Designed by BAR Architects, Soda Canyon Residence seamlessly blends into its setting on the side of a canyon that branches off the Napa Valley in California. The client’s vision was to construct a home in which it is hard to tell where the house stops and the landscape begins.
This 13,000 square foot main house occupies one of the last available ridge top sites in Napa Valley with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay to the south, and the length and breadth of the Napa Valley.
The guest house served as a successful testing ground for design ideas used in the main house on the ridge above. Designed to merge into the landscape, the guest house incorporates the use of wood trellises, stone elements and colored stucco that reflect the color palette of the surrounding hills. Limited by local ordinances to 995 square feet of interior space, the plan more than doubles the usable area by adding a covered loggia between the bedroom suites, decks and a courtyard.
Entering the main house, one crosses a rich white Alhambra limestone floor to the living room. Sliding doors reveal a dramatic wrap-around stone-paved terrace, which spills into the game room linking the interior to a second terrace accessing the pool area. A door in the game room reveals a spiral staircase leading down to a 1,750 square foot wine cave. The wine cave is a series of rooms leading out to daylight at a portal, landscaped with planting and a seating area, with views of Mount St. Helena to the north.
Photos: Matthew Millman Photography
Colunata House is a sleek and modern designed single level property completed in 2011 by Portuguese architect Mario Martins, located in Lagos, in the south of Portugal. The design configuration of the residence was aimed at making the most of its location, by offering staggering panoramic views. Its curving shape permitted extensive openings towards a centrally located swimming pool and the sea beyond.
Designing the house with its unique location facing the sea, was defined by a set of guidelines, namely:
– The creation of a contemporary architectural element;
– Respect for and connection with the surrounding area, natural and built upon;
– The use of local materials and building techniques;
– Deciding the solar orientation and having effective wind protection;
– Making the most of the excellent location and its panoramic views;
– Creating a gentle interior/exterior transition. So that the exterior is a pleasant space for living and leisure.
These guidelines result in a set of white volumes, free and organically grouped, culminating in a semi-circular opening, which embraces the pool and opens out to the privileged sea view. This results in the central terrace, the main space of the house, where the privacy is felt and where the horizon is predominant.
It is around this terrace that the functional organization of the house is structured, on one floor. There are five bedrooms with bathrooms and a large living room which leads to the kitchen. The garage, technical and service areas ensure the smooth running of the house.
The house is all in white. It is a southern house, and as such the light is intense. It is this light, with its strong, distinct shadows, that gives colour and meaning to the white that covers the building. The strong presence of water and the landscaping surrounding the area accentuate the tranquility of the place.
Honiton Residence is the renovation of an Arts and Craft Movement family home by MCK Architects, located in Bellevue Hill, an eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. A startling mix of Middle Eastern colors against perfect white, gives this home its sense of luxury and tranquil livability. The residence was transformed into a pristine white canvas upon which bold textures speak.
A short client brief drove MCK’s approach; the owners of the six-bedroom residence complained the house was ‘too big’. MCK saw an urgent need to re-form and reunite the interior spaces, while making more of the extensive garden area, pool, and upper decks.
A new orientation of key living spaces was a critical first step to maximizing sunlight and natural ventilation. Connecting the formerly closed-off rooms was key to unlocking the home’s spaces and bringing about highly usable and friendly living areas. External and internal blinds, as well as sunshade awnings, were used to control exposure to the sunlight, while inside the house an open mezzanine has transformed the back hall into a functional focal point.
The use of the large void to connect the kitchen, formal dining and living areas gives harmony to once disparate rooms. Light and the fine control of it further enhances the mezzanine, ensuring these spaces are inviting and useable at all times of the day. The interior is kept neutral with punches of color used to add personality and character. All over the house the evocative contrast of intense textural materials is a striking design feature. Rough sandstone plays off against smooth concrete, timber screens contrast against lush plants, jewel colored tiles arranged in an Islamic fan pattern break up blocks of austere Calacutta marble.
In the dining room a custom-built screen between mirrors the exact pattern on the original stamped tin ceiling and acts as a decorative division between dining and living rooms.
A sandstone wall that ‘snakes’ its way through the building from inside to out, is a clever tactical and visual device, used to connect a variety of spaces. The light color palette was selected to complement the client’s extensive art and object collection. White paint was used on the walls and light or medium dark colors chosen for the flooring. In this way, a selection of contemporary finishes accent fittings, and fixtures along with bolts of hot orange, turquoise and cerise jump are allowed to leap out.
