In Plein Air project is a modern country home designed by Ken Linsteadt Architects, located in the the Sonoma wine country landscape, California. Turning an eye to the outdoors, this metamorphosis of a traditional Tuscan villa into a modern country home frames the oak-studded beauty of the surrounding landscape from every window.
The owner’s reclaimed timber business set the earthy natural palette: recycled oak, steel windows, hand-troweled plaster walls, and concrete floors and counters.
The reconfigured floor plan of the main house includes a rough-hewn timber catwalk around the double height living room, juxtaposed with steel supports and glass railings.
The kitchen, which was moved to the north side of the house, opens onto the pool terrace with a large steel and glass tilt-up window that does double duty as a canopy over the outdoor bar.
Photos: Courtesy of Ken Linsteadt Architects
Casa Cielo Azul designed with transparency and light by Signum Architecture together with Leslie Wilks Design, nestled in the hills above St. Helena, California. Upon approach to this property, the visitor does not witness the extraordinary view until arriving at the edge of the hill. Sited to capture that surprise and designed to invoke the response the owner had to a small, blue glass tile, the home exudes an exquisite tranquility. Once inside, the energetic juxtaposition of open and intimate spaces accommodates both private life and entertaining.
The soaring blue wall directs toward the main view, with texture giving it depth and two rectangular perforations connecting it to sky. When the light is just right, the wall and the sky appear to merge. The use of saturated color and large, flat planes recalls the sensual, modernist work of Luis Barragan, yet the transparency and the flow of the house is a clear expression of contemporary wine country life.
The purity of design has a very cool, calm effect on each room. Natural light plays on the plaster walls. Cross breezes keep the rooms comfortable all year. The house was designed to be almost transparent, with natural light and fresh air. An elongated blue stucco wall punctuates the low-slung residence. A concrete path leads to a pivoting glass front door. To the left of the wall is the garage.
The blue wall’s surface is stucco with gravel in the mix to create a rough- textured surface. The wall was painted with coats of blue paint. The dramatic hue was custom-designed.
The home includes two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, office, wine cellar and covered terrace. Floor to ceiling glass in the kitchen, where the owners spend most of their time, fills the room with natural light. Indoor materials and floor treatments flow out onto an open terrace, further blurring the boundary between outdoors and in.
Views of the valley are framed by Howell Mountain. San Francisco is visible, far to the south, on a clear day, designed as a see-through house.
Photos: Adrian Gregoretti
The Long Valley Ranch House is an incredible modern vacation home designed by Marmol Radziner, set on the crest of a grassy knoll in Mendocino County, California. The goal was to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the 160-acre property by siting the retreat in a careful and unobtrusive manner. The 10-module home forms an L-shaped plan, framing views of a canopy of mature oak trees to the south and east.
The main volume is oriented east to west and arranged in an open plan. The living room, kitchen, and dining room collectively open southward onto a covered patio with an outdoor fireplace and pool area. From the main volume, the master bedroom extends to the north, following the edge of the hilltop and ending in a private deck that takes in the morning light from the east.
Marmol Radziner is a full service architectural firm that provides architectural design, interior design, landscape design, furniture design, jewelry design and prefab. In addition, we provide construction services, as a design-build firm. We operate our own custom cabinet shop and metal shop. We want our collaborative design vision to be realized coherently and elegantly.
Photos: Joe Fletcher
Birch Residence is a two story modern pad designed by Griffin Enright Architects, located on a flat, semi-urban site in the design district of Los Angeles, California. The entire house opens and a pool extends the geometry of the curved skylight. The elegantly designed home is comprised of 4,600 square feet of living space showcasing stunning vistas to the city and landscape beyond.
According to the architect, “the residence is compact, yet designed to create a sense of expanded volume. A double story central volume curves through the house, creating extended views and maximizing daylight from the skylight and sunshade above. A sculptural stair punctuates the sinuous movement of the house, while a glass bridge reconnects the two wings of the upstairs. An elegant palette of contrasting materials contributes to the expansive feeling of this home. The backyard has a courtyard feel and a curved pool echoes the form of the central volume drawing attention through the house.”
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The pool extends the lines of the house and skylight beyond.
The master bedroom deck cantilevers over an outdoor room.
The master bedroom deck extends the space of the the room.
A stepped path leads to an entry into an open hall.
The curved skylight brings natural light to the center of the home.
The stair is sculpted to create varied spaces around it.
The Living room orients itself around a fireplace that is slotted into a window.
The open kitchen has an onyx counter on the island that is lit from behind at night.
