This fabulous beach house retreat was designed by Johnson + McLeod Design Consultants, located on Pender Island, near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Pender Island is about a 1½-hour ferry ride or 15-minute seaplane ride from Vancouver. The project encompassed the renovation of a 1968 home, which is comprised of 2,800 square feet (260 square meters) of living space with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The designers respected the original home’s spirit while honoring the beautiful natural environment that surrounds it — “it’s a fresh Pacific Northwest take on midcentury modern.” The clients wanted the home to function as a place for escape and entertaining.
The renovation was all about transparency and long sight lines through the space to the spectacular views beyond. Creating a sense of continuity was paramount. All the floors are tiled in 30-inch by 6-inch Italian porcelain planks that resemble wood. The flooring is unbroken through all of the rooms and hallways, has no thresholds and is heated from underneath. It even continues up this high media wall, warming up the space.
The vaulted ceiling was painted white to lighten things up and cover inconsistencies left behind by old walls, since removed. In keeping with the home’s proportions, the designer designed windows that are 10 feet high, as opposed to their previous standard sliding door height of about 6 feet, 8 inches — all the more chances to see the eagles, whales and deer beyond the glass.
The designers mixed splurges like authentic Eames lounge chairs and a custom coffee table with less expensive pieces from popular retailers. The chevron poufs are from West Elm.
The designers replaced the steps with an updated metal and teak version and added a glass railing, but the spirit of the sunken living room remains. To create a unified look, the designers believe in repeating elements. In addition to the unbroken floor planks, the same sofa style, fabrics and paint colors were used on both levels to keep things pleasingly cohesive.
The designers knocked out the walls between the public areas, making it one big room. A new dining area is a part of the wide-open space. A jazzy group of pendants creates a funky rhythm overhead. The couple invested in authentic Eames dining chairs, but the dining table was relatively inexpensive from Crate & Barrel.
The biggest feature of the kitchen is this amazing 14-foot-long picture window that spans the counter length. The cabinets have all been custom designed in horizontal grained teak.
The long drawer pulls and block over the window emphasize the horizontal as well. The refrigerator and freezer are housed on the left side of the window; the pantry and a broom closet are to the right of it.
The bedrooms were kept simple to emphasize the views outside and create a restful vibe. Behind the headboard in the master bedroom is a textured Phillip Jefferies wall covering called Granite.
A wall-mounted velvet headboard allows for some versatility. It extends 14 feet so that the twin beds can be separated with a table between them or shoved together for a couple.
A big view from the bathroom shows how the lichen-covered rocks inspired the interiors. In keeping with the consistent flow throughout the house, all three bathrooms are more or less the same. They have the same porcelain wood-like planks on the floor; the vanities are crafted of teak, with long, sleek pulls and deep gray Caesarstone counters; and large-format gray tiles cover the walls.
The owners are able to telecommute from the island and stay in their recreation home as much as possible, no matter the weather.
The home sits on a hunk of rock jutting out into Swanson Channel. The designers were inspired by the lichen-covered rocks around the property, which include the occasional burst of orange, and the local fauna.
Photos: John Sinal Photography
Palm Beach House is an incredible single family residence designed by architecture studio Vaughn McQuarrie, located in Palm Beach, Auckland, New Zealand. This 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) house is located on a reasonably steep bush covered site a few hundred meters up a valley from the golden sands of Palm Beach Waiheke Island.
Sitting under a large pohutukawa tree the house negotiates the site with a series of suspended internal and external spaces connected by external bridges and stairs. The owners of this home have to step outside in order to circulate from room to room. Due to difficult access and the wish to minimize waste, the design was based around factory sheet sizes which could be carried by hand and directly fixed in place without the need for cutting. Glue laminated timber was used extensively in the framing, once again carried in by hand and pieced together on site.
A draw bridge allows the house to disengage itself from the ground, giving the occupants a sense of privacy and the feeling of being on a platform up in the trees.
Photos: Simon Devitt
Manhattan Beach Residence is the conversion of an existing three story property into a family home by Abramson Teiger Architects, located in Manhattan Beach, California. Located on a walk street, the original 1940’s stucco box was in need of an update. The clients were ready to move back to the beach and wanted to transform this property into their main home.
On the exterior the architects re-built the front facade with large openings creating a connection with the pedestrian friendly walk street . The exterior pallet is a subtle mix of smooth trowel stucco, honed limestone and dark stained mahogany siding. The living room with master bedroom above was articulated in a wood box breaking down the overall massing and gesturing towards Santa Monica Bay and views toward the north.
