Lake Tahoe Residence was designed by Chelsea Sachs Design for a couple living in San Francisco wishing to create an idyllic vacation retreat in the woods near Lake Tahoe, California. After years of looking for the perfect home, they decided that what they really wanted was to start from scratch and to find the perfect land, then to build on it. One day, they finally found it in a plot that backed up to a nature preserve and a beautiful, winding stream. The land was within walking distance to the lake and was nestled in a grove of beautiful pine trees. Designing this house from the ground up, my clients and I got to create and then to build the perfect vacation home for their family’s needs, and as a designer, I have never been more inspired or thrilled with the process and the result.
Elements: I believe that the most important material part of interior design is the floor — it is the base that supports the rest of the elements in the room. My clients felt strongly about having a dark floor and we sourced wide and beautiful oak planks from Restoration Timber in San Francisco. Next I came across a complementary stone called “Montana Moss Rock,” and once we had these two elements locked down, the rest of our design scheme came to life.
Approach: My clients wanted a modern home, but they also wanted a comfortable and warm mountain retreat. The intentional and edited application of barn wood paneling throughout the interior of the house achieved this affect. The wood came from dismantled barns in Indiana, and it made the home feel weathered and warm. We used it on the fireplace column, on a few ceilings, on the accent walls, and on the entire exterior of the house. We had a very rich palette already with the dark oak floors and wood panelling, so we designed our built ins throughout the house in a walnut that was only slightly stained to reveal the true nature of the wood. The result was a palette that was layered and rich but not overwhelming.
Materials: I then moved on to the tile selections which ranged from a soft and beautifully veined limestone in the kitchen, to a metallic ceramic in the foyer. I had Blue Slide Art Tile make a gorgeous clay tile for the kids’ bath. The master bath was designed as a wet room and has no shower enclosure. We used a beautiful ceramic recycled content tile in a large format from floor to ceiling on most of the walls. In the rest of the home, the drywall finish, wallpaper selections, concrete fireplace, floating staircase details, hardware, custom cabinetry, beam treatments and window valences were all painstakingly selected.
Details: My absolute favorite element of this job was the lighting selection. We used Mizu glass pendants by Terzani in the foyer to mimic the rippling water found in the creek behind the house. I then paired them with two Saggina chrome chandeliers over the dining room table which mimicked the tree branches outside.
Inspiration: Nothing inspired this work more than the natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe area and the land that we built upon. My clients wanted their home to look as if had organically grown up from the land. We found rock that looked like it had been quarried right out their front door, wood that appeared to have been split off the bark in the surrounding trees, and concrete that matched the rock boulders surrounding the lake.
Journey: Building on raw land takes patience and it provides you with a great education. What began as drawings and inspiration boards came to life over the course of two years. When I first set foot on this property, I walked with one of my clients down to the stream and we picked up rocks and bark and leaves that I then brought home with me and kept on my desk throughout the entire design phase to remind me of what mattered most: a design scheme that was in harmony with the natural environment.
Photos: Peter Medilek
02 House was designed as a modern and luxurious single story property by Daffonchio & Associates Architects, located in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. The house is set on a secluded, tranquil stand surrounded by established trees. The main house consists of 2 wings: the living wing and the bedroom wing. Both wings have long, low roofs which appear to float over and past them. These roofs are supported on external steel posts, as all of the walls stop short of the ceiling, with clerestory windows on top of all internal and external walls.
The clerestory windows allow views of the trees from inside the house, and admit a soft, diffused light into the house during the day. At night, the ceilings are lit up by means of fluorescent lights concealed below the clerestory windows. This creates a soft, ambient light, and enhances the floating effect of the roofs. The deep overhangs of the roofs and the generous concrete aprons around the house extend the house into the garden both spatially and visually. The deep roof overhangs also shade the glazing in summer, protecting the house from solar heat gain.
Along the full length of the northern side of the living area is a 16 meter long floor to ceiling motorized frameless glass sliding door. When opened, the door disappears into cavity walls, and the living area effectively becomes an open covered patio, with 2 large cavity sliders on the south side opening onto a secluded courtyard.
The entrance door was designed by South African artist Marcus Neustetter. It comprises a sheet of laser cut steel on the outside and laser cut walnut on the inside, with clear glass in between to let light shine in during the day and out at night. The laser cut image originates from a Google Earth image showing the topography of Johannesburg and the surrounding areas. The minimalist architecture, expansive spaces, soft natural daylight and white walls in the house serve as a backdrop for other artwork throughout the house.
The ecopool has been designed to read as part of the garden, with gravel banks acting as the transition between the garden and the pool, and planted wetlands blending visually with the surrounding landscaping.
Photos: Adam Letch
Toblerone House is a visually stunning modern home comprised of three horizontal concrete slabs with two distinct levels, designed by Studio MK27, sited in São Paulo, Brazil. The basic concept of the home can be described as a unique image: a free first floor with large sliding glass doors which support a wooden box delimited by concrete beams. The first floor houses the collective program, with living room, utilities and kitchen. On the second floor are the three bedrooms, the den and a home theater.
The conceptual and programmatic simplicity of the house joins a structural simplicity: a 14-pillared grid, organized in two lines, support the construction. All of the pillars are exposed with a rounded format. When the doorframes of the first floor are open, the living room becomes a free floor, totally open to the gardens – a house on pilotis. The simple architectural concept reminds of the Domino corbusian system, a type of manifestation about the free structure.
