This stunning off the grid cabin in the woods is owned and designed by fashion stylist and interior designer Scott Newkirk as a weekend summer getaway in Yulan, New York. The 300 square foot house has no electricity or running water, no TV, no computer. Here he can slow down, sleep late, and take his daily bath in the nearby brook. The designer had been already living close to the land on the property in a wood-frame tent but it burned down. Not long after he across a book on handmade houses that are constructed out of recovered and scavenged materials. He then decided to build a house on his property based on the same principal.
Although the main cabin is only fourteen feet by fourteen feet, it took two years and three different builders to complete; Newkirk had a hard time finding builders who got his idea for a simple, rough-hewn look. “I finally found a talented and dependable local guy, Craig Petrasek, to complete construction with reclaimed wood, extend the deck area, and build the stone patio,” he says. The traditional post-and-beam frame of the house uses old square-head nails on the exterior siding and floor, with a few modern ones for the roof. The smaller side windows are handmade, and the glass-paneled fronts both upstairs and downstairs are standard aluminum frames clad in wood. The completed complex (including an outhouse, guest house, and outdoor shower) sits on about three acres of Newkirk’s 50-acre property.
The downstairs panels slide open, and an upstairs panel pivots. To complete the indoor-outdoor feel, there is a twelve-foot strip of window across the rear with an eye-level view of the backyard.
The painting is by Diane Wiencke, who lives on Peaks Island off the coast of Maine; the wrought-iron horse came from a nearby shop.
Newkirk’s builder used aged hickory planks to fashion the ladderlike steps that lead up to his bedroom.
Newkirk uses this to heat up water for an occasional outdoor shower.
As in Newkirk’s main house, this guest cottage has no insulation in the walls and the windows are simply screens; it’s furnished only with two cots and a vintage George Nelson bench.
From June to September, Newkirk bathes in the same spot every day (he uses biodegradable soap).
Photo Source: New York Magazine
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
The Lavender Bay Boatshed has been designed by Stephen Collier Architects, consisting of two three storey boatsheds that abut one another at the north-western edge of the bay in Sydney, Australia. Built in the 19th century, they are the last remaining timber structures from the era in this part of Sydney Harbour. Painstakingly restored since 2008, they have been converted into a mix of commercial and residential units in the northern building and a three storey residential apartment in the southern building. The main 3,390 square foot (315 square meters) apartment extends from the lower ground floor (where the harbour extends into the main bedroom under a glazed floor) to a height of three storeys. It is entered mid-level on the landward side via a steep and winding path. From here the large timber lined living room (evoking memories of being a small child under an upturned boat) opens out towards the city skyline. The existing timber structure, pulled and stretched out of shape over time, has been left visible. Large skylights have been inserted in the roof that frame views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and draw in sunlight. Conceived as a series of exquisite glazed insertions in the body of the building, they open up views of the different angles and forms of the original boat shed.
Photos: Peter Bennetts
The brief for this striking beach house designed by Clare Cousins Architects was to provide additional accommodation to an existing 1970’s Merchant Builder’s home in Mornington, Victoria, Australia. Located on a sloping block, the existing single storey house is sited well back on the block with limited access to ocean views. Rather than demolish or renovate the existing building the architects approach was to keep the building intact and design a new pavilion to sit adjacent to the original at the front of the site. The new pavilion includes a new master bedroom wing with living room and deck for outdoor dining that captures broad views of Port Philip Bay. Planning regulations permit only first floor structures that are located over car parking or storage areas which informed the elevated ‘stilt’ design. Timber construction is used holistically both internally and externally while an enclosed circulation stair clad in translucent polycarbonate connects the original to the new structure.
Photos: Shannon McGrath
Bear House is private vacation home situated on Cha-Am Beach, a famous seaside resort town in central Thailand, three hours’ drive from Bangkok. Designed by Thailand-based architecture studio Onion Co., Ltd, the brief called for a renovation of a three-storey building of eight meters wide and twenty-eight meters long, utilizing an area of 4,090 square feet (380 square meters), turning it into a second home of the Sahawat family. When the interior construction started, in December 2011, the boy of the family was two years old. A baby was expected. In April 2012, Bear House was happily finished.
Bear House belongs to the Thai Be@rbrick collectors. Sittawat Sahawat and Nipapat Sahawat are siblings who are fascinated by various sizes and styles of Be@rbrick toys, produced by the Japanese company Medicom Toy Incorporated. Be@rbrick is an anthropomorphised bear with a simplified form and pot belly. Each plastic figure features nine parts, namely head, torso, hips, arms, hands and legs. It has flexible joints and a swiveled head. Many artists have created decorative patterns for the standard mould such as the British fashion designer Vivian Westwood and Stash who is considered one of New York’s graffiti legends. In the Sahawat family’s collection, the major figures are BAPE camouflage print. They are twenty-eight centimeters high and referred to as 400% Be@rbricks as its actual size, or a 100% Be@rbrick, is seven centimeters high.
Size matters in Bear House. The design process does not start from the house itself but the Be@rbricks display cabinet. It is thought of as a house of seventeen 400% Be@rbricks. It is composed of steps, ladders and voids that fit the scale of twenty-eight centimeters tall figures. It occupies a whole wall of the dining room, linking the house’s entry to the living area which is three stories high. The cabinet is a central piece and a model of the house. It is made of light colored oak wooden panels resembling the other main surfaces of the house. Bear House is a bigger version of Be@rbricks’ display cabinet.
