Sandy Koepke is a Los Angeles, California based designer who creates stunning outdoor rooms for her clients for entertaining, dining and the pure enjoyment of being immersed in nature along with beautiful interiors that are timeless design that radiates warm and comfortable family environments. “Sunlight. Space. Sophisticated comfort. These are the elements I incorporate into every home and garden design. Yet each project is as individual as the clients — compatible with the specific site and architecture, and reflecting their own style and needs.”
Sandy has a BFA from the University of Nebraska and an MFA from Arizona State University. She developed her incredible design style from living in sunny Southern California. Her style is fun and relaxed, combining the best ingredients in imaginative ways; creating seamless transitions from indoors to out. Twinkling layers of vintage lighting and masses of succulents in California pottery and salvaged containers add charm and color to her outdoor living environments.
“I love the design process: the attention to detail, partnership with my clients and collaboration with architects, contractors and artisans. Most of all, I love turning ordinary spaces into beautiful places that welcome you home. Timeless and effortless….a light-filled and light-hearted approach to interior and garden design.” Sandy’s work has been featured in national shelter magazines, design books and on HGTV.
Photos: Courtesy of Sandy Koepke
Prime Nature Residence has been designed by the Department of Architecture in Samutprakarn, Thailand. The owner’s brief for his residence seems at first rather simple – his bedroom on the ground floor, another bedroom for his mother and sister on the second floor, a large interior living space, and an outdoor terrace for the mother who enjoys outdoor leisure. However, a great challenge comes with the site location. The plot is situated at a busy 3-street intersection in an up-scale residential estate that forbids the use of any kinds of fences. This constraint poses serious questions on privacy of the residents living on ground level as well as the problem of trespassing car headlights at night.
In order to cope with the site limitations, a conventional linear fence is broken into series of smaller vertical planes. These planes are projected onto a grid at varying distances from the house thus blocking out intruding views and simultaneously permitting ventilation into the outdoor area. The planes continue horizontally above the entire terrace creating a well-defined semi-outdoor living space.
The planes are made from two materials: metal lattice screens and sheer canvas panels which both allow partial vision from looking through them. Lattice panels and swaying trees cast delicate and moving shadow patterns on terrace floor, building elevations and canvas planes. A large shallow pond further adds intricacy of reflective shadow to the scene.
At night, periphery trees catch trespassing car headlights and cast their shadows on deliberately-placed canvas planes. The shadow images appearing on series of canvases fade in and out and move from one side to another depending on direction and speed of passing vehicles, reminding us of some black and white animations on movie screens.
What resulted from this are an al fresco space that is in constant flux during days and nights – a space where its qualities are defined autonomously by external forces; the wind, the sunlight, and the car lights.
The 5,166 square foot (480 square meters) project welcomes the constraints of site and program as a framework to which molds the Shadow House into a living place filled with playful and imaginative shadow and reflection, and into architecture unique for its location and for its owner.
Photographs: Wison Tungthunya
Situated about an hour from São Paulo, Brazil, Casa Itu has been designed by architecture firm Studio Arthur Casas as a refuge for a young couple with children. A prime position on the banks of a small lake and the presence of a large yellow Ipe tree has led the architects to create a house that takes maximum advantage of the landscape.
The floor plan is an L shape which divides the house in a simple way: the main volume contains the children´s room in the ground floor, a courtyard next to the home theater forms an intimate living room, a large living room opens onto the terrace and garden, erasing the boundaries between inside and outside. Above this volume are situated the master suite and a
gym. In the secondary volume are the dining room, kitchen and the service areas. On the first floor of this volume are the guest rooms.
The house is marked by horizontality and fluidity between the spaces. The entry is made at the point where the two volumes converge; a low-ceiling guides the look to the external landscape. On one side the stone floor of the dining room goes towards the terrace, gradually merging into the garden.
The living room is at a slightly lower level and has a higher ceiling. A tree trunk dominates this space, covering the single column present in the room. The windows slide completely and are hidden inside the walls, bringing the terrace and landscape into the house.
The wood floor and ceiling give a warm and domestic aspect to that space that is merged with nature. A second terrace room was created under the pergola in continuity with the living room.
The old Yellow Ipe tree was preserved and merges with the architecture; a staircase was created aligned with that tree to connect the deck with the first floor. Several pathways are possible between inside and outside, being one of the most strong characteristics of the plan.
The whole side of the volume is dominated by a large wooden deck and a swimming lane, integrated with the landscape by rocks that penetrate the pool.
Covered in cumaru wood and painted with a color that uses the local earth, even though it contains a large volume the house holds a discrete insertion in the landscape, its strong horizontality in dialogue with the tree canopies that surround the site.
Plett 6541+2 House was designed as a family home by SAOTA Architects in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The clients required the residence to be designed with an understated elegance and quite grandeur, with six bedrooms and indoor/outdoor living spaces with uninterrupted views, with a ”lived-in beach-house” feel. The interiors of this fabulous home were carried out by Daniela Priebatsch and Emi Cavalieri.
Here is a description from the architects, “The beach-front site falls within a pristine and unique environment, nestled at the foot of the Robberg. With direct access to a strip of idyllic beach, it is characterized by its rolling dunes and the dense indigenous vegetation of extraordinary variety, including a well establish Milkwood thicket. The site is subject to hot summers and moderate winters, with a cooling on-shore breeze, from the North East. Taking advantage of the large dune across the majority of the site, the views were maximized by elevating the living levels to above natural ground level, terracing built forms down the dune.”
“The design incorporates large glazed areas and extensive use of outdoor spaces, with each aspect of the house having a terrace or deck. The linear open plan composition of the interior spaces allows views from every room. To take advantage of the sea and distant mountain views, while providing protection from the extremes of climate, the living spaces were designed with South West/North East orientations. Sculptured rectangular forms, linear elements, large areas of horizontal glazing, timber cladding and expansive external terraces are the principal elements of the design. Externally the natural fynbos was brought up to the house achieving a feeling that the house is set in nature and does not disturb the natural beauty.”
“The simple choice of materials complements the sculptural form of the house. The flooring is of large format leather finish Neo Sardo Granite throughout the house, alongside painted walls and ceilings. The principal neutral elements are complemented by the natural timber shutters, screens and pergola. These will mature in time to a silver-grey colour. Each bathroom is characterized by walls clad in granite to match the floors, frameless glass shower enclosures and white Corian vanities. The master bedroom is finished with white oiled Oak flooring with feature granite, tying it back to the rest of the house.”
This beautiful home in picturesque Mill Valley, California was designed by interior designer Jason Urrutia of Urrutia Design. The designer purchased this home that was built in 1979 by renowned architect Charles Moore with the intention of maximizing its indoor-outdoor connection. Urrutia wished to take it to the next level by creating a seamless flow from the great room to the backyard, which is comprised of a pool, patio and outdoor kitchen. His goal was to develop a luxurious oasis to capitalize on its natural surroundings. To take advantage of the impeccable landscape, he replaced the previously windowed wall with two 22-foot sections of collapsible doors in the kitchen. There are also three skylights and additional windows and doors that filter in light to create a sunny kitchen all day. In addition there is a beautifully decorated guest retreat, perfect for entertaining friends and family. The designer not only designed the home and oversaw the construction, he also designed the interiors, selecting all furnishing and accessories. A lot of the pieces were custom designed, such as the pillows, benches and ottomans as well as some of the upholstered furniture. Some of the other pieces were vintage, which the designer had restored. Urrutia has since sold the home to a family who is enjoying all of the incredible renovations that were done to the home, and took most of the furnishings with it!
Be sure to take a look at the incredible before pictures to get an idea of this stunning transformation and let us know what you think.
Re-purposed redwood lumber from a former Elks Lodge in a neighboring town was used for the entry pagoda and front porch.
The designer reused most of the home’s original board-and-batten siding as soffit material and fencing for the remodeled structure.
Glass industrial cone lights by Hudson Goods take over when the sun is finished for the day.
The end of this space which is now a dining room was originally a bedroom.
At the top of the house is this sitting area that is designed to convert into a bedroom when needed.
The master suite includes a sitting area, bath and closet and French doors leads out to a private master deck.
The master suite retreat features an outdoor lounge with plush seating and its own fire pit and hot tub.
The guest apartment
Before the renovation
In the peaceful natural setting of the Luberon hills of Provence, France sits this authentic Provencal noble house called ‘La Bastide des Chenes’, built between the 15th and 17th centuries. While respecting the historic and handsome original architecture, the villa has been remodeled to create a contemporary, spacious place to relax.
The main house contains 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room and an office. The farm house offers 2 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, living room with fireplace, office with queen size bed and a family room with fitness equipment. Access between the two buildings is through an enclosed courtyard.
Outside, whether in the gardens or interior courtyards, you’re welcomed with splashes of sunlight or quiet corners of shade, depending on the time of the day. Additional outdoor features include an outdoor living area, alfresco dining, summer kitchen, fountains and swimming pool. An attentive staff will contribute to an unforgettable stay where you’re left free to enjoy the tranquility of the environment, the beauty of the surrounding region and certainly the opportunity of indulging in the tastes of French cuisine carefully prepared by them.
To stay at this heavenly retreat, prices start at $3,847 per night, from here.
On the edge of the sea, urban or country landscape, swimming pools represent relaxation, a tribute to the landscape and, above all, a luxury for the senses. Here is a fabulous collection of some our favorite swimming holes that we have come across recently. There are so many creative and visually stunning swimming pools out there that we decided to showcase them collectively in one article. There are various designs, from simple rectangular pools to more complex ones, featuring delightful patio arrangements, fountains and so on. Most of them were built so they would be opened towards extraordinary landscapes, transforming a common swimming hole into an unforgettable experience. Most of the designs in the photos feature lovely furniture decorations, exciting areas that seem perfect for entertaining guests, as well as for relaxing with family and friends afterwards. Pebbles, stone, incredible furniture arrangements, cozy pillows, amazing flower pots and candles seem to be a real trend these days when setting up the perfect pool. A wonderful atmosphere can also be created with the help of dim lighting effects.
The pictures below feature a variety of shapes, in order to make things as inspiring as possible, so enjoy each and every photo and don’t forget to leave a comment as to which one best matches your tastes and why?
Il Villino is a delightfully restored farmhouse nestled on a round hilltop not far from Lake Trasimeno and Chiusi on the Tuscan-Umbrian border. The villa is filled with numerous luxuries including a jacuzzi, steam shower, a small gym and a professional chef’s kitchen. There are also shady outdoor sitting and dining areas attached to both the house and a beautifully furnished pool house. The pool is fan-shaped, set into an impeccably maintained lawn, with endless views of a gently rolling Tuscan landscape. Extremely comfortable and filled with artistic touches, Il Villino is decorated in a colorful blend of contemporary furniture and antiques offering a luxurious retreat for guests.
To stay at this stunning retreat that sleeps up to 12, prices start at $4,935 per week, from here.
The stunning Casa Vale Do Lobo has been designed by Portuguese design studio Arqui+, situated in Vale do Lobo, a luxury golf and beach resort in the Algarve, Portugal. The residence has been sited on an end plot surrounded by golf greens, beautiful landscaping and a small lake. The villa was designed in a U shape with a central courtyard for privacy. The courtyard contains a suspended pool which is the main visual focal point of the luxury villa. Since it is the main visual focus, the pool was created as a sculptural element. The upper main pool cascades down into a lower reflecting pool that is also used as a children’s splash pool. The trickling of running water creates a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. The reflecting pool cascades down into an indoor pool within the home spa area. The use of a black mosaic tile running through all pools helps to create continuity.
The strengthen the indoor/outdoor connection, the same floor level has been continued out to the exterior with sliding doors, sliding back completely, extending the living spaces to the outdoors. The main living spaces have been designed in an L shape plaster and painted white volume, with one wing dedicated to the 5 bedrooms and the other wing dedicated to the main living spaces. The single storey living space sits at an intermediate level between the 2 storey bedroom wing enables easy access to the main living space from all bedrooms. This main living volume projects out to the south in the form of a suspended glass cube, housing a snug sitting area with a fireplace opening onto the views of both the lake and the golf course. The roof of this volume serves as a roof terrace with mini-pool, outdoor living space and BBQ area for evening entertainment.
The semi buried basement space houses the main indoor entertainment areas of the villa, such as games room, home cinema and home spa, as well as the double garage and service areas. The home spa faced in the black mosaics at the end of the volume creates the sense of an infinite space.
Designed with Mediterranean style architecture, this beautiful house spotted on El Mueble was built almost thirty years ago can be found on the west coast of Ibiza, renovated and decorated by Malales Martinez Canut and his team Malmaca Line Store. “It gave a better distribution, more orderly, open spaces Malales says. It also enabled a large outdoor area, adding the pool and gazebo. “This modern home was built for entertaining, with the addition of an outdoor area using a typical Balearic dry stone wall with pool and a gazebo under an arbor. Malales liked to combine elements from different sources, from the wooden table purchased from Bali to the seats and polypropylene dining chairs all for outdoor entertaining. Adding contrast and texture, white mats, towels, blue and green cushions and raffia were added.
The interiors were developed with a vision of Ibiza style, keeping the original lounge area with a fireplace, new elements was combined with strong decorative personality. The dining room features a mix of contrasting materials, with a white porcelain floor adding an extra clarity to the environment, highlighting wooden sculptures brought in from Bali and mounted on a black pedestal. The top floor of the house encompasses the master bedroom and en-suite bathroom. The bedroom features the most prized piece brought in from Bali, where a special technique of bleaching wood and logs was applied to the headboard to give it a curve.