Portland Hilltop House is a single-family home with a simple, long bar plan designed by Olson Kundig Architects and situated in Portland, Oregon. Although primarily wood frame construction, many structural steel elements are contained within its design features. The two-story home features a rhythmical spacing of floor-to-ceiling windows providing a rigorous proportion and rhythm along the south elevation. Views across the main axis – from the courtyard to the south-facing balconies – provide a strong connection to the outdoors. A lantern-like entry vestibule surrounded by windows is covered by a large thin steel plate canopy that appears to float above it, welcoming visitors to the house from the motor court.
The main level includes living areas, an office, and a master suite. From the main level, the landscape slopes down to expose a lower level with a media room, pool room, and guest quarters, as well as a 100-foot library stretching along the entire north wall. The master suite angles away from the rest of the house, taking in the best views and seemingly hanging in the trees.
The architects applied an industrial aesthetic to the family room. Blackened-steel panels sheathe the fireplace wall; a concrete slab forms a minimalist hearth. The furnishings and rug echo the colors and forms of Kundig’s architecture.
Photos: Tim Bies Photography
Tahoe Modern is a rustic modern dream home for a couple and their two children, designed by Artistic Designs for Living in the Homewood Mountain Ski Resort, near Lake Tahoe, California. The property is comprised of 4,000 square feet, with five bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms. “They wanted a house in Tahoe, but they didn’t want your typical Tahoe house,” states the designer, referencing the mountain lodge look adopted by many homes in the area. “They wanted something more modern.” She made it work by referencing a look that’s more industrial and European than log cabin or mountain lodge. The entry sets the tone, equipped with chairs for removing skis and a mudroom for storing them.
The dining room is outfitted with an extra-long banquette, perfect for fitting a lot of friends around the table. The light fixture was made from an old ski lift seat that was discovered on the property.
The living room is meant for gathering. “There’s no formal living room, because that’s not how people gather up there,” states the designer. The ceiling height was set at 8 feet, but Triggs didn’t shy away from covering it with rustic wood and beams. “It gives the space texture and a clubby feel,” she says.
The fireplace, clad in steel and adorned with large rivets, has an industrial feel. Small stools and oversize ottomans that act as coffee tables or extra seating make sure there’s always a perch near the fire.
The game room, located behind the entry chairs, was originally supposed to be another bedroom. For this family of four with two kids, the designer opened it to the hallway and living room and made it a game room. Thick pass-throughs make the space feel substantial and act as display shelves.
The designer wanted the home to have a Ralph Lauren style to it. The geometric rug is a subtle reference to game boards — Monopoly is a favorite with this family.
The designer likes to mix masculine and feminine elements in her designs. In the powder room, the stone vanity is beefy and dark. White light fixtures and a white-framed mirror pick up the tones in the veined marble for a yin-yang effect.
At the entrance to the kitchen, the ceiling soars, making room for large windows that embrace a view of tall trees.
The industrial rivets are back in this room, this time on the range hood.
They industrial rivets also appear, in a smaller scale, on the edge of the eat-in island.
Upstairs the master bedroom is done in neutral colors and rich textures — from a grass cloth wall covering behind the bed to a bench that’s upholstered with a cuddly textile reminiscent of the inside of a sheepskin boot.
The bedroom opens to the master bath. “We had thought about dividing these rooms with a barn door,” says Triggs. “But it just didn’t work.”
Had the rooms been divided, the owners would have missed this view from the bathroom windows. A window seat makes the space seem extra luxe, and the designer notes that when the kids bathe here, the parents have a place to sit. The rivet motif is present on the tub exterior and, in shape only, in the Roman shades.
On the upper level, it’s all about family with a large sectional. The animal head sculptures “are a whimsical nod to old Tahoe style,” states the designer.
A table makes room for games, crafts or projects. In another old-Tahoe reference, the cabinets are outfitted with fish-shaped hardware.
Baskets on nearby shelves organize everything from Legos to paints.
For this family, like many, sleepovers are a regular event. Bunk beds make sure that there is always room for friends.
Vintage ski posters add old-school flavor.
The vanity, open to the family room, is a skillful mix of old and new with rustic wood, a corrugated backsplash and industrial sconces. “My goal was for this house to feel cozy, warm and modern,” states the designer.
Photos: Courtesy of Artistic Designs for Living
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.
