Micro Apartment is a 340 square foot studio apartment that has been designed by Allen+Killcoyne Architects, located in Manhattan, New York. The client is a Dallas-based retiree who wanted something close to his daughter and grandchildren, this studio is located in their building. He wanted a home that looked “clean, simple, elegant and timeless,” states the architect. Instead of creating one open room to make the space feel bigger, the architect established separate interconnected zones for living, eating, working and sleeping. The space also has large storage requirements with cabinetry that wraps throughout the space. All of this is accomplished in a tiny space without the need for multi-functional pieces. “The place feels bigger,” the architect says, “because you get three major rooms out of it. You don’t feel like you’re trapped in one box.”
“I really wanted to create rooms that flowed together, but at the same time, you had separate areas that defined different living spaces,” says the architect. It’s not the space that proves limiting, Killcoyne concludes. It’s the stuff you’re trying to cram into it. “If you can control the amount of things you own,” he says, “you can live in small spaces very nicely.” This is speaking from experience, as the architect has raised two children in a 650 square foot apartment.
To maximize storage in the kitchen, Killcoyne set the counters at 41 inches (instead of the normal 36), allowing him to tuck an additional row of drawers under the top. A row of open shelves makes access to everyday items easy and keeps the cabinet faces from looking too closed off.
A discreet shadow line divides the cabinets from the ceiling, in lieu of space-hogging moldings.
The bed is tucked behind a custom louvered partition, which shields the sleeping area from view unless you’re seated at the desk. The storage wall includes ample space for hiding clutter and holding electronics, while still offering room for displaying art and collectibles — the personal touches that keep the apartment’s precision from feeling too antiseptic.
The sleeping area accommodates a queen-size bed, several storage closets and 10 linear feet of hanging space.
When the owner said he wanted to include a large flat-panel TV here, too, Killcoyne realized the only place to put it was in the ceiling. If you look up, you’ll notice the outline of a trap door that flips down to reveal the screen.
The louvered wall makes the bedroom feel less claustrophobic, Killcoyne explains, while screening it from most angles of the apartment. The painting above the bed is by Thomas Hubben.
To ensure that spaces flowed smoothly, Killcoyne limited the palette to rift-cut oak floors, quartersawn maple cabinets and Benjamin Moore’s aptly named White paint. He lowered the ceiling around the perimeter to accommodate recessed LED fixtures, but left the center full height to help define the living area and maximize the vertical space.
While the kitchen is open to the rest of the space, it’s tucked away in the corner, “so you don’t feel like you’re cooking in your living space,” Killcoyne says. The homeowner doesn’t do a lot of cooking when he’s in residence, so appliances were limited to a microwave oven with a dishwasher drawer below, and a two-burner induction cooktop with a vent concealed in the bottom of the cabinet above.
This space also doubles as the entry hall; the front door is to the left of the oven.
The refrigerator and ice maker are hidden behind the wood doors underneath the counter, which is fashioned from a 1¼-inch slab of commercial white glass called Glassos. “Glass is fabulous, because it doesn’t stain,” says Killcoyne, who also used the material to cover the walls in the bathroom.
Thinner (¾-inch) sheets of Glassos cover the walls of the bathroom, reflecting light and making the space feel bigger. There’s an integrated Corian sink and a fully enclosed shower. (While it’s not a steam shower, it comes close when the transom windows are closed.) The floors are flame-finished granite.
The far-left mirror panel swings open to reveal a medicine cabinet. Even the toilet paper is tucked out of the way to preserve the room’s clean lines.
Photos: Courtesy of Allen+Killcoyne Architects
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
Green Lantern Residence is an innovative and sustainable single family home designed by John Grable Architects, sited in one of San Antonio, Texas’s oldest neighborhoods, Alamo Heights. The 4,000 square foot home was built upon the architect and client’s mutual respect for the environment. With the foundation of sustainability as a responsible and moral obligation, the challenge was to balance innovative technologies with time honored techniques while also integrating with the historic context of the neighborhood.