The shape of the land allowed for a longitudinal implanting of the house with spatial permeability between the two extreme areas, with a loose canopy in the garden. The apparent architectural simplicity ends up revealing complex spaces. The veranda, which extends from the living room, becomes a central living space, with an external fireplace. The office, integrated to the living room, is delimited by a stand, free from any other element. This office is connected with the back patio, which has beautiful jabuticabeiras. On the second floor, the master bedroom and bathroom open to a beam – the roof of the veranda – and look out over the treetops that perfume the beam of the first floor.
The wood establishes a dialogue with the other raw material, such as the concrete, and is used as a sun filter for the bedrooms. Each piece of this brise-soleil has a triangular shape and was fixed to folding doors, able to be kept open according to the needs of the users. On the ground floor, cross-ventilation allows for excellent thermal comfort.
The simplicity of Toblerone House surpasses the organization of the house, the solutions for environmental comfort, or even in the everyday use by the inhabitants, little surprises complete the architecture.
Photos: Nelson Kon
Kloof 151 is a family home with a guest and a ‘work-from-home’ wing spread over two levels, designed by architecture firm SAOTA, located in Clifton, Cape Town, South Africa. The home was designed to not only to enjoy the dramatic views of the Clifton beaches, but also to engage with the natural fynbos on the slopes of Lion’s Head to the North.
The house is a 3 storey building with building parking. The large entrance to the basement allows for direct sunlight and a pleasantly warm entrance to the house. At the ground floor, the main living room enjoys a fantastic position overlooking Clifton. The majority of the living levels – including the open plan kitchen – open onto the large well covered terraces to the West or North facing the mountain slope and Lion’s Head. The extreme heat and glare of the setting sun is addressed by the cantilevering balconies, extended irregular and striking hardwood screens and motorised vertical fabric blinds. These devices along with the performance glazing result in an all year round cool interior.
The terraces are surrounded to the most part with either planting beds that have been planted with indigenous flora to echo the adjacent nature reserve and to minimize the use for additional irrigation. On the North Western corner of the site, a rim flow pool is situated that creates a seamless connection to the ocean.
The ground floor is bisected by a double volume to enrich the spatial experience and create a dialogue with the double volume stairwell towards the rear. A more intimate second lounge and external terrace has been created which looks out onto the dense natural fynbos of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve. The finishes are characteristically clean and simple and include natural and robust finishes, such as wide plank Walnut floors, off-shutter concrete soffits as well as unpolished large porcelain floor tiles. This also allows features such as the imported kitchen and the stone clad fireplace to contrast with the less refined elements.
The first floor of the house accommodates 4 en-suite bedrooms, a gym and a studio space. To reduce the effect of glare experienced at the house, the finishes palette is rich and in deep colours. The bedrooms are generally lighter and contemporary with accents of classic pieces of furniture and a fresh fabric selection that create tranquil spaces. Frameless glass balustrades are used to the stairwell to increase the sense of openness and transparency in the stairwell.
Photos: Courtesy of SAOTA
Chalet Lac Champlain is a stunning cottage retreat designed by Atelier BOOM TOWN, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, a few meters from the US border, in the heart of Phillipsburg Bird Sanctuary, Quebec, Canada. The land consists of two plates separated by a steep cliff of more than 10 meters and a gently sloping lake access, a rare privilege in this sector. It offers a magnificent view to the west on this huge lake.
The three-storey cottage is part of the landscape in the manner of an observation post of the surrounding nature. Vertical circulation in the cottage overlooks both the cliff on which the building is almost lean, and on the lake, thinly veiled by trees with long trunks lining the shore. These parts are widely fenestrated.
Two large terraces on the upper levels of the south side, allowing occupants to inhabit the landscape and continue its contemplation. These terraces are fragmented volumes of the chalet already separated by slight shifts between the southern, northern and central (where the staircase is located). These sets of volume are also underlined by variations in color or set of wooden facade cladding.
Photos: Angus McRitchie
The Canyon Residence was designed by Kevin B Howard Architects to make living in the Sonoran Desert an integrated part of daily life in The Canyons, Catalina Foothills, Tuscon, Arizona. This was accomplished by creating architecture that was part of the landscape and allowing the site to influence form. Rock outcroppings and water shed patterns dictated formal responses and anchored the residence. A juxtaposing of horizontals lines and solid masses complement the vertical nature of the saguaro cacti. The entry steps up in time with the hillside meeting the main floor where it rests, bridging the ephemeral wash below.
The residence spans across a wash preserving the existing water shed patterns. The entry walk was designed to raise guests up out of the site along this wash. The main living space is located immediately beyond the entrance, providing a striking mountain panorama from the northeast- facing wall of glass. In addition to the site integration, materials were chosen not to contrast with the site, but instead compliment its beauty.
The entry bridge, looking back over the expansive desert views.
The unique qualities of the site demanded an organically designed residence. The design grew out of site integration and minimal impact. By specifying materials and colors contextual to the southwest, the final design created a home that is both timeless and complimentary to its surroundings.
The living room opens to the edge of the Coronado National Forest. The boundary between interior and exterior is blurred by the continuation of the tongue and groove ceiling finish.
There are 72 Solar PV panels installed on the roof. The first full month of Solar PV production showed 115% above the original estimated amounts. This is due to the slope of the roof being optimized for spring and summer solar orientation.
Photos: Dominique Vorillon Photography
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