Kuruma House project is a modern remodel by Olson Kundig Architects of an existing house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Bringing light into the 2,230 square foot, three bedroom, three bathroom home and creating a stronger connection to the outdoors were important aspects of the renovation. In addition to extensive skylights, the rear of the house was transformed with the addition of a 10’x10’ custom designed jalousie window, and large sliding and pivoting windows and doors.
The interior of the home was updated to provide a comfortable space to live and work. A simple, dark material palette provides a unified backdrop for elements that carry significant personal connection for the client. Many of the home’s furnishings were custom designed, including a rolling office “kuruma”—a modern interpretation of a traditional wheeled storage chest.
Menlo Park Residence is a modern single family home that has been designed by Dumican Mosey Architects and built by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders in San Francisco, California. The cool modern 5,500 square foot home gets its warmth from the architect’s intentions, the homeowners’ style and two kids just being two kids. While the design exhibits many trademarks of minimalism (clean lines, hard surfaces, high ceilings, and lots of glass), the architect also integrated antidotes to the inherently cool style: a U-shaped courtyard, raised sun decks and a sophisticated playground complete with pool, and raised sun decks. The result was a modern home that still embraces texture, warmth, lightness and a connection to the outdoors.
The ground up project features an aluminum storefront style window system that connects the interior and exterior spaces. Modern design incorporates integral color concrete floors, Boffi cabinets, two fireplaces with custom stainless steel flue covers. Other notable features include an outdoor pool, solar domestic hot water system and custom Honduran mahogany siding and front door.
The entryway, itself, features a living wall by Kevin Smith (no relation to the homeowner). The home has a high-tech system that unlatches as the homeowners approach.
The streamlined Boffi kitchen was customized to hide all the unsightly necessities of a family of four.
The home’s seamless connection to the outdoors is best represented by the great room’s clerestory windows, skylights and a 40-foot-wide series of sliding-glass pocket doors. During the day, this allows for an abundance of warm sunlight and fresh air, bringing life to the stark architecture. By night, the McIver-Smith household takes on a new vibe, when two fireplaces and an ensemble case of static light fixtures are turned on.
The dining room, located to the right of the entry, is like a glass vitrine at night with 36 Bocci pendants and a glossy white table. Is in the living room, the fireplace surround was custom-designed and fabricated by Concreteworks’ Mark Rogero.
Fatboy beanbags and playful “Scrabble” tiles by Justine King make the kids’ playroom the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon with movies or video games.
The master bedroom’s entire corner opens to the pool area by way of a sundeck featuring an automated shade canopy. Owner Bridget McIver furnished the house with Italian pieces from Dzine, such as Paola Lenti’s outdoor seating.
The integration of the pool area and patio with the living room allows for easygoing entertaining—as does a separate guest suite. The homeowners have hosted everything from a 40th birthday bash to a make-your-own-pizza social to a karaoke blowout.
Both of the kids’ rooms are decorated with Blik wall decals. This room has an added touch, a wall-mounted fishbowl.
The master bedroom uses a serene, relaxing color palette of soft greens.
The master bed and bath are tucked into the lot’s far corner, allowing for plenty of glass but ensuring privacy.
Kerr House has been designed as a modern family home by Tony Owen Architects, located close to Tamarama beach in Sydney, Australia and enjoys spectacular views of the beach from the upper level. The client sought a minimal light beach house. The existing house had a lush tropical garden at the rear. The architects sought to preserve this garden and focus the house so that it opened onto the garden as a large outdoor room which would be an extension of the living area.
The design is structured around a timber spine wall running along the southern boundary. The new house hangs off this wall. The house opens up to the rear with a large cantilevered concrete wing extending outwards to the garden. This creates solar protection and also extends the space into the garden. The remainder of the house is clad in timber battens and glass louvers to maximize natural ventilation. There is a large central glass enclosure in the middle of the house where the main stair is located. This atrium provides light to the center of the house.
The house was designed according to the principles of passive sustainable design. It uses natural materials such as timber. The central atrium and extensive use of glass louvers maximize natural ventilation and the use of large overhangs promote sun shading. The use of expansive upper deck areas maximize the use of spatial flow and integration with the site.
The house has 3 bedrooms and a family room upstairs, it has an open plan living, dining and kitchen on the lower level with separate bedroom/study, laundry and guest bathroom on the lower level.
The external – beach house’ feel of the house is typical of the area. As time goes on, the untreated external timber battens will grey to reflect a weathered sea-side feel.
