Solis Residence is a breathtaking house set within its stunning natural surroundings on Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia. Designed by Renato D’Ettorre Architects, the home has been carved into a steep edge of Hamilton Island, brilliantly sculpting three interlocking levels to frame extraordinary views of islands in the Whitsundays waters. The home is sculpted from concrete, stone, block work and glass resulting in a sequence of dramatic volumes incorporating airy living spaces and private sheltered outdoor zones. the building elements are intertwined with reflection ponds and a swimming pool, lending a sense of tranquility and sensuous tactility whilst providing casual, elegant outdoor living amid the beauty and serenity of the island.
From the architect: As a design practice, our aim is to create evocative architecture which satisfies the human need for textural and tactile experience. Solis on Hamilton Island draws inspiration from its magnificent location and Mediterranean coastal architecture: simple, permeable volumes opening and unfolding, capturing distant views of water and land.
This site, within its luscious natural setting, brings the weather seasons into focus with the vegetation’s glorious display of color, texture and flower – nature’s constant reminders of life’s cycles. Remaining connected to these surroundings was one of the key elements driving the design of the house.
Terraces are fluid extensions of internal spaces capturing cooling breezes and allowing cross ventilation. Bedroom terraces frame magnificent views of water and garden, distant lands and the horizon, so that falling asleep or waking is never a mundane ritual. Special attention was taken designing the bathrooms:eliminating superfluous detail and relating to the natural surroundings imbues the spaces with a sense of well-being and purity that is invigorating for the body and stimulating for the mind.
Always connected to water, the interiors are sheltered and cool: swimming pools, reflection ponds and strategically positioned trickling waterfalls soothe both indoors and outdoors, as each rain droplet resonates through the spaces.
In contrast to this sense of tranquility, equally critical to the design was to provide a high degree of safety to the occupants by integrating building regulations so that the house is able to withstand the destructive forces of tropical cyclones that are common in this region of Queensland.
Construction method and material selection was influenced not only by the climate but also the client who had expressed preference for low maintenance materials on a sub-tropical site with extreme weather: long periods of hot, humid conditions and prolonged heavy rain during the wet season limit material lifespan.
Another factor was regional Council’s limit on colors: white and primary colors were not permissible. For these reasons concrete became the primary material; utilizing its eternal qualities of extreme resiliency, excellent thermal properties, the textural quality and hue of rough sawn timber boards echoing the trunks of gum trees and large grey weathered boulders on the site. Further, concrete allows for a ready-made finish eliminating the use of render and paint as well as lending instant patina.
Wall and floor finishes, such as polished concrete, unfilled honed travertine tiles and textured internal renders were selected for their durability and tactile qualities; the irresistible urge to experience the house bare-feet whilst enjoying the touch of the smooth, cool stone.
The design seeks to balance the human spirit by the enriching experience gained in re-connecting with nature through the simple act of observing the wonders of its ever-changing scenery and by harnessing its benefits: off-shore cool breezes, warm evenings, spectacular sunsets, lush vegetation and the beauty of tropical rainfalls.
The Armada House is a modern post and beam home designed by Canadian firm KB Design, set among Garry Oaks on a rocky slope in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Set in the Ten Mile Point/Wedgewood Estates neighborhood, Armada is a perfect convergence of concrete, glass, steel and wood, built by Abstract Developments. In 2008 it garnered 10 Gold awards including Project of the Year and Best Custom Home in Canada. Its entry atrium’s grand but welcoming stairs and five-foot wide Douglas fir door establish a sense of volume and scale that defines the residence. Exposed glu-lam fir beams and plenty of windows compliment the open plan kitchen, living, dining space of this 5,299 square foot property. This facilitates a delicate balance between spaciousness for entertaining and intimacy for daily living.
Photos: Courtesy of Keith Baker | KB Design
This sensational cedar and glass house is one of nine secluded homes constructed around the edge of Little Lovett Bay, an inlet accessible only by boat less than an hour from Sydney. The open living room has timber floors and a wood-burning stove. The kitchen is connected to the outdoor deck with folding timber windows, and skylights bring in sunlight filtered through the spotted gum trees that surround the house. The countertops are granite, and the stainless steel sink and drain board match the stainless steel gas appliances. A built-in bookcase holds cookbooks. The ground floor has two guest bedrooms and a full bath. There is an additional downstairs room that could be used as a bedroom or a formal living room. The master suite is upstairs, and includes a bedroom with a peaked ceiling, an en suite bathroom with a soaking tub and a sitting area. A walkway suspended above the living room connects the master suite with another bedroom and an office nook.
This spectacular five-bedroom house is on the market for $2 million (2.25 million Australian dollars.)
Kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras frequent the national park behind the house.