The public entry sequence pulls you through the front garden leading to the entry in the heart of the house where a custom designed walnut and stainless door opens into a 2 story foyer. Above the door a ledge and new window creates back lighting for an antique water wheel selected by the client.
The middle floor contains the main living spaces increased in length by combining the two units. The central two story kitchen is washed with light from multiple skylights flooding into the adjoining living and dining rooms. Custom millwork embraces a built in couch in the family room. The pantry, storage closet and powder room are all concealed behind walnut stained veneer cabinetry.
On the third floor the master bedroom occupies the view corner while an open passage leads through the master bath and continues across the bridge looking into the living spaces below and accessing the roof deck at the rear of the house.
The large roof deck is a private oasis for the clients to entertain and enjoy morning coffee.
Photos: Douglas Hill
Shelter Island House is a waterfront property that has been designed by Michael Haverland Architect, located on almost four acres on the highest point on Shelter Island, New York. After careful analysis, the existing beach cottage was retained to be “green” and not wasteful.
The 3,400 square foot addition is modern yet contextual, composed of two simple volumes with traditional pitched roofs, mirroring the angles of the existing house roof. Large walls of glass and simple planes of stucco are juxtaposed in a modern composition. Steel casement windows and doors have mullions and panes that are the same proportion as the existing house, but significantly larger to capture the magnificent views.
The living room volume faces north, to the North Fork and Connecticut, and the master bedroom and guest suite volume shifts to the northwest to capture sunset views, providing separation and privacy from the rest of the house and outdoor spaces. A foyer connects the old and new with a flat roof and deck above. The existing house is reconfigured to include a larger kitchen, proper dining room, porch with breakfast seating and four bedrooms.
The eclectic interiors include significant pieces that are colorful and bright and comfortable but elegant at the same time. The outdoor dining table and chairs, pine banquette and lounge and other furniture was custom designed.
Photos: Laurie Lambrecht
Black is back in the latest house to be completed by Luigi Rosselli Architects. This new house, built for a young family on a battle axe block overlooking Bronte, acts as a big balcony built to browse the beach.
The cooperative effort of project architect Corrado Palleschi, interior designer Alexandra Donohoe and the client has seen a graphic palette of black and white tones carried to great effect throughout the house.
Nowhere is the result of this bold application seen more clearly than in the main stairwell where the dark timber treads and handrail seem to float in light.
Australian based, this practice has a humanist approach to architecture and design, not eager to win awards, but always to instil good design and humane architecture that develops affinities, creating sympathetic buildings that flow and appeal. Working from the top floor of a converted Sydney warehouse, they are a team of architects and interior designers under the guidance of Luigi Rosselli and his three decades of international experience in Milano, Switzerland, New York and Sydney. Renowned for their houses, residential architecture, adaptive re-use and heritage designs, the studio has worked on a very wide range of projects: from offices to factories, from libraries to wineries, from childcare to chapels.
Photos: Justin Alexander
The House of the Infinite has been erected as if it were a jetty facing out to sea, designed by Alberto Campo Baeza, located alongside the Atlantic Ocean in Cádiz, Spain. Cádiz is a marvelous place, like a piece of earthly paradise, where the architects have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house the architects have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic.
The 9,687 square foot (900 square meters) house is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.
To materialize this elevated horizontal plane, which is the main living room of the house, we built a large box with 20 meters of frontage and 36 meters deep. And under those first 12 meters we excavated two floors in the solid rock to develop the whole living space.
The Romans were there a handful of centuries ago. Bolonia, the ruins of the Roman fishing factories where they produced garum and built temples to their gods, is just a stone’s throw away. In their honor we have built our house, like an acropolis in stone, in roman travertine.
To give even greater force to the platform we incorporated all the terrain as far back as the entrance wall separating us from the street, also done in Roman travertine. Once inside the wall, the entrance to the house will be via a “trench” in the form of stairs dug into the upper surface of the platform.
A Greek poet said that this is a true temenos, a meeting-place, where according to mythology, humans and gods come together.
On the denuded stone platform, three walls surround us and protect us from the prevailing strong winds. Sometimes it is as if someone had opened the bag containing the winds of Aeolus. The same winds that drove on the vessel in which Ulysses made his journey home.
There is a lovely etching by Rembrandt from 1655, “Christ Presented before the People”, that has always fascinated me. In it, Rembrandt sketches a straight horizontal line. Perfectly straight and perfectly horizontal. It is the border of the powerful dais, the podium upon which the scene takes place. There, as Mies did so often, he has made the plane into a line. I am certain that Rembrandt and Mies would like our podium house, all podium, only podium. As would Adalberto Libera, who did the same thing when he built his Malaparte House in Capri. And we like it too. And when we look at our house from the beach, we will be reminded of all of them.
