The Brick Kiln House is located in a small village Munavali, proximal to Alibaug, a favorite getaway, for affluent Bombay citizens as a place to build their dream country home. Designed by SPASM Design Architects, the house was built on three acres covered partly by a grove of Tamarind and Mango trees, with the odd, Champa, Vad tree. Part of the plot was four feet lower and was an unkempt paddy field. The front of the property is a not so busy asphalt road. When driving around the Raigad district, one often chances to see local brick stacks being baked on the green lots that surround them – some remain and are also abandoned. These form a peculiar feature of the landscape in Maharashtra. The architects wondered what it would be like to hollow out and inhabit this almost primitive mastaba like forms.
Their interest lay in using this image as a genesis of the house. Further conception, was informed by site features like prominent Tamarind trees and orientation, aspect, wind and rain direction. Long stretches of the two main wings of the 8,934 (830 square meters) house, sit at right-angles to each other and about a curious tree which has grown at a leaning angle. Every room is cut on two sides with openings ,supporting easy cross ventilation and ingress of just the right about of light…..DESI (country) houses have peculiarly dark interiors offering respite from the sun, scorched outdoors.
Attached facilities, allow for an intimate interface with the outdoors, in marked opposition to urban life, here you wouldn’t need a book when you sit on the pot. The sequencing of the rooms is frugal, and in series as a farm building, you must walk outdoors to change rooms. The living space has a curious shed-like volume, where the materials of the house come together rather loosely. Insinuating incompleteness and creating a sense of being immersed in the vegetation around.
The body of the house hides under tree canopies like a gator, at the edge of a river bank. The choice of BRICK was based on color, strength, finish–blemishes of a hand-made unit were key to the overall expression. The red earth brick does not attempt to be precise, neither does it try to create patterns or jaalis as commonly seen in Indian architecture, the brick is what it is, at rest–a STACK, its mass concealing and revealing life within it. The sheer thickness–mass of the brick, keeps the interior spaces comfortably cool.
Experience of occupation takes precedence over formal gestures. Sun, rain and wind freely enter the house and will mark it over the years, the stacks will gradually get covered with luminescent moss, and nature will fight its way back. Living in a country home is about witnessing this war. The pool, takes form from the shadow of the trees on the earth below, a pattern noticed on an especially hot afternoon. In such regions water automatically becomes a source of life, getting engulfed by foliage.
Photos: Sebastian Zachariah
The OZ Residence in Silicon Valley, California, designed by Swatt | Miers Architects captures the essence of casual California living with open planning, rich natural materials, and strong visual connection to beautiful gardens designed by landscape architect Ron Herman. The owners, a young couple with two young children, wanted their home to have a casual, barefoot feel, like a vacation destination. Their 2.8 acre site, with gentle slopes to the south and mature landscaping on all sides was the perfect setting to create a home that would fully engage the beautiful landscape. The 10,000 square foot home is organized into a ‘L’ shaped plan with 2 wings joined at a two-story great room. Sheathed in mahogany boards and fully glazed on two sides, this beautiful volume pierced by a floating glass bridge both connects and separates the family and sleeping wings on either side.
The north side includes a motor court, adjacent to an entry courtyard of rectangular stepping- stones over a shallow reflecting pool.
With ceilings and two walls of Honduran mahogany, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, this space recalls the indoor-outdoor lobbies of grand resort hotels in the South Pacific.
The east wing includes the kitchen and family room on the ground floor, with children’s bedrooms located on the upper level. The south wing consists of an office, media room, and guest suite at the lower level, with the master suite located on the second floor. Connecting the two wings is a living / dining ‘great room’, fully glazed on the north and south sides.
A giant heritage oak tree, centered on the main terrace opposite the living room, has been preserved as a special focus, viewed from the entry and main living spaces.
Accessed by glass doors from the living and dining areas, the media room, and the kitchen and family rooms, the south side of the house has been designed for family living, with generous stepped terraces, lawn play areas, a barbeque patio, and a swimming pool.
Photos: Tim Griffith
Singita Boulders Lodge overlooks South Africa’s shallow Sand River in the middle of a 33,000 acre territory that boasts the highest concentration of wildlife in all of Kruger National Park. The luxury lodge offers twelve sumptuous, authentic and refined suites offer stunning views of the banks of the river Sand. Each boasts its own pool and private terrace, guaranteeing you total harmony with nature. You will quickly find that midday hours are best reserved for relaxing by the pool to beat the heat.
