San Vicente House was designed for a family with three small girls to respond to the busy street it is located on by McClean Design, situated in Ramona, San Diego County, California. The architects came up with a sequence of entry which uses several devices to separate the occupants from the noise beyond. The drive court is screened from the street by high gates and tall landscaped elements. This area connects to an inner courtyard through a curving glass screen designed to allow the light to pass through but shield from the cars and noise. The courtyard contains a waterfall and an infinity edge pool both of which help to instill a feeling of calm as you approach the house.
Our hope is by the time you enter into the two story entry hall you have left the rest of the world behind. The L shaped plan of the house maximizes the expansive back yard while further screening potential noise such that the rear yard is extremely quiet and peaceful. The garden also contains a pool and guest house.
The house consists of master plus four bedrooms on the upper level with a family room, art room and gym. The lower level has formal living and dining rooms, family room, media and office plus associated secondary spaces. The house is finished in cool grey and cream limestone with light plaster and paint tones and bronze metal accents.
Photos: Courtesy of McClean Design
Solis Residence is a breathtaking house set within its stunning natural surroundings on Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia. Designed by Renato D’Ettorre Architects, the home has been carved into a steep edge of Hamilton Island, brilliantly sculpting three interlocking levels to frame extraordinary views of islands in the Whitsundays waters. The home is sculpted from concrete, stone, block work and glass resulting in a sequence of dramatic volumes incorporating airy living spaces and private sheltered outdoor zones. the building elements are intertwined with reflection ponds and a swimming pool, lending a sense of tranquility and sensuous tactility whilst providing casual, elegant outdoor living amid the beauty and serenity of the island.
From the architect: As a design practice, our aim is to create evocative architecture which satisfies the human need for textural and tactile experience. Solis on Hamilton Island draws inspiration from its magnificent location and Mediterranean coastal architecture: simple, permeable volumes opening and unfolding, capturing distant views of water and land.
This site, within its luscious natural setting, brings the weather seasons into focus with the vegetation’s glorious display of color, texture and flower – nature’s constant reminders of life’s cycles. Remaining connected to these surroundings was one of the key elements driving the design of the house.
Terraces are fluid extensions of internal spaces capturing cooling breezes and allowing cross ventilation. Bedroom terraces frame magnificent views of water and garden, distant lands and the horizon, so that falling asleep or waking is never a mundane ritual. Special attention was taken designing the bathrooms:eliminating superfluous detail and relating to the natural surroundings imbues the spaces with a sense of well-being and purity that is invigorating for the body and stimulating for the mind.
Always connected to water, the interiors are sheltered and cool: swimming pools, reflection ponds and strategically positioned trickling waterfalls soothe both indoors and outdoors, as each rain droplet resonates through the spaces.
In contrast to this sense of tranquility, equally critical to the design was to provide a high degree of safety to the occupants by integrating building regulations so that the house is able to withstand the destructive forces of tropical cyclones that are common in this region of Queensland.
Construction method and material selection was influenced not only by the climate but also the client who had expressed preference for low maintenance materials on a sub-tropical site with extreme weather: long periods of hot, humid conditions and prolonged heavy rain during the wet season limit material lifespan.
Another factor was regional Council’s limit on colors: white and primary colors were not permissible. For these reasons concrete became the primary material; utilizing its eternal qualities of extreme resiliency, excellent thermal properties, the textural quality and hue of rough sawn timber boards echoing the trunks of gum trees and large grey weathered boulders on the site. Further, concrete allows for a ready-made finish eliminating the use of render and paint as well as lending instant patina.
Wall and floor finishes, such as polished concrete, unfilled honed travertine tiles and textured internal renders were selected for their durability and tactile qualities; the irresistible urge to experience the house bare-feet whilst enjoying the touch of the smooth, cool stone.
The design seeks to balance the human spirit by the enriching experience gained in re-connecting with nature through the simple act of observing the wonders of its ever-changing scenery and by harnessing its benefits: off-shore cool breezes, warm evenings, spectacular sunsets, lush vegetation and the beauty of tropical rainfalls.
