Tucked away in the Tuscan hillside not far from the cultural centers of Florence and Siena, Borgo Santo Pietro is a luxurious thirteenth century private retreat set within 13 acres of enchanting gardens. A resting place for pilgrims en route to Rome 800 years ago, this ancient site continues to provide sanctuary to its guests today. Elegant and sympathetically designed interiors and grounds provide the perfect setting to experience sheer indulgence.
All of the rooms are unique and have been created to reflect authentic luxurious Italian style that gives the guests the sense of staying at an exclusive, ancient country villa. With fifteen guest room, eight of which are suites, each room provides a sitting area and a view to remember. The extensive grounds at Borgo Santo Pietro include an orchard, organic fruits and vegetable garden, tranquil lawns and a beautiful pool as well as a tennis court, basketball court and a bocce pitch for the more active guests. A playground is set away from the peaceful seclusion of the garden.
Innovative, world class cuisine created from the villa’s private organic gardens, a velar of fine international and Italian wines, spa treatments, impeccable service and passionate attention to details are set in a refreshingly relaxed and intimate environment. Borgo Santo Pietro offers ultimate quality with the personal touch for truly exclusive escape in the breathtaking surroundings of Tuscany.
Prices for guest rooms range from $488.79 – $1,166.58 per night, from here.
With each new project contemporary architecture is forced to optimize spaces and use the maximum of each square meter of the site. V4 House, designed by Studio MK27 is a rare anti-example. Its occupation of the land is very far from the maximum coefficient. Laws allow for much larger constructions. The solution adopted, however, dialogues with the dimension of the site, formulating an adequate relation between the scale of the construction and the site. Contrary to the surrounding houses, a garden neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil, V4 House is a ground floor and almost disappears when seen from the street.
The living room, positioned at the front of the house, is under a delicate beam of exposed concrete. Two rows of door frames, on both sides of the living room, can be completely retracted, constituting total integration between the front garden, the living room and the back patio. The living room, in this case, shelters from rain and sun, like a large veranda. And, under the beam, in one of the extremities, there is an open kitchen. On the ceiling of this volume, a large deck is an empty space that functions as a solarium. This terrace makes almost the entire project like a garden.
The concrete beam appearing from the wooden box, houses the two rooms that face the patio. In the wooden box from where the concrete beam appears, are the two rooms that face the patio.
The wooded shaded area enables to control the inner temperature and, simultaneously, offers privacy to the environments.
The bathroom of the master bathroom faces a small garden, removed from the rest of the house.
The program for the client’s needs and the dimensions of the site made it possible to do an unusual project: an urban ground-floor house. The house ends up, therefore, being very delicately inserted with the surroundings.
Photos: Courtesy of Studio MK27
Meadowview house, designed by Platform 5 Architects, is situated on the edge of a ribbon development village in rural Bedfordshire, United Kingdom and is surrounded by mature trees, hedgerows and arable fields. The first floor, clad in sweet chestnut, overhangs a solid masonry and glass plinth; from across the fields, it looks like it is floating over the hedgerows. Internally, the living spaces are arranged to relate to different garden spaces and the wider landscape. The house incorporates sustainable technologies such as rainwater recycling, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and photovoltaics on the roof. The landscaping forms a transition between the domestic and agricultural environments.
The sweet chestnut clad box overhangs the ground floor so that from across the fields it looks like it is floating over the hedgerows. The deep recessed balcony acts like a lens hood, framing sunsets over the countryside.
A meandering route through the house creates a sequence of gradually more private internal and external spaces. The entrance hall offers visitors views straight through the house to the pavilion in the back garden whilst screening off the living areas. As you progress though the ground floor, the space expands into a double height living room that is overlooked by the first floor study. From the living room, you can gain access to the courtyard garden where more delicate plants can grow protected from the wind and cold.
To the rear of the house, swathes of long grasses and meadow flowers are animated by the breeze giving the terrace a wharf-like feel. An area of the garden is given over to food production in raised beds, providing all of the household’s fruit and veg over the summer months.
The concept of a hovering building is continued into the details of the ash tread stair that is cantilevered off the wall in the entrance hall.
The house is well insulated, fitted with photovoltaic panles and also incorporates mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to reduce heat losses whilst a rainwater harvesting tank supplies water to the WC’s and the garden irrigation system.
Photos: Courtesy of Platform 5 Architects
The Vineyard house is situated far away from Hong Kong’s business district in Yuen Long, with bright open spaces and a garden area surrounded by lush foliage. Designed by interior design firm S.I.D. Ltd., the clients, a couple with two sons, wished to minimize the division of indoors and out by keeping the balcony doors open as often as the weather permits. The design team customized a raised platform in the outdoor area, creating a resort feel and allowing the homeowners to enjoy a bit of sunshine. The total living space of this contemporary home is 3,458 square feet which includes the house and garden, a luxury in a high-rise-saturated Hong Kong.
The customized wall-to-wall shelving unit is a feature wall that links the living area, dining area and open kitchen. The varied orientations of the cubbies have a puzzle-like effect and provide visual interest to the room. The stairs maximize the clients’ living and common areas — always a priority in space-hungry Hong Kong, even in Yuen Long.
If you look closer at the items displayed in each cubby and you will see hints of coastal design: a starfish, a sea urchin, a shell.
Floor-to-ceiling drapes, a textured rug and vibrant blue throw pillows warm up the space.
Figurines of monks with their begging bowls occupy the floor; most other accessories are displayed higher up.
A strip of grass cloth wallpaper and a wooden plank dining table add warmth to the largely black and white space.
The grayish-brown grain of the bar countertop and stool legs contrasts with the stark white shelving and cabinetry.
Space is saved by flush mounting the appliances, allowing the homeowners to have more surface area to devote to food preparation
The bedside lanterns in the master bedroom reflect the Far Eastern context of this largely contemporary home. The light cast by the lanterns highlights the textural appeal of the grass cloth panel behind the bed. The headboard and bed frame have been custom designed by S.I.D.
The designer reinforces the strong horizontal lines of the basement in the bookshelves, desk shelves, staircase and floor panels. The oak desk has been customized for two, with plentiful drawers, shelves and leg space.
LED lights provide both mood and practical lighting in the bathroom.
Stillwater is a contemporary villa discovered on Savills, which is set in a remarkable position perched over a small private loch, with just over 6 acres of mature grounds and formal gardens on the edge of Killearn, a charming village in West Stirlingshire, Glasgow. It was designed by McInnes Gardner Architects and was completed in 2006, receiving recent acclaim on the television show ‘Grand Designs’. Formed over two levels and built under a slate roof, this innovative contemporary 3,453 square foot home cleverly marries traditional materials with new modern building technology. It is constructed to a specification rarely seen in this country. It features floor to ceiling glass in the main apartments and a terrace which cleverly wraps itself around the ground floor.
The kitchen is designed and manufactured in Germany by FORMAT. The mood lighting system allows for programmable sequences through the home whilst the integral sound system allows for music in the principal areas. Of particular note is the cantilevered glass staircase. Throughout the house there is polished American walnut flooring. The reception hallway is open plan with the dining area, kitchen and lounge. It has an innovative glass staircase with open risers ascending to the first floor. A change in level defines the dining area which has French doors opening to the terrace. Steps descend into the double height lounge which has a contemporary open fireplace and two sets of French doors opening to the terrace and the front garden.
This stunning property is listed for sale at $1,705,499, from here.
Steps descend from the kitchen into the sitting room which is separated from the kitchen by an impressive aquarium.
The sitting room has a free standing corner wood burning stove.
Upstairs are four bedrooms, three of which have en-suite bathrooms. The upper hallway has a gallery overlooking the reception hallway and drawing room. The master bedroom, with floor to ceiling glass wall overlookings the private loch.
There are two walk in dressing rooms and an en-suite bathroom which is semi open plan to the bedroom. It has a Jacuzzi whirlpool bath, wet room shower, twin glass wash hand basins, sauna and separate water closet.
Outside, Stilwater is equally as impressive, with a wraparound terrace at ground floor level and a substantial terrace off the master suite on the first floor. Electric gates open to the gravel driveway which sweeps towards the house and offers parking space for a number of cars. On either side of the driveway are beautiful manicured lawns.
This original South Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia artist’s warehouse conversion has been the longtime home and studio to a renowned painter. This rare stand alone Victorian warehouse is the perfect place to live and work on the city fringe. The property has retained not just original soaring ceiling heights and Oregon beams but the true spirit of a creative loft. Massive studio gallery, two bedrooms plus study/office, library, kitchen living space with deck, jungle oasis garden, two bathrooms and in-floor heating make the space a comfortable home. This rare find is a genuine warehouse which has escaped the developers. This unique home is listed for sale from here.
The luxury Villa Azza features superb views of the Miami, Florida skyline with expansive tropical gardens and Spanish hacienda-style architecture under an intense cobalt sky. One of Miami Beach’s finest, most original waterfront luxury villas, this stunning villa offers five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The interior is truly a sight to behold with a stylish, funky interior. Offering invigorating architecture, décor and art makes every room a symphony of beauty, comfort and luxury. The villa features a great room with vaulted ceiling, fully equipped gym, office, den, bar, gourmet kitchen, home theatre, and games room. The master bedroom features a roomy walk-in closet and master bathroom both fit for a king and queen, while all of the accompanying bedrooms offer stunning views and en-suite, spa-inspired bathrooms.
The incredibly private villa features a captivating garden, pool with waterfall and Jacuzzi and a patio lined with picturesque palms, an inner courtyard, cobblestone terraces and barbeque offering plenty of outdoor living and dining opportunities. There is also a private golf putting green and par 3 hole, perfect for the golf enthusiast. There are upgraded amenities for those who desire the ultra in exclusivity, with full-time chef, bodyguards, masseurs, chauffeured limousines or the finest Miami restaurant meals delivered to your door, it can all be arranged. The level of pampering is up to you.
To stay at this exclusive luxury villa that sleeps 13 people, rates range from $5,000 – $12,900, from here.
This very tastefully designed villa, which was spotted on Skeppsholmen, is situated in the coveted region of Djursholm, Stockholm County, Sweden and was designed by high profile architect Franson Wreland. The wide open 1,388 square foot (129 square meters) contemporary house has large expanses glass that opens up to a sheltered garden and cozy terrace. Inside the glass wall is a very generous sized living room with fireplace and integrated kitchen with bar solution. The room’s double ceiling height offers magnificent volume. An additional exit to the terrace with the houses L-shaped form shelters the backyard.
The living room and the rest of the lower level features a beautifully faceted concrete floor with water-borne floor heating. This level also contains a mudroom/laundry room and storage. In addition, a serene master bedroom retreat with adjacent spa, separate water closet and both walk in closet and wardrobe. There is a mezzanine level above the kitchen that hosts a beautiful home library. There is also a separate media/living room with two additional bedrooms next to an attached bathroom.
Blue Bay is a luxurious villa retreat with stylish rustic touches, light-filled interiors and incredible sea views in Ibiza. This magnificent Finca-style residence is set on a secluded stretch of Ibiza’s coastline. Guests will live like royalty, amidst glorious gardens, two swimming pools, a tennis court, par 3 golf course and private swimming dock. As masters of all you survey, you have the use of a Jeep Wrangler and an array of gadgets from hand-held diving jets to a 3D HD cinema room, games room and private gym with 20 Cybex machines.
Private and secluded, Blue Bay villa is not far from San Carlos village and all the beautiful beaches of northeast Ibiza. Wherever you want to go, there are two chauffeured Mercedes Vianos to take you. And, for trips out to sea the Mastercraft 220CX boat, complete with skipper and crew, is at your disposal, depending on the weather. Not only does Blue Bay have a private chef, kitchen and hospitality team, it has housekeeping staff and a full time concierge service. Almost anything you desire is possible.
Rates at Villa Blue Bay are from $83,252 per week, from here.
This luxury charming villa has recently been restored to an exceptionally high standard, in a luxuriously contemporary, Provencal style, retaining its original charm and character by its designer owner. Set within an acre of stunning floral gardens, making it extremely private and within the exclusive gated domain of Beauvallon, Villa La Chenoiserie boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay of St Tropez. Decorated in an elegant, luxurious style, the villa retains charming features such as the big open fire in the living area, and cool stone floors. The place is filled with gorgeous French furniture, delicate fabrics and vintage armoires.
La Chenoiserie features four bedrooms each with en-suite or private bathrooms. Additionally, there is a two bedroomed garden cottage, which also has its own living room, kitchen and bathroom. The main house offers a spacious internal living/dining area and open plan kitchen, plus library/study. Outside, there is a covered loggia leading off the living area, a large pool with its delightful pool house and ample terracing which offers secluded relaxation amidst the luscious gardens with a breathtaking view over the Bay of St Tropez.
This luxury villa is attended by dedicated members of staff, during the high summer season, giving you the opportunity to totally relax, as the villas staff will attend to your every need from preparing breakfast in the morning to candle lit dinner in the evening prepared by a gourmet chef overlooking the twinkling lights of the Bay.
Rates at Villa La Chenioserie are from 15,538 per week, from here.