Timber-framed folding doors in the living room and kitchen lead to a deck that overlooks the bay.
The living room has timber floors and a wood-burning stove. Above, a sky walk connects the bedrooms on either side of the house.
Large windows and skylights in the kitchen frame a view of the spotted gum trees that surround the house.
Another view of the deck. The house was built ten years ago.
A ground floor bedroom behind the kitchen has direct access to the deck.
The sky walk on the second floor leads to the study, with a guest bedroom beyond.
A skylight bathes the master bedroom with natural light.
One of two guest bedrooms on the ground floor.
The dining room windows face the back of the house and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, a wild expanse of pristine bush.
This extra room on the ground floor is currently configured as a den.
The property has a guesthouse with a sleeping loft, a full bathroom and a kitchenette.
The house is one of nine on a secluded inlet north of Sydney. There is no road access to the house. It’s ten minutes by boat to Church Point, and from there it’s a 45 minute drive to Sydney’s Central Business District.
The Naked House has been designed by architect Marc Gerritsen as a single family contemporary home for himself in Koh Samui, Thailand. The site location was chosen for the large expanse of the surroundings and quietness. Life in Taipei is very hectic, so the architect needed a place to escape, a quiet area with fabulous views. He wanted an open plan living room with doors that can totally slide away, overlooking a pool and the ocean, something he had been dreaming about for a long time. With this plot he was able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. “The house was a return to the basic values in life: good clean air, wide open space, quiet solitude. With these basic values you can be in a space that is uncluttered, and your mind can become still.” This was also the reason behind the basic materials that were applied to this project: concrete, wood, steel and glass. With no embellishments, the focus was applied more heavily on the space rather than the materials.
I originally planned three stories: two bedrooms on the bottom; the pool, living area and kitchen on the middle level; and an office on top. But I’ve added a bathroom on the living room level, a laundry room and pantry. I wanted a simple kitchen, with no overhead cupboards or tall fridge, so the pantry is good for storage. I added a freestanding open-air bathroom, as the top room became a magnificent master bedroom which needed an en-suite. The tank and plant room became a large open room with a swing bed, underneath the deck I added a steam room, and the space below the bedrooms now houses an office and maid’s room. So it ended up being five stories – the result of a work in progress.
My work over the last few years as an architectural and interior photographer has taught me what not to do. Looking at all the incredibly fine detailed properties I photographed in Asia. I thought: “Is this really necessary to be comfortable? If I walk on a concrete floor or if I walk on a marble floor, is it going to make my living experience so much better?” No. You just need a floor to walk on. I am interested in a return to basics, in a luxury monastic way of living.
Photos: Marc Gerritsen
Those passionate about great design features around the home will appreciate the texture and look of using glass in your home. It is a wonderful material that is able to balance as well as contrast other pieces, and also has a way of playing with both natural and artificial lighting. If you want to discover a bit more about the various ways of using glass, read on and find out how you could incorporate it within your own home. You are sure to end up with a beautifully modern interior.
The best place to start is from the outside looking in – this is something done through the means of windows. There are many shapes and sizes available within the marketplace, but those that are the most memorable are the ones that are slightly different from the rest. For example, these shaped windows (from Vevo Windows) really add an extra edge to what would otherwise be a regular doorframe. Other great ideas include windows that straddle two floors of the house, or take up almost an entire wall.
Assuming you do not have small children in the house, a glass staircase could add the fairy tale touch to your abode. These look really futuristic, and immediately give the effect of wealth and success due to their appearance in celebrity pads. Not only that, but they help to create a feeling of a more open space, something that cannot often be achieved with a regular staircase.
Another way to use glass within the home is as a partition between rooms. This can be an effective way at maintaining the level of natural light, without using a full wall or opaque material. There are many options available here as you can choose clear glass, or opt for something that has a frosted appearance or other type of texture.
Of course, glass doesn’t just need to be used for the basic elements of the home, as it can also be used to good effect in the form of decoration. One of the most striking ways to achieve this is through sculptures, which are generally mounted on top of a glossy piece of granite or similar stone. There are also freestanding sculptures that you can look for if you prefer something less bulky.
You can also seek out certain pieces of furniture that are created with the medium of glass. Popular examples include coffee tables, dining tables and even certain chairs. Many of these items are often made in conjunction with metal to really bring the effect of minimalism to the forefront of design. There are of course many pieces in the market meaning there should be something to suit your budget.
Finally, it is likely that you will have seen many conservatories in the past, but some simply stand out from the rest. Those that are able to use glass to the best effect often look more impressive than their basic counterparts, and also make them more ideal for the perfect suntrap.
