The Mirage House is a single level cavernous residence embedded into the hillside covered by an infinity rooftop pool, designed by Kois Associated Architects, located on the Greek island of Tinos. Designed to integrate into the steep sloped rocky terrain that makes up the island’s south-west coastline, the house was conceived as “an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes” where residents can enjoy panoramic views overlooking the Aegean Sea. The rimless pool creates a visual effect of water extending to the horizon and merging the dwelling with the seascape. Additional materials are taken directly from the local landscape, so as to match the existing context.
The site offers protection from the prevailing winds and a natural plateau which from the beginning was identified as the optimal location for the residence as it would minimize the impact to the landscape due to excavation. It is a single-level structure and has a surface of 2,131 square feet (198 square meters). The location allows benefiting from wonderful and panoramic views of the landscape and seascape. Our approach to the program was Doric. Only the essential features and programmatic elements to sustain a comfortable stay were incorporated in the design.
Our goal was to integrate the building into the landscape like it was part of it.The living space is covered by a rimless pool that produces a visual effect of the water extending to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape. From a distance especially if viewed from the path of approach, on a higher ground, the only visible feature of the house is the sea like surface of the pool. The water during the day reflects the surroundings and during the night, the star filled night sky. The mirroring pool of water carefully positioned on the landscape evokes memories of the optical phenomenon of the mirage from which the project was named.
The most of the visible construction materials were extracted from the vicinity and were used to make the house disappear into the scenery. Local techniques were also borrowed like the characteristic dry wall construction found in abundance in the island. This technique was implemented with minor modifications; on the side embankment walls in each side of the pool volume. The local materials have a low impact on the environment and they are very efficient as insulating materials. The rear walls are made of retained earth and have layers of vegetation that regulates the temperature and cools the environment through evaporation. The pool acting as roof provides thermal insulation and protection from solar radiation and heat transmittance.
We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes. The house is acts almost like an observation post as it clings to the rocks and oversees the dramatic cascading landscape. A landscape left almost intact due to the implemented design strategy and the careful selection of materials.
The team decided to bury part of the building in the landscape and then create a large open-air living room in front. These will all be sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror to help the building camouflage with its surroundings. Dry stone walls will surround sections of the interior and also frame the building’s entrance. These are designed to reference the traditional walls that can be spotted all over the scenic island landscape.
Photos: Courtesy of Kois Associated Architects
This wooden house with simple volumes has been designed by Scottish firm Dualchas Architects, situated close to a cliff with an amazing view over the bay of Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Perfectly integrated into the environment, the structure is inspired by classic farm buildings in the area and has an outer coating entirely of wood. Next to the main living space is a separate shed for storage of wood and boiler room.
Inside large windows and skylights provide maximum brightness to the rooms of minimalist footprint. Harmonized volumes pure and essential, the building acknowledges floor tiles with reflective particles, which creates continuity with the outside terrace. The building is on a point of land overlooking Dunvegan along the bay until you get to the peninsula of Waternish. To the north the view is directed towards the Isle of Harris, Dunvegan towards south and west of a hill.
As requested by clients, a family of five, the internal space of the house was planned as an open floor plan with living room, dining room and living room and four separate bedrooms. The main common area is separated from the sleeping area through a sliding door in oak. The design is inspired by a classic house of the place, simple in form and definitely rooted in the landscape.
The form has been designed so the building could be hidden from the hill behind it; thus the part dedicated to the bedrooms is located on the back of the building. From the street, the house looks like a farm building, low and discreet. An intimate courtyard contains two buildings and offers shelter from the wind. This sort of “farm house” for the dark wood that covers it, is mirrored and complementary to the white house, built by the sister of the owner and is situated not far away.
