This well-designed loft renovation delivers the perfect balance of existing and new features. Before the renovation, San Francisco Loft was an open 1,200 square foot space with a doug-fir structure and exposed brick. Line Office Architecture‘s smart renovation utilizes the existing features of the space while incorporating fresh new elements. The wooden structure of the loft has a strong visual affect: the beams and columns are complimented by the addition of a hardwood floor and wood accents on the furniture. Juxtaposing the wood is the dark black of the built-in furniture in the kitchen and bedroom. It isn’t easy to transform an open loft apartment into a space this cool and elegant. Many designs do too much or too little: they overpower the space or leave the viewer wanting more. This design suits the loft perfectly: it is sleek and modern but preserves the charm of the original space.
True design needs no ornamentation.
Rainha House is designed by the Belgium based studio Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum, or ABBE for short. The small, rectangular structure is home to a family in Portugal. Glass and concrete are the primary materials used in this residence. Polished concrete can feel cold and sterile, but this is not the case with Rainha House. Hardwood floors and well-placed lighting add warmth to the space and balance the coolness of the concrete. The full length glass windows bring in sunlight and connect the home with the natural environment. I love the use of concrete in Rainha House. Exposed concrete is a pure and beautiful material; it elevates this home from a basic structure to a fine work of art. Rainha House is an elegant dwelling perfectly suited to its inhabitants and environment.
The layout of this industrial loft apartment in Brussels is quite simple. Interior FOR has few windows and no interior walls. Designed by adn Architecture, the defining features of the apartment are two freestanding metal towers. Accessed by thin, white staircases, these towers house the bathroom and laundry rooms on the ground floor, and the bedroom and office on the second story. The majority of furniture in the apartment is built-in, allowing the space to have a continuous flow and material palette. I love the simple functionality of this apartment. The towers are a smart way to add rooms and divide the space of an open plan apartment. The white walls and exposed concrete create a clean aesthetic that match the simple design of the floor plan. Interior FOR is a lovely and perfectly designed apartment.
It is rare to see a modern home with a conventional A-frame roof and wooden facade. Boreraig House, on the Scottish Isle of Skye, proves that chic and modern living can take many forms. Designed by Dualchas Architects, this home aims to connect with the landscape and local heritage. Boreraig House sits low on the skyline so as not to interrupt the stunning mountain views. Instead of adding space in height, Dualchas Architects created the structure in three connected bodies. The main block holds the kitchen, dining room, and lounge. The second space is for the bedrooms; and the third is a private study. The structure’s materials are derived from its surroundings: metal from the farm’s gates, lumber from the fence, and stone from the traditional property walls. I love the combination of modern and rustic in this humble home. The flush paneling and gray color of the wood modernize the facade. The corrugated metal does the same for the sleek roof. Overall, Boreraig House is a lovely, peaceful country dwelling.
House in Shimamoto is located in a busy residential neighborhood in Osaka, Japan. Container Design, based in Kobe, Japan, designed the simple home with the goal of connecting the residents with nature while maintaining privacy from near-by neighbors. The home is comprised of three basic materials: steel, glass, and timber. White galvanized steel plates cover the facade, protecting the retreat from the crowded street. On the north side of the home, large glass windows bring in natural light and offer a peak at the mountainous landscape. Timber is used throughout the interior: the ceiling and wall beams are exposed and the floor alternates between a solid and slatted wood pattern. I love the restricted use of materials in this home. The steel, glass, and wood feel complimentary yet still maintain an interesting contrast. House in Shimamoto is a no-fuss home that is sure to please anyone lucky enough to reside there.
Espace St-Denis is a contemporary apartment located on the ground floor of a building in Montreal, Canada. Designed by Anne Sophie Goneau, this home aims to highlight the building’s raw materials. The exposed brick wall and structural steel frame were found during the renovation of the apartment. These existing features provide the home with visual focal points. The interior of the home is void of opaque walls. There is, however, a glass wall which divides the bedrooms from the living room. This wall provides a boundary while making the apartment feel open and airy. It also allows the bedroom’s exposed brick wall to be viewed from every room. The kitchen is the predominant feature of Espace St-Denis. It spans almost the full length of the apartment. I love the mix of black, white, and brick in this space. The long black counter-top is a simple and functional piece, while the white tables blend with the floor and ceiling to create the illusion of wide open space. Epsace St-Denis is a small apartment with big style. Photographs by Adrien Williams.
Standing in a row of traditional townhouses is the long and narrow House in Lisbon. Designed by ARX Portugal, this modern beauty is comprised of two main materials: limestone and concrete. The front facade is enveloped in limestone, one of the most common materials used in Lisbon. The limestone is set in a modern design yet still links the home with its conventional neighbors. The rear of the house focuses on the outdoors: giant windows and several balconies overlook a secluded backyard garden. Almost the entire interior of the house is made of raw concrete. This material twists and turns to define the walls, floors, stairs, and furniture. The house is arranged with the public areas on the lower floors and the more private rooms above. An outdoor refuge is located on the roof: limestone walls hide the user from the street below while a lone tree brings life to the space. Overall, House in Lisbon is a lovely design which uses simple materials to create a harmonious space.
Bitten House derives its name from the four “bites” in each corner. What started as a simple cube has been carved away to create openings in the north, south, east and west. The “bites” allow for a covered entrance and back patio, as well as the decks on the second story. Anau estudi d’arquitectura designed the home with privacy and connectivity in mind. The rough concrete exterior creates a quiet, intimate interior, while the openings allow the home to embrace the surrounding environment rather than guard against it. The carving away of space is a design technique not seen enough in architecture; many designs are focused on the addition of form and material. Bitten House is a lovely dwelling which embraces this simple and effective approach to design.
Cardal Holiday House is a striking home built into the hilltop in Bemposta, Portugal. Designed by Cannatà & Fernandes, this building is defined by contrast. The upper and lower level are opposites in color, structure, and material. The lower level is a smooth expanse of concrete that juts out from the hillside. The second story is a light and airy form that appears to float stop the concrete which supports it. A parking garage and small garden are located on the ground floor. The main living areas are contained on the upper level, accessed by a dramatic staircase at the entrance. Cardal Holiday House is a gorgeous pairing of opposites. The different forms and materials come together seamlessly and blend perfectly with the surrounding environment.
Named for the river it sits above in Austria, Schanerloch Bridge takes a functional structure and transforms it into pure sculpture. Designed by marte.marte Architects, the bridge is a simplified version of a traditional stone arch bridge. The arch has been used in bridge making for centuries due to its structural abilities. This design uses the basic engineering of the arch but in a modern, graceful form. I love the subtle elegance of this design. When driving on the bridge the unique silhouette is hardly noticeable, but when viewed from the river the twisted form is dramatic and full of motion. The reinforced concrete structure is the perfect compliment to the picturesque river.
All four walls of the Light Walls House in Aichi, Japan are nearly void of windows. Yet the interior of this home is surprisingly bright. Natural light pours down from strategically placed skylights in the exposed wooden beam ceiling. Designed by mA-style Architects, the shady site made introducing sunlight into the home quite difficult. The well-designed skylights distribute and direct the light throughout the structure. Lovely light patterns are formed on the floors and walls, creating natural artwork that changes throughout the day. Freestanding white boxes, accessible only by ladder, form private spaces above the ground floor. Light Walls House solves a common problem with a beautiful solution. I love the how all the elements in this home work together to enhance the natural light. The hidden rooms and built in furnishings allow the home to maintain a sleek, pulled-together aesthetic.
The White Retreat is a seaside apartment with a nearly all white interior. Located in the beach town of Sitges, Spain, the client wanted a bright white space which would highlight a few favorite art and furniture pieces. The combination of a small space and small budget called for a simple and efficient design. Colombo and Serboli Architecture divided the space into three areas: the bathroom, bed/living room, and terrace. White doors hide the kitchen, bathroom, and closets. Oversized windows flood the space with natural light. There are so many elegant design choices in this small apartment. The white resin floor, bathroom tiles, and folding doors all help achieve a uniformity that is still visually exciting. The dedication to white here is impressive: even the plumbing fixtures are matte white! The White Retreat is the perfect space for quiet and creative living.