The Fairfield House has been designed by Webber + Studio, located on a tree-lined street in the Austin, Texas, neighborhood of North Hyde Park. The Hyde Park Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic places, and the area’s popularity has been growing in recent years due to its proximity to the University of Texas. In many respects, the 3,180 square foot home draws upon the district’s rich architectural traditions, just as its neighbors do. In response to Texas’s hot, humid climate, for example, the house is separated into small building masses that are open to ventilation. A breezeway – another classic architectural element – connects the front and the back portions of the building, but that is where the nod to tradition ends. In every other aspect of its design, the Fairfield House is an exercise in modernism.
The program lent itself to the creation of separate massings. The clients wanted a main house with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths because they anticipate a growing family. “They also wanted an in-law suite for a father-in-law who lives out of state and comes for extended periods, and needs his own suite,” says David Webber, Principal Architect of Webber + Studio. “The father-in-law was also interested in owning property in Austin,” Webber explains, adding that this made the inclusion of his own suite a desirable option.
The bridge, by crossing from one part of the house to another, captures a space below it which becomes a breezeway,” says Webber. Overall, the weaving together of interior and exterior space creates a house that is “intertwined with its site, since it wraps around edges of the site to create an enclosed backyard. Yet it still allows an easy flow from the backyard, under the bridge, to the front of the property. Also, from inside the house’s first floor, several windows and doors allow easy flow out into the backyard spaces,” Webber continues. Several small patios extend daily living into the outdoors, and the ground floor living area of the in-law suite is glazed to allow a visual flow of space between the interior and exterior.
The building volume is further broken down at its western elevation by “pop-outs.” These allow the bedrooms along the bridge to have north- and south-facing windows, thereby avoiding solar gain from the western exposure. Along this side of the site, a driveway is pushed to the edge of the property line, providing ample access and parking without bisecting the 60’ x 125’ lot and sacrificing valuable space.
One of the architects’ captured spaces is a double-height interior space. Representing the front portion of the conceptual programmatic volume, the extra height gained here makes for a dramatic entryway. Three vertical “columns” of glazing make the volume read on the planar front facade. Even the front porch and pergola don’t interfere with the purity of the volume, thanks to the use of contrasting materials (concrete, redwood, and ebony-colored steel) and minimalist styling.
Local materials were also used inside the house: pecan for interior hardwood flooring and cabinetry, and Lueders Limestone tile for bathroom floors and walls. A countertop in the powder room is made of mesquite wood.
For the center island, undercounter drawers stand in for base cabinets.
The luxury of airiness and light trumped the luxury of stuff in this kitchen.
The kitchen’s design allows for countertop-to-ceiling windows that bring in backyard views.
Full-height windows and partial walls allow sunlight to stream into adjacent rooms.
The western facade is clad in metal siding with vertical standing seams. “Metal resists harsh exposures,” explains Webber, “and it has a long legacy in Texas, like many places in the south. Many metal manufacturers are based in Texas.” This fact meshed well with the architects’ desire to use materials with local origins. Webber explains that wood siding was chosen for use on the home’s more prominent facades because wood gives a humaneness to the building; local cypress keeps the material sourcing regional.
By marrying modernism’s diagrammatic flexibility to some traditional architectural solutions, Webber + Studio not only maximized usable space but achieved a separation of the home’s two distinct living areas, while still allowing them to maintain a dialogue.
In a concept diagram, the architects show how they took a typical cubic house volume dictated by the program, then unfolded and extruded portions of it. Doing so allowed them to integrate, or capture, extra space within the site. “The house stretches along the length of the property and then kicks back into the backyard, essentially wrapping around a large pecan tree and capturing that space as its own discrete area.
This stunning Grant Creek Residence is nestled into a wooded hillside on a seven-acre property just outside Missoula, Montana. Designed by Heliotrope Architects for an active young family, the house is a wood frame, cedar clad building oriented to minimize exposure to inclement weather from the north and maximize solar gain and views south across a larch covered hillside. A single, continuous copper shed roof shelters the 6,000 square foot building. Primary living spaces are located on the upper floor with sleeping, recreation and service functions below, partially submerged below grade, and open towards the creek, the pool and the spa. An open plan and ample natural light nurtures the modern family lifestyle through all seasons. A “tatami-box” inserted into the living room re-conceives the dining experience and pays homage to the client’s period of residence in Japan.