While the project achieves 67% offset with photovoltaic panels, and incorporates a green roof, LED lighting, grey-water and rain-water harvesting; there was additional effort to reduce impact through careful planning and consideration of the site. New construction was designed to re-use the existing foundation as well as wood from the previous structure. Passive systems such as arbors and overhangs were implemented to reduce solar gain, while the entire project was sited to protect the number of existing heritage oaks throughout the site.
At the ground floor changes in level, stepping up over the pool along the main entry bridge and back down again from the kitchen to the living area, provide a playful dialogue and transition between public spaces, even as a largely open floor plan and generous windows act to connect these spaces to each other and the outdoors. Additionally, wall-to-wall sliding doors in the living area open up to expand the room out into the pool and landscape that provides additional outdoor space for entertaining and gathering of friends and loved ones. The entry bridge spanning the pool enlivens these outdoor spaces with a grotto waterfall niche that compliments the cool shade of the heritage trees that reside throughout the yard. This rhythm is mirrored at the second floor as a series of folding doors in the ‘party room’ open to a large out-door terrace in the tree canopies, which again steps down to its own ‘landscape’ green roof garden with hot tub that takes in distance vistas of downtown.
These forms not only provide elegant spaces, but also a stage for promotion of the core sustainability principles that produced it. Meeting and exceeding sustainability standards (Energy Star – Gold, NAHB Green Building – Emerald, and Build SA Green – Level 3) acts as a catalyst to encourage sustainability and responsible design in future projects with-in San Antonio and beyond.
Westlake Homestead is a contemporary remodel and addition to an existing treetop home that has been designed by Michael Hsu Office Of Architecture in west Austin, Texas. The existing Fred-Day treetop home was modified to create a gourmet kitchen, an enlarged master closet, a laundry room, powder room, and a bridge to the addition. Other updates to the original house included an upgraded geothermal air-conditioning system, updates to make the envelope more energy efficient and expanding the front deck to accommodate dining. The addition, an elegant ‘shotgun’ style form, contains bedrooms, an exercise room, family room, garage and an herb garden. Using materials of glass, metal and concrete, the addition was placed at the back of the sloping lot so that it would not impede upon the unobstructed views to downtown and hill country beyond.
Photos: Ryan Farnau
Lookout Residence is set on a dramatically elevated spur of land overlooking the Los Angeles basin in Beverly Hills, California designed by Bertram Architects. A set of carefully arranged planes and volumes comprise this modernist home for a couple and their small child. Referred to as “the jewel box” owing to its finely articulated detailing, the four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house expresses its quiet luxury through white terrazzo floors, black walnut wall paneling, and imported limestone.
This is LEED certified home of the 21st Century. Solar panels feed the property and honeycombed heating convection flooring atomically senses an increase or decrease in the homes temperature and adjusts accordingly year-round. Built using green technology, utilizing solar power, and the highest efficiency products, appliances and technology available and low water/minimal maintenance landscaping. Lutron lighting and shade system, fully wired for sound in all common areas.
Designed in the International Style and using a palette of smooth coat stucco, steel, terrazzo, cork, walnut and glass, the rooms are visually seamless architectural elements that offer an array of quietly surprising details. Among them, floor to ceiling walnut panels, moving walls of glass, pocket doors and wide-view windows with concealed frames.
The house channels the Neutra spirit with touches including a sculptural staircase with floating terrazzo treads and a floating limestone wall with display niches lined in walnut. A sun drenched master bedroom with minimalist light displays and exploding city views.
Photos: Richard Horn
200 Chambers Penthouse was designed by architecture studio Incorporated as a pied-a-Terre for a European gentleman who makes New York his home only in the fall. A place for both work and the entertaining of friends and family, the residence was developed with a private suite, an entertainment area and two bedrooms for frequent guests. The project is a study in architecturally defined spaces verses architecturally distinct objects. An ambiguity or tension is invoked as one travels through the plan between rooms that are discernible as objects from one perspective only to collapse into complex and surprising spaces from another point of view. With a restrained but rich palette of limestone, sepele mahogany, gold leaf, white marble, bronze and stainless steel, the 4,000 square foot, home was developed as a clean, light filled canvas or back drop for furniture and antiques collected from throughout the world. The completed project had a total construction cost of $2,200,000.