We wanted this house to be capable not only of making time stand still, but to remain in the minds and hearts of humankind.The house of the infinite.
Photos: Javier Callejas Sevilla
Model Concept 1
Model Concept 2
Designed by Studio 27 Architecture, the House on Fire Island is a summer beach house in the resort community of the Pines on Fire Island, New York. The typology of the homes in the Pines is recognizable to anyone who has visited an East Coast Shoreline resort town. It is a builder-driven typology reflecting the pragmatism of the inhabitants of these coastal communities. Almost always the “good sense” pragmatism that allows these homes to be built affordably overtakes the inherent liveliness and natural spirit of the place and creates structures that are a bit dull.
This project inserts some of the “spirit of the shore” into this “Yankee thriftiness” residential typology. Common detail and material remain, but the volume of the 1,550 square foot house is expressed as a skin, rather than as a box-like container. The skin keeps the heat in. Over time, the skin of woven cedar boards will assume the same patina as neighboring houses. Large windows are introduced to reveal a luxurious light interior.
The organization of the plan creates a direct link between the occupation of the different spaces during the day and the sun’s path. Program adjacencies were carefully studied before identifying the swimming pool as the center of social interaction. Interior rooms and exterior spaces were arranged to track the path of the summer sun, connecting it to the rhythm of daily life: breakfast by the pool; cocktails and socializing on the front terrace; and evening dinners in the west light. Sleeping rooms form the backstage of the house.
Products in this project:
Bathroom Equipment: Kohler, Hansgrohe , Duravit, Vero
- Bathroom plumbing fittings by Kohler
- Bathroom plumbing fittings: Axor by Hansgrohe
- Bathroom plumbing fittings: Watertile by Kohler
- Starck 2 by Duravit
- Lavatory by Vero
Construction materials, Semi-finished materials: Caesarstone
- Countertops: Concrete by Caesarstone
Floor: Globe, Ann Sacks
- Stones 1 by Globe
- Luxor Gray by Ann Sacks
Heating and Ventilation: Gavin Scott
- Fireplace: Vision by Gavin Scott
- Entry doors by Andersen
- Windows by Andersen
Kitchen Equipment: General Electrics, Fisher & Paykel, Cascade Faucets
- Refrigerator: Monogram by General Electrics
- Oven: Monogram by General Electrics
- Dishwasher by Fisher & Paykel
- Range: Monogram by General Electrics
- Tower Tech by Cascade Faucets
Lighting, Heating, Home/building automation: Contrast, Meltemi, Wever Ducre, Delta, Artemide, Wandleuchte, Cirius
- Lighting fixtures by Contrast
- Lighting fixtures by Meltemi
- Lighting fixtures by Wever Ducre
- Lighting fixtures by Delta
- Lighting fixtures by Artemide
- Lighting fixtures by Wandleuchte
- Lighting fixtures by Cirius
Walls: Sherwin Williams
- Paints/Stains: Escape Gray by Sherwin Williams
- Paints/Stains: Pure White by Sherwin Williams
Photos: Judy Davis
Hewlett Street House is a contemporary family residence that has been designed by MPR Design Group, located in Bronte, a beachside suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The underlying design intent was to explore the notion of “prospect and refuge” within a family house and then to apply the idea to a specific site near Bronte Beach.
The “prospect” were the constantly changing beach and coast views to the south of the site. The “refuge” was the other contrasting character where we created introspective spaces that provide a sense of sanctuary and enclosure.
These two driving desires for the house were accommodated through devising two sculpted concrete forms responding to their particular use and orientation. The forms are rounded at the edges similar to tubes which are independent of each other enabling the upper tube to twist towards the view while the lower tube orientates to the street.
The upper tube containing the living spaces is open ended and carved out which allows the northern winter sun to penetrate deeply into the space while allowing an unimpeded outlook to the southern view. The form also provides efficient passive ventilation drawing the prevailing nor’ east breeze through the house.
The house boldly sits as a modern insertion into the typically poor building stock of its surrounding environment. The context is of varying building styles, scales and materials so the house creates a deliberate contrast in form and color. The homogenous appearance of the house allows the forms to be emphasized by sun and shadow with the play of light continually shifting and moving with the path of the sun.
On the two lower levels the character of the spaces changes to places of privacy and refuge. The middle tube houses the bedrooms, each with a different aspect and outlook. The lower level has a cave like atmosphere with the room formed by a cut bedrock wall and a dark stone floor connecting the internal and external spaces. The pool provides a water element spanning between the rock wall and the garden.
Photos: Courtesy of MPR Design Group
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