Monument Channel Cottage is a wonderful post and beam vacation retreat designed by Core Architects, located in Monument Channel Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. The structural wood and cedar shingle clad home is nestled on a rocky outcropping just above a lake offering large expanses of fenestration to provide the homeowners with unparalleled views. Designed a a four season home, the 2,125 square feet of interior living spaces offer plenty of function with a welcoming atmosphere, inviting you to stay awhile. Wood is used as a primary material throughout the home and is left untreated and natural on the interiors and finished with oil sealer on the exterior facade. On the outside of the home Ipe wood is used as a decking material as well as for the handrail. The home offers a lot of privacy due to its remote location, which made it tricky to bring in all the building materials, which had to be brought in by a barge. The cottage is self-sustaining, producing its own electricity with solar panels and there is a bio-filter septic system to treat the wastewater.
Are you looking to design your own cottage retreat and need more inspiration, or just love looking at cottages? Have a look at some of our past features on Mesmerizing Nantucket-inspired coastal cottage on Lake Rosseau and Modern cottage retreat in Quebec on the shores of Lake Champlain.
Photos: Paul Orenstein
The Lahaye Residence is a mid-century inspired home designed for family living by Nakhshab Development and Design, sited in Encinitas, San Diego County, California. Newly built for a family of four from Belgium, the single story home was required to have open and spacious entertaining areas and sight lines directed towards desirable views. Comprised of 3,000 square feet of living space, there are four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a family room and spacious great room that encompasses a gourmet chef’s kitchen. With an L shape design, public and private spaces are easily delineated, with bedrooms and family room on one end of the home and guest suite and entertaining areas situated on the opposing end. The residence showcases surprising design features, including a cozy sunken family room, interior atrium, and a “spine wall” comprised of stone that runs along the length of the house. The project is working on getting its LEED certification, with sustainable features of solar energy, materials that have been locally derived, energy-star appliances and lighting.
The interior entertaining spaces are connected with the outdoor living spaces by way of twenty feet of retractable glass. The outdoor entertaining spaces are comprised of a lounge area, outdoor kitchen and bar as well as a sparkling pool. The interior atrium creates a beautiful focal point from just about every area of the home, bringing the outdoors in. Natural materials of warm woods, stone and native plantings were used in the design scheme to seamlessly blend with the natural typography of the land.
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Photos: Courtesy of Nakhshab Development and Design
Prospect Lake Custom Home is a stunning West Coast style property designed by Horizon Contracting, located at the edge of Prospect Lake, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The interiors of this fabulous home have been designed with clean, contemporary lines, with wooden flooring and high ceilings with exposed wood beams in the main living spaces. Highlights to this spacious home includes a beautiful chef’s kitchen that is fully equipped, perfect for entertaining, an open plan kitchen, living and dining room and a home cinema and games room. The outdoors features a beautifully manicured landscape with plenty of outdoor living spaces and woods on either side of the property. The rear of the residence offers a large terrace with sun loungers and an infinity edge pool that seems to drop off to the lake below. The best part of this amazing home is that it features LEED Platinum design.
The light fixtures in this beautiful bathroom are made by Kichler Lighting.
Photos: This project was submitted to us courtesy of Horizon Contracting
The Orcas Island Home is a contemporary prefab home design with 1,828 square feet of living space by FabCab, located on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, Washington. This two bedroom, two bathroom + den home home showcases major curb appeal with a reverse shed extension over the front door. The architects build eco-friendly homes, this particular one is their TimberCab home, which features Douglas Fir timberframes, including their premium level of finish. Their timeberframes and wall/roof panels have been pre-cut with state of the art technology and a licensed contractor labels the homes as an efficient build at the site. Their home packages are devised with flexibility in mind and can be shipped to most building sites.
The architects created a welcoming entryway into this rustic home, which opens to full on water views from across the room.
This beautiful open plan living room/kitchen/dining room offers a large expanse of windows to filter in plenty of natural light and offers spectacular water views. The home is nestled on a wooded landscape that helps to offer privacy and a welcoming country escape for the homeowners.
The porcelain tiling in the bathroom is from American Olean.
The beautiful furnishings featured on the deck were curated from Costco and Wayfair.
Photos: Dale Lang
Nautical Lines is a nautical themed eco-friendly waterfront house with large expanses of fenestration to maximize the views, designed by Greg Shand Architects, located in Singapore. This modern residence offers a sinuous wave envelope with large overhangs which helps to provide shading from the hot east and west sunshine, opening to both the north and south. Reminiscent of a boat hull, the underside of the ceiling has been clad in recycled teak. There is plenty of natural cross ventilation provided from the sliding glass doors, which the owner’s open to allow fresh breezes from the water to flow throughout. To reduce solar heat gain, recycled timber has been used for the external decking.
Description from the architects:
Extensive low-e glazing affords views of the waterway to the North and South China Sea to the South. Where a view has not been offered from the ocean, the walls and built-in elements of the spaces are curved to offer a contiuous reminder of the seafront context of the home. As an example, the master bathroom walls are flowing curves with a shaded skylight over to afford views of the sky and curved roof above.
The walls, floor and ceiling of the bathroom form a sinuous curved envelope clad with stainless steel, and all bathroom fixtures including basins, water closet’s and shower fittings echo this fluid curvaceous nautical theme.
Photos: Aaron Pocock
Casa Incubo is a modular home consisting of eight shipping containers two stories high, built as a live/work space by architect Maria Jose Trejos in Escazú, an upscale suburb of San Jose, Costa Rica. Completed in 2013, the 4,305 square foot (400 square meters) property is not only surrounded by an abundance of nature, but it also encircles it with the structure enveloping a large cedar tree. This fabulous feature represents the principle concept of the project, which is an icon of sustainability.