Chameleon villa offers unique architecture and design in the exclusive area of Son Vida, Spain with breathtaking views to the sea, the city and the harbor of Palma. Spotted on Sotheby’s, the Chameleon house is comprised of 26,867 square feet (2,496 square meters) of living space with 10 bedrooms and nine bathrooms. The villa attracts through its exceptional light effects, which accomplish a true miracle of light; finest crystal on which surface has been installed with a special LED technology that can be programmed in its colors corresponding to your wish. The villa consists of three buildings. The main house is divided into three floors with living room, library, TV room, bedroom suites, kitchen and wine cellar. The second building offers the pool, wellness and fitness area. The third building is used as the guest house with 200 m2 of living space.
Special features of this exceptional villa includes, wine cellar/grotto, water view, various terraces/outdoor space, immaculate gardens, steam room, staff quarters, steam spa/hot tub, indoor and outdoor pool, gym, media room/home theater, prestige fitted kitchen, lift, living and dining room with fireplace, library, laundry room, stone floors, underfloor heating throughout, intelligence system, electric gates, installed music system and security system, as well as a guest apartment and garage.
This spectacular property is listed for sale from here.
Photos: Courtesy of Sotheby’s
Russet Residence is a modern project with dramatic cantilevers designed by Splyce Design in West Vancouver, British Columbia on a steep site with mature cedar and douglas fir to the west and an ocean view to the south. The 4,600 square foot, five bedroom, five bathroom house responds to these conditions by nestling itself into the hill while also projecting out over it to maximize views and connectivity to the landscape.
Due to its proximity to the rugged and sloping creekside bank to the west, the house was subject to strict environmental and geotechnical conditions, including a required setback from the top of the bank that pushed the building’s foundation eastwards. The resultant footprint was awkwardly narrow, so to gain back valuable space, a portion of the main and upper floor is cantilevered back out past the foundation, allowing the native creekside vegetation to grow up, under and around as an uninterrupted, wild, forest floor.
Tucked into the hill, the front of the house is deceptively modest in scale, set off by the large mature cedar that anchors the front yard. A discreet overhang is all that distinguishes the garage, which is covered with Swisspearl, a cementitious panel with integrated color that requires no painting. (The same material is repeated on the barbecue pit out back.) The rest of the facade is covered in western red cedar — a nod to the towering evergreen that dominates the front yard.
The dining room cantilevers 15 feet from the foundation. The glass walls extend below the floor plane and above the ceiling plane, minimizing divisions between the interior and exterior.
The topography of the site reveals itself as one descends the exterior stairs adjacent to the forest and follows the exposed concrete wall to the main entry. Continuing through to the interior, the wall rises up seventeen feet to help frame the bright circulation volume, with stairs leading to the upper floor and down to the main living spaces.
A stairway on the east side of the house provides access between the living room deck and the yard and pool below. The adjoining wall screens bathers as they dart between the two.
The floors throughout most of the house are polished concrete. As the slurry set, it was agitated with power trowels to give the surface a mottled patina.
“We wanted the walls to dissolve into the forest,” states the architect. He joined the dining room windows with black silicone in lieu of frames to minimize the structure. Stepping into the space, you can see the woods straight ahead or turn to the left to view the bay.
“We wanted everything to be simple and timeless and to not distract from the outdoors,” states the architect. The custom cabinets are finished in white oak and Formica’s ColorCore laminate, which the designer considers a more durable alternative to lacquer. The perimeter counters and backsplash are black honed granite; the island is topped with Caesarstone.
Parish warmed the room with white oak floors and cabinetry. B&B Italia’s low-profile Charles coffee table is echoed in the Panavision proportions of the gas fireplace, which emits a ribbon of flames.
The front door opens into a split-level entry dominated by a dramatic staircase. The white oak treads project from the concrete wall at right but are not supported on the other end, defying gravity and adding drama to the ascent.
In a house with so many remarkable design elements, one that provokes a fair share of comments is this guest bathroom off the pool. A single stone bench extends from the shower to the cylindrical sink, with a Duravit toilet discreetly mounted between the two — atop what is, essentially, the vanity. The architect insists he came up with the plan simply to save space, but admits it’s become a conversation piece at parties.
In the master bedroom, a custom bed backs up against a white oak wall that divides the space from the dressing area behind it. Walls of glass overlook the adjacent forest, assuring privacy and an ever-changing panorama of flora and fauna. A portion of the master bathroom is visible at the back.
