Monthly Archives: December 201631

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Wood and Wicker in North London Apartment

Amin Taha Architects built this gabled apartment complex in the north of London, the UK. The six apartments feature traditional brick facade and distinctive projecting wicker balconies.


To build this six story apartment, the architects used a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, where layers of laminated wood are used as a skeleton instead of concrete and steel. This structure was surrounded with a facade of perforated brickwork, matching the brick facade of the two neighboring buildings. Punctuating the street facing side are large bronze framed windows. Wicker covered balconies provide a seating area for the homes, as well as a cover for the seating area below, spaced in a way that allows light.


Because the interior structure is timber instead of concrete or steel, there was no need for plasterboarded walls and suspended ceilings. The CLT structure is exposed in the interior, with parts of the brick facade visible as well. Without tiling or paint, the interior takes on a warmer tone. “Timber also has inherently more robust and is perhaps a better and warmer domestic aesthetic,” the architects noted.









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Contrast at Play in Contemporary Vancouver Residence

In 2014, Scott Posno built this contemporary single family residence in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Vancouver, BC. Designed for a family of four, the house is decidedly modern in aesthetic, but incorporates some neighborhood specific details to complement its surroundings. The stained cedar exterior is similar to the wood siding commonly used in the area. The entryway is recessed before the second story, giving an abstracted sense to the street facing facade.


Starkly contrasting the black cladding exterior are the streamlined and pale tones of the interior. The light color palette and open floor plan give this 3,000 square foot home the impression of being larger. A skylight opens to all three stories of the home, allowing natural light to filter throughout the house, including one of the most striking features of the home: the transparent glass balustrade.


The family room opens onto a generously sized back deck, allowing the family to enjoy a view of the passing seasons.










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Nature Inspired House of Stones in Taiwan

Ospace Architects built this four story building in Changua, Taiwain, in 2014. The site is an irregular triangle shape, and so it was not efficient or realistic to go with a standard floor plan for this 360 square meter building. The architects came up with two design concepts to complement the unusual location.

The initial inspiration comes from the rock in Zhangjiajie, and so the architects chose to view the site as a stone full of shapes. All of the openings of the buildings follow the idea of carving from stone, where windows and roof are excavated rather than added.


Visually the first step was separating the ground floor from the upper floors, with the exposed concrete base providing a visual barrier from the white painted upper floors. This creates the appearance of a white stone resting on an irregular rock column.


Taiwan experiences subtropical weather, which was accounted for in the next concept. A pool on the south side of the building and an open space in the center helps generate a stack effect of wind, creating a flow of cooler air around the building in the warmer months. This creates natural lighting and ventilation in the central void for the surrounding rooms.













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17 Christmas Living Rooms We’re Loving

An unforgettable Christmas is built from love, compassion, and giving. Of course, we also love Christmas time for the twinkling lights, fresh trees, and familiar carols that make us feel warm year after year. Christmas is just around the corner, so here’s a little holiday decor inspiration to get you in the spirit wherever you are this holiday season.

From monochromatic Christmas decor to vividly colored holiday decorations, we found a few of our favorite places we’d love to call home for the holidays this time of year. Enjoy!

17 of our favorite modern Christmas decorations:

Shining silver

I’m dreaming of a gray Christmas. Really! White and gray guarantees the vivid Christmas tree gets all the attention, while fur textures add depth and warmth, balancing the austere color palette.

Gone coastal

Feeling the winter blues? Try the ocean blues instead – we love the seafoam and bright blues present in this space. This nautical home rocked the look by adding starfish and jellyfish to their tree decorations, and hanging coastal-inspired stockings on the fireplace mantel.

Modern Christmas Decorations for Inspiring Winter Holidays (4)

Luxurious prints and textures

This year, neutral design inspiration continued deeper into color, texture, and aromas. This home made earth tones look fabulous by mixing and matching existing prints into their holiday decor. Want to achieve this look in your own home? See our guide to monochrome homes.

Modern Christmas Decorations for Inspiring Winter Holidays

Dreaming of a white (and Gold) Christmas

There is something so soothing and warm about white decor paired with glowing, gold twinkle lights. This elegant living room seen in a snowy-white home in Norway has just that. We love how the room has been adorned with some vintage pieces that tie the decor to the past. Using delicate tulle to decorate the Christmas tree, stars, and candle light, this space embraces its Nordic inspiration.

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Scandinavian Minimalism and Christmas

A Scandinavian-inspired Christmas is our minimalist choice this year. Inspired by Nordic design, this house, which overlooks an Oslo fjord shows how wood, fire, and light mix in an inspiring Christmas setting. Scandinavian design is all about reducing the amount of color and induce coziness —this Christmas decorating is no exception.

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A new spot for Christmas oranges

One of the biggest Christmas traditions is receiving an orange in your stocking. Placed in the toe of a gift stocking, it symbolized gold and good prosperity. Perhaps that is what lead this family to display lemons and oranges in lieu of stockings. Tropical fruit comes in season in the wintertime, another reason it’s a wonderful choice for holiday decorating.

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Classic tartan plaid

There are few patterns that are classic Americana like tartan plaid. This home plays up the green theme — mossy walls, bold plaid accents, and a vibrant tree. Ralph Lauren would be proud.

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Fairytale mantel

A crackling fireplace makes all the difference during cold winter evenings. Twinkle lights, lush garland, and feather accents give this fireplace a wild, fairy-tale-like vibe. For more mantel decorating ideas, see this article.

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Sun-Bathed Modern Christmas

This family home perfectly suits two parents and their three children, gathering silver, gold and amber tones in a decor that feels both modern and timeless. We also love how easy the furniture can be moved and rearranged for different entertaining throughout the season.

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Christmas tree under arched ceilings

But it’s not just the rounded ceilings that make this living room space so cozy. Warm neutrals and decor pair with traditional wooden accent furniture for a space that feels like a secret garden cottage. Furthering that point? The Christmas tree is dotted with birdhouses.

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Balancing masculine and feminine

This ornate space beautifully unravels with flowers in both natural form on the mantel, and flower-shaped snowflakes punctuating the Christmas tree. Mosaic floors and wooden walls impose a masculine atmosphere. Flowers and a metallic gold and silver mix ensure the feminine side balances the welcoming space.

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A casual Christmas home

The living room with a well-equipped classic library and a fireplace is the perfect place to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. A cozy rug, warm beams, and bright lights help create a magical atmosphere by decorating the fireplace mantel, Christmas wreath and beautiful wooden beams in this traditional living room.

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A modern holiday

This industrial, modern living space guides natural light through mirrors and reflective windows. Furthering the modern style, geometric ornaments adorn the tree.

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Knitted in

A comfortable, plush Christmas aesthetic can be achieved by choosing crocheted or knitted furnishings. Then, further warm …read more      

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Holiday Home with Stunning Lake View in Chile

The architect Cristian Hrdalo completed the renovation of this countryside holiday home in 2008. The clients had a large family, with 8 children and 12 grandchildren, and wished to renovate the central lodge, Maiten. Smaller cabins surround the lodge, giving each family some privacy with a central space to gather.


Located in southern Chile near the city of Puerto Octay, Maiten is 950 meters of beach front lake shore property. Bounded in between two streams, the lodge overlooks the Llanquihue Lake, with a view of two volcanoes, Osorno and Calbuco. The entire property is hemmed in by forests, providing privacy.


The most striking architectural detail is, of course, the long rust colored house set up perpendicular to the stone masonry foundation. It gives the impression of floating above, providing a shady spot to relax and converse with a view of the water. The back of the home is open with large bay windows, giving a sweeping view of the landscape, while the surrounding trees maintain a degree of privacy. Small stone details on the top building maintain consistency.
















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Historic Spanish Bar’s Return to Former Glory

The Bar Virgen Del Carmen in Santa Pola, Spain, dates all the way back to 1860. What started as a repair to the filtration system quickly turned into a full building rehabilitation by Estudio Arn Arquitectos.

When work began it was discovered that, over the decades, layers and layers of repairs, additions, modifications and removals had altered the building so completely as to be unrecognizable from the original condition. The external walls were covered by layers of mortar and different colors of paint. The interior brick walls were layered over with tiles, hiding the original brick masonry. Two levels of false ceilings blocked the original wooden beams of the ceiling from view.


Extensive cleaning was undertaken. Each layer of paint and mortar had to be carefully excavated, removing years from the building until the original masonry was visible. The original roof tiles were recovered and treated for waterproofing. Both false ceilings were knocked out, which provided enough room for a second floor right underneath the open wooden beams. The new second story is kept separate from the original structure, respecting the original architecture.

































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Boavista’s Public and Private Lives

Pablo Pita Arquitectos developed Boavista, a single family house renovation, in 2016. The house is named after the street it resides on, which is one of the busiest streets in Porto. Nearing ruins when the project began, the house was built in the last century, with a busy street view and a private back garden connected by 260 square meters of living space.


The width of the building was predetermined by the houses in both sides, and so the focus of the renovation became opening the space between street and garden. The kitchen is the main corridor, with a movable island in the middle, giving the space flexibility. The kitchen opens onto an interior courtyard, separated by a skin of wooden shutters offering different layers of shade.


The skylights on the third floor are able to reach the first floor through a clever maneuvering of the staircases in different stages, further creating a sense of space and openness.















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Ex of In House Experiments in Space

The In of Ex House, by Steven Holl Architects, is an experiment in space, a response to modernist suburban homes that sprawl across their lots. Built on a forested twenty-eight acre property in Rhinebeck, New York, this house explores compression within interlocking spaces, utilizing experimental shapes within 918 square meters to create a new kind of dwelling.


The house was made almost entirely from raw materials: a solid mahogany window and door frames, birch plywood walls, and a mahogany staircase. No sheetrock is used anywhere — the spherical shapes were created in thin, curved wood layers.


The interior space is comprised of spherical spaces intersecting with tesseract trapezoids, creating a voluminous inner world. The utility of these spaces are also decided by intersections; there are zero bedrooms, but the house can sleep five.

The resulting home is incredibly eco-friendly, utilizing geothermal heating and powered by solar electricity. Thin film solo power photo voltaic cells are connected to a Sonnen battery, allowing the house to be completely energy independent. Glass and wood were locally sourced, while the light fixtures were 3D printed from corn based bio-plastic.













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How to Modernize Your Outdated Kitchen

Whether your kitchen is a true fixer-upper from decades ago or your once-trendy laminate countertop and linoleum flooring fell out of style fast, it may be time to modernize your outdated kitchen. With new design trends showcasing creative uses of colors, modern appliances, and functional design, there are endless ways to bring your kitchen into the present day.

Whether you are trying to sell your home, or if you plan on staying in your space for generations to come – these ideas can help you transform your kitchen into the cooking space of your dreams.

Here are 10 creative ways to make your dull, outdated kitchen feel new and inviting once again.


Image: Design Brainy

8. Install new lighting options

Once you have modernized the major components of your kitchen, don’t forget the lighting! While kitchen lighting can sometimes be an afterthought, it is essential for safety, ambiance, and versatility of your kitchen. If your kitchen solely contains one overhead ambient lighting fixture, look into recessed lighting for a modern illumination source.

Consider installing a dimmer switch for versatility while entertaining, cooking, or just relaxing for a midnight snack! Pendant lighting over a kitchen island, under cabinet lighting to illuminate countertops, and chandeliers are all becoming great options for updated lighting sources.


9. Add decorative elements

While you may not think about it, your kitchen is a great place to add decorative elements that bring a sense of you and your lifestyle into your kitchen. For many homeowners, plant shelves on top of cabinets allow room for plants, artwork, and other decorative items.

Built-in display shelves below your kitchen island can showcase your prized kitchenware, your favorite cookbooks, or display an heirloom set of china passed down through generations. Add a vase of flowers, and a fresh bowl of lemons for a shot of color.


Image: James Dixon

10. Take down walls

The compartmentalized and boxed-in feeling of outdated kitchens built generations ago is very common. If you’re looking to open up your kitchen and share the view with an adjacent dining room or living room – consider knocking down some partitions! This method works well for non load-bearing walls that don’t carry any structural value. Your kitchen can grow in size or it can just get opened up to other areas of your home.

While your kitchen could look fabulous as-is, what would it look like without that bothersome wall? If you’re unsure if this is possible – consult a structural engineer or architect to see what possibilities there are for your kitchen.

From updating finishes and materials to bringing in color, illumination, and space – the options abound for your outdated kitchen. While you may not use all 10 of these ideas, see which ones are perfect for your lifestyle, budget, and family. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do with your space!

Any tips or tricks we missed? Reach out to us in the comments below, or on our social media pages!

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Greek Apartment Proves it’s Hip to be Square

This Greek apartment by Normless Architecture Studio and Workspace borrows trends from Scandinavian design in its low-key modernism. For instance, black geometric patterns pop up in a collection of hip furniture and artwork throughout the 500-square-foot apartment.

On one side, a sectional sofa and muted artwork naturally delineate a living room in the open apartment. This comfy space has modern touches, like matching geometric coffee tables and a smooth stone wall with cut outs for shelving, a TV, and a fireplace.


The light wood dining has a simple design, drawing attention instead to its paper lantern chandeliers. The light pink and white cylinders give the space an ethereal feel. The black square-paneled window behind the table also grabs your attention. It opens up to the apartment’s minimalist kitchen and breakfast nook.

Simple dining space

Minimalist Kitchen

The design team echoed this style in the sliding door separating the master bedroom from its modern bathroom. In addition, this space has effortlessly cool geometric light fixtures.

Across the hall, the design team completed a nursery that stands out with soft pastels and a playful mural painted by a Greek artist. (Photography by George Sfakianakis and courtesy of Normless Architecture Studio and Workspace)


Geometry in the Nursery


Greek Apartment


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