Description from the architects: This design was conceived as a modular concept with eight reusable 40’ High Cube containers, united by a central two-story module that serves as the unifying element for the rest of the spaces. This articulating space is highly versatile and can serve various purposes, both as a social area and workspace: the house “gets dressed and undressed” according to the activities being carried out, with options including a main room, a high- definition audiovisual reproduction space, a photography studio and a publicity studio.
The project is also a result of the “interconnection” of containers that provides an additional surface, so that with four containers, the central module achieves 95 square meters of additional space, significantly reducing the building materials needed. At the same time, one of the second-story containers can shift lightly to one side to create exterior spaces with the use of a terrace and vestibule, with a secondary access on the facade.
This project questions the need for excessively large spaces, and challenges its occupants to be efficient. The project’s first level serves as a workspace and social area, while private rooms and space for private study are developed on the second level; the exterior walkway leads to the stairs that connect with the third?floor terrace, an open living space.
The bamboo covering, or “skin,” on the northeastern facade is composed of mobile panels that protect the inner spaces from solar radiation, and can be manipulated according to the sun’s movement during the afternoon hours. This skin also creates movement on the facade.
The cedartree, which predates the project on this land, plays a very important role in the placement of the home in the lot; the home was designed so that the tree can be seen from any point of the house. Sliding bamboo panels on the west side of the house can be adjusted to provide shade during the later part of the day.
The shape of the house also responds to the weather conditions of this particular location: the central two-story module acts as a cross-ventilation lung, and the western facade is glazed to achieve natural light.
Various considerations were taken into account to minimize the house’s environmental impact, from its design and materials to its energy conservation systems. For example, materials were chosen that are renewable, reusable or recyclable, as well as durable and low-maintenance. Wood from the branches of the cedar tree was used in stairs and other furniture elements. The deck is made of wood from certified renewable sources, mixed with recycled plastic; the flooring is made of polished concrete and bamboo, among other materials.
In addition, the house has rainwater collection systems for toilets and irrigation, and is set up for solar panels; most of the doors in the home are reused container doors, its hot water is heated by the sun, the cross-ventilation eliminates the need for air conditioning, and the natural light virtually eliminates the need for electrical lighting during the day.
The use of construction containers lends a rich contrast to the design, while also reducing the environmental impact by employing an already existing element, avoiding the CO2 emissions that would have been generated by producing cement and transporting traditional construction materials to the site, not to mention a less invasive earth-moving procedure. We estimate that the use of the container reduced construction time by 20% and the total cost by approximately 20% as well.
The slanted roof above the garage, painted white to reflect the heat in the tropical environment, also contains a solar heating system for water. The home also features a rainwater collection system, particularly useful during the long rainy season.
Photos: Sergio Pucci
Northwest Harbor House is a contemporary single story raised structure that has been designed by Bates Masi + Architects, located in East Hampton, New York. This stunning single family home is comprised of 1,895 square feet of living space.
Straddling freshwater wetlands and a tidal estuary just six feet above sea level, this house’s site demands extraordinary sensitivity to environmental concerns. Local zoning restricts the structure’s maximum coverage and proximity to wetland areas, while FEMA requirements set the first floor structure above the base flood elevation. The house’s basic massing is therefore predetermined, limited to a one-story, 1,900-square-foot design, raised eight feet above the ground. The spaces within this envelope are arranged, articulated, and fenestrated based on an innovative structural system that infuses the house’s inner areas with light and circulating air.
Whereas most waterfront construction uses pilings to establish an artificial ground plane upon which a conventional house is built, these structural members are integral in this project: sixteen exposed, glue-laminated piles stake out the enclosing walls for each of the three bedrooms and extend continuously from the ground through the roof. The spaces between these piles house “utility” functions: closet, desk, laundry, pantry, and shower compartment. In addition to these conventional utilities, three vertical voids are opened between the piles to serve the spaces around them.
Without occupying any of the limited allowed coverage, these open areas add considerable value by improving the house’s interior environmental quality and diminishing its impact on the local environment. The benefit is threefold: each opening draws light though the interior spaces to the carport below, conducts rainwater from the roof deck to the ground via integral downspouts carved into the piles, and ventilates by siphoning air through the middle of the structure.
At the roof, the projecting piles divide the space between a deck directly coinciding with the living areas below and a modular planting system installed above each bedroom to reduce runoff. The projecting piles also serve as supports for photovoltaics that power geothermal pumps, utilizing the abundance of high ground water to heat and cool the house. At the ground level, the space below the house is utilized for parking and storage to minimize the footprint on the site.
By allowing voids to permeate through the house, the owners have multiple visual connections to the landscape from below, within, and above, encouraging a sense of place.
Photos: Bates Masi + Architects
Skidmore Passivhaus merges contemporary design with the highest level of energy efficiency, designed by In Situ Architecture, located in an existing neighborhood or post-war houses in Portland, Oregon.
From the architect: Comprised of 1,956 square feet of gross living space, the residence provides a true live / work condition. Two separate buildings address the program requirements while creating a unique indoor / outdoor space between.
High levels of insulation, extremely airtight construction (tested at .32ach50), high performing triple glazed european windows, and a super-efficient heat recovery ventilator allow the structure to meet the stringent requirements of the German Passivhaus standard.
Generous amounts of south facing glazing (.5 shgc) maximize the solar gains for most of the year, while motorized exterior aluminum shades can be lowered to block unwanted summer heat gain resulting in extremely comfortable temperatures year round.
An extensive green roof helps manage all stormwater on site, while a roof mounted 4.32 kW PV array provides enough electricity to result in a near net zero and truly sustainable building.
Photos: Courtesy of In Situ Architecture
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