Photo Sources: 1. T Magazine, 2. Nicholas Design Collaborative, 3. Kenneth Wyner Photography, 4. Robert M. Gurney Architect, 5. Vevo Windows, 6. Moon Bros Inc, 7. Elite Metalcraft Co, 8. KuDa Photography, 9. Horst Architects, 10. Phil Kean Design Group, 11. Engberg Design, 12. Elle Decoration, 13. Axis Mundi, 14. Bo Bedre, 15. El Mueble, 16. Josephine Fisher Interior Design, 17. Leslie Goodwin Photography, 18. Stadshem, 19. Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers, 20. The Anderson Studio of Architecture & Design, 21. Amy Lau Design, 22. JAUREGUI Architecture, 23. Lerman Construction Management Services, 24. jamesthomas LLC, 25. LDa Architecture & Interiors, 26. Domicile Interior Design, 27. The Construction Zone, 28. Artistic Designs for Living, 29. Dominick Tringali Architects, 30. Last Detail Interior Design, 31. Crisp Architects, 32. Avanto Architects
Lake Washington Residence is a newly built two story single family home over an existing foundation by BAAN Design in the Mount Baker neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The existing site is located on an upland waterfront lot near Genesee Park on Lake Washington Blvd S with expansive views to the east, over the lake. The foundation of the existing one story house is re-used in order to maintain and extend the non-conforming footprint and lot coverage. The geometry of the front facade is dictated primarily by the view potential offered by the site and the massing is stepped back at second level to maintain conformance to current zoning setback requirements.
The primary interior spaces are designed to relate specifically to the water views to the east and to the more intimate and enclosed privacy of the backyard.
The interior living space is comprised of 3,500 square feet.
While sitting in the rear yard, one can experience the lake views through the glazed doors and glass along the east and west sides of living areas. The roof structure is constructed of exposed double 2×6 rafters with T&G decking above, and the exterior is cladded in pre-stained, tight-knot cedar siding.
The windows and doors are thermally broken aluminum, with custom double hinged pivot wood doors located at the front entrance. The floors are polished gypcrete over an in-floor radiant heat system and the built-in cabinetry is dark stained, rift oak.
View of back patio into living room and lake beyond.
Photos: Ben Benschneider
Built on the property of a larger home in Phoenix, Arizona, The Construction Zone turned a former horse barn into a modern steel and glass guest suite. Other than some basic structure, though, the home has been done over so thoroughly that it’s hard to tell that it’s not an entirely new construction. Most of the surface of the house is done in glass window walls, leading out onto a large patio with space for entertaining. This allows the house to be used while not occupied as an impromptu living space for hosting guests, with direct access to the property’s amenities. The remaining architecture of the house is mostly concrete in form, dividing each room and providing support for the roof. The photo above shows a path from the main house leading to the guest house.
View of the patio, bocce ball court and guest house. Adaptive reuse of a former horse barn into a modern glass and steel guest suite.
Inside, the floorplan is completely open, with only a single formal interior doorway (leading into the bathroom). The entire house is sectioned into four areas, allowing maximum usage of its 1,425 square feet of floorspace. A combination of built-in features and decor cues define each open-form room within the glass and concrete walls, allowing free flow between areas without a loss of identity for each. The glass wall from the front is limited to half-height at the rear, giving plenty of natural light without compromising on privacy. The home is very open and airy in feel, but still provides practical lodgings for a visiting couple.
View of the interior kitchenette and dining.
View of the bedroom details featuring custom steel windows and doors fabricated by the architects.
View of the open hall between the interior spaces. Cast in place concrete walls from the former stalls separate the living spaces.
View of the bath with marble tile and mirror from Customatic.
View of the exterior fire feature custom fabricated by the architects.
View of the east entry featuring steel entry door custom fabricated by the architects.
Photos: Bill Timmerman
Peter’s House has been designed by Craig Steely Architecture, located on a steep site bordering a public garden above San Francisco, California’s Dolores Park. The decidedly small house, (only 1,800 square feet) builds on this steep lot as efficiently as possible. Rather than the typical construction practice of locating foundations staggered up the hillside, Peter’s house locates a 24 foot x 24 foot cast-in-place concrete garage at the lowest level and builds a 3-story glass tower above it, altering the land and native hillside drainage very little. The top living floor then spans from a flat plateau at top of the lot to the tower like a bridge, essentially reducing the amount of excavation typically involved in construction of this type by 2/3.
Beyond the structural challenges, the biggest issue in designing Peter’s house was opening the building to the expansive view while maintaining a level of privacy from the sidewalk and garden that pass alongside. Around the time the house was being designed, the new on-ramp to the Golden Gate Bridge was under construction which necessitated clearing a grove of Monterey Cypress trees in it’s path from the Presidio. We secured some of these trees and working with a local milling shop turned them into 90 solid wood louvers (fixed on the exterior/operable on the interior) that regulate openness and privacy.
