The Conrad Residence is a modern property redesigned to maximize views and living space by Swatt | Miers Architects, located in Sausalito, a San Francisco Bay Area city in Marin County, California. The residence was built over the footprint of a 1950’s residence by noted Bay Area modernist Rodger Lee that over the years had suffered irreparable structural damage.
The new design doubles the area of the house to 2,700 square feet while maintaining the original emphasis on the expressive use of wood and the distribution of public and private spaces.
The new design retains the spirit of the original on the exterior and the interior through its expressive use of wood structure and finishes. Strip windows and cedar siding emphasize the horizontality of the design, extending the lines of the house into the site, and helping nestle the house into the hillside.
Post-and-beam construction is used to reveal the structure of the house and articulates the grid upon which is it is base. Tongue and groove cedar soffits visually connect interior spaces to decks and terraces beyond.
Exposed woodwork, concrete, and stainless steel details complete the plan.
Photos: Cesar Rubio
LA House is a modern single family residence just recently designed by Elías Rizo Arquitectos in collaboration with interior designer Kárima Dipp, located in Mexico. Breaking with the norm established by all the houses in the vicinity, the residence recedes a considerable distance from the setback line, to yield a large open space below the tree canopies, a stark welcome gesture.
The main entry into the complex proceeds to an open passageway that runs along a rough-hewn stone wall and postpones the access into the house an additional number of meters. A glazed box containing a studio protrudes from the building. It hovers above a large pond that can be crossed via a series of stone pavers that rise above the water and lead directly into the public areas of the house. The garage, concealed on the other side of the stone wall, compels cars to park sideways so as to render them invisible from any space in the house.
The entry sequence into the building presents a series of layers, starting with the garden space beyond the setback lines, following through the open corridor past the pond, and crossing through the central courtyard all the way to the living spaces at the back of the main building.
A central courtyard scheme was implemented to introduce natural ventilation into every space of the house without compromising privacy. The corridors around the courtyard on the ground floor are defined by a series of operable windows that allow the kitchen and living spaces to bleed out into the exterior, when the weather allows it.
Expanding on the theme of permeability that dominates the ground floor, similar solutions were implemented throughout the living quarters on the second level, to allow for the private, open spaces. Such is the case with the small, glazed atrium that ventilates the master bathroom and the deeply recessed balconies that yield generous exterior areas to all bedrooms.
Dark gray steel, glass, wood, concrete and stone compose the greater part of the material palette throughout the house, wich is complemented by accents in leather and stainless steel. The master bathroom receives a special treatment as it is covered almost in its entirety with white marble.
Crossing the lawn, beyond the living spaces on the ground floor, a pool and a concrete volume containing an entertainment room overlook a small ravine outside of the property. Below this volume a staggered pathway descends gently to negotiate the changes in topography on a pronounced cliff, leading down to a lower landscape area.
Photos: Marcos García
Casa MM project is comprised of two contemporary homes on one property, just recently completed by Elías Rizo Arquitectos, located in Tapalpa, Mexico. Two brothers who owned a considerable stretch of land in Tapalpa approached the architects with the intention of building two separate houses. As they delved into the project´s needs, they realized that both clients had similar needs and while they didn’t mind, and in fact preferred, that the houses share a common language, each one had to convey its own singular personality. The topography of the site imposed its own set of variables that resulted in further slight alterations in the design of each house.
A similar set of priorities was implemented in dimensioning spaces and establishing spatial relationships between functions.
Access to both buildings became a primary concern in our design. Although the entry layout and sequences were mainly driven by function, the clients expressed a desire that entrance into the houses be conceived as an experience in its own right. We then proceeded to articulate the entry modules with their various spaces (mud room, garage, storage, and service quarters) around open courtyards that catch the eye and allow daylight in.
Both buildings are shaped by a need for flexible use of space, and a desire to connect with outdoors. Throughout the houses one finds that a large extent of walls and windows are in fact operable partitions that can be hidden entirely from sight to connect adjacent spaces with kindred functions, or to expose the house to its surroundings.
House A, which was built on the higher part of the property, maintains a more introvert disposition. Its floor plan displays a slight angularity that distinguishes in from B, and all of its spaces are arranged around an open yard. Aside from the master bedroom, which stands off-axis and partially detached from the rest of the house, all dormitories contain a mezzanine level with additional beds.
House B shares to overall layout and spatial sequence of House A, but displays a strict, rectilinear floor plan which looks out beyond the property´s edge. Unlike House A, its dormitories are on a single level.
The exposed steel structure, with its clean lines and its stark geometry, acts as disciplined three-dimensional contour, framing planes and volumes clad in raw texture, which in turn a direct relationship to the building´s natural setting.