A mirrored wall behind the vanity reflects the neighboring woods, making the narrow master bath appear much larger. “You can sit in the tub and feel like you’re sitting in the trees,” states the architect.
Photos: Ivan Hunter
The Jesolo Lido Pool Villa is the first of a development for 9 single family residences by JM Architecture, located in the beach town of Jesolo Lido, Italy. The villa is a custom designed prefabricated wood structure, and it was built and furnished in only 6 months. Energy-saving high standards have been applied to the shell to guarantee maximum comfort and almost zero costs throughout the four seasons. The building features wood structures as a flexible and anti-seismic system which also avoids thermal bridges. The 31 centimeters of perimeter insulation, argon-gas insulated glass facades, 10 kw of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof and the interior / exterior led light fixtures co-operate in making a technologically contemporary building. Because of the small dimensions of the plot, the design goal has been directed in leaving as much open space as possible.
The indoor living area has transparent sides which opens towards two different-sized patios. The largest one, to the west, features a long swimming pool, which takes the entire length of the space, and two planted square inserts. An olive tree is the main three-dimensional element in the patio and it’s placed next to the staircase which leads to the underground level, where the storage and technical rooms are located.
The smaller patio, to the east, also features two planted inserts with another olive tree to counter balance the other side. The outdoor areas, as a client’s main request, needed to be low maintenance, so most of the surface was paved and the plants in the inserts where selected in order to live with the least care possible. The 4-meter roof overhang to the west allows to have enough shading during the hot summer months and allows to place a covered outdoor seating and dining areas.
Interiors are custom designed with typical JMA solutions, like audio/video walls, custom designed solid-surface kitchen, motorized roller shades which disappear into the dropped ceiling for maximum continuity of indoor-outdoor areas, integrated indirect lighting and home automated electrical system.
The radiant floor heating system is powered with an electric heat pump which takes the energy from the photovoltaic panels. The air-conditioning system is fully integrated in the dropped ceiling with linear diffusers and hidden intakes. As always for JMA, the pursuit of simplicity and linear solutions represented a large part of the design work.
Photos: Jacopo Mascheroni
Casa del Agua is a single family home where water serves as the main design element, designed by a.a.a Almazán y Arquitectos Asociados, situated in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico. Water is used as inspiration for the design of this home and through the use of well-defined volumes are habitable spaces, with high ceilings and intermediate courtyards, which through ventilation and lighting of walkways, will be achieved, effects of light and spaciousness to the interior, making the most of natural light. Sustainable features were also used in this project to respond to the needs of the client, giving comfort, savings and efficiency of resources.
With finishes of marble, wood and white walls, manage to make spaces of great comfort, simplicity and elegance. Each space has a luminous atmosphere that emphasizes and integrates the furniture, that harmonizes with the various finishes.
The house is uprooted in an area of 22,970 (2,134 square meters), with 16,146 square feet (1,500 square meters) of constructed area and has 11,593 square feet (1,077 square meters) of garden, which create a pleasant environment, together with the use of water, they make different views by integrating the exterior with the interior.
With excellent use of space, the house is distributed on two levels and a basement. In the first level, a wooden deck nearly 17 meters long, surrounded by water, a fountain and a planter, which distributed the passage to different spaces, we find: A guest bedroom with bathroom and terrace overlooking the reflecting pool, later, the lobby with the guest bathroom, study, dining room, illuminated by a large window that overlooks a terrace breakfast area overlooking the rear garden, the room, overlooking the swimming pool located in the back of the house, a kitchen and a front room surrounded by indoor gardens that offer plenty of space.
The second level has private spaces divided into three areas, one is the master bedroom overlooking the rear garden. Another is home to a study, family room and a bedroom with bathroom, divided by two large voids and in the third, three bedrooms with terrace overlooking the reflecting pool, located at the main entrance.
Finally a basement divided into two areas, one consisting of a ballroom and champagne service, guest bathroom, cinema room, covered terrace and cellar for garden furniture. In the other, the area of services, consisting of laundry, chauffeurs, wine accessories and diving equipment, hydro-pneumatic room, bath service garden, cistern of 37 m3 and an electrical substation.