Photos: Courtesy of Incorporated
Blue Hills House has been designed by la SHED architecture, perched on the edge of a mountainous slope in Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada. The single story 2,152 square foot (200 square meters) residence is nestled on a large forested property, sitting gracefully between the trees and is only hardly visible from the street. As per the occupants’ and architect’s wishes, the house has a dual relationship with its environment; from the outside, it is camouflaged in its setting and is as discreet as possible.
In order to create an inconspicuous house in the landscape, the house was conceived all on the same level. The exterior is completely covered with natural white cedar siding which will become grey over time so that the residence will be even more unnoticeable behind the bark of the surrounding trees. The simple and elongated volume of the house is punctuated with perforations forming white alcoves in which were installed the windows.
The interior is all organized around the kitchen, which is the center of the house. The kitchen is characterized by the presence of two large kitchen islands which are functional as well as creating a convivial ambiance. The living space (living room and dining room) are located on each side of the kitchen. These spaces also extends to an outdoor veranda, integrated in the volume of the house. Large openings on both sides of the house helps giving a feeling of being outside while creating frames on the landscape. Inside, the polished concrete slab floor extends outside, both in the veranda and in the small alcoves.
From the inside, the house is completely open to its surroundings, and its occupants are met with scenery that is in constant evolution. In both cases, the house gives way to the wild grandeur of the Laurentians.
The Blue Hills House, through its refinement and simplicity, allows for a harmonious coexistence between man and nature. By establishing a comfortable, relaxed and light environment, living in this home is akin to perpetual holiday.
Photos: Maxime Brouillet
Soldati House was designed by architect Victor Vasilev as a specific request by the customer to create a functional and contemporary environment in a house built in the 90s in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. The house three story dwelling had to accommodate the life of a family of four, without sacrificing the convenience offered by the world today. The idea comes from a clear choice: to create a space in which to unite under the leadership of geometry, material, light and functions, taking care of every detail, so that the final result is characterized by a visual unity.
Here is a description of the project from the architects: The house was built in the 1990ies, without design ambitions. The owners wanted the interior to look ‘Milanese’, i.e. ‘ultramodern’. I decided on a complete overhaul, appreciating the space potential – 4,704 square feet (530 square meters) on three floors. This is not a weekend retreat but a family house and the aim was to create a contemporary domestic environment functional in every aspect.
Travertine marble and Indonesian teak were chosen for the material palette. The design is based on the composition of simple square volumes. The custom-made furniture is integrated in the architecture of the house. A few ‘classical’ design pieces enrich the interior.
The final result is achieved by the interplay of space, materials, custom-made furniture and indirect lighting. It gives out the warm, white glow, which softens the interior.
The living area is focused on the ground floor. The rooms of the living, dining and kitchen flow into one another seamlessly.
The master bedroom, the children’s bedrooms and a guest bedroom are on the first floor. The low bench in the master bedroom serves as a visual link with the bathroom, thus avoiding distinctly divided spaces. The black washbasin is designed to hide the mixer taps.
The family wanted a spa area, so the basement is devoted to relaxation. Here you will find the area audio & video and wellness space. A sauna, a big bathtub for four and a massage area were constructed in the basement. A home cinema room with a folding screen was added.
Clients often live in fear of being ‘ forced ‘ to give up their way of life to be able to get into the ‘ temple of domestic architecture ‘. I believe that the success of the project lies in the fact that we have found functional and aesthetic solutions to all the needs that may last over time.
Photos: Adriano Pecchio Photography
MINIMOD is a modular home designed and built for relaxed, off-the-grid living, designed by MAPA Architects, situated in Maquiné – Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This 290 square foot (27 square meters) module proposes an innovative, intelligent and sustainable alternative of dwelling. Starting from a minimal module, MINIMOD invests in customization, design and sustainability. The production is carried out in a prefabricated manner and enjoys the steel frame system technology, which lets the client adapt the space to his needs, choosing among different finishes, as well as automation options.
