Orchard Way is a stylish family home designed by McLeod Bovell Modern Houses in collaboration with McKinney York Architects, sited in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Completed in the summer of 2011, this 7,300 square foot home is nestled on a very spacious and wooded lot of 12,000 square feet.
The materials used in this residential project includes architectural concrete, Limestone, Afrormosia hardwood, composite panel.
A cross-pitched site alignment allows the house to pivot on the landscape, connecting to grade on all levels and maximizing relationships to the outside. A deep foreground, high placement, and expansive, protected views west and south create a rare opportunity for open interiors and broad ocean views that still offer a sense of privacy in a house that operates “in-the-round”.
Photos: Courtesy of McLeod Bovell Modern Houses
4 Springs Lane is a contemporary custom home designed by Robert M. Gurney Architect, sited on 24 acres of rolling topography, open fields and woodlands in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Extensive site investigation, including erecting scaffolding at various locations, resulted in the placement of the house high on one of the hills, overlooking a meadow at the base of woodlands.
From the architect: The house is organized as a series of volumes, arranged linearly and positioned to optimize distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The structure itself becomes a threshold and defines a more intimate, manicured outdoor environment between the house and the edge of the forest. The linear organization allows the majority of spaces to maintain mountain views while providing accessibility to a terrace with the swimming pool and the manicured area. The two-story living / dining space has floor-to-ceiling glass at each end, providing a lens through which to view the mountains from the terrace.
The rigorous, refined and geometric forms of the building are designed in sharp contrast to the undulating, natural landscape. The contrast is intended to magnify the beauty of the site while allowing the house to provide a framework to view the landscape. These views become the orienting device. Simple volumes comprised of glass, wood, stone and fiber cement panels are combined to render a more complex composition while garnering a serene unity.
Interior spaces are active and intricate, tranquil and minimal. With vistas in all directions, large expanses of glass allow the landscape views to provide the primary sensory experience.
A geothermal HVAC system, energy efficient appliances, wall and ceiling infrastructure with maximum insulation, a rain-screen cladding system, extensive daylighting and solar-sensored shades are employed with the expectation of reducing fossil fuel consumption. Large operable windows and doors are placed to provide natural ventilation.
This house is pragmatic and pristine. Proportion, texture and light organize and animate the project. The composition is simultaneously complex and distilled. Most importantly, the house provides a framework to experience an inherently beautiful landscape.
Photos: Maxwell MacKenzie
House Little Venice is a matt black zinc and glass contemporary building attached to a former coach house designed by James Wells Architects, located in Little Venice, London. Bounded by secret walled gardens, this new residential building replaces a derelict warehouse that had once been a joinery shop for an antique furniture company. The interior design of the new home acknowledges the industrial heritage of the site with bespoke fixtures and unusual finishes, employing the best of British craftsmanship.
From the architect: The west garden is accessed through French windows from the coach house and is planted in the Victorian Romantic style with an auricula theatre. The east garden is accessed via a hydraulic glass panel and responds to the modernist lines of the new building with structured planting, floating levels, steel water features and specially designed concrete furniture. The garden is thus made to feel like an external room – an extension of the main living space.
A discreet door in a side wall off a quiet side street provides the entrance to this extraordinary one bedroom house. An unassuming Victorian coach house built of London stock brick with exposed timber trusses has been retained and restored to provide a bedroom suite while the rest of the house has been newly built. The entire project took eighteen months to complete due to structural requirements as well as the bespoke nature of the details, one-off fixtures and finishes.
To the rear is a surprising, modern space bathed in natural light from a hydraulic pivoting wall of glass and a large skylight. The structure and mechanics are exposed and steelwork is left unfinished; polished concrete combines with black brickwork to create a post-industrial setting. The structural glass floor allows natural light and a visual link to an underground library and screening room below.
In the coach house the sleeping quarters are set in a theatrical dark space with an Alice in Wonderland play on scale. Dramatic double height wall panelling, exposed timber trusses, reclaimed parquet floors from the demolished warehouse and an oversized roaring fireplace are lit by a vast 1960s chandelier of cast yellow and white glass. Exposed engineered winches and cable mechanisms raise a bespoke metal and glass lantern and a plasma screen.