Photos: Courtesy of Ceramiche Keope
This luxuriously stunning private beach house has been designed by Adam Design with Olivier Dain Perspectives and consultant designer Lesley Batchelor, is located on St Barths. The two storey main house consists of 8,611 square feet (800 square meters) of living space with master suite and two additional bedrooms with living area and kitchen. There are four independent buildings, three for guest accommodation and one for cinema and laundry. On the large beach front deck there are three beach buildings, outside dining and BBQ, lounge and a water closet, shower and beach access. There are a further two staff houses. This fabulous home has been featured on the cover of Elle Decoration and Belle magazine as well as in a luxury book ‘Summer Houses’ by Wim Pauwels.
Photos: Gaelle le Boulicaut
Eagle’s Nest is a striking Mediterranean summer house that was completed in 2010, designed by Sinas Architects, situated on Serifos Island, Greece. Serifos perhaps, is one of the last Cycladic islands that has only recently started to develop. Some call it “wild and inhospitable.” For the few faithful who visit it consistently, this “roughness” is the key element that made them fall in love with it.
On the south side of Serifos, near the lovely beach of Kalo Ampeli is an area known as “Chomatovouni”. Here steep slopes, cliffs and rock formations dominate the scenery. Within this seemingly inhospitable landscape only the eagle could build its nest.
The house has a total size of 2,152 square feet (200 square meters) and is spread over three levels. The main house, with three dormitories, is located at the lower level. The house is accessed through the backside, through a staircase that seems to cut through the building, to lead visitors to the main terrace, a balcony with unobstructed views of the sea, the bay of Kalo Ampeli and the picturesque island Garbis. Another terrace has been created that adjoins with the kitchen on the west side of the building.
The main guest house has been placed on the top of the main house. It includes its own bathroom, kitchen and fireplace. This way the guest has complete privacy and access to the view.
Finally, a small cell like building, the “keli”, also a guesthouse, is positioned completely independently at the highest level of the complex.
The peculiar shape of the house serves two needs: on the one hand it creates multiple terraces protected from the sun and the winds of the Aegean and the on the other it breaks the volume of the building into individual smaller and irregular ones. The basic building material is stone that came entirely from the excavations. Stone in combination with the color of mortar achieves a color corresponding to the landscape. Thus the building is fully and naturally integrated in its surroundings.
Outside, the house combines all the structural elements of the island such as stone, ground, the reeds, wood with its natural colors, creating a traditional atmosphere. Internally cool white was selected as the dominant color and a modern aesthetic. The floors, all of which are smooth industrial, invite you to walk barefoot and forget the need for shoes.
One week of isolation in this house will certainly function as the lotus to the crew of Ulysses and make you forget all your ties with the city and need to return to civilization!
Photos: Nikos Stefanis
Mercer Island Residence was designed to be an open and functional home by Stuart Silk Architects, located on Mercer Island, Washington. The goal of this project was to turn a house with little or no connection to the outside into an open and functional residence. Originally designed by an engineer who designed office buildings, the house had an introverted presence and grand scale. The owners wanted something contemporary and functional and most importantly, usable.
Our concept was to re-center the house around the central living spaces. We carved out a formal dining room and restructured the stairs to be more efficient and effective in organizing the circulation through the house. Windows replaced glass block and doors that reflect the grand scale of the home become transitions and views from the beautiful views overlooking the yard and the lake. A new kitchen with an open plan transforms the kitchen into the hub of the home that provides the space for gourmet cooking and still be a place for family to gather.
The exterior of the house received architectural upgrades that broke up the massing and scale to be more residential and visually organize the facade. The interior went through a large transformation as rooms were realigned with current needs of the owner. The master suite was enlarged with a new bathroom and a large skylight over the tub to flood the previously dark space with light. Interior finishes, lighting, and updated plumbing turn into well appointed rooms that are refreshingly comfortable and light-filled.
Photos: Alex Hayden
This colorful Captiva Island, Florida beach house has been designed by Stofft Cooney Architects in conjunction with interior design firm Anthony Baratta. A blend of post-modernism and tropical decor, the home includes a 6,700 square-foot main house, with a 2,400 square-foot two story guest house with two full living/bedroom suites and a gazebo that was constructed on the property. The home is a grand-scaled Florida beach home cottage, with the traditional cedar clapboard siding and large expanses of glass to reveal the panoramic views of the ocean. Outdoor pavilions have been built to sit outside and relax with shade from the sun. The home’s main color scheme is turquoise, white and chartreuse, with punches of other bold colors splashed throughout the home to add vibrancy and give the home character.
The property includes seven bedrooms, seven and a half baths, two family rooms, a study, a master suite with spa retreat, a media room, an expansive fitness room, a private elevator, a two-story guest house with two fully-equipped studio suites, a freestanding garage with two bays and room for lifts (in addition to the parking bays available to the main house), a gazebo for seaside meditation or contemplation of the koi pond, and a saltwater pool and spa surrounded by a multilevel, coquina-stone lanai. The use of Tischler und Sohn windows, doors and hardware throughout assures the use of the very finest materials and guarantees the ultimate in storm protection. A whole-estate generator serves all structures.
Relax on the multiple outdoor loggia and covered balconies serving both the main house and the guest house. Grand, sweeping views, as well as privacy, were both considered in the design of the estate.
The beach house is situated on over two acres, with over 200 feet of water frontage and soft sand beaches. The lushly landscaped grounds draw the residents and their guests to the natural beauty and serenity of island life. The soothing sounds of the waves from the Gulf of Mexico are heard from nearly every room.
In the family room, custom-made wicker sofas and club chairs are paired with custom-colored portieres.
The family room has a custom-made sofa and rug by firm Diamond Baratta Design.
The kitchen overlooks the gazebo, the koi pond, and the Gulf beyond to the south through immense picture windows; views of an inviting loggia with fireplace to the west connect you to the many moods of the sea. The kitchen island countertop consists of lavastone.
Circles and curves define custom-made pieces in the breakfast room. The table sits on a Pucci-inspired rug by Tai Ping. The steel chandelier has lacquered wooden balls.
Trellised walls and ceilings, designed by Diamond, Barratta and handcrafted by Connecticut artist, Paul Flammang, provide a magical backdrop for more formal evenings; views from this room to the formal, beautifully planted and luminously lit allow guests a vista of a different sort.
Vintage Italian Pagoda tulipières sit atop a custom trellis credenza in the dining room.
The home’s exuberant turquoise, white, sun yellow and chartreuse interior color scheme is set against a backdrop of classic white millwork, jewel and silver-toned lighting fixtures and reflective surfaces. Inspired by leading artists and craftsman like Ron Seff, Dorothy Draper, Murano, Scalamandre, Beauvaix, Stark and Charles Edwards, and executed by renowned designers William Diamond and Anthony Baratta, the home’s interiors and finishes allow lovers of light and nature to experience those things inside and out.
The entry hall’s palette is pared to white and turquoise. The runner and portieres are custom made.
For the master bedroom, designers William Diamond and Anthony Baratta used a lamp originally designed for the Eden Roc Hotel lobby in Miami. A niche wall and headboard in custom-colored velvet anchor the bed.
Seating in the master bedroom of a Florida beach house takes advantage of the Gulf view.
The magnificent mahogany and limestone staircase ascends through the core of the main house and is wrapped in Eric Beare murals that conjure up whimsical, tropical images of Gaugin’s South Sea islands.
The designers chose a bright turquoise for the entry to the home, evoking the color of the Gulf of Mexico.
Royal palms lead to a Florida beach house built by Stofft Cooney Architects. Inspired by the sea, the interiors boast invigorating colors and distinctive design.
Each house, with its standing-seam metal roofs, references Old Florida, while outdoor pavilions, loggias, siding details and architectural features executed in “high tech” materials mimic that style’s authentic appeal.
Photos: Jason Schmidt
Lopez Island Residence is the remodel of a stunning seaside home by Graham Baba Architects on Lopez Island, in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. The remodel involved the removal and recycling of the original 1960s split-level house and the design of a home that’s more connected with its location. The island residence is comprised of several natural materials associated with the Northwest vernacular, including exposed wood, iron, glass, and local fieldstone. Exterior windows provide a continual view of the San Juan Islands region, while the architectural elements and materials reinforce the Pacific Northwest locale.
