Walls of books fold around a wooden staircase in this renovation and extension to a north London home by Hackney studio Platform 5 Architects. Book Tower House is a typical late Victorian mid-terraced house in Hampstead, London. The original property contained some Arts and Crafts influenced decorative aspects, which the owners were keen to retain and highlight, while introducing contemporary interventions.
The main feature is a double height library space at the heart of the house, created by combining the original rear reception room and a first floor bedroom. The feature staircase, wrapped in oak bookshelves, leads up to a built-in desk and study area with views over the ground floor.
To the rear of the house, a side extension to the existing kitchen was formed by resting an oak rib and skin structure, externally clad in zinc, onto the brick party wall.
“We used exposed brickwork in the extension to link the room with the garden by continuing the garden wall into the interior, London stock brick is an essential part of the character of the city and it forms a beautiful backdrop to a domestic interior.”
A cozy seating area with slide-away corner glazing creates a space where you feel surrounded by the garden.
A kitchen island counter is made from exposed concrete, which the architects also used for the surface of the floor. “The robust finish sits comfortably with the muted tones and texture of the exposed brickwork and oak.”
Photos: Alan Williams
This whole-house remodel gives us a venerable brick Tudor home a modern twist in Seattle, Washington. The home was designed by Deforest Architects for two book (and dog!) lovers, who had been walking their dogs past a modest Tudor for many years before they purchased it. They asked the architects to give the house a new life built around their love of books, dogs, and simple modern spaces filled with natural light. The residence incorporates bookshelves and cozy seating area throughout the house. Modern details complement traditional elements while steel windows, doors and exposed structure open the interior to light and views. The exterior features a ‘secret garden’, sunroom and terrace that overlook Lake Washington.
Photos: © Benjamin Benschneider
11RMS is a mews house located in the heart of Knightsbridge village, London. Designed by Elips Design, the internal planning responds to particular needs of the occupants. The design concept is driven by the willing to connect with one staircase the 3 floors to maximize the space. The living spaces were designed as open space to allow the natural light to enter, as well as through skylights. The ground floor can be used as a studio, for this reason the staircase, the fulcrum of the project, has a sliding panel created into the structure to divide the space between office and living, if required. Light is a dominant theme, both the natural one and the artificial one, designed in collaboration with Viabizzuno. The facade is left to preserve the visual integrity of the mews as a street.
This so called do-it-yourself dwelling in the center of Rotterdam, The Netherlands is part of a bold experiment initiated by the municipality to revitalize dilapidated urban areas. Run-down pre-war dwellings are renovated on the outside by design studio Shift Architecture Urbanism and brought back to their monumental appearance, while the interiors are stripped bare. The empty shell dwellings are primarily bought by enthusiastic young people who transform them according to their specific needs, desires and budgets. Real estate developers have picked up the initiative and a new demand driven market of urban housing has been generated in recent years. The result is a growing number of contemporary custom-made dream houses within the uniform old fabric of the traditional nineteenth and early twentieth century city.
Here is a description of the project from the architects, “Our dream was to create a vertical loft: a house without walls where all three floors are stitched together into one continuous space. The interior of the new house is organized by one oversized closet that connects all floors. It functions as a storage device for the whole house. This piece of XXL-furniture, measuring 10 meters in length and 9 meters in height, replaces the load bearing middle wall of the original house. Its modular system integrates kitchen appliances, bookshelves, wardrobe, and a walk in closet. The introduction of a central void reinforces the presence of the closet. The void enables diagonal views through the house in which the closet is experienced in its full height. It also makes daylight penetrate far into the 14 meter deep house. Two steel stairs in the void make the bookshelves accessible and create a vertical circulation along and through the closet.”
“The extreme makeover of the house is combined with a selective preservation of elements of the old casco. Industrial materials such as the phenol coated multiplex of the closet and the polyurethane flooring are balanced by the longitudinal brick wall that is left bare, the stained glass and the original doors that are restored and re-used. The roughness of the wall, full with traces of the past, tells stories about the continuous makeovers that the house has undergone in the last hundred years.”
Transversal Expression is a beautiful home in Barcelona, Spain designed by interior designer Susanna Cots for two book lovers. The main artery that unites the whole space is a wooden lacquered sheet that crosses the rooms and wraps them up like a warm and protective skin. Wood crosses the apartment vertically and horizontally creating an emotional and warm passageway.
The starting point of the housing is located in its central nucleus where the dining room’s ceilings are dressed in wood that, at the same time, shapes the furniture that holds the TV and a bioethanol fireplace. This wooden wrapping continues across the ceiling and separates the living and the water areas inside and outside, and is subtly bathed in natural light in the bathrooms. The warm area reaches the suite defining the sleeping area and finally becoming the bed head.
Nature is an essential element of the design where the terrace plays the same essential role as the rest of the interior design. Visually, the terrace has been projected as an element of atrezzo through a minimal landscape gardening. An urban vegetable garden helps connect the inside space both from a design and an emotional point of view thanks to its interaction.
Following the essence of the designer’s philosophy, the rest of the space has been projected in white and the rooms have been accessorized with black touches, such as shelves and decorative lamps.
Reading is part of the daily routine of the owners and that is why the central area is transversely surrounded by bookshelves. The studio is fully integrated into the living room and creates a corner flooded in light that faces the terrace.