Photos: Marcos García
This large family vacation home is a rugged and rustic ski lodge designed with an authentic Western Montana feel by Pearson Design Group, located in Big Sky, Montana. The seven bedroom home is ski in, ski out and is perched at the crux of two different ski areas; however, the East Coast family enjoys the property year-round. There are all kinds of outdoor adventures to be had, including hiking the many trails and fly fishing on the nearby Gallatin River.
Peace Design joined the design team early on in the construction phase. They combined stone, reclaimed wood, accents like metalwork and tiles crafted by local artisans, a mix of appropriately textured fabrics, Western art, vintage Native American rugs and antiques for a balanced mix of rustic and refined. The final result is a comfortable vacation home completely set up for year-round wholesome family fun indoors and out.
The main entry is under the shed roof, while the ski-in, ski-out entrance is on the main floor.
Scouting far and wide for unique antiques was a priority. A camel saddle “ties in as a rustic piece and introduces a saddle without going too cowboy cliche,” Peace says. For the large cocktail table, blacksmith Andrew Crawford added metal legs to an 18th-century plinth reclaimed from a European cathedral, again adding an aged and weathered piece without veering into typical dude ranch territory.
Peace blended new upholstered pieces with the antiques. These plush sofas are covered in mohair, and the throw pillows are leather and suede. “We wanted to contrast all of the Western ruggedness with luxe materials, like leather, mohair, velvet and suede,” he says. “These textiles stand up to all of the architectural textures and create warmth and add richness.”
My clients rarely eat out when they are up here; it’s about coming in after being outside all day, sitting in front of the fire, relaxing and enjoying meals together, Peace says.
Sturdy and simple textiles stand up to spills and let the outside views be the focus. Antique copper and brass industrial pendants and a walnut island that serves as one large cutting board add warmth. “There are amazing artisans in the area, and we love working with them,” Peace says. Local artisans crafted the brass and copper vent hood, the metalwork, the cabinets and the tiles.
Just off the kitchen is this more intimate family room. The green leather chairs swivel so that everyone can enjoy the view out the window behind. The TV is concealed over the fireplace. An iron and rope light fixture and leather and chenille textiles work in harmony with the log walls.
Stairs from the entry lead to the main floor. Peace chose furniture and lighting that could stand up to the scale of the massive stone fireplace. The large rug in the first photo is a reproduction, as vintage Native American travel rugs were not made in large sizes like this one.
Throughout the house Chris Lohss of Lohss Construction used standing dead logs like the one used for the newel post, and reclaimed wood like you see on the stairwell walls. These wide planks used to be warehouse flooring.
In a house like this, we like to add refined pieces, like the antique European blanket chest, to add elegance and to balance out the more rustic pieces, Peace says. We wanted it to look like the pieces had been collected over time from around the world.
Almost all of the other rugs are vintage Native American rugs. These rugs are incredibly durable; originally they were made as travel rugs to cover the ground in tepees and tents and as horse blankets, Peace says.
The team left the main-floor windows undressed and simple to avoid detracting from the vast mountain views. They also toned down the art and color palette to highlight the spectacular views.
The room with the stone walls is the main floor’s ski-in, ski-out entry. Skiers can stow their skis in the adjacent closet, pull on some dry, fuzzy socks and hop right up to the live-edge wood bar for a hot toddy.
This smaller room off the main living room is where Peace gave a big nod to cowboy dude ranch style. Red reproduction Thomas Molesworth chairs surround an antique drum with a custom antler chandelier overhead. Molesworth was a prominent designer of Western furniture, which his company manufactured in Cody, Wyoming, from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Just beyond the windows is a deck with room for dining al fresco in the summer, a hot tub and great views of the ski hill.
This built-in custom sofa has a twin mattress and transforms into an extra bed.
Bunk rooms and sleeping nooks maximize the bedroom space; there are three beds in this room. Pendleton blankets keep things cozy.
Another bunk room has two sets of rustic log bunk beds. Peace sings the praises of talented local Montana and Wyoming artisans again. “The architect, Larry Pearson, and I basically just asked them to create the beds with their stash of logs and do what they do best,” he says.
Atlanta blacksmith Andrew T. Crawford fashioned this custom bronze sink for three.
A Turkish rug and unique custom headboard inspired by Austrian style continue the collected look. One patterned throw pillow accents simple cream bedding. Peace brought in Western touches via the tepee paintings and wide-planked reclaimed wood walls.
