Monthly Archives: January 201730

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Why It’s Time to Go Monochrome

When it comes to redesigning a room, the first decision is usually, “which color?”.

And sometimes, that can be the hardest choice of all. I can’t be the only person who has excitedly walked into a paint store, then left a short time later, overwhelmed with a thousand similar-but-different options. Who knew there could be so many shades of white? And where do I even begin with furniture?

Here’s one way we bypass having to coordinate colors: designing a room with a monochromatic color palette. It’s an incredibly simple way to bring elegance to your interiors without hiring a designer. And it’s becoming increasingly popular in interior design.

In this article, we’ll outline why using a single color palette is an excellent choice for any interior, and show you how to recreate the look on your own. We think you’ll be eager to embrace monochrome in no time.

All you have to do is decide which color!

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Image: Coburn Development

Single color spaces are often the subject of heated debates. Some think they’re too simple to be worthwhile. But, when done correctly, we can attest that they are the epitome of easy elegance.

How do you feel about monochromatic colors? Have you used them in your home? If so, what are your best tips? Share them with us in the comment section below, or reach out to us on social media.

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Berlin Heritage Building Becomes A Home

asdfg Architekten converted the oldest heritage building of Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, Germany, into an original home for a family with three children. The challenge was immense, as the authorities requested the main facade to be reconstructed exactly as depicted on a drawing from 1844.

“The history and special situation of the building was a big challenge, but we also saw a high potential in it to become a very unique single family house with a garden in the center of one of the most popular neighborhoods of Berlin,” the architects said. Many elements of the old miller’s house were kept intact, such as the brick walls which add a bohemian feel to the interiors.
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“As a result of the previous uses as a police station and a workshop, followed by many years of vacancy, the house was in bad condition and had many small rooms,” the architects explained. “In order to create a generous space we only kept the outer walls and one massive wall in the middle. The staircase, kitchen, as well as some sleeping galleries are somehow plugged into this wall.”

The minimalist approach led to spacious and functional interiors. A large sliding door on the first level separates the parents’ bedroom from the main living space. A wooden staircase hints the way to the home office upstairs. Many of the furniture units were custom made for the project, including washbasins and the bathtub. What are your thoughts on this heritage house conversion in Berlin? [Information provided by asdfg Architekten; photography by Michael Pfisterer]
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Curing Blandness with Balance

The driving concept behind the Balancing Home, a project of Luigi Rosselli Architects, is simple: Infusing the comforting collective memory of tradition with a modern understanding. Part of a growing suburb on Sydney’s North Shore, the Balancing Home Creates an equilibrium between traditional architectural styles and contemporary sensibilities by using bold finishing features and details deferential to tradition. This gives a timeless look to an otherwise potentially sterilized style.

The house is oriented along the cardinal points, with the master bedroom and the front door facing east towards the rising sun and a distant ocean view. Vaulted cathedral ceilings and polished concrete floors provide a balance between traditional style and modern materials.

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The white and crimson colors of the home were chosen in homage to tinder and clay earth, evoking traditional building materials. The house needs no artificial air conditioning; the home stays cool from cross ventilation and a large air space, allowing circulation during hot Sydney summers.

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The house metaphorically balances tradition and modernity, but the name is also literal: the second floor bedrooms appear to balance gently over the pool, the reflection of the white upper floors mirroring the structure perfectly. As Luigi Rosselli Architects claims, the cure for bland architecture is balance.

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A Modern, Stone Retreat in Bulgaria

Located in Targovishte, Bulgaria, Slight Slope Long House is a modern residence envisioned by I/O Architects as a massive horizontal volume. According to the project developers, the topography of the site resembles a cave of an antic theater:The long structure is facing the favorable sun orientation and the view in slight opposition of the slope. This way entering diagonally into the house the height of the spaces changes in relation to their grade of privacy. In the opposite direction and apart from the main progression are the guest rooms over the compressed space of the entrance and the garage.The unconventional geometry of the project leads the eye along diagonal lines, creating a fun and surprising effect.

Slight Slope Long House accommodates generously-sized living and dining areas, three bedrooms, a home office and three-car garage: “The internal structure corresponds to the complementary space of the stairs-like veranda facing the park as well as to the terraced yards behind the house.

The monolith appearance of the stone cladded façades and the oversized architectural elements, from one side and the perspective corrections of the front elevation from the other, modulate in an ambiguous way the scale of the large structure”, explained the architects. Sustainable features of the project include passive sun shading, heat pump with ground-coupled heat exchanger and use of local stone. [Photos courtesy of I/O Architects]
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Pitching A New Lifestyle in Kansas City

When designing Madison Residence in Kansas City, Missouri, the architects at KEM Studio sought to create something inspired by the owners’ lifestyle.

