The RainShine House is a contemporary LEED Platinum home for a couple of empty nesters designed by architect Robert M. Cain, located in Decatur, Georgia. The home was designed as a retirement residence with provision for visiting children and extended family members. One of the most nontoxic new, single-family houses in the United States, the house has achieved and exceeded the highest level of “green architecture” possible through the United States Green Building Council’s LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] for Homes Pilot Program. It is the first modernist residence to achieve the much-coveted LEED Platinum level in the Southeastern United States.
The two-story home is comprised of 2800-square feet of living space with three-bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, nestled on a 1/3-acre infill lot. RainShine is contemporary in design and is named for key design features. The living room, dining, kitchen and guest bedrooms are sheltered by a unique butterfly roof structured with steel beams spanned by exposed 1- 1/2” tongue-and-groove wood decking. The roof floats above continuous clerestories allowing light to flood into the interior. Light shelves around the clerestory sills bounce and diffuse natural light throughout the interior.
The butterfly roof is designed to capture rainfall for a rain harvest system located in the basement (Rain) and is oriented to maximize southern exposure for a roof mounted photovoltaic system (Shine). The butterfly design, with it’s inverted gable, simplifies rainwater collection, eliminates extensive gutter and downspout systems and the associated maintenance headaches common in conventional gabled or hip roofed homes.
The home features large expanses of thermally broken glazing with solar shades and operable windows. Spaces are defined by “thick walls” containing storage, book shelves, niches, pass-throughs, closets, audio visual equipment, systems, etc. Except at certain utility areas, interior walls stop short of the ceilings and are topped by glazing, thus enhancing the floating roof effect.
Photos: Paul Hultberg Photography
The Aurea is an open and airy contemporary lake house was designed around light and space by Alan Mascord Design Associates, located in Portland, Oregon. Linear and angled, this modern-style home hugs the landscape. A low-slung roofline, a sprawling layout, and natural stone and wood materials unite the house to the surroundings. Juxtaposing the natural elements, a metal roof, banks of windows, and angular lines add a twist of artistic style. Angular lines begin at the front porch pergola, which appears to announce the entry.
The foyer leads into the two wings of the home and the upper level, which provide every comfort one desires. To one side are the shared formal areas of the dining room and living room. A beam ceiling, fireplace, and built-ins enhance the space for entertaining. The luxurious master suite and a private library also are in this wing. Walls of windows provide rear views in each space and fireplaces on a shared wall will help relieve the chill of winter air.
The upper level is devoted to three bedrooms, a home theater, and a catch-all activities area, with built-ins for storage and media equipment.
The opposite wing houses casual livings spaces, including an open kitchen, breakfast nook, and family room. Angled banks of glass in the nook repeat the angled lines of the island while ensuring sun-filled relaxation spaces. Patio doors in the nook lead to the back porch and to a covered outdoor living space. Hobbies and crafts have a special room of their own nearby.
The well-appointed bathroom connects to an equally large dressing room. A private gym and sauna are a boon to any workout.
The shelves are framed as part of the tub deck, and finished in the same gorgeous tile as the the tub deck and floor. Besides providing the ideal space for towels, they create a wonderful break between the tub and walk-in shower.
Photos: Bob Greenspan
Stone House is a spacious contemporary residence designed by Atelier Kastelic Buffey, sited on a long, narrow lot in the south hill area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This house was thoughtfully designed for its quiet integration to the surrounding neighborhood. While the house appears modest in scale from the street view, it opens upon entry to 7,000 square feet of interior living space for a family of five.
The windows are deeply recessed with large overhangs to reduce heat gain and the soffits are clad in stone as a continuity of the wall material, a technical innovation which enables a stereotomic reading of the design.
The ground floor consists of a double-height entry foyer with a floating oak stair and sky-light above, open-concept dining, living, kitchen and breakfast areas. A large mud room, walk-in pantry and powder room are concealed behind perimeter walls to maximize the openness of the main space. The second floor incorporates four bedrooms with walk in closets, three bathrooms, a study and a corridor overlooking the entry foyer below.
Photos: James Brittain
The Tree House is a contemporary single family private residence that was designed by Miró Rivera Architects, located in beautiful Austin, Texas. Early sketches of this home explore the play between the steep, sloping site on which it lies and two curving rooflines—one concave and one convex.
The local and natural materials of the exterior wrap into the interior of the home; stone walls and dark wood floors are contrasted by clean lines and glass above, creating the feeling of lightness. Large glass windows and sliding doors take full advantage of the sweeping views of downtown Austin, dissolving the boundaries between interior and exterior, while deep overhangs frame views of the sky above.
At the street front, the concave roof forms a low, unassuming facade that respects the scale of the neighborhood and provides privacy for bedrooms and studies. Simultaneously, the convex roof shared by the living, dining, and kitchen spaces opens the interior of the house to a canopy of oak trees and a small pool.
Miró Rivera Architects (MRA) is an internationally-recognized architecture practice that has created a body of work that exemplifies design excellence, blurs art and architecture, and includes poetic and inspirational projects that enrich their landscapes. Services include: residential, commercial and institutional architecture; urban design; and interior design.
Photos: Miró Rivera Architects
House in the Beach is a semi-detached home that was recently given a renovation and addition by Drew Mandel Architects, located in a beach area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prior to the renovation, the clients had lived in this 100 year old home for twelve years. Their work as fashion photographer and model took them around the world to stylish architectural sites which served as inspiration for this well-worn residence.
While wanting to update the house to better reflect who they are and how they live, the clients also wanted the house to re-inforce the existing fabric of the street by respectfully re-inventing both the exterior and the interior. Although it lacks a classic beach charm, the house has an elusive quality of heart and soul which the project team tried to uphold.
Looking closely at the brick lines relative to the right angle of the new box window in the image of the front facade, the house leans to, or yearns for, the lake. It is that sense of an ideosychrotic personality that defines this custom home renovation, as opposed to merely emulating a generic boutique hotel-like space.
Small moments strive to accommodate and celebrate the personality of the owners, the history of the house, and the process of its re-making: the open shelving for rotating personal objects of affection, the mobile kitchen island on wheels, the exposed steel support brackets at the junction of new and old structure, shop notes on the raw steel custom fi replace surround, old brick piers incorporated into the new entry assembly.
The scope of the project involves a new entry, re-invented façade, and a ground floor plan opened for access to light and space for contemporary family life. The basement is finished as useable space and occasionally acts as a suite. The second and third floor bedroom and bathroom spaces are also re-finished. A small rear addition on the ground floor allows for a new space with natural light, a distinct ceiling height, and a previously-absent connection to the rear yard.
The existing house is a very common Toronto house type: A semi-detached, three-story residence with a finished basement, front pad parking, and a private backyard. While wanting to update the house to better reflect who they are and how they live, the home-owners did not necessarily want an unrecognizable or unreasonably large new house. Refreshingly, they cherished the idea of a small, stylish and cozy home where the family can scrunch up on the sofa to be together.
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