At street level, the wooden garage door opens its toothed maw.
Outside looking in: a look at the door’s mechanism.
The kitchen is beautifully textured and veined thanks to white Carrara marble countertops installed by New Marble Company and reclaimed cypress cabinets built by Wayne Berger.
A 606 Universal Shelving System by Dieter Rams for Vitsoe hangs tough on the only opaque wall of the living room. The homeowner’s designed the coffee table, and Marcel Wanders gets credit for the Bottoni sofa for Moooi.
The trip from garage to first floor is through a wood-clad spiral staircase that resembles a giant slatted barrel.
The LC4 lounge is by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina. Operable porthole windows on the east facade offer ventilation.
The master bedroom is defined on the north side by a series of indoor louvers, which allow the couple to frame and manage their views.
The drawers and cupboards in the closet feature the same masterful joinery established in the kitchen.
The homeowner’s, a mechanical engineer and industrial designer, designed their bed. Credit for the custom joinery of the closet and cabinets goes to woodworker Wayne Berger.
At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze. The homeowner’s are even planning of rigging some kind of sail over the back patio for shade. The hot tub is by Roberts Hot Tubs.
The public staircase is directly adjacent to the house, though the louvers mitigate the view of passersby in favor of views of San Francisco.
Los Chillos House has been designed by Quito based architectural firm Diez + Muller Arquitectos in Valle de los Chillos, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador. The home was completed in 2012, comprised of 5,920 square feet of living space with a contemporary exterior facade composed of stone and glass which contracts ascetically with its traditional rustic interior design.
The design of this house arises from previous research and understanding of the regional architecture of the Ecuadorian highlands, and how it engages with a modern system through understanding the place, tectonics and space of each, creating a tension between the two systems. First are the traditional architectural and spatial elements, such as the courtyard, the wall, porch and slope. At the same time, the open plan and the continuous space are modernist concepts contrasted with the elements previously mentioned. The material palette includes local stone, wood and tile as local or endemic materials, and exposed concrete, steel and glass as modern materials. This mix not only expresses a formal idea, but also a structural and constructive idea that reinforces the argument.
In an area of approximately 2 hectares with a steep slope, the house is implanted in the highest part of the site, with a privileged view. In plan, the house is designed linearly, taking advantage of the views from every room. The design in section becomes important, access is from the upper level of the site to the social area, kitchen and terrace. The most private areas and bedrooms are on the lower floor.
The house is stratified into two zones: the stone base and glass box on top. The base is a stone bearing wall, where private areas are distributed. This base, true to its characteristics, is the support of the house on the ground, and contains the excavated soil for its settlement. It comes into view in full from certain viewpoints, while from others it is half-buried and seems to arise. At the back and at the entrance of the house, a large cut in the ground generates a submerged courtyard which serves mainly to illuminate and ventilate the bedroom areas on the ground floor. At the same time, it becomes one of the most important areas of reference of the house. It is contained by an exposed concrete wall, contrasting with the stone wall, thus creating tensions between the two systems.
The arrival to the house is through a steel and glass bridge that intersects with the stone wall, and opens the space to a large steel and glass nave that contains the social areas of the house on the upper floor. On this nave rests a traditional mud tile roof.
Finally, the finishes of the house are simple materials like concrete and wood on floors, concrete walls, wood deck, etc.. The lightness of the glass top volume is even more evident at night when artificial light exposes its permeability and the great nave of the roof, which is juxtaposed with the monolithic volume of the base on which it rests.
Photos: Sebastían Crespo Camacho
The House at Jardin del Sol project, designed by Corona + P. Amaral Architects is a monolithic concrete and glass house over a timber platform located at the edge of a cliff in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The unique site and shape of the 4,186 square foot (388.97 square meters) house was developed in order to enjoy the amazing views of the 300 meters cliff, a 100 meters long black sand beach, mount Teide and all the north coast of Tenerife island.
Bedroom and service areas are located in a one-storey rectangular volume which enters into a double high volume containing the living-room, studio and kitchen. Both volumes organize an L-shape around the black paddle located at the edge of the platform so water surface gets mixed with the one of the sea, so all the areas of the house enjoy the views underlined by wood and water.
The interior and exterior finishing of the closed volume consists in treated concrete while complete walls are used in the facades facing the views. Protection is solved with timber shuts in the bedroom area and outside canvas stores in the living room.
A gym is located in the basement with direct access from the terrace and views to the inside through a glass wall.
A steel and wood freestanding canopy provides shadow to the central part of the terrace. Gardening, based in the use of local cliff species, is located in the slope between the street and the built volume so the house seems to be inserted into the natural cliff .
Photos: Roland Halbe, José Ramón Oller