Photos: Steve Back
The Bellevue Area Residence has been designed by Conard Romano Architects, who sited the hillside home with a west facing terrace and covered porch affording views of Lake Washington. Located in a neighborhood with an unusually restricting height limit, the home enjoys high ceilings in its light-filled, main floor living spaces, as well as in its lower level bedrooms. The exterior facade of the home is clad with cedar siding with a heavy body stain. As the design of this home evolved, the architects explored the connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, views and privacy, and daylighting strategies, as well as innovative choices about materials, sustainability, and building systems. Susan Young Interiors was responsible for all of the furnishings throughout this stunning house.
Conard Romano Architects focuses on finely crafted custom buildings for discerning clients. While the majority of their work is in the Puget Sound Region, they have welcomed the opportunity to work with, clients in other areas including New England, the United Kingdom and Australia. Their projects span a range of Architectural styles with a balance of innovation and tradition informing their work. Whether modern or traditional, the aesthetics of each project derive from their dialog with their clients, the intrinsic characteristics of the site, and from their careful consideration of scale, proportion and detail.
Our design process begins with listening. We believe that understanding our client’s goals and aspirations, including aesthetic intentions and practical needs, is essential to every project. From this foundation, we engage in a comprehensive study of the natural site, landscape, and context. We guide our clients through a creative exploration of design options that allows them to make informed choices as to how they inhabit their land. As the design evolves we explore the connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, views and privacy, and daylighting strategies, as well as innovative choices about materials, sustainability, and building systems.
The wood beams in this rustic living room are solid wood, and the species is fir, they are part of the roof structure and supported by the walls.
Photos: Courtesy of Conard Romano Architects
Villa Nilsson is a stunning two story split level home situated adjacent to a sound in Höganäs, Sweden, where the architectural interplay between nature and material is in absolute interaction. Built in 2010, the villa is a low-key building that blends well with the surroundings but is also clearly manifested. The architecture consists of simple and rigorous volumes where the encounter between the different materials is important. The home is comprised of 2,529 square foot (235 square meters) of living space with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The kitchen and living room are on the second level, opening up to a grand terrace with a fireplace, offering unobstructed views of the sound and an external staircase that leads down to the pool area. There is a pleasant cast mosaic swimming pool as well as a quiet and meditative courtyard. All the roofs are covered with sedum (functional, environmentally friendly and incredibly beautiful when it blooms).
Villa Nilsson has during 2012 been nominated in three major architectural competitions.
Spotted on Valvet, this home is listed for sale at $2,768,208.65, while the link lasts, here.
AA House was designed for a family with two children by MVN Architects, located in Almeria, municipality of Mojacar, in the surrounding area of Cerro del Albar. It is a rugged topography, with steep and open distant horizon over the sea. On the site there exists a small platform, which will be used as base for the 3,067 square foot (285 square meters) building. The project needed to answer two questions raised by the client: One, offer a solution that would allow feeling the horizon as part of the house. Two, develop a housing program with the following needs: garage and kitchen; lounge dining room and office-library; main room, rooms for the children and guests; and a small sauna, workshop of sculpture and painting, and court-warehouse for drying and storage of parts.
The housing places on an existing platform oriented to the east, toward the Mediterranean Sea, in an area with a steep slope. Given the rugged terrain, the general organization of the project has been defined by the need to adapt in a rational way to the topography, avoiding dismantle that might be excessive and so minimize the impact that the building could suppose to the environment. The location of the home taking advantage of the small natural platform, minimizes earth moving and get a perfect adaptation of the architecture to the field. In lower levels, other platforms continue structuring the plot, creating zones of fruit-bearing trees and garden. Some of these platforms use existing stone walls in the plot, remains of ancient terraced plantations, thus recovering the character that had long ago the area. In this sense, the project maintains a constant relation with the environment, promoting the transition of scales and protecting the landscape value of the area.
The housing is organized into three bands that are displaced longitudinally: The services band, partially buried, anchoring the house on the slope. It organizes the uncovered parking, court of service, pantry and kitchen, the latter with a small terrace. The central band receives the main elements of the house. On having been delayed with respect to the other two, it sets up a large patio where is proposed the access, protected behind the fold of the walls. Once inside, a small patio glass distributes the routes, introducing a diffuse light sifted by vegetation.
The main double-height space articulates the relationship between the light and the horizon. Dining and living room establish a strong link with the sea, opening fully on a first platform that starts the dialog with the environment. This space is bounded by the dressing room and the main bedroom, which configure a cantilevered body over the visual flight of the landscape, again toward the coast line. The third band is the closure of the housing and its main facade. It includes rooms for the children, the guest room, the sauna, and the space for sculpture and painting, with a courtyard protected from the wind. A somewhat lower terrace provides an open space at noon, resolving the encounter with the ground.