Photos: Jorge Moreno
La Vinya is a two-level home designed by Lagula Arquitectes which effortlessly melds the exterior environment into the home through expansive terraces on both the lower and upper levels, situated in Caldes De Malavella, Costa Brava, Spain. This 4,306 square foot, four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home separates the entertaining areas with the private living areas. Each of the four bedrooms offers their own en-suite, while the downstairs area is ideal for social gatherings with a half-bath available and an open plan for living, dining and kitchen areas.
With its very high-quality range of finishes and fittings, rational use of materials and the integration and full appreciation of the resort’s privileged natural setting, the home is a successful example and benchmark for the style and quality of life that PGA Catalunya Resort offers. Listed for sale at $3,044,140, from here.
While the interior is spectacular, the villa´s outdoor terraces, outdoor kitchen and custom-designed infinity pool will captivate its future owners.
The Naked House has been designed by architect Marc Gerritsen as a single family contemporary home for himself in Koh Samui, Thailand. The site location was chosen for the large expanse of the surroundings and quietness. Life in Taipei is very hectic, so the architect needed a place to escape, a quiet area with fabulous views. He wanted an open plan living room with doors that can totally slide away, overlooking a pool and the ocean, something he had been dreaming about for a long time. With this plot he was able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. “The house was a return to the basic values in life: good clean air, wide open space, quiet solitude. With these basic values you can be in a space that is uncluttered, and your mind can become still.” This was also the reason behind the basic materials that were applied to this project: concrete, wood, steel and glass. With no embellishments, the focus was applied more heavily on the space rather than the materials.
I originally planned three stories: two bedrooms on the bottom; the pool, living area and kitchen on the middle level; and an office on top. But I’ve added a bathroom on the living room level, a laundry room and pantry. I wanted a simple kitchen, with no overhead cupboards or tall fridge, so the pantry is good for storage. I added a freestanding open-air bathroom, as the top room became a magnificent master bedroom which needed an en-suite. The tank and plant room became a large open room with a swing bed, underneath the deck I added a steam room, and the space below the bedrooms now houses an office and maid’s room. So it ended up being five stories – the result of a work in progress.
My work over the last few years as an architectural and interior photographer has taught me what not to do. Looking at all the incredibly fine detailed properties I photographed in Asia. I thought: “Is this really necessary to be comfortable? If I walk on a concrete floor or if I walk on a marble floor, is it going to make my living experience so much better?” No. You just need a floor to walk on. I am interested in a return to basics, in a luxury monastic way of living.
Photos: Marc Gerritsen
355 Mansfield is a modern rustic collaboration of Asian influence and California lifestyle, designed by Amit Apel Design, located in Los Angeles, California. This 5 bedroom and 5.25 baths 1,683 square foot home sold for $3 million, clearly setting the high-water mark for this matured neighborhood. On entering, enjoy the welcome of bold colors and contrasting materials inviting you to cleanse your mind’s eye and explore the artful display of lines, shapes and mass integrated into a warm and livable abode.
As you pass through the grid-glass entry door you witness the openness of a livable space yet well defined areas for living, eating and kitchen prep.
The use of Japanese style plant separators, step-up floor to the kitchen and precision lines and surfaces make for an enjoyable eating, living and relaxing life. The master chef will love the ease of food preparation in this spacious kitchen with extensive work area and storage space while the family and guests enjoy the open eating and living areas with Japanese style grid windows that retract to take them outdoors while inside.
The outdoor yard is enhanced with Japanese style landscaping to create the privacy wanted while also enjoying the California spa.
Float up the stairs to the second level and relish the light and airy environment of bedroom and bathroom spaces.
The spacious master bedroom has an inviting yet private balcony, a bathroom with modern fixtures worthy of an art display, and a bonus escape for intimate conversation or simple relaxation to end the day.
Three additional bedrooms offer no less than the same quality design existent throughout.
Photos: Courtesy of Amit Apel Design
Balaclava Road residence is a contemporary dream home dsigned by COS Design, situated in Caulfield North, a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Here is a statement about the project from the architects, “David McCallum of DDB Design and Build decided it was time for him to build his very own dream home and turned to Steve and team at COS Design to compliment this amazing piece of architecture. The combination of the two parties resulted in MBAV home design of year award. The rear pool space is simply breathtaking yet minimal, a true testament to design at its best.”
Photos: Tim Turner Photography