Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 3
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Beautifully Restored Old Country House in Spain

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The classical proportions of antiquity inform the design of this lovely old Spanish Country House.

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The sense of proportion is derived from the classical architecture of ancient Rome.

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The plan shows that the modular design is nearly all courtyard.

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At just 15 kilometers from the sea, it has a Mediterranean flavor.

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It is set on 1,200 acres of hunting reserve land in the Sierra de Aitana, north of the province of Alicante.

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The old country house has been restored and enlarged for use and enjoyment of the owning family and their guests.

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The comfort of the old building continues through time.

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From the outside, the old beauty is retained.

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Yet inside, it is subtly modernized and made useful for this large extended family groups to enjoy.

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The design is by the architect, down to the smallest detail.

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The existing buildings have the original natural stone cladding, while the new construction has been coated with white cement mortar.

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This way, the new white cement columns and porches are not trying to ape the old stone structure but complement it.

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But the new is modular and organized on a grid, like the plan.

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The second floor is devoted exclusively to games and includes a large communal bedroom for nine children.

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On this upper floor, a wide open loft style kitchen makes the most radical departure from the poky little spaces of the past.

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The very charming restoration is by Hernández Arquitectos in Alicante, Spain.

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Spartan Courtyard House in Quinta Do Carvalheiro

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This residence in Quinta Do Carvalheiro is designed by GSMM Architetti in São Francisco da Serra, Portugal.

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The megalith-like structure has a mysterious hole in the middle that invites investigation.

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In several sides, there is a similar gap in the simple windowless facades.

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From inside, these gaps serve to focus attention on the surrounding views.

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The elemental shapes created by these spaces have a gentle sweetness and purity.

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By contrast with the blank exteriors, the interior courtyard space is open and transparent.

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The living spaces are organized in a single floor around the large square patio in its center.

In this balmy climate, rooms are open to the sky.

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The simplest and most invisible of industrial materials are used throughout.

Indoors and out, floors are concrete, and painted wire mesh screens in doorways.

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The interiors have a spartan simplicity, and materials chosen that stand up to year round outdoor living.

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The bold new construction is a surprise set within a forest of cork trees in the Serra de Grandola.

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Altogether, it is a home with a minimalist aesthetic that brings a serenity and peace to its pleasant forested spot in Portugal.

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Design Dilemma: Dining in the Living Room

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

In today’s condensed homes, a room set aside as a dedicated dining room is a rare, rare thing. Instead, those of us living in more recently built homes are often living in spaces with a combined living room/ dining room. A typical configuration is something like the dining rooms below:

contemporary family room how to tips advice
transitional dining room how to tips advice

If you have that amount of space for a dining area, it’s great, but there are also a group of us (those in small condos and apartments) who don’t even have that. In that case, carving out a comfortable dining niche that allows for dinner parties while not taking too much space away from real life can be a challenge. So here are a few ideas:

Banquette as Dining Area

Sometimes, the most space efficient way to incorporate dining right into the living room can be to build a banquette that can function as both dining seating but also regular seating just for talking or working at the computer. For instance:

transitional dining room how to tips advice

Or this:

transitional how to tips advice

Or this:

transitional family room how to tips advice

 

In the examples above, sofa-like seating or occasional chairs have been utilized as dining seating. The brilliant thing is that most of the time they serve as seating in the living room, so no space is wasted.

A Dining Room Height Cafe-Style Table

Sometimes, the solution lies in using a dining room height table as a “coffee table.” It allows the living room to also serve as a dining space in great style:

eclectic dining room how to tips advice

Or this:

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

Or this:

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Finally, there’s a third way to handle this problem:

A Convertible Coffee Table

This is one of our favorite ways to handle the lack of a dining room. Most of the time, a living room functions as a normal living room with a conversation that includes a couch and occasional seating.

modern living room how to tips advice

This Calligaris Magic-J table can go from coffee table to dining table in just a few seconds. The mechanism lifts the table to dining height, and the extensions allow 6-8 people to sit around it comfortably. You can even leave the extensions open at coffee table height for more surface area.

Here’s what it looks like as a dining table:

modern dining room how to tips advice

So you see, if you love to entertain, the lack of a dining room does not have to become an insurmountable problem.  A little creative thinking will allow you to enjoy your living space to the fullest!

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The Villa Noi on Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay

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The glamorous yet simple Villa Noi was designed by Thai studio Duangrit Bunnag Architect Limited (DBALP).

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Sea breezes play with curtains in the open pavilion style bedroom at its heart.

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The gracious residence overlooks the beachfront at Phang Nga bay in Southern Thailand.

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Set within a grove of pine trees by the ocean, the house was designed as a series of pavilions.

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Within one of these pavilions, an astonishing bath tub placement.

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Under the open sky, the bath revels in its natural setting.

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Centered in nature, it is nevertheless relatively secluded behind multiple reflecting sheets of glass.

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The narrow pavilions make it possible to open the house on both sides.

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This arrangement allowed the client to keep as many of the pine trees as possible.

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As if the beachfront location is not enough, a huge pool intercedes.

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It is a relaxing home that has the unassuming ease of the beach house.

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A wonderful house with some charming surprises.

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Urban French Remodel Inspired by iPad

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Imagine you are in the middle of an Apple store.

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Except this pad is your home.

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A smooth and softly curvy white stairway ascends three stories and forms the new center of this startling four story French townhouse remodel in La Rochelle.

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The glossy remodel  from pad to iPad is by French studio Pierre Antoine Compain.

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I love the glass ‘pool’ inset into the center of the space.

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Underneath it is an office where the homeowner can work.

Even here the desk is curvy white Corian.

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Beyond the stairs on the entry floor is the kitchen.

Cartoonish white stairs set a cyber pace to the private spaces upstairs.

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This kitchen continues the iPad feeling with a curved white kitchen island.

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Upstairs, the storage is all contained within wraparound cabinetry in a brilliant cherry pink hi-gloss shiny surface.

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A curved white platform set in the very top under the skylight suspends the bed at the very top of this space.

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This sleeping platform is truly suspended in the air above the stairway.
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This sleeping platform at the top is accessed via a different set of stairs.

Not white like everything else, but a perfect spiral of wooden “paddles” set in metal, that is beautifully executed. Like the glossy remodel itself, it’s a seamless whole.