Miniature fixtures and oversize furniture are the features of Bear House. Lamps and pillows are oversize so that the inhabitants may feel smaller than they actually are. The house has four sizes of doorknobs, customized for different size of doors. They are sometimes too big for a child’s hand and too small for an adult’s hand. The ladder that seems too high is one of the living area’s decorative elements. It leads the gaze high up to square skylights, oversize voids, and windows of different scale. Every room on the upper floors overlook the hall of the living area.
An enlarged Be@rbrick’s ladder is placed in the master bedroom. It connects a space between the king size bed and a single day bed in an elevated hole. There are two views from this day bed. Next to the hole is the three stories hall overlooking the living area. The opposite side across the room is the sea view. In front of the master bedroom stands a 1000% Be@rbrick of seventy centimeters high, painted in a pattern of police uniform. It is a special collaboration between French label Paul&Joe and Medicom Toy. This 1000% Be@rbrick can be seen from the living area on the second floor, the bedroom on the second floor, and the landing that links the stair and the ramp towards the master bedroom.
Bear House is bright and humorous. Its living room and swimming pool are the front part of the house. The whole space is colored by young Thai graffiti artists well known as MMFK and P7. In the living room, behind the oversize sofa, MMFK paints a one-eye monster, dressed up as a sailor, whereas P7 paints a blue bear head with striped eyebrows. Next to the swimming pool, on the wall of eleven metres long, MMFK illustrates the cartoon representation of a bear devouring his iconic one-eye monster. P7 drew a black bear head with the word ‘surf’ on its forehead. These illustrations are customized only for Bear House.
Photos: Courtesy of Onion Co., Ltd
This stunning contemporary detached house has been designed by Taller Héctor Barroso in 2009 in Mexico City, Mexico. Spread out over two levels, this single family home is comprised of 6,404 square feet (595 square meters) of living space. The landscaping and the beautiful exterior facade have been meticulously blended with some clever details. The home is a refreshing project with more to the interior than just furnishings and decorations such as great use of textures and materials, lighting, usage of space and attention to detail.
Photos: Courtesy of Taller Héctor Barroso
Bug Acres of Woodstock is a newly constructed home in upstate New York, designed by CWB Architects to replace an existing weekend retreat within the same site. The goal for the new 2,700 square foot house was to blend with the surrounding landscape while amplifying the owner’s visual and auditory experience of the landscape from interior spaces. The “horizontal” window in the living room focuses ones view down through the lawn and towards the natural wetlands. The “vertical” window draws one’s eye to a rock outcropping across a stream. The all cedar screened porch opens towards the same rock outcropping and is cantilevered over the steam, truly well suited for daydreaming.
Photos: Rachael L. Stollar
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
The Pigeon Creek Residence is located in western Michigan in a densely forested site overlooking the Pigeon Creek wetland. Designed by Lucid Architecture for a young family with two children, the building form is shaped by the owner’s desire for a distinctly modern home which feels warm, open, and comfortable, and has a strong connection to the outdoors.
As one enters the site, the drive takes a serpentine bend and one crosses a subtle mark on the landscape left by a railroad over 100 years ago. Moving north on the drive parallel to the abandoned railroad grade, the home is revealed in the distance as it slides into sight out of the forest. The entry path to the house steps up onto a floating cedar deck, before turning to align with the main circulation axis of the house.
Recalling the rail cars that once traversed the site, the main form of the house is a 20’ x 80’ tall slender box. Extending at both ends with views into the site, the main circulation path of the home echo’s the adjacent railroad bed running the length of the home.
At the south end of the box, with views into the yard to keep watch of two adventurous young girls, are the eating and kitchen spaces. Separated from the active portion of the house by the nursery and stairway functions, the master bedroom suite to the north becomes a tranquil retreat overlooking the wetland and forest. At the foot of the custom designed bed, a massive sliding glass door disappears by subtly sliding into a hidden pocket. The children’s bedrooms and a loft play area are located on the second floor.
Flanking the main volume of the house is the living area and service functions. Blurring the lines between the architecture and the environment; the living area is anchored by a double-sided fireplace built with concrete block colored to match the bark of Beech trees growing on the site, and a 24’ sliding glass door opening to the outdoors.
The large roof overhang to the south provides complete shading of the living room in the summer, while allowing the sun to reach completely to the north wall of the room during the winter.
Exterior materials are extended into the interior of the living room creating a feeling of being outdoors while inside. Reflecting the nature of the service areas of the home, the volume extending to the east is clad in a durable corrugated metal.
With a form inspired by a long abandoned railroad, the Pigeon Creek Residence stands as a beacon of modern architecture melded with the warmth and character of western Michigan’s woodlands.
Shabby Chic style is a beautiful look and can be incorporated into any home for a fun and whimsy design aesthetic. The basic principle of shabby chic style is a look that is unstructured and lacking in formal rules; a timeless aesthetic which can add an effortless elegance to your home. With salvaged furnishings, handicrafts and vintage textiles that are available not only in flea markets, but also in retail shops (typically as reproductions), you don’t have to search high and low for that perfect piece. You may even have a diamond in the rough right under your nose, a derelict piece of furniture just waiting to be whitewashed and restored. That’s the beauty of shabby chic style, it’s budget-friendly and easy to acquire. Here are some suggestions of ways you can achieve the look.
Select seating you can sink into such as bean bag chairs, use a well-worn table, antique frames for art (ornate frames and framed mirrors), give a once formal seating a shabby chic makeover, light up a room with a chandelier, set the table with linen napkins, create an airy, beachy ambiance in the bedroom, infuse shabby chic style into your outdoor spaces, make use of well-worn storage options (they don’t need to be confined to just the bedroom, add them to an entrance hall, feminine home office or dining room as elegant storage options), use fine china to add whimsical sophistication when entertaining such as serving tea in vintage tea cups.