The curve of the hallway creates a dynamic living room space.
A view from the landing seeing into the backyard.
Natural light animates the space.
The pool comes into the house.
The home extends vertically and horizontally.
The curved skylight follows the path of the sun.
The wood floor is carried up the wall to create an elegant master bedroom.
An expansive mirror brings the view of a Sycamore tree deep into the bathroom.
The pool extends into the backyard where it becomes a waterfall element.
The shade canopy lights up to compliment other ambient qualities of light incorporated into the project.
A concealed projector creates an elegant ambiance in this incredible living space.
Photos: Benny Chan Fotoworks & Art Gray
Lake Tahoe Residence was designed by Chelsea Sachs Design for a couple living in San Francisco wishing to create an idyllic vacation retreat in the woods near Lake Tahoe, California. After years of looking for the perfect home, they decided that what they really wanted was to start from scratch and to find the perfect land, then to build on it. One day, they finally found it in a plot that backed up to a nature preserve and a beautiful, winding stream. The land was within walking distance to the lake and was nestled in a grove of beautiful pine trees. Designing this house from the ground up, my clients and I got to create and then to build the perfect vacation home for their family’s needs, and as a designer, I have never been more inspired or thrilled with the process and the result.
Elements: I believe that the most important material part of interior design is the floor — it is the base that supports the rest of the elements in the room. My clients felt strongly about having a dark floor and we sourced wide and beautiful oak planks from Restoration Timber in San Francisco. Next I came across a complementary stone called “Montana Moss Rock,” and once we had these two elements locked down, the rest of our design scheme came to life.
Approach: My clients wanted a modern home, but they also wanted a comfortable and warm mountain retreat. The intentional and edited application of barn wood paneling throughout the interior of the house achieved this affect. The wood came from dismantled barns in Indiana, and it made the home feel weathered and warm. We used it on the fireplace column, on a few ceilings, on the accent walls, and on the entire exterior of the house. We had a very rich palette already with the dark oak floors and wood panelling, so we designed our built ins throughout the house in a walnut that was only slightly stained to reveal the true nature of the wood. The result was a palette that was layered and rich but not overwhelming.
Materials: I then moved on to the tile selections which ranged from a soft and beautifully veined limestone in the kitchen, to a metallic ceramic in the foyer. I had Blue Slide Art Tile make a gorgeous clay tile for the kids’ bath. The master bath was designed as a wet room and has no shower enclosure. We used a beautiful ceramic recycled content tile in a large format from floor to ceiling on most of the walls. In the rest of the home, the drywall finish, wallpaper selections, concrete fireplace, floating staircase details, hardware, custom cabinetry, beam treatments and window valences were all painstakingly selected.
Details: My absolute favorite element of this job was the lighting selection. We used Mizu glass pendants by Terzani in the foyer to mimic the rippling water found in the creek behind the house. I then paired them with two Saggina chrome chandeliers over the dining room table which mimicked the tree branches outside.
Inspiration: Nothing inspired this work more than the natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe area and the land that we built upon. My clients wanted their home to look as if had organically grown up from the land. We found rock that looked like it had been quarried right out their front door, wood that appeared to have been split off the bark in the surrounding trees, and concrete that matched the rock boulders surrounding the lake.
Journey: Building on raw land takes patience and it provides you with a great education. What began as drawings and inspiration boards came to life over the course of two years. When I first set foot on this property, I walked with one of my clients down to the stream and we picked up rocks and bark and leaves that I then brought home with me and kept on my desk throughout the entire design phase to remind me of what mattered most: a design scheme that was in harmony with the natural environment.
Photos: Peter Medilek
Ellis Residence is a new single family home designed in a warm contemporary style in 2014 by McClean Design, located in Laguna Beach, California. The clients wanted to move to a smaller home now that their children had moved out and chose a street to street lot high on a hill overlooking Laguna Beach and its famous beaches. The beauty of this sensational 3,500 square foot property is that views are available from both levels.
A key issue was trying to decide where to locate parking and entry. There was early opposition from the local review board which led to a split solution where parking is taken from the street below with guests entering from above. The garage can be reached by staircase or elevator ensuring that the house will continue to work for our clients as they grow older.
Removing the garage from the upper street allowed us to create an attractive garden for the kitchen to look out on. The entryway is reached by a staircase that traverses a water feature before the view is revealed. The house is designed for the couple to live mainly on one level which has the master bedroom sharing the top floor with the primary living spaces while guest rooms, an office, and storage are created below.
Photos: Jim Bartsch Photographer
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