Three main directions were identified during the research process: “The first was for the new house to be modern, minimal and sustainable: focus on the experience with volume, light, and interactions more than square footage. Second was to emphasize the interaction of the house with the site and hillside: draw from the owner’s rural background and her unconventional, creative interpretations. The third was direction was super-efficiency”. Despite a small budget, this contemporary home is low maintenance and sustainable.

These three challenges were approached with originality: “The design met those goals and responded to her lifestyle as a writer, musician, runner, cinephile and creative spirit. Functionally it translates into a 1,200 sf, two-bedroom, two-bath home on a modest budget”, explained the architects. The gallery below unveils a spacious home encouraging social activities and entertainment. A minimalist design approach was needed in order to spark creativity at all levels. How would you comment on the overall look and feel of this residence? [Photography: Mike Sinclair]
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A Garden Home Gets Modern in Toronto

Architectural firm LGA Architectural Partners designed the Garden House as vertically stacked living spaces, so that the green space extends under large floor-to-ceiling windows, and sliding doors open at garden level.

The owner of this beautiful garden house wanted to remain in her neighborhood, and did so by updating her old Edwardian house for a new construction in Toronto’s west end. Minimizing and decluttering her life influenced the more minimalist design of her new space, though there’s plenty of character and charm that makes the space feel all her own.

Garden House in Toronto by LGA Architectural Partners (1)

Simple, practical and bright spaces were given character with color, texture and patterns. Built on a modest budget, this Toronto garden house has a direct connection to the outdoors and the owner’s preferences. The breakfast room at the front of the house overlooks the street through a huge window, and doubles as an indoor porch. The ground living floor is mostly opened to the garden. As the owner makes her way into the home from the garden, a set of three stairs lead up to a half-level where the kitchen, dining room, and front entrance are. Architects reveal how the garden house unfolds vertically:

“On the second floor and at the nexus of the house, the library/office takes advantage of natural light and prime views with a desk placed in front of a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking mature backyard trees. Up a small stairway, the master bedroom and modest three-piece bathroom feel protected, but not cramped as big windows wash the interiors with natural light. A skylight above the open riser stairwell leading up to the second floor draws natural light down into the house, reducing the need for artificial light in the basement.”

Garden House in Toronto by LGA Architectural Partners (2)

Spreading over 2,800 square feet, the modern Canadian garden house boasts a warm and inviting front facade all dressed in wood, pierced by over-sized windows flooding spaces with natural light. The architects say that they designed “a neatly stacked trapezoidal box that maximizes the space of the narrow lot and breathes within the generosity of the adjacent laneway. They clad the front and back façades in no-maintenance cedar to warmly greet the street, and the sides with a dark cement board to visually “remove” the private house from the shared laneway.”

Inside the house, an elegant atmosphere reigns as spaces flow from one into the next. Light and airy, dotted with color here and there, this is how the interiors of this magnificent Garden House in Toronto present themselves through the lens of photographer Ben Rahn of A-Frame.

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The Modern Rejuvenation of a Classic California Home

Henbest Residence is a private house recently redesigned by Robert Sweet, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Initially planned and designed in 1966 by the iconic mid-century modern Architect Pierre Koenig, the building is considered a rejuvenation of a classic California home: “The new design upgrades the building envelope, MEPs, updates finishes, and gently renovates and expands the floor plan to accommodate the current owners program, while paying special attention to respect the homes architectural roots”, explained the architects. Every sequence of space is connected to a generously-sized courtyard, thus blurring the indoor-outdoor line.

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By removing some walls from the structure, the architects managed to open most of the interiors towards expansive ocean views. The layout is highly functional: “A compartmentalized kitchen and service core are gutted to create an open kitchen, dining and living space. The master suite is expanded, replacing a small enclosed patio for livable square footage.

A new guest wing is added, connecting the once detached garage to the main house. All of the fenestration is upgraded to meet current standards including new, fully retractable multi-panel sliding glass walls.” What are your thoughts on this home rejuvenation project? [Photos by Chang Kyun Kim]
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Redesigning New Zealand’s Matai House

Parsonson Architects were behind the redesign of Matai House, a welcoming family home in Wellington, New Zealand. The early 1900’s villa had a simple layout, with rooms situated on each side of a central hallway and a bathroom area in the back. A better connection between interiors was needed, as well as a larger living space and two more bedrooms for a growing family.

Challenged by this brief, the architects decided to divide the house into two living quarters: the old house and the new, contemporary extension.

As you can see in the photo gallery below, the addition has a well-defined personality: “To accentuate this difference and to connect the house with the sunny rear part of the section we created a series of concrete platforms with wooden steps between creating a new elevated family living space leading up to a larger sunnier rear courtyard.

We placed the two new bedrooms and a bathroom above the new living space. The roofs and outer walls of the extension are created in the same corrugated color steel as the old house, but are folded to suit the functions they enclose and dodge the WCC building envelope”, the architects explained. Situated at the end of the villa hallway, the new living room is flooded with natural light due to extensive glazing. [Photos by Paul McCredie]
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