The Singita Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to high concentrations of lions, rhino, buffalo, elephant, and leopard. You’ll get the chance to track them with knowledgeable guides in the mornings and evenings, when they’re most active. When you get back from your safari, you will find a delicious African inspired gourmet meal waiting for you to enjoy in the shade of centuries-old trees. The lodge also boasts Africa’s finest bush cellar where you can enjoy an exclusive wine tasting. The lodge even offers a fully equipped gym (with a full view of the savanna) and a diverse menu of spa treatments, including traditional African treatments and hot stone massages.
Nightly rates for this exclusive luxury lodge starting from USD $2,867, from here.
Morukuru Lodge tucked away in the heart of the Madikwe reserve and, one of the largest reserves in South Africa, is named after the lofty trees which lend it their shade. Enfolding guests in peace and comfort, three superb villas accommodates families and groups of friends who wish to spend some special time together, far from everything, on an exclusive-use basis. The stone and timber villas are meticulously decorated, and open out onto immaculately preserved luxuriant nature: the perfect place if you want to observe wildlife and the numerous “Big Five” animals on the reserve. Airy bedrooms feature a fireplace for chilly nights and large, insect-screened sliding doors opening on to tree-shaded private balconies.
Spacious bathrooms have deep baths with a view of the bush, and both inside and outside, monkey’s eye-view private showers for an unforgettable bush experience. An additional four junior guests can be comfortably accommodated in the kid’s room, where they have access to recreational facilities. The superbly appointed living area offers fine dining for a complete party of ten, with cuisine prepared to your taste and requirements by your personal chef. Guests can also have breakfast in the morning sunshine to the accompaniment of cackling Wood Hoopoes, lunch ‘al fresco’ in the shaded garden, or dinner by starlight and candles on the broad pool deck overlooking the fast-flowing Marico River.
To stay at this spectacular lodge, prices range from $1,908 – $2,857.81 per night for four guests and $5,618.57 per night with a four night minimum for peak season for six adults and four children, from here.
The heated infinity pool is surrounded by comfortable loungers for relaxing, bush-view siestas after a dip in the cool water. A wooden veranda surrounds the lodge perimeter, providing quiet nooks for the private bush showers, leading to a romantic riverside raised walkway. On moonlit nights, dine around a crackling bonfire in the boma and on chilly nights or lazy days, savor the welcoming peace of the luxurious indoor lounge area, with its deep, comfortable couches, night-time crackling fire and panoramic daytime view of the bush and passing wildlife.
Dolphin Island Hotel is a private island retreat situated on the tip of Viti Levu, Fiji, nestled like a precious jewel, surrounded by crystal-clear waters. With tropical modern interiors by stylist Virginia Fisher, it boasts just four elegant rooms, a gorgeous entertaining bure, a romantic sleep-out boudoir and a 13-acre playground of gardens and beaches. Offshore, aquatic adventures beckon, including top-notch diving, snorkeling and sailing.
The main bure is the hub of rest, relaxation and fun with a series of poolside areas perfectly designated for time spent lying on day beds (either pre or post a dip in the infinity pool), or for alfresco dining. Casual groups of plantation-style chairs and soft feather-filled sofas beckon, as one day draws seamlessly into the next. As the last rays of the sun catch on the tips of the palm trees and sink into the ocean, the open veranda, with its banks of bi-fold doors offers the perfect venue for a tropical cocktail or a glass or two of chilled wine.
The guest bure suites are perfect for a tropical lifestyle – featuring heart timber floors, plaster walls, stone tiles, wooden shutters, high ceilings and the latest in air conditioned comfort. Fine pure cotton bed linen and soft feather pillows are perfectly suited to the climate and The Huka Retreats famed attention to detail is strongly evident within this haven of relaxation and romance.
The dressing rooms are large and generous and these are further complemented by well-appointed bathrooms, twin hand basins, shower, sculptural free-standing bath and outdoor shower, within a private garden courtyard.
For total romance, guests can take an easy stroll to the top of the island where the hilltop sleep-out bure awaits. This utterly divine, thatched open-air bedroom is rustic and refined, perfect for an overnight stay!
Villa Ercolano is nestled high above the ocean in the town of Ercolano, in the province of Naples in Southern Italy, designed by Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors. The villa dates back to the 1970s and had an excellent structural base on which to build. The internal distribution, especially at the ground level, did not need substantial changes, however it had to be updated and relieved. A dark and disharmonious atmosphere existed due to the use of tiles, stonework, dark wood frames, custom-made dark wooden furniture, fabrics and decorations of every kind. Moreover, the interior of the villa did not reflect the exterior, which denoted a typical Mediterranean style with its form and the white stucco of the walls. The main objective of my project was to recreate the harmony between the interior and the exterior. I brightened the ambiance with the use of waxed, white terracotta at the ground floor. At the first floor I chose bleached oak wood, more suitable for the sleeping area, which combined the candour of white with the warmth of wood. The window frames themselves have been bleached and modified to let as much sunlight as possible filter through.
