This minimalist gem from architects Mario Martins overlooks the village of Praia da Luz, in the district of Lagos, Algarve, in the South of Portugal.
The house sits gently upon an exposed concrete support giving the appearance of a house floating above the landscape.
Its visually stunning lines create a sublime perfection from virtually every angle.
The social area of the house is open and fluid.
Thick roofs appear cut from a horizontal volume of white.
“In a pure and contemporary architectural language,” say the architects, “we created sheltered terraces and courtyards for outside living.”
The living space offers views to each side; to the distant horizon to the west, and across the body of water to the kitchen to the east.
The long pool comes right in to transect the working area of the house, with the kitchen to one side, and the living room to the other.
In this way the house merges with the long water surface dissecting the wide living and kitchen spaces. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes, it only takes one thing to completely make a room. It could be a great rug, lamp, piece of art, an architectural detail or a piece of furniture, but that one thing can tie the room together, create drama and flair, and reflect, as well, the personality and style of the homeowner. This post is dedicated to just that one little thing that can completely change the character of the room.
A great example is in the living room above and the dining room below. A rug (both of these are by Madeline Weinrib) packs a walloping punch of style that while quite graphic, also feels very classic. Both of these rooms, without their respective rugs, would be nice enough but not nearly as cool.
Adding a really cool rug is an easy way to change the flavor of a room with one thing. Lighting fixtures can be like that too. For instance:
Without the pendant lamps in the dining room above, the room would feel more catalogue-y than artsy. But the addition of the black pendants in different shapes adds a quirky, appealing, offbeat touch that truly makes the room.
Same goes for the kitchen below:
The kitchen is minimalist, a little industrial, definitely modern. The hanging pendant lights that are bulbs on black cords hanging over an iron bar, provide just the right, edgy touch. Without the lights, the kitchen would be boring.
Sometimes just one beautiful painting can make the difference. For example:
What would the above room be without the drama and color of the bold abstract painting?
And what would this foyer be without the colorful pop of yellow provided by an abstract painting:
Some people pooh-pooh the role that houseplants can play, but often, the addition of a plant or two can make a big difference in a room. For instance:
This planter at the top of a stairway acts as a room divider and provides a sense of closure in the room. Without the plants, the room would have felt more like a pass-through. The plants also offer color and a sense of freshness. On a much smaller scale below, a vase with a stark arrangement of reeds seems to tie together the organic shapes found throughout the room.
And finally, one easy addition that can make a room are pillows. Yes, it seems mundane, but it is nevertheless true. Take a look:
None of the rooms above would have the same oomph without the array of colorful pillows that truly pop and tie in different elements and colors throughout.
Isn’t it nice to know that when it’s time for a pick-me-up at home, one relatively small change can make such a difference?
The Ka‘ana Belize is a charming and unpretentious old-world resort near some of the greatest treasures of the Mayan empire in Belize.
The uncomplicated design includes elements with some of the solidity and mass of the Mayan culture.
Its symmetrical courtyard arrangement also evokes the historic Mayan mysteries.
Wide grassy savannahs can be glimpsed through the walls of this somnolent retreat.
The Western Belize site provides an upscale outpost for exploring the ruins of an exotic culture, yet from within their very midst.
The small luxury resort boasts handcrafted items like this unique rusty lampshade.
Weighty sinks are carved from thick stone reminiscent of the sculptures of the Maya.
Even the plainer sinks have the air of ancient Mayan artefacts.
Other handcrafted sculptural pieces are casually dotted around the grounds. Read the rest of this entry »
From mA-style architects comes an interesting garden house next to the client’s main house.
With its square white base and steeply angled wooden roof, it is almost a child’s drawing of the perfect house.
The front is completely open to the air, so it is more of a pavilion than a building.
With what seems like a completely just-stroll-in entry at the side, the space seems strangely undefended for a structure in an urban neighbourhood.
But in fact, not seen from inside, sliding doors along the outside wall can actually close off the space.
A corridor connects it to the main house.
Little study nooks dot the length of the new building.
A homework retreat for several children?
The pavilion is a pleasingly proportioned combination of white room-height walls, with a pitched wooden roof creating a triangular window at each end letting in air and light. Read the rest of this entry »
A patterned rug scares a lot of people. It’s a commitment, a statement, something to regret in a few months time.
And here’s where we differ from the common point of view: To our mind, there’s nothing more “right” for most interiors and here’s why:
1) Since most people choose solid larger furnishings, like sofas and chairs, patterns give a room a needed pop of interest.
2) Patterned rugs can tie disparate elements together in a way that a solid rug can’t.
3) Patterned rugs are more practical for those with kids and pets. They hide stains masterfully, as well as normal dirt and grime.
4) They can singularly project whatever style you’re hoping to accomplish in one fell swoop— sophisticated, whimsical, traditional, tribal.
5) They’re fun!
Don’t believe us, just take a look.
Imagine how boring this living room would look without the patterned rug. Beige walls, beige sofas, solid drapes. A neutral pattern maintains the soothing ethos of the room while still spicing things up quite a bit.
Here’s another room, a dining room, that gets a major style boost with a graphic black and white rug. The rug is perfect under a table, because the pattern will help hide spills.
The patterned rug in the interior below helps to tie together the whole room — the cream sofa, the blue walls and the brown chair.
Okay, so if we’ve convinced you, you may be asking yourself how to choose the best patterned rug for your interior.
- First, above all else, you need to evaluate the feel you are hoping for. For example, let’s say you have a modern style that you’d like to feel “timeless.” Think about adding a Persian rug to your interior.
See how the dual Oriental rugs in a modern interior provide the space with a classic feel? