Monthly Archives: January 201630

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Rustic Renovation Celebrates Minimalism in Canada

Scott & Scott Architects completed North Vancouver House, a rustic renovation of a 1950s post-and-beam house in Canada. The project is the result of a collaboration between the architect and the client, two history professors, and their shared interest in traditional buildings and materials.

“The house, while extensively renovated over the years, had a modest scale, well-proportioned rooms and a strong connection to the wooded and mature yard,” the architect said. The materials used in the upgrade were selected for their contrasting strengths and minimalist finishes.

contemporary home (2)“The living space was stripped of embellishments, and the enclosed stair was replaced with an open stair of steel and fir,” the architect said. “This allows the light from the second-floor hall window to connect with the ground floor.”

The owner’s collection of studio pottery is the highlight of the minimalist rustic kitchen. A 1,760-pound marble counter sits atop a custom-designed base.

The space on the main floor is divided by two massive plywood cabinets, which provide concealed storage for the living, entry and kitchen areas. [Photos and information courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects]
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Green Residence in Singapore Grows Grass on Every Level

Located in a lushly planted residential area of Singapore and surrounded by mature trees, this green modern residence aims to capture the spirit of its surroundings. The House at Trevose Place was completed by A D Lab.

“This ambition to extend the site, its sense of gentle movement and tranquility, posed a challenge, given the extensive programmatic requirements of the owners,” explained the architects.

The green residence had to be adapted to the needs of the multi-generational family. This was achieved by developing a relatively compact building around a courtyard and swimming pool. The highlight of the design is a pathway that winds around the external facade, encircling the home in grass.
design modern residence“Aside from gently merging the building into the site, this long, winding veranda also serves as extensions of the individual rooms,” the architects added. The veranda continues all the way to the rooftop lawn.

The home has three levels, each hosting both private and social areas. Large windows and sliding doors on each floor ensure natural ventilation and lighting, and allow access to the grassy areas from every level. [Photography by Masano Kawana]

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The Car’s the Star in This Modern Home in Bulgaria

I/O Architects completed the design of Pagoda House in Sofia, Bulgaria. The two-level, single-family home is perched on a hill, offering panoramic views of the city on one side and the mountains on the other.

“The client, a Bulgarian investment banker, had two important requirements,” the architects said. “He wanted a home in which he could proudly showcase his classic car while comfortably housing his small family.”
architecture modern residenceThe main level accommodates the living areas — living room, dining room, kitchen and children’s area — as well as three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Partially embedded into the mountain slope, the lower level of the modern home consists of utility rooms.

“By keeping a simple but carefully selected palette of materials and adding tasteful touches in the generous space, we have created a cozy, family-oriented home that feels open, contemporary and comfortable,” the architects said.

The concrete flooring and black metal framing were inspired by the prized vehicle, a vintage Mercedes, which is showcased in a dedicated atrium. [Information provided by I/O Architects; photography by Assen Emilov]
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Apartment in Sydney Gets a Bright, Contemporary Upgrade

Chris Bosse, the director of Australian architecture practice LAVA, upgraded a narrow apartment and made it his own. The 1,184-square-foot Tivoli Terrace is in Paddington, a historic district of Sydney, Australia.

Blurring the indoor-outdoor boundaries was the main target of the transformation. Soothing finishes, mid-century furnishings and contemporary lighting enhance the 13-foot-wide apartment’s interior design scheme.
modern house (1)“New timber floors streamline the dining, living and kitchen areas into one continuous space,” the architects said. “The living area is extended into the courtyard by sliding windows and timber screens that magically hide from view and give shading and privacy.

“A new kitchen is at the heart and features a custom-made island bench and a white glass backsplash to reflect the light,” they added. “The traditional stepped geometry of fridge, oven, cupboards and range hood was realigned to create a streamlined look.”

The architects maximized the storage space in this apartment in Sydney, installing floor-to-ceiling shelves in the dining/living area. Upstairs, a small room was turned into a second living area. [Information provided by LAVA; photography by Brett Boardman]

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Light Opens Up Tiny Turn-of-the-Century Home in Montreal

Architecture Open Form recently completed the redesign of LeJeune Residence, a circa-1890s home in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough of Montreal, Quebec.

Optimizing the 835-square-foot interior was a crucial part of the design process. In addition, the owners’ vision and lifestyle called for open living spaces on the ground floor and the interaction of the interior with the backyard.
modern residence (2)“The owners’ desire to ‘live outside’ during the warmer seasons led to the extension of the interior living spaces onto a terrace that was designed with the same attention to comfort and quality as the home’s interior,” the architects said.

Instead of a typical dining room, there is an open area between the kitchen, living room and terrace. The furniture is tailored to the occupants’ needs.

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The home’s two-story entryway, lit by a sculptural light fixture, welcomes visitors with an illusion of grandeur. The black library acts as a transition between the entrance and living areas. A variety of lighting, both static and movable, is mounted on the ceiling and walls.

In this home, the absence of physical boundaries between the functional spaces not only increases the living space, but also suits the dynamic lifestyle of its occupants. [Information provided by Architecture Open Form; photography by Adrien Williams]

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Fresh Picks: Best Modern Coffee Tables

Image: CB2

Coffee table, cocktail table, occasional table … there aren’t many pieces of furniture that have multiple names and uses. When you consider how important (and functional) a great modern coffee table is to a living room, it’s incredible how often it is taken for granted.

The first piece that comes to mind when furnishing a living room is generally a sofa. But without a coffee table, the room — no matter how beautiful — looks incomplete. Metaphorically, think of your sofa as a great outfit and your coffee table as the perfect pair of shoes to go with it.

Take a look around your living room. Is it time for a new coffee table? If so, here are our picks of the best ones out there. They’re fashion forward and practical — and your feet will thank you for bringing one home.

Freshome’s picks for the best modern coffee tables

Image: CB2

Image: CB2

CB2 Peekaboo Acrylic Coffee Table

Click here to buy at CB2

Dimensions: 37.5″ W x 13.75″ D x 21.25″ H

When lightness is needed in a small or colorful room, the Peekaboo table ($279) is the perfect choice. Why spend money on a beautiful rug to then cover one-third of it with a table? CB2’s designers solved that design problem with the creation of this coffee table.

Jon Gasca for Stua Eclipse Nesting Table Set

Click here to buy at Design Within Reach

Dimensions: 18.5″ W x 15″ D x 8″ H (small), 21.25″ W x 19″ D x 10″ H (medium), 25″ W x 25″ D x 12″ H (large)

The set of three Eclipse Nesting Tables ($455) is versatile enough to serve as multiple pieces. You can use them together as a multi-level coffee table, or individually as side tables or stools. Available in three wood finishes or white lacquer, there is a tone sure to fit any room. If space is an issue, they can all be tucked away into one.

Image: CB2

Image: AllModern

J&M Furniture Modern Swivel Coffee Table

Click here to buy at AllModern

Dimensions: 35.5″ W x 35.5″ D x 12.5” H (closed)

The Modern Swivel Coffee table ($578) is like a beautiful living room jewelry box. It features storage space in the bottom two levels, while the top two levels rotate 360 degrees for multiple looks. It’s finished in a high-gloss lacquer, with white on top and light and dark shades of gray beneath for a tonal effect.

Image: Room and Board

Image: Room & Board

Room & Board Slim Cocktail Table

Click here to buy at Room & Board

Dimensions: 46” W x 22″ D x 16” H

The Slim Cocktail Table ($379) comes in 14 colors straight out of a jelly bean jar; a smaller version ($219) is also available. Besides the fun, vibrant color options, the two sizes are designed to work in any space. We especially like the small one (36″ W x 12″ D x 16″ H) for rooms in which space is limited; it also works perfectly as a bench when extra seating is needed.

Image: Blu Dot

Image: Blu Dot

Blu Dot Pi Round Coffee Table

Click here to buy at Blu Dot

Dimensions: 36″ round x 14” H

Wedges of durable, powder-coated steel paired with either walnut (black top) or white ash (white top) wood detailing give this coffee table ($599) some geometric detail. Its five-leg base adds to the table’s stability.

Image: West Elm

Image: West Elm

West Elm Lacquer Storage Coffee Table

Click here to buy at West Elm

Dimensions: 36″ W x 26″ D x 17.75″ H

One of our 2016 New Year’s design resolutions is to declutter. And what better way to do so than by finding a home for everything? The Lacquer Storage Coffee Table ($599) by West Elm has a pop-up top to hide magazines, gadgets and remotes. Got a lot to hide? A 50-inch-wide version also is available.

Crate and Barrel Entu Coffee Table

Click here to buy at Crate and Barrel

Dimensions: 47.25″ W x 27.5″ D x 15.75″ H

The Entu coffee table ($899) is made in Indonesia of solid, earth-friendly, FSC-certified teak. Its minimalist but bold shape combines a magazine rack with a coffee table all in one. The shape may be stark, but the warm grain of teak adds an organic feel.

Image: Crate and Barrel

Image: AllModern

Zipcode Design Julie Coffee Table

Click here to buy at AllModern

Dimensions: 47.25″ W x 26″ D x 15.75″ H

Combining an easy-to-live-with elongated oval shape with low-maintenance glass and espresso woodgrain-finish legs, the Julie Coffee Table ($148) boasts a modern yet classic design. The glass top reflects light in a room and gives the illusion of a larger, more open area.

Add some polish to your living room with a modern coffee table. Dress it up with a few accessories, such as books or a candle, to complete the look and enjoy your new space.

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Streamlined Home in Italy Rocks Stone Surfaces Inside and Out

Located in the Orobic Alps, in Valtellina, Italy, the AP House by Rocco Borromini Architects takes inspiration from tradition. The building sits on a gentle slope and features walls made from local stone, produced especially for this project.

A swimming pool surrounded by stone pavement acts as the central entertainment area for this L-shaped residence. The living spaces and the master bedroom seamlessly connect with this outdoor space through sliding glass doors.
design modern residenceThe opposite facade is less permeable and protects the building from strong winds coming from the west. At the same time, it offers a good amount of privacy for the inhabitants.

The interiors display a contemporary, minimalist style, with large windows framing views in every room. Stone flooring in the living areas harmonize with the outdoor areas.

The combination of stone walls and wooden furniture adds a charming rustic vibe. Enjoy the virtual tour of this home in northern Italy and let us know your thoughts on its design and layout! [Photography courtesy of Marcello Mariana]
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Glass House in Germany Is the Ultimate Modern Retreat

Completed by Paul de Ruiter Architects, Villa K is a striking modern residence in Thuringia, Germany. The project, built using glass, steel and concrete, employed a series of sustainable principles.

“The entrance, technical areas, pantry, hunting room and garage, with room for six cars, are located on the north side, integrated into the slope of the mountain,” the architects said. “The complete roof structure of the villa is covered with moss and sedum, alternated with solar cells.”
modern residence (2)All interiors are minimalist, with a neutral color scheme redirecting attention outdoors. The floor-to-ceiling windows open up the entire building to the views of the valley below.

The glass house generates its own energy from solar cells on the roof and the outdoor deck. A heat pump heats the home in cold weather and cools the house in summer.

“A U-shaped terrace is constructed around the living area,” the architects said. “The pool intersects the interior of the house while extending toward the southern edge, which makes it seem to float above the hill.” [Information provided by Paul de Ruiter Architects; photography by Pieters Kers and Patrick Voigt]
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Floating Bonsai Tree Hovers Magically in the Air

Here’s possibly the most Zen home accessory of all time: a bonsai tree that actually floats.

The Air Bonsai, designed by Japanese studio Hoshinchu, is a gravity-defying container system that allows a bonsai tree to float magically in the air.

Each mesmerizing Air Bonsai set is made up of two parts. The round, mossy “little star” cradles the plant’s roots; the handcrafted porcelain “energy base” hides built-in magnets that suspend and rotate the little star.


Both pieces come in a handful of finishes ranging from the modern (the smooth, white Shirotsubaki set) to the traditional (the earthy, lava-rock Suzumushi set).

If you’d like to snag a floating bonsai of your own before the limited-edition sets are all gone, head over to Air Bonsai’s Kickstarter page.




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Sunny Side In: Sunroom Design Trends and Tips

If you’re fortunate enough to have a sunroom, chances are it’s your favorite room in your home. Sunrooms offer not only natural light in the daytime hours and views of the landscape, but also a comfortable space to relax and unwind in the evening.

The first sunrooms showed up in the 17th century. They gained popularity by the 19th century, when materials such as steel and large panes of glass were more affordable and readily available. Sunrooms evolved from screened-in porches; these allowed views of the outdoors from within, but dirt and debris were a nuisance.

Today, sunrooms are a high priority in both new builds and historic dwellings in many regions. They embrace several styles and may include French doors that open to a deck or patio, and vinyl, wood, brick or aluminum around windows that, in many designs, span floor to ceiling.

Some sunrooms, formally called solariums or conservatories, also have glass ceilings. Many are used year-round; these four-season sunrooms are truly an extension of the home, some boasting central heating and air.

Their interior design can be as lavish or minimal as you desire. Elements such as curtains or sheers and fireplaces — either wood-burning, gas or electric models — can be used. Chandeliers, ceiling fans and artful wall sconces also add personality, function and charm.

Sunroom Design Tips

Abbe Fenimore, owner and principal designer at studio ten 25, offers these suggestions for creating the perfect sunroom for your home.


“Making a sunroom an extension of your home is an important piece of selecting color for the room,” Fenimore says. “Try adding pillows and accessories that tie in with the colors you already have in your home.”

Use a neutral base in the room, she advises. “Gray and navy are a great place to start; you can layer with beautiful, bold colors in the spring and summer, and warmer tones for the fall and winter.”


When it comes to sunrooms, Fenimore says designers are seeing a move toward furniture and accessories that look more like interior pieces, and she encourages saving the wicker and wovens for outdoor spaces.

“Sunrooms are great places to have comfortable seating upholstered in fabrics including outdoor velvets, chenilles and leathers,” she says.


Most people don’t want to give up the use of their sunroom when spring and summer are over. “Sunrooms make great places for TV rooms and reading nooks in the colder months,” Fenimore says. “You can always bring in a portable electric fireplace [or heater] and some cozy decorative throws for added warmth.”


Flooring in sunrooms typically consists of concrete, brick, wood or tile. Area rugs add texture and help designate spaces within a large sunroom. Intricate floor designs, such as mosaic tile or brick patterns, are best left uncovered.


Many plants thrive in sunrooms. They naturally filter the air and truly bring the outdoors in. Popular plant picks for sunrooms include begonias and African violets, which are fairly low maintenance and produce colorful blooms year after year.

Peace lilies are another great choice for adding greenery to your sunroom. They grow tall, fill space in corners and balance larger furniture pieces.

Your sunroom can be a place of joy and respite not only for you, but also for your family, friends, pets and plants. What would your ideal sunroom look like? Check out our gallery for 30 sunroom ideas to inspire you.

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