Monthly Archives: January 201530

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Small Live/Work Project Filled With Art, Color and Energy: The Tire Shop in Canada

The Tire Shop is MARK+VIVI‘s inaugural project located in the transitioning city of Verdun, Quebec, Canada. The newly renovated space is a former tire shop that currently functions as the designers’ live & work studio. Moreover, the project houses La Façade Art + Architecture, a public storefront gallery dedicated to the exhibition of local contemporary art and experimental architecture.


According to the architects, The Tire Shop utilizes natural light extensively, while its compact size means that only small amounts of energy are required to heat or cool the interior. Internal floors, shelving and cabinetry are all built using locally sourced Canadian plywood. The home is meant to be a creative hub for the artists in the community:”“We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from our neighborhood” say designers Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera.

We wanted to create a home that served as a catalyst for the design community while providing opportunities for local artists who would otherwise not have a chance to exhibit their work”. Colorful and inviting, this live/work space (measuring only 800 square feet) is an inspiring example on how to optimize small-sized dwellings. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Mark+Vivi Architects]
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Stylish and Unconventional: Ethereal Sensation Door Knob Collection by Haute Déco

Building on the concept behind the iconic Signature collection, Haute Déco studio has recently launched the new Sensation Door Knob Collection. Bronze elements encapsulated in crystal resin take on an ethereal quality when seen through the prism of the resin wrap. The hypnotizing door knobs are fairly easy to integrate in a variety of contemporary interiors. Their mysterious look will add a touch of originality to an interior and trigger the attention of anyone passing through .

Although the concept is the same, Sensation has a totally different vibe to Signature: the domineering factor here is the pattern sculpted into the bronze element, with the translucent resin acting as a “magnifier”; it’s as if the resin adds a fluid quality to the pattern, forming a contour filled by reflections of the embedded metal. With sphere-shaped designs, the prism effect operated by the crystal ball transforms the original bronze pattern beyond recognition, adding further to the mystery.

The collection consists of doorknobs and matching cabinet knobs in a myriad of textures and patterns. The units are available in Haute Déco’s trademark versions of soft gold, antique bronze and nickel. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Haute Déco]
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Imposing Log House in Colorado Mirroring Views of the Spectacular Rocky Mountains

Nestled in a fascinating landscape in Loveland, Colorado, USA, this imposing log house mirrors beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains. The holiday-inspiring chalet designed by Architect Kathy Scott is part of a sprawling estate covering 375 acres of land in Saddle Notch and surrounded by open space on three sides. Some of the features of the five-bedroom villa include a four-car garage, outdoor living-room on heated deck, copper clad windows and spectacular slate roof reclaimed from Connecticut.

As you get closer to this wooden gem, you come across details that are highly original and elegantly crafted. Massive logs stand one on top of the other to create an entrance that is bold and authentic. Flanked by two massive tree trunks with conserved roots, the entrance door seems to lead further to a fairy-tale land. Step inside and admire exquisite furnishings in detail. All interior wood surfaces were designed and created by the homeowner’s personal firm Genesis Innovations to suit a contemporary lifestyle. The residence features custom light fixtures by artist Peter Fillerup, and stone hearths crafted from indigenous rock. Enjoy the virtual tour!
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Unusual Recording Studio Design in Seoul Dressed in Brick

This modern recording studio design impresses with an unusual facade free from windows. Within a geometric architectural language, the recording studio unveils simplicity and an inspiring play of opaque and semi-transparency. Imposing a modern touch in the densely populated residential area on the inner side of Dosan-daero (in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea), this sleek brick structure sheltering the Nonhyun Limelight Music Consulting recording studio was imagined by Dia Architecture as an eye-catching building covered in red bricks.

A geometric architecture following the slopes of the stairs makes room for skylights at every level. Inside, the recording studio occupies the second and third floor, where the windowless outer wall served as support for an open space. Spreading over a total of 589 square meters, the recording studio dressed in surface-cut used bricks was photographed by Kyungsub Shin as to reflect the building’s integration in the surrounding multiplex housing.

An office space on the fourth and fifth level was designed to resemble a luminous transparent box. This helps relive the weight of the structure and visually contributes to the overall contemporary appearance. Supported by a V-shape steel column in the ground floor car parking area, the building was imagined as a breath of fresh design disguised as a brick building.

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Practical and Inspiring Tree-House Granny Flat in Queensland, Australia

With the cost of construction and renovation processes skyrocketing, investing in an affordable low cost second dwelling on your existing house lot is often a clever idea. This 592 square foot home (55sqm) one bedroom granny flat is presented to us by Kim Alexander builders in collaboration with Baahouse + Baastudio. “Granny flats, or secondary dwellings are making a comeback in the Australian backyard due to their affordability and practicality. If you live on a block of land larger than 405 square meters and need extra living space, building a second dwelling may be your solution”, explain the architects.


This particular project is located in The Gap, a leafy and hilly suburb of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. It is a modern version of a tree-house, and it appears to float in its privileged natural environment. The smart layout opens up all of the rooms to the freshness of the forest while ensuring an optimum connection between the interiors. Both living area and bedroom extend outdoors through lovely balconies partially covered by cantilevered roofs. Enjoy the virtual tour of this unconventional granny loft and let us know what you think!
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Central Heat, Oil, Wood : What’s Best For Heating Your Home?

Baby It’s cold outside! Let’s escape to a warm winter retreat. Read here to learn what’s best for heating your home this winter. Image Source: Rock Ridge Building

For a few months throughout the year, more or less depending on your geographical location, heating your home is essential.

It is possible that the type of heating source for your home has already been decided. However, if your home needs a new heating source, or you are building a new home, you have a lot to think about.

There are several different ways to provide heat to your home, with central heating, oil heating, and wood heating being the top three choices of most homeowners. There are, however some different factors that you need to think about before making a decision as to which type of heating is best for your home.

Of these factors, cost is, perhaps, the most important. This includes both the cost of the system, as well as monthly or yearly costs to keep the system going. From there, you need to think about the affect your decision has on the environment, safety factors, ease of use, and how well the system performs to heat your home.

Taking the time to think about all these factors can really help you make the decision as to which type of heating system is best for your home. Keep reading to discover the advantages and disadvantages of central heat, oil heat, and wood heat before you make an investment into a new heating system.

Is a wood burning stove the best option for heating your home? Read below to learn more. Image Source: Laura Casey Interiors

A Closer Look at Central Heat for Your Home

A central heating system is what many homeowners choose. In this circumstance, there is one area of the home dedicated to the heat system.

The system can work in three ways. The first is by pushing heated air throughout the home via a ductwork system. The second is by circulating hot water through pipes throughout the home, and the third is heating with steam through pipes.

One benefit of central heat is how efficient the system is. There is a central location for the system to be, but yet it has the ability to evenly distribute heat throughout the entire home all at the same time, and brings the home up to temp quickly.

You have different choices when it comes to the heating source. This could be gas, electric, or solar power, choosing whichever one best suits your needs and your budget.

Speaking of budget, central heating systems are quite expensive to install. However, these costs are quickly recuperated over time, making a central heating system well worth the investment. Cost of the system is dependent upon the type you choose. For instance, a solar powered central heating system is going to be much more to install, but continual costs are almost minimal.

There really are no downsides to a central heating system. In fact, it is very easy to control a central heating system. A thermostat is installed in a central location of the home, and can be programmed to only allow the system to run until a desired temperature is reached. This means that energy is not being used except for when the system kicks on to heat the home, and will then power down again.

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Central heating systems have the ability to evenly distribute heat throughout the entire home all at the same time, keeping you warm wherever you are in the home. Image Source: Whitten Architects

A Closer Look at Oil Heating for Your Home

Another heating option you have is heating your home with oil. When thinking about choosing an oil heating system, you need to think about performance, portability, the impact it has on the environment, and cost. When it comes to performance, oil heating systems are much faster than both gas and electric systems.

This is because the oil burns 400 degrees higher than the other two types, meaning it has the ability to heat the home much quicker. Oil heating systems of today are much different than those in the past. Older systems were prone to what is known as ‘puffback,’ which caused soot to be released in the home. Newer systems do not have this problem.

Portability is one of the major advantages of heating your home with oil. This is especially true for homes that are located in very rural areas that do not have easy access to other types of heating resources, such as natural gas. The oil can be transported to your home and stored in large quantities to get you through the chilly months

You also want to think about the impact of oil heating on the environment. Fortunately, there is little negative impact, as the home heating oil burns clean, causing little air pollution, but it is a non-renewable energy source which makes it very unsustainable. Lastly, you want to think about costs. Surprisingly, oil costs are much lower than heating systems that use electricity as a source of energy. This definitely puts oil heating in the running.

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When it comes to performance, oil heating systems are much faster than both gas and electric systems, but oil is a non-renewable resource: Image Source: New Mood Designs

A Closer Look at Wood Heating for Your Home

Having the ability to heat your home with a renewable resource is important to many. That is why choosing wood heat might just be the best solution for you. In addition to being renewable, wood is very inexpensive.

However, in order to make costs extremely low, you would need to make an effort to cut, split, haul, and carry your own wood. You would also need a place to store wood all year long. These are setbacks to heating your home with wood, but for many, these are just minor setbacks …read more      

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Minimalist Country House Partaking in the Landscape

An old country house can turn into the most lavish minimalist home under the attentive supervision of architects Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes. Located in Póvoa de Lanhoso, Portugal, in a small village giving the house its name, this minimalist country house known as Taíde House shows that rehabilitation of an old structure can result in a completely improved architectural language.

Provoking the eye with a dynamic design, the modern country home showcases an asymmetric roofline. This sketched architectural element was key to providing a fluid interior architecture, as well as provide separate areas for leisure and work.

Spreading over 200 square meters, the former country house is not a private heaven designed to keep the lives of its inhabitants private and connected to the outdoors. Photographs by Fernando Guerra of FG+SG show the full extent of this impressive re-design. Keeping the main design characteristics of local homes, the architects infused this minimalist country house with functional design resting on a rooting base: “The granite walls and stairs, which involve the ancient grape mill in the ground floor, serve as base for the whole proposal. Everything else is assumed as new and this white object, placed on the ancient granite walls, comes to life and draws itself almost automatically…either it’s because it seeks privacy, or just to fulfill the legal boundaries.”

The house organizes itself in two floors: the ground floor contemplates the social area, with the kitchen, guest bathroom, office and a double ceiling living room, which houses the stairwell which gives access to the upper floor, with two bedrooms.” So you see how good design proves to be of real help when turning a boring old country house into a faultless family home partaking in the landscape.

Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (2) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (3) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (4) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (5) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (6) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (7) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (8) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (9) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (10) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (11) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (12) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (13) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (14) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (15) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (16) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (17) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (18) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (19) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (20) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (21) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (22) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (23) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (24) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (25) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (26) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (27) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (28) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (29) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (30) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (31) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (32) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (33) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (34) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (35) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (36) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (37) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (38) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (39) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (40) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (41) Taíde House by Rui Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes (42) <img src="http://cdn.freshome.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ta%C3%ADde-House-by-Rui-Vieira-Oliveira-and-Vasco-Manuel-Fernandes-43.jpg" alt="Taíde House by Rui …read more      

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New Zealand Holiday Retreat Exhibiting a Clear Geometry: The Rutherford House

Challenged to develop a residence that would victoriously face the cold winters and hot summers in Taupo Tauranga, New Zealand, Dorrington Architects created the Rutherford House. The holiday refuge is made up of four visually distinct units: two black cedar-clad bedroom blocks, a concrete base and a white volume where the living area and kitchen are accommodated. Boasting large windows throughout, the home is defined by a great level of openness. All interiors are minimalist, as if aiming to draw attention on the peaceful neighboring landscape outside.

According to the architects, “the concrete base provides the required floor level rise, creating intermediate zones between inside and outside. Raised decks from both the living room and snug articulate elevated, and in the case of the front deck, covered outdoor spaces. The living space arrangement suits the extreme climates of the location, activities and varying degrees of privacy.” A top level sitting room is said to offer a private sanctuary for the owners when entertaining family and friends. Do you think this home makes for a welcoming holiday retreat? [Photography by Emma-Jane Hetherington]
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Sophisticated Corvi Concrete Wine Cooler to Store Your Favorite Vintage

We presented a few wine storage cabinets on Freshome, but never an individual unit to store that prized bottle of vintage. The Corvi Concrete Wine Cooler from designer Fran Corvi of Argentina-based studio PPi3D comes with a sleek and highly original appearance. The project is entirely made of solid concrete, yet makes one think of precious jewelry: “Inspired by the simplicity of stone, the cooler’s clean, sharp planes offer a refined interpretation of the facets of a gem.”

The strikingly modern piece is rooted in designer Francisco Corvi’s heritage: “In Argentina, wine is a symbol of high society. The wine cooler is a piece of me, my roots and my life.” According to the official description, concrete is an ideal functional medium for maintaining temperature. Meaning that once you cool a wine bottle in the fridge, you can ostentatiously display it in the party area for a while, without it loosing it optimum drinking properties.

The unconventional bottle cooler weighs 1,700 g and is available for purchase at $75.00. Individual coolers can be stacked in an infinite array of designs to create a personalized wine cellar. Find it appealing?
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