A deliberate duality contrasts the moods of the private and public areas. A massive pivoting brick wall finished in engineering brickwork links these two contrasting worlds.
The underground library and screening room showcases a chestnut leather conversation pit is sunk into the polished concrete floor embraced by the soft glow from the surrounding shelves of books and artifacts.
Photos: Courtesy of James Wells Architects
Maison V is a major renovation project including an annex pavilion with a swimming pool by Olivier Chabaud Architecte, located in the city of Villennes-sur-Seine, France. Additional additions to the residence includes new furnishings and interior design, a gym, and major overhaul to the gardens. The architect respected the origin of the building with a global mission.
The heavy restructuring allowed a reconquest of the existing, to adapt this old building to contemporary lifestyles. Flow management, light, link to the garden, but also intimate relationship between spaces, as all kitchen / lounge / TV room, organized around the glazed staircase and matching sliding doors.
The annex pavilion houses the gym whose canopy can cover a portion of the heated pool for winter use.
The garden ends with a slight side Seine accommodation, a port terrace shack on false metalling and the pontoon.
Kitchen, storage, furniture, office, billiards, occasional furniture, consistency of the house is given by the volume management, parts distribution, distilled by the measured punctuation design.
In this typical part of the Anglo-Norman houses, the intervention was punctuated by the careful selection of materials and finishes.
Burgundy stone confronts Indian stone, oak kitchen with tiles ‘underground’ and Zimbaoué black marble, the interior woodwork painted steel meets the bancheur of frames.
The bathrooms, with varied identity, Tadelakt varnish wooden lath set on black concrete tiles. The gym, overlooking the pool gray concrete, is also in smoothed gray concrete.
Mixtures subtly give the residence a contemporary feel, yet distilled in this context classic belonging.
Photos: Courtesy of Olivier Chabaud
Templestowe Residence is an expansive single story home designed by Christopher Elliott Design, located in Templestowe, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. “We are all familiar with the wise saying “a stitch in time saves nine”, but this proverb does not best describe the approach taken by the previous owners of this expansive single storey house, towards the maintenance of their property. In fact the house and its gorgeous surrounding gardens; although ideally located amongst the rolling hills of Templestowe, were a veil to the outdated rooms and darkened interior that lay within.”
So by the time the current owners had purchased it they were rather overwhelmed as to how they would transform this awkward 1970’s property into a stunning home. Fear not, they called in the expert eye of Christopher Elliott; who had recently completed the design of their friend’s house.
From the onset, it was clear to Christopher a complete overhaul of the disjointed internal architecture was in order; for the existing layout didn’t take full advantage of the picturesque garden outlook and left many rooms unutilised. Christopher’s new floor plan design brought unity to the architecture and enabled a more intuitive relationship between each of the various rooms of the house. Pivotal to the new design was the decision to open large sections of the house onto the pre-existing centrally located pool and courtyard via large expansive sliding doors, installed throughout the living spaces and the master bedroom.
These modifications provided the house with a beautiful tranquil vista and some much-needed natural light; it was also the inspiration for the new colour scheme. Christopher’s new design also incorporated all of the necessary state-of-art modern conveniences and luxuries expected from a house of this calibre, which in some instances required striping the house back to its bare bones. The extensive renovation would also provide a clean backdrop for a new tailor made interior design, better suited to the client’s lifestyle.
The first phase of the project involved altering the access into the master bedroom via a newly appointed ‘parents retreat’ which was previously an unused storage space and blocking off the old entrance from the kids study area. Thus providing more privacy and separation for the clients from their two growing teenage boys, now who wouldn’t want that? Also, the remodelling of the master bedroom incorporated a spare bedroom that was transformed into a beautiful, generous walk in robe and the previous inadequately sized walk in robe and ensuite became one large ensuite with a separate toilet. As you can guess, this house was not short of space!