The house has a sophisticated and luxurious feel but was realized for around $1mil, which is considered modest for this area.
Photos: Courtesy of Tony Owen Architects
Marsh Residence is a stunning rustic modern property that has been designed by Dungan Nequette Architects in Birmingham, Alabama. The project began with an existing house of most humble beginnings and the final product really eclipsed the original structure. On a wonderful working farm with timber farming, horse barns and lots of large lakes and wild game the new layout enables a much fuller enjoyment of nature for this family and their friends. The look and feel is just as natural as its setting- stone and cedar shakes with lots of porches and as the owner likes to say, lots of space for animal heads on the wall! This project was featured in Southern Living, May 2013.
Furnishings found throughout the home are both antique and pieces picked up from Restoration Hardware.
The wood floor and unfinished beams make for a beautiful rustic kitchen. What makes this kitchen special is the bright, open space flooded with light thanks to the custom windows. A floating wood shelf and an antler chandelier bring it all home.
Photos: Courtesy of Dungan Nequette Architects
This modern urban townhome model has recently been designed by Cecconi Simone, representing a community of urban residences envisioned for Downtown West, Toronto, Canada. Conceived around the principals of Active House, a Danish movement committed to healthy and sustainable interior environments, the model brings to life a complete townhome ground-floor.
The 840 square foot show space features an open-plan live–cook–dine area centered on a skylight in the kitchen zone. A wall-to-wall run of custom millwork spans its entire length, with white matte-lacquer built-ins, white Corian counter-backsplash and syncopated walnut niches forming a sweeping backdrop to the extended kitchen-island, in black melamine with counter in black engineered-quartz and breakfast bar / dining surface in solid walnut. The result is a striking interplay of surface planes: pale and dark, matte and reflective, horizontal and vertical.
The model en-suite, arranged around a skylight, includes custom white lacquer and walnut vanities with custom Corian sinks and walnut niches over the tub. The shower and water closet are enclosed in clear and translucent glass, imbuing the space with dimensional complexity.
Photos: Joy von Tiedemann
Ramat Hasharon House 13 has been designed by Pitsou Kedem Architects as a modern private residence built between two central courtyards in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. A frontal courtyard excavated to a depth of three meters and the second courtyard at the level of the building’s ground floor. This topographical interface creates a unique cross section to the building’s mass with each part of the building, even the section constructed as a basement, being open to its own courtyard.
The house’s central space rises to a height of six meters and is 17 meters long. There are no pillars in the space and the entire front is transparent with glass windows that slide apart with the aid of an electric motor. Thus, the entire interior of the home opens into the courtyard and the border between inside and outside is cancelled. The swimming pool seems as if it extends into the structure and, when looking into the house from the courtyard, the house in reflected in the pool which strengthens our impression of the building’s mass.
The central space of the kitchen, the dining room and the living room is open in two directions – to the west and to the east. This provides a feeling that the space is constantly enveloped by natural light and the greenery of the trees in the courtyard. The structure’s central space, set in the center of the plot, is accessed via a long bridge that crosses the sunken courtyard and leads to the front door. From the bridge, we can see the children’s living rooms which open into the basement.
The structures two supporting side walls have been emphasized, one was poured from exposed, architectural concrete and on the other a large library reaches to its full height.
The master bedroom is set on the second floor and opens onto the double space and the courtyard allowing for a view of the entire plot.
Photos: Amit Geron
House in Rocafort is a modern property with unique geometry, which has been designed by Ramon Esteve Studio and located in Valencia, Spain. The beginning condition for this house is born from the trapezoidal shape of the plot, located in a residential area. The vegetation is a dense element of edge. That is the reason why the house is proposed like a volume where focusing views becomes specially important. The composition of the different spaces depends only on geometry and light.
Geometry, because there are produced addition and subtraction processes to the volume until get the right proportion of the built space. Light, due to the develop high quality atmosphere and of its expressive possibilities. The consistency of the project depends mostly on using properly the light. The right combination of both is the key of this project.
We try to provide each room with a different character. The inside-outside transition is really important to get it. We try to expand the space by extending the skin of the house to the outside. Besides, the empty spaces receive the light that shines through the holes. That works quite different depending on the time and the privacy degree. That is to say, the light shines bright and strong through the holes of the porch, veiled and controlled in the private spaces, getting to create dense atmospheres.
Photos: Courtesy of Ramon Esteve Studio