of a park just in front of the property, which visually joins the huge greenery of the Country Club golf course.
Inside the house, a large double height living room with a set of exposed concrete skylights becomes the heart of the project, due to the interesting effect of the controlled natural light that floods the whole area. Around such space, the bedrooms, decks, home theater, and home office complete the program.
In the last level , such home office enjoys the splendid views of the city, in addition to being visually connected through a large window towards the double height living room, acquiring a condition of great transparency and giving the sensation of being a floating bridge over the terrace.
The materials, mainly the gray exposed concrete , the gray oak wood and the black granite facades, as well as the indoor and outdoor white stucco , contribute to the project a both refined and contemporary character.
Photos: Jorge Taboada
Maison du Boisé was designed by Gestion René Desjardins for a family with three young children and possibly a fourth in rural Quebec, Canada. Once they had chosen a wooded site, the mandate was to create a house that would specifically address the children’s well-being. From there, the mother was interested in colour and the father wanted a design that would last “indefinitely”. As for the style, they agreed it would be modern but “not minimalist”.
Highly refined, they are the antithesis of popular notions of a family home, excessively “cosy,” overburdened with colours and objects. Then one begins to perceive the sensitivity of the approach taken. « What does a child need to feel at home? Freedom of movement, achieved through ample spaces, fluid circulation for joyful fun of all kinds, and the removal of barriers between public areas and family spaces.
Despite the minimally furnished rooms, a monochromatic bias and the Sucupira floors throughout the house, the decor comes across as anything but minimalist due to accents borrowed from classical architecture. Reinterpreted from a modern perspective, the coffered ceilings, theatrical openings in the passages and wide matt-white mouldings running along the base of the silk-grey walls combine to create a sense of elegance and harmony, but, surprisingly they bring comfort, too.
Here and there, furtive splashes of colour add an indispensable touch of dissonance, much like grace notes in an overly serious score. Paintings strike some major chords. “There is something naive about them that I thought the children could relate to,” explains Desjardins, a staunch advocate of art in design: “a touch of dreams and poetry.”
Photos: André Doyon
The finely detailed screens of No.19 Jalan Angin Laut presents a sleek facade to its neighbors, concealing a house nestled into a garden in Singapore, designed by HYLA Architects. Its entrance is elevated above the ground, where one has to ascend a glass staircase to enter the house. Opening the solid timber front door, one is greeted with a swimming pool and patio surrounded by lush greenery, amply shaded overhead but admitting light and air from the sides, this space is a paradigm of living comfortably in the tropics.
A glass bridge spanning lightly across the pool leads into the living room. This bridge extends the threshold of the house, prolonging the act of entering and highlighting the importance of this space to the overall design of the house. The rest of the house takes its cues from this scene, the main living spaces being punctuated with light, greenery and timber accents. Together with the skillful manipulation of solids and voids, the overall effect achieved is that the architecture seems integrated harmoniously with nature.
Photos: Derek Swalwell