Photos: Ralph Kylloe
Palm Beach House is an incredible single family residence designed by architecture studio Vaughn McQuarrie, located in Palm Beach, Auckland, New Zealand. This 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) house is located on a reasonably steep bush covered site a few hundred meters up a valley from the golden sands of Palm Beach Waiheke Island.
Sitting under a large pohutukawa tree the house negotiates the site with a series of suspended internal and external spaces connected by external bridges and stairs. The owners of this home have to step outside in order to circulate from room to room. Due to difficult access and the wish to minimize waste, the design was based around factory sheet sizes which could be carried by hand and directly fixed in place without the need for cutting. Glue laminated timber was used extensively in the framing, once again carried in by hand and pieced together on site.
A draw bridge allows the house to disengage itself from the ground, giving the occupants a sense of privacy and the feeling of being on a platform up in the trees.
Photos: Simon Devitt
Garden Tree House is an extension project for a young couple, which incorporates trees into the design by Hironaka Ogawa & Associates, located in Kagawa, Japan. The extension on the thirty-five year-old house is for a daughter and her husband, comprised of 547 square feet (50.9 square meters).
Azelkova tree and a Camphor tree stood on the site since the time the main house was build thirty-five years ago. Removing these trees was one of the design requirements because the new additional building could not be built if these trees remained. When I received the offer for the project, I thought of various designs before I visited the site for the first time. However, all my thoughts were blown away as soon as I saw the site in person.
The two trees stood there quite strongly. I listen to the stories in detail; the daughter has memories of climbing these trees when she was little.
These trees looked over the family for thirty-five years. They colored the garden and grew up with the family. Therefore, utilizing these trees and creating a new place for the client became the main theme for the design.
In detail, I cut the two trees with their branches intact. Then I reduced the water content by smoking and drying them for two weeks. Thereafter, I placed the trees where they used to stand and used them as main structural columns in the center of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.
In order to mimic the way the trees used to stand, I sunk the building addition 70 centimeters down in the ground. I kept the height of the addition lower than the main house while still maintaining 4 meter ceiling height.
By the way, the smoking and drying process was done at a kiln within Kagawa prefecture. These two trees returned to the site without ever leaving the prefecture.
The client asked a Shinto priest at the nearby shrine to remove evil when the trees were cut. Nobody would go that far without a love and attachment to these trees.
When this house is demolished and another new building constructed by a descendant of the client hundreds of years from now, surely these two trees will be reused in some kind of form.
Manhattan Beach Residence is the conversion of an existing three story property into a family home by Abramson Teiger Architects, located in Manhattan Beach, California. Located on a walk street, the original 1940’s stucco box was in need of an update. The clients were ready to move back to the beach and wanted to transform this property into their main home.
On the exterior the architects re-built the front facade with large openings creating a connection with the pedestrian friendly walk street . The exterior pallet is a subtle mix of smooth trowel stucco, honed limestone and dark stained mahogany siding. The living room with master bedroom above was articulated in a wood box breaking down the overall massing and gesturing towards Santa Monica Bay and views toward the north.
The public entry sequence pulls you through the front garden leading to the entry in the heart of the house where a custom designed walnut and stainless door opens into a 2 story foyer. Above the door a ledge and new window creates back lighting for an antique water wheel selected by the client.
The middle floor contains the main living spaces increased in length by combining the two units. The central two story kitchen is washed with light from multiple skylights flooding into the adjoining living and dining rooms. Custom millwork embraces a built in couch in the family room. The pantry, storage closet and powder room are all concealed behind walnut stained veneer cabinetry.
On the third floor the master bedroom occupies the view corner while an open passage leads through the master bath and continues across the bridge looking into the living spaces below and accessing the roof deck at the rear of the house.
The large roof deck is a private oasis for the clients to entertain and enjoy morning coffee.
Photos: Douglas Hill
The Butte Residence is a striking modern home and artist studio designed by Carney Logan Burke Architects, located on an extraordinary 38-acre site on a butte in Jackson, Wyoming. The site overlooks the confluence of the Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers and commands panoramic views of the Teton Mountain Range and National Parks.
The design was driven by the desire to capitalize on the potential of this site while weaving the architecture of the buildings into the topography, maintaining a modest profile on the skyline. In addition, the owner, a collector of contemporary art and sculpture, desired architecture with character and materiality that respects western tradition but embraces abstract, clean, light-filled spaces.
By organizing the program in a series of volumes that range across the site, individual spaces open to varied views and access points; from dramatic sweeping vistas to intimate, secluded experiences within the trees.
Gently curving roof forms separately capture public and private functions within the residential program. Springing from and returning to the topography of the site, the roof profile mimics the soft shape of the butte and creates a series of protective canopies that provide shelter in the harsh western landscape.
Photos: Paul Worchol