The second phase of the project included the complete demolition and reinstatement of the properties kitchen, study, spare bedroom, both formal and casual living/dining spaces. The massive renovation was a bold direction but took all of the previously unused areas, and there were many, transforming and simplifying them into functional, practical and enjoyable spaces with the kitchen at the heart of the design. And what a big heart it is!
The kitchen island bench alone is an impressive seven metres long, clad in a stunning ‘Super White’ marble and with a butler’s pantry come laundry extending off from the kitchen that can be completely concealed with the closing of the full height sliding door. The new design meant many of the existing internals walls were removed and subsequently new engineered support beams were required to underpin the large ‘A’ frame roof, but these were cleverly concealed behind feature timber posts. That was also aesthetically a way of partitioning adjoining spaces without totally blocking either the light or the view.
The third and final phase of the project was the most rewarding for the clients, for it is when they could finally begin to truly experience the wonderful results of Christopher’s thoughtful and meticulous design. Many of the previous decisions and choices lay the foundations of the design, but it was not until the final selection of the furniture, decoration and artwork were in place, could they fully appreciate the vision Christopher had all along.
Most of the furniture and artwork for this project were made-to-order and in some instances Christopher specifically designed pieces of furniture to suit. This process also included the commissioning of several artists’ works. One significant piece that hangs above a colourful custom-made sideboard in the dining space was a beautiful work by renowned Australian artist Andrew O’Brien. This dynamic artwork, visible from the front entrance, sets the tone for the entire house, one that is bold, brave and surprising.
Photos: Sharyn Cairns
142 Kenilworth is a contemporary home designed by studio Johnson Chou, located in the beaches neighborhood in the east end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The original structure was a two-storey 1,250 square foot (139 square meters) building renovated into a three-storey 1,950 square foot (178 square meters) residence achieved by converting the existing attic space into a master bedroom with ensuite and adding a two-storey rear extension.
From the architects: Built in the early 1900’s, maintaining the integrity of the scale and form of the building, such as retaining the roofline and preserving, repairing the existing brick, was a priority from the start.
There was a desire to allow elements of the modernist aesthetic developed for the interior to percolate to the exterior. As the building is one of a series of nearly identical houses with similar details mirrored along the street, an opportunity arose to insert abstracted elements that juxtaposed and created a dialogue with the existing façades.
The original 3 bedroom house had the main stair positioned perpendicular to the length of the house, effectively dividing the house into two – front and rear. Further exacerbated by the profusion of tiny rooms and the relatively narrow width of the building, the house felt cramped and imparted a sense of claustrophobia. Our functional strategy was to demolish the interior of the existing building, eliminate all interior partitions on the ground floor; reposition the main stair parallel and against the side wall of the building; remove the exterior wall facing the backyard and replace it with a 15’ foot (4.5 meters) deep, 200 square foot (23 square meters) two-storey addition.
The intention is to have the two levels of the existing interior spaces overlook the double-height space of the newly created living-room, with it becoming the visual link and the notional “hub” of the residence. The design concept was two-fold: to perforate the volume of the building with openings to allow internal and long views directly to the exterior, creating the impression of a larger building; to develop a motif that redefines the existing building as a series of overlapping “frames” that function either as portals or an apparatus for viewing.
As such the project is about creating volumes of flowing spaces in the horizontal and vertical dimensions, and the kinaesthetic experience of framed views from within and without. The frame motif can be perceived, for example, at the front entrance screen, the main circulation stair and the rear glass facade.
From the entrance one has a view over the family room and past the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Here, the solidity evoked by the front facade dematerializes to a veneer of glass where narrow, custom-fabricated mullions frame the aperture to create the illusion of being detached from the house – a window hovering in mid-air. An oversized pivoting glass door leading to the outdoor patio blurs the distinction between the interior and exterior spaces.
The attic was transformed into the master bedroom and ensuite which are separated by frameless glass screens. The ceiling was flattened but the pitched-roof was maintained at the front to blend in with the adjacent buildings. The triangular-shaped attic window frames the freestanding tub, allowing for an uninterrupted view to the park beyond.
Photos: Courtesy of Johnson Chou
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