Photos: Lara Swimmer
This beautiful house, spotted on Mi Casa, belongs to an English couple, who moved to live in the South of Spain with their children years ago, attracted by the climate and the Andalusian charm. After living for a time in the center of the Malaga village of Gaucín, in the region of Serrania de Ronda, they decided to isolate a bit and go live on the outskirts, more in contact with nature. Situated on sloping ground, both the house and the garden were projected to take account of that unevenness.
On the ground floor is a hall with stairs to the first floor and a bedroom with bathroom, for the children to use when they come to visit. The spacious open plan dining room and kitchen enjoy plenty of natural light, with a wall of large French doors that opens to a verandah. From this room is access to the living room and the master bedroom with bathroom. The walls in white, combined with grey according to the rooms, and the various floor treatments, which mark the transition between environments.
Decoration in general is inspired by traditional Spanish architecture mixed with the influence of Moroccan style which the owners love. Spaces are infused with exotic and colorful materials and textures, as well as Andalusian crafts; a blend that gives an irresistible naturalness and freshness. The outside emphasizes a porch with built-in seating, circular table and armchairs, which is perfect for gatherings or to fully enjoy the contact with nature.
This spectacular three bedroom loft apartment spotted on ESNY is located in the heart of the beautiful neighborhood of Östermalm, Sweden. The apartment features top of the line renovations and a great floor plan with soaring ceilings, plenty of natural light and fantastic social and living areas perfect for social gatherings and entertainment. A spacious master bedroom retreat comes complete with en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet. There is also a fabulous kitchen with exclusive materials and appliances, and a cozy private terrace from where you can enjoy spectacular views of Stockholm´s city skyline.
Loughloughan Barn is a stunning project that has been designed by McGarry Moon Architects, situated in Broughshane, Northern Ireland, UK. This unassuming home is a unique configuration of skillfully contained views from the interior the manipulation of natural light combined with fluid, informal spaces allowing us to create architecture that has some dramatic moments but does not overly dominate the character of the existing stone barn. The house is surprising which engages people and allows the dwelling a unique character without having to resort to reproducing a replica of the past.
The original stone structure, the splendid views of ‘Slemish’ and the desire for comfortable understated interiors were the principles that focused us as architects. The preservation and consolidation of the stone structure was fundamental in achieving an architecture where the old and new complemented each other. Thus the residence was designed by fusing new technologies with older building techniques whilst incorporating sustainability ideals in order to create a rural architecture for the 21st century, rather than simply remodeling or recreating the methods and manners of the past.
Approached from the north west this 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) dwelling has a restrained appearance, with smooth texture of zink contrasts and interacts with the warmth of the existing stone walls. The dwelling retains the integrity of the existing barn whilst hinting to the dynamic design within.
The new building uses the foundations and outer walls of the old barn, but new metal framework is inserted in the interior to create the upper ground floor. All original openings are used without alteration in the lower ground floor. The living space cantilevers out of existing stone barn and has an altogether different all be it rural architectural language.
The contemporary Residence in Kifisia has been designed for a family of four by N. Koukourakis & Associates in the suburb of Kifisia, in Athens, Greece. The home is comprised of 3,767 square feet (350 square meters) of living space, constructed on a small, almost level square plot. The concept of the designed was focused on establishing additional open air spaces to create a pleasant habitat on the small plot. The small stone mass in the entryway separates the public spaces from the private spaces to ensure privacy.
The open ground floor plan encompasses the foyer, sitting room, rest room, dining room and kitchen, which through large interior and exterior openings utilize all natural light to the largest extent, while at the same time they appear to complement the outdoor / open spaces since they are directly connected. The double height opening in the living room visually connects the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces of the residence. On the first floor, the living room, office and children’s bedrooms all have balconies without railings and transparent glass for maximization of the view. On the second floor the master bedroom has infinite views and a vast veranda. The basement comprises of additional secondary ‘functional rooms’ as well as the guest room.
The materials used for the exterior facade constitute the components used in the internal spaces. Coffee-grey coating and wood in a monochromatic dialogue define the overall structure of this building. The use of wood in the external spaces, the ground floor and the balconies doubles and visually connects the spaces of the residence.
The furniture follows the simple and minimal theme of the building’s spaces, enhancing the clean design lines and light colors of the structure as well as the primary function of light and the comfort of the spaces.
The shell of the house is constructed using a facade insulation system; the aluminum casings have thermal-break system and high spec double energy glass panels. Heating is provided through the floor while there is also a central air conditioning system. It is constructed in accordance with the specifications of a smart home where all operations including lighting, the movement of shutters, the alarm system, video surveillance cameras, multi-room sound system and air conditioning are all controlled by a centralized system.