In keeping with GBA’s practice of employing reused and sustainable materials, metal destined for the dump has been reclaimed to form the divider between kitchen and dining space, and beautifully weathered Australian gumwood from Sydney Harbor’s wharves has been repurposed as exposed trusses within the house. Custom ironwork was fabricated by Seattle-based Gulassa and Co.
The transition from interior to exterior space is minimal with the use of a panelized glazing system that easily folds and tucks away to allow nature in. Deep overhangs protect the interior spaces from overheating during the summer while letting in the much-needed low sun during the winter. The open floor plan allows for amazing views from all positions, making the Puget Sound environs a constant in the residence and tying in beautifully with the physical elements of the house.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Surfside Chic Nantucket is a beautiful family beach house retreat designed by BPC Architecture together with interior design firm Donna Elle Seaside Living in Nantucket, an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The colors of morning mist, foggy late afternoons and clear days adorn the interiors of this very hip, architecturally designed beach home still lending a presence of the old. A collaborative adventure with BPC Architecture and Cross Rip Builders, Rhett DuPont features visual and sensual forms. The textures, furnishings and lighting lend a style of casual elegance with a flair of femininity juxtaposed to the strong lines in the architectural field.
Front entry way featuring rough hewn timbers hand pickled with 8-10” reclaimed quarter sawn oak flooring hand rubbed white washed floors with a custom closet door out of driftwood.
Classic Kitchen with a twist of modernity! glass and marble mosaic tiled wall with slate counter tops and window sashes painted in marine blue for a pop of emphasis!
Feast your eyes for a wonderful tale of old fishing folk lore and whale etchings hand atop this custom bar, designed by Mary Emery, friend and artist of Donna Elle’s
Dining in this space underfoot with a silk rug from Stark on the infamous Louie ghost chairs on a weathered plank top table with shimmering lights and horizontal ship lap on walls with hand rubbed painted floor boards.
Master bath adorned in marble and mirror and glass for pure relaxation of all senses.
Guest Wing with bar, washer, dryer and 2 bedrooms with private baths.
Sea artifacts adorn this board and batten wall.
Custom designed bar of a ships hull featuring up lighting under frosted glass inset adjacent to old folk lore and sketches of whales on bar top.
Photos: Courtesy of Donna Elle Seaside Living
The Brick Bay House has been designed by Glamuzina Paterson Architects, situated in Snells Beach, Warkworth, a small coastal town in the north of Auckland Region in the North Island of New Zealand. The dwelling is an enquiry into where a site begins and ends; how to define the edges of the project; and the way landscape may be inhabited. Firmly dug into the earth and composed as a simple L plan, its low form recollects modest farming buildings and the idea of an ‘Elegant Shed’. The house was designed for a family of five, with the clients wanting a house that responded to the contours of the land with a relaxed sense of connection to the rural surroundings. The house is located on the road to Snell’s Beach on a 4 ha section, that’s steeply rises to the west with views to Kawau Bay and a main road along the south western boundary.
The house negotiates the contours of the site with the private areas staggering down the hill to the south, creating a courtyard, and providing protection. The L plan forms a barrier to the road above on the south west boundary, blocking noise and giving privacy. The north deck opens to the east and west allowing afternoon sun to penetrate the living areas. The open plan living areas under the gable roof have porch enclosures to north and east that frame views to Kawau Bay.
The facade of Macrocarpa board and batten wraps the house with a beautifully textured grain that gives a natural warmth to the facade, registering time as its color changes. The louvered frame to the walkway gallery provides shade in the summer and protection in the winter. The environmental benefits of timber was vital to the project, with timber being locally sourced and milled in small runs from Riverhead shelterbelt trees. Waste was dealt with on site with sawdust used for the garden and farm, and off-cuts for firewood and furniture.
Photos: Courtesy of Glamuzina Paterson Architects
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