The whole set is proposed as structural system of reinforced concrete, with Thermo-clay closure and solution of ecological flat roof supported by slab Filtron base. It is projected to finished with white monolayer mortar (with contribution of 10% of ochre) according to the architecture built in the area of influence of the Cerro del Albar. The pavement is solved with travertine marble, extending this finish to the outside to run ground platforms linked to the use of housing. In wet rooms and kitchen it is used compound of quartz and resins type Silestone to run tiled pavements.
The interior woodwork is white pre-lacquered MDF. The external joinery is composed of triple aluminium clad: the outer element is a sliding structure of adjustable slats; intermediate carpentry, a Climalit glass enclosure; and the inner element, a sliding mesh anti-insect. At the opening of the lounge toward the horizon, there are provided two spaces where fully collect the woodwork. On the outdoor spaces, surfaces that do not constitute open platforms to the horizon have been finished off with crushed aggregate of rocks from the area. The earth retaining runs through wall of riprap, selecting rocks of the area that will allow the integration of the project on the environment.
Photographs: Courtesy of MVN Architects
Summer is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start planning your backyard oasis with not just plants and flowers but considering the possibility of adding a pond design. If you enjoy spending your time outdoors during the warm summer months and you already have a garden, the incentive is there to make your garden more nature-like by adding a natural pond. We have gathered together a collection of inspirational pond design ideas in varying styles, with assorted plants and even fish. If you prefer a more refined variant, design your pond closer to the entrance of your home and create a pathway above or around it. For a more organic design choose stones in various shapes, sizes and colors for a natural look, moss, water lilies and koi or other fish, and a cascading waterfall or a fountain would help to diversify the overall appearance.
Just like indoor aquariums, fish ponds are not for the faint of heart. They take a lot of time and effort, love and care. They can be time consuming to keep clean and budget draining. But as with most difficult things in life, the payoff is worth it. And if you have the time — even just one free weekend — you could build your own backyard fish pond for around $2,500. Be sure to scroll down, as we have some great tips to creating your own backyard pond oasis.
If you are looking for additional outdoor inspiration, try looking at some of our past articles on 19 Incredible natural swimming pools and 31 Inspiring and stylish outdoor room design ideas.
Deeper ponds have their advantages. Fish will grow only in relation to how big the space is that they’re in. In shallow water a koi fish, which can reach 3 feet in length, won’t reach its full potential, as it would in a 5-foot-deep pond. Fish tend to get sicker in small ponds, because they’re swimming around in water with higher concentrations of their own waste. Deeper ponds mean more water volume and cleaner water. The fish are healthier, making it easier to maintain the right chemical balance. Deeper ponds make fish harder targets for predators.
To start, you are going to have to dig a hole, a big one. It’s free if you do it yourself. If you need the dirt hauled away, you will have to pay. Prices typically range from a couple hundred dollars to several hundred, depending on the amount and other factors.
There are advantages to shallower ponds. Less excavation means less work and fewer materials, so you’ll save money on construction costs and backaches. A shallow pond will also allow you a better view of your fish.
Water plants like lily pads thrive on shallow ponds. They can’t grow in deep water.
Smaller ponds obviously take up less space and can lend themselves to small design flourishes that make a big statement.
Add Fish. While koi are the most popular choice for fish ponds, they are harder to look after (to keep alive), especially in shallow ponds and winter freeze. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects recommends adding fancy goldfish. In addition to having ornate patterns and colors almost identical to those of koi, they’re less aggressive and less expensive. Koi can range from $200 to $7,000 each, while fancy goldfish go for around $35 each.
Installing pump equipment. Pump equipment can be purchased at most local pool and pond supply companies, with complete installation instructions. You can hide it under rocks or plants, or purchase extensions to conceal it on the side of your house.
Line the hole. You will have to line your depression. The three most popular methods are concrete spray, rubber liners and plastic tubs.
Gunite is a spray concrete commonly used to line swimming pools. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects used it for this expansive fish pond in Dallas, built for around $25,000. The advantages to gunite is that it is long lasting and durable. Creative lighting and other nifty design elements are easy to include. The drawbacks to this material is that you will need a professional to install it. Leidner says a feasible budget for a professional installation of an average-size pond is $5,000 minimum, which includes pump parts and labor but not fish.