This contemporary single family residence was designed by the duo team of architect Dalius Regelskis and decorator Greta Motiejuniene of the firm Dalius & Greta Design in Trakai, Lithuania. The home features a soothing neutral color palette in the main living spaces, the master bedroom showcases a bold royal blue with a Moroccan feel and the playroom has a fun and playful color palette with bright and colorful hues. There are elements in the home that gives off a nature theme with leaves, branches and wood. High ceilings and plenty of natural light leave this cozy and comfortable home feeling light and airy.
Photos: Darius Gumbrevicius
Toronto Residence was designed by Belzberg Architects on a large double lot in a premier neighborhood in north Toronto, Ontario, Canada, completed in 2012. The project’s ambition is split between providing a space that can take advantage of the site’s abundant natural features and also serve as a hub for a growing international family. Large portions of glazing along with clean lines and simple volumetric proportions underscore the client’s interest in creating a space with an effortless flow between interior and exterior; in a climate that is not always conducive to this type of habitation.
The interior layout of the 10,000 square foot house has been carefully crafted to provide an informal and inviting space with an understated sophistication. The architecture and landscape design at the front of the building have been choreographed to allow for an abundance of natural light and a feeling of airiness without sacrificing privacy. A simple, yet enduring material palette blends plaster and zinc cladding with various natural woods and stones. This striking modern property has received an Honoree Best of the Year Award in 2012 from Interior Design Magazine.
Photos: Courtesy of Belzberg Architects
This stunning contemporary single family home has been designed by residential building company, Capital Building in South Coogee, a coastal suburb in south-eastern Sydney, Australia. With top quality workmanship, the light and airy residential property has undergone a renovation and extension with an earthy feel throughout, using a neutral color palette, recycled materials and plenty of layering and textures. The open plan living/dining and kitchen area features a folding glass door and a large window to blur the lines between the indoors and out and bring in plenty of natural daylight. The large patio boasts plenty of space for entertaining and a large swimming pool.
This living space creates its own cozy area yet filters out to the kitchen. The use of similar tones and textures connects the 2 areas.
The living space combines various textures all within the neutral palette.
The staircase is in the center of the house so it needed to have its own presence yet still feel part of the decor. The recycled timber stairs connected to the joinery in the rest of the open plan room.
The recycled timber stairs take advantage of the space by keeping the space open, framing a display area and making it a feature of its own.
This staircase was designed and hand made to achieve a wharf style feel. It has a stunning design element which keeps the spaces open and the light filtering through.
This industrial inspired kitchen combines a timber island with recycled timber benchtop frame which has been set against a white sleek background. The island is in the middle of an open plan room yet it becomes part of the furniture with the use of timber.
The work side of the kitchen allows you to see the recycled timber bench top which is laid higher than the dark stone bench top. It maintains the industrial feel combined with the look of the rest of the house.
This dining space was a meeting of slick white, recycled timber and fabric that was kept in the same neutral textured palette.
This guest bathroom has been kept as simple as possible to feel like part of the furniture. The timber floors work with the recycled timber vanity and the decor has used earthy colors and textures to soften the feel.
This recycled timber staircase frames 2 levels of this house. It separates the spaces yet keeps them open to ensure the light and airy feel is maintained.
This kids bedroom uses recycled timber- look flooring on the walls with a fun plasterboard tree on top to give the room that tree-house feel.
This master bedroom uses a blade wall to conceal a small hall that opens on to a walk in robe and en-suite making this master bedroom feel like it is an apartment all of its own. The recycled timber-look flooring was used on the walls to create that earthy feel. The concrete heavy lights hang from the ceiling as bedside lights and the pale grey accessories give the room a dreamy feel.
This room plays off a white backdrop against textures, recycled timbers and soft grey accessories. Add the faux fireplace and the room is made for sweet dreams!
This bathroom combines a neutral palette with earthy textures. A recycled timber vanity and timber look tiles feels like you have brought the mountains to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
Photos: Sue Murray
This stunning attic apartment, spotted on Alvhem Makleri is located in a beautiful stone building from the 1920s on a street in the popular Vasastan, Sweden. The charming 452 square foot home features exposed beams and a sloped ceiling creating a snug and homey environment. With unobstructed, beautiful views from the fourth floor, there is plenty of natural light with an abundance of windows and two skylights. The apartment has a fantastic floor plan with a spacious living/dining space, a bedroom with plenty of storage as well as space for a desk and a cozy kitchen with a built-in banquette. There is plenty of room for both cooking and social interaction at the “bar,” which separates the kitchen from the living room.