The kitchen furniture has been designed in white lacquer on white silestone and is completed with a hidden panel-door that flows into the exterior laundry room.
The suite includes a water area to evoke a relaxed feeling. This is why a bath has been designed next to the bed, with a door system that turns into a relaxing bench. The shower has been emphasized by projecting it double and invading it with natural light. This final touch is an armchair of the owners, which turns the room into a fascinating eclectic space.
With a central location in Ostermalm, Sweden, this fantastic loft, spotted on Skeppsholmen, features plenty of windows and 14 skylights. The apartment boasts 1,646 square feet (153 square meters) of living space and was completely renovated in 2010 with meticulous and beautiful details. The contemporary loft features high ceilings and open space solutions with combined kitchen, dining and lounge areas. The very generous living area is flooded with natural light and is crowned by a spacious terrace. The unique living room fireplace is the room’s focal point. The fully equipped kitchen features an island breakfast bar and black granite countertops make for a very nice gathering spot. There are two spacious bedrooms both have en-suite bathrooms and wonderful storage solutions. From the entrance, stairs leads up to a large loft space with glass rails offering a generous home office space.
This beautiful home in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, California was remodeled by design firm Lizette Marie Interior Design. The family of four had just purchased their 5,200 square foot, five bathroom, four-and-a-half bathroom classic Tudor style home and was looking to do a few updates which turned into a larger project of full scale bathroom remodels, each one being distinct from the other, and new decor for the first floor rooms. The family loved to cook and entertain, so it was important to create a space where adults and kids could spend time together. It was also important to create a space that would be a designated ‘man cave’ and equally, a haven for the wife to escape.
The entrance to the home displays a clever concept completed by local artist Klari Reis. There are three semi-abstract maps with the perfect balance of color, scale and detail so they stand as works of art on their own, demonstrating a sense of the couple’s history. Each map shows where the couple has lived in the past, Manhattan, Gottingen and Charlottesville. The library (displayed above) is the wife’s escape, the first room that you see upon entrance to the home and creates a ‘wow’ factor. It is a soothing space to reconnect with her passion for history, a mix of red and purple. The basement was turned into a man cave, since it lacks natural light. It designed into a comfortable space for the husband to work from home or just escape from a long day. Built-in bookcases help to add color and accessories and divide the space, one for work and one for play.
The door is constructed from reclaimed barn siding, with a backing of colored glass on the reverse to allow for a writing surface in the play area. It acts as a divider between the man cave and the kids’ playroom but can be opened wide to connect the two.
Despite the lack of natural light in the playroom, it seems much lighter than the man cave due to bright colors, white walls and recessed can lights.
Photos: David Duncan Livingston
This beautiful loft, spotted on Skeppsholmen, is a dream home in a classical building in Vasastan, Sweden. The apartment is comprised of 1,517 square feet (141 square meters) of living space, and a delightful rooftop garden which encompasses 1,334 square feet. The apartment has been refurbished with a plethora of skylights, built-in speaker system and underfloor heating. The apartment is extremely light with visible beams, amazing space and highly efficient open floor plan. The magnificent living room features large windows and bookcase spanning an entire wall with built-in staircase to the loft. The loft is used today as a working place but can be usefully separated into another bedroom. Immediately adjacent is a large dining area and lavishly equipped kitchen. There are two restful bedrooms including a master bedroom with ample storage. Spacious bathroom with bathtub, floor heating, spot lights and shower.
This unique loft called, “Abstraction Active” has been designed by the French architectural firm, Smoothcore Architects in Paris, France. The loft illustrates active design as well as abstract architecture, centered on a unique winding staircase with built-in bookshelves to address the owner’s love and vast collection of books and magazines. There is also an entire wall comprised of a built-in bookshelf in the main living area chalk full of books! The dining room and kitchen is separated by a divider wall of shelves encased with thin glass doors that takes the place of a buffet to store dishes for entertaining. The apartment is dressed with white on white, with a few furnishings in a chocolate hue to add some color to the space. The bathroom is all white except for a royal blue divider wall. The staircase leads to a rooftop deck with gardens and sitting areas.
Photos: Cécile Septet
Urban Cabin was built as an unconventional project designed by architect Fabio Galeazzo in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He transformed an old abandoned property into a contemporary shack with a playful and warm atmosphere that brings back the idea of one space living, matching technology and design, proposing a new young way of living. Here is a description of the project from the architects, “in an old abandoned house were used retrofit construction techniques. The existing structure couldn’t handle the heavy load and was complemented by a sustainable framework of giant bamboo beams and columns treated in autoclaves, the roof received green thermal tiles.
On the floor it was used certificated management timber and some exotic brown granite as well as some walls and ceiling. In order to counter the whole structure and highlight the house amid the dense vegetation the interior and exterior walls were treated as a state of art and received several irregular shapes in different colors inspired in the universe of the modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral.
Outside, a stretch nautical fabric shades the area of the car and a great counter with tiles of different patterns glad the barbecue area which has communication with the swivel kitchen, allowing several combinations between internal and external area.
Inside, with the aim of enhance the view and increase communication between internal and external area a large shelf built in a circular shape frames the landscape. In the decoration design furniture as the giant bed-shaped nest, the “Chifruda” chair from the designer Sergio Rodrigues, the dinner table,”2 in 1 from the designers Campana brothers and Scandinavian furniture fit perfect on the rustic structure.” Via