Depending on the composition of the modules, MINIMOD can vary the uses ranging from a compact refuge for weekends, a small showroom for events, up to hotels and inns, combining a larger number of modules. The modules are 100% prefabricated and elevated to a determined place by truck or disassembled into smaller pieces and taken to the ground for final assembly.
The expansion and addition of new modules can be performed either at initial installation or in the middle of the process, according to the needs and budgets of the client.
MINIMOD is more than a product of design, is more than a house. It’s practicality combined with comfort, it’s economy allied to nature, it’s a unique experience of housing and contemporary living.
MINIMOD centralizes production and reduces the emission of CO2 in the atmosphere. The home features a rainwater harvesting mechanism through the green roof. The house is slightly elevated to avoid moisture from penetrating the interior. Ventilated facade gives thermal and acoustic comfort. When night falls, this modular home uses LED lamps to illuminate its interior.
The MINIMOD enjoys the benefits of dry construction technology: quick, clean and efficient. Entirely manufactured and pre-modulated it is easily adaptable to customer needs. Mounted and manufactured in accordance with the premises of the project, it can be transported entirely or in parts.
Photos: Leonardo Finotti
Housing Reform in Eixample is the rehabilitation of a flat by architecture firms LOOX and DS Architects, in a heritage listed building in 1908 by Domènech and Estapà at the heart of Barcelona’s “Golden Square” in the Eixample quarter. The approach to the project has been to intervene as little as possible in its original layout, preserving the materials and finishes and repairing the ornaments and woodwork.
This way, the focus is on the existing elements that coexist with a contemporary style. The program developed consists of three bedrooms, a study, living room (lounge), kitchen, dining room and two bathrooms.
Domenech and Estapà´s original project corresponds to a household income between dividing walls of the ground floor and five floors height. The configuration of the lot, deeper below the household´s depth building area, almost disables the interior façade which doesn´t reach the courtyard. Resources providing lighting and ventilation to interior rooms are the remnants of the building´s volume practiced plan fund and dividing walls to the right with an open courtyard format; the central courtyard linked to the neighbor´s scale and another patio adjoining the dividing wall to the left, shared with the neighboring building.
Despite the main facade and common areas retain the original language, as it is common in this era´s buildings in the Eixample, each housing has been remodeled and / or split one or more times, and nowadays their condition and configuration are very heterogeneous.
The rehabilitated property which had been long time unoccupied still included the distribution and original finishes. The intervention suggests an update in terms of functionality, performance and comfort, but the main criteria precisely was intervening the least over distribution, keeping as far as possible all materials and finishes that have been preserved, and repair decorative elements and original woodwork.
The project has also addressed the repair operations and consolidation of the structure, crack´s stitching, protection of metallic elements, establishing criteria and procedures that should serve as a guideline for the structural consolidation of the building as a whole.
The false ceilings have been preserved and restored with their moldings and ornaments, interior and exterior woodwork, engraved glass and in much of the property, the original Nolla flooring mosaic. The kitchen, however, that had been already manipulated and didn’t preserve the original settings, has been resolved with current criteria and materials.
All three bedrooms and study as well as the living room (lounge), dining room and main bathroom are resolved in the current premises without altering them in any way. As in the original housing, departments facing Valencia´s Street facade which have better ventilation and lighting conditions are preferred, thus locating the master bedroom, living room (lounge) and study in it, whilst the whole kitchen-dining room occupy the interior premises.
Therefore, the adjustments´ distribution proposed by the project are just the extension of the kitchen, which will remain occupying its present position but incorporating the adjoining room facing the back facade, and the transformation of three very small pieces which accommodate two adjacent toilets and a pantry in a sole dependency which will become the house´s second bathroom.
Neither, the current hall distribution around the stairwell is altered in any way, which with the proposed reform program will become a continuous ring.
Photos: Adrià Goula