The lighting coming from outside, reflected by the sea, the white of the stucco and of the floors, the pastel-colored linens in the bedrooms, and the deep purple velvet sofas in the living room, are the background for the family’s antique furniture and for the pieces exclusively designed. Selected family furniture, as the armoires and a large dresser, were rediscovered, whitened and finely decorated with gold patina giving the rooms a harmonious retro feeling. The elegance and simplicity of the house can also be found in the bathrooms, where the white predominates in the stone sinks combined with modern polished steel accessories. The choice of the white has given brightness to the terrace, where the sole colored elements are the blue of the swimming pool, the sky and the sea and the dark wood of some furnishings. The white, built-in chaise lounge at the edges of the swimming pool stands out against the surreal landscape of the city of Herculaneum in the background dominated by the imposing Mount Vesuvius.
Photos: Courtesy of Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors
This curvaceous brick house was designed by architect Clare Cousins as a personal home for her family in Melbourne, Australia. The home takes advantage of the long linear plot and rear laneway access, a garage with studio above was designed first, conceived as a windowless sculptural form perched on a garage clock to provide a studio or guest bedroom. The house extension curves to maximize its northern orientation and to visually incorporate the native landscaping into the house. This project plays with raw building materials, in concrete and timber, and with pattern, in brick bonds and linear spacing. The sculptural first floor contains a studio and bathroom inspired by Alvar Alto glassware with a ribbed timber cladding that continues across the west-facing windows to provide solar protection.
Photos: Shannon McGrath
This elegant expression of a modern western style home combines a rustic regional exterior with a refined contemporary interior in Cherry Hills Village a suburb of Denver, Colorado. The Cherry Hills residence has been designed by Ekman Design Studio in collaboration with interior design firm Comstock Design. The client’s private art collection is embraced by a combination of modern steel trusses, stonework and traditional timber beams. Generous expanses of glass allow for view corridors of the mountains to the west, open space wetlands towards the south and the adjacent horse pasture on the east.
Photos: Ron Ruscio Photography
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.
Villa Ferraro, also known as the Hotel “Belsito”, is owned by an old important family from Capri, Italy and presented itself as an old decadent building which lost its Mediterranean character. The garden, even though preserved in its charm, was in an evident state of abandon and deterioration. It extends itself till the big covering roof terrace, which, despite the beautiful view towards Marina Piccola’s bay, was used as a huge deposit for water tanks. Designed by Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors, the main goal was to bring back to life the original character of the building. The villa, now used as a private residence, develops itself on two levels.
At the ground floor there are two living rooms, the dining room, the kitchen and a service apartment. In all the rooms the old vaulted ceilings were restored. For the flooring the architect chose white terracotta treated with wax. Shades of white with accents of color were used for the whole ground floor to give more vivacity and brightness to the environment. The night area is situated on the upper floor, where every room has its own bathroom. On this floor typical ceramic tiles from Capri were chosen to frame and highlight the white terracotta flooring. In the bathrooms there are ceramics which differ in colors and drawings. Old vaulted ceilings were restored on this floor too, cross vaults in the rooms and bathrooms, and barrel vaults in the hallway.
Mediterranean taste was recreated even externally using large typical Capri style columns which predominate the front facade of the villa. On the big covering roof terrace the architect chose to give a more modern accent by using a predominant total white, interrupted by a thin and long water blade, which runs longitudinally through the whole terrace and ends in a big stonework jacuzzi.
The interior design is mainly composed of furniture conceived by the architect with a few worldwide selected pieces such as the big leather trunk, the imposing crystal black chandelier in the hall and the antique Venetian mirror of the late 1700s. To create a warm and cozy atmosphere, the architect used neutral shades for the fabrics (cotton and linen) and furniture, with a few accents of color to confer the chromatic brightness which characterizes the Brazilian clients.
In the garden the Capri style was introduced by using a few Mediterranean elements such as the big central oven, the soft masonry bench placed under a wisteria arbor and the big wrought iron table with a ceramic tile top, designed by the same architect. To recreate the warmth and beauty of the island and to donate a more naturalistic aspect, many different and colorful plants were introduced to compose a beautiful scented garden. In virtue of the importance that the building had in the past, the red Pompeian color of the facade has been re-established as well.