Add Landscaping. Be sure to budget for rocks, plants or decking. Once you have everything looking beautiful, add water. You will want to check the chemical balance and temperature before adding fish.
This beautiful natural pond is surrounded by plants and perennial flowers all around. This pond feature also has a bubbler fountain on one side for the soothing sound of moving water.
Rubber liners are a common material to line ponds. Strips are rolled out, sealed together and used to line an excavated hole. Rocks and other design elements are added on top and then filled with water. The advantage to this type of material is that they are common and fairly inexpensive. You can purchase a prepackaged pond kit with rubber liners for $850 to $1,500, depending on the size and other factors.
The drawback to rubber liners is that they are fairly difficult to install; not all homeowners will understand how to glue and seam the liners together. A small mistake can result in a big drainage problem, and you’ll lose your water and fish. Burrowing rodents also can nibble through the liner. “You’d be surprised how quickly a koi pond will drain into the ground,” states Harold Leidner Landscape Architects.
Expert tip: If you do go with a rubber liner, Leidner recommends buying a few bags of concrete, poking holes in them and using the bags to line the hole. Then spray the bags with water and put the rubber liner on top. The bag will dissolve and the concrete will harden, creating a barrier that rodents can’t get through. Premade plastic tubs are a good alternative. They start at around $800 but come in limited shapes and sizes.
Photo Sources: 1. Marpa Design Studio, 2. Saunders Designs, 3. Jacqueline Glass and Associates, 4. Rossington Architecture, 5. Arterra Landscape Architects, 6. GM Construction, 7. Karl Gercens Photography, 8. Laidlaw Schultz Architects, 9. The Design Build Company, 10. Exteriorscapes, llc, 11. Alderwood Landscaping, 12. Aquascape Inc, 13. Anthony Wilder Design Build, 14. BMF Construction, 15. Aquascape Inc, 16. Behr Construction Company, 17. Alderwood Landscaping, 18. Raymond Jungles Inc, 19. Mark Brand Architecture, 20. Aquascape Inc, 21. Pinterest, 22. Aquascape Inc, 23. ELEVATE interiors + design, 24. HGTV, 25. Pinterest, 26. Liquidscapes, 27. Aquascape Inc, 28. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, 29. Pinterest, 30. Superior Lawn and Landscape, 31. Teri Fotheringham Photography, 32. Aqua Eden, 33. Aquascape Inc, 34. Paradise Restored, 35. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, 36. Locati Architects, 37. Landscape Connection, 38. Huettl Landscape Architecture, 39. Nature Designs Landscaping, 40. Classic Nursery, 41. Aquascape Inc, 42. Haggart Luxury Homes, 43. Pinterest, 44. HGTV, 45. JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors, 46. Aquascape Inc, 47. Private Gardens Design, 48. Pinterest, 49. Laurie Woods Interiors, 50. Conrado – Home Builders, 51. Paradise Restored, 52. Garrett Churchill Inc, 53. GM Construction, 54. Exedra Architects, 55. HBF plus Design
Walnut Woods Residence is a beautiful log home designed by John Senhauser Architects, situated on a steeply sloped wooded site in Cincinnati, Ohio. The residence was conceived as a 24 ft x 150 ft linear bar rising into the trees. Positioned according to subdivision covenants, the structure bridges 40 feet across an existing intermittent creek, thereby preserving natural drainage patterns and habitat. An 80 feet long ‘grand terrace’ and double-height window wall were incised into the linear bar. The window wall not only provides continual connection to the surrounding woods, but also enables indirect daylight to penetrate the interior. In addition to preserving existing drainage patterns and providing natural daylight, additional sustainable features include a grass roof, wood flooring locally milled using walnut trees cleared from the site during construction, and a minimal building footprint.
Walnut Woods Studio
When the new owner of this existing log residence contacted us about designing a detached ceramics and jewelry-making studio, we knew this would be both challenging and exciting. The 155 foot long house spans 45 feet across an intermittent creek on a steeply sloping, heavily wooded site.
Our strategy was to inseparably link the house, studio and site to one another, minimizing disruption of the woods (only one tree was relocated for construction). Using the radius of the porte cochere drive, the studio breaches the stone wall and perches itself on four columns. The studio roof is then pitched parallel to the house’s roof, matching the slope. A slot, carved from the studio enclosure, allows a steel stair to drop below the drive/terrace entry to connect with the lower level of the house. Deep overhangs protect the terrace, permitting the studio to expand onto the terrace (and into the woods) through the folding window wall.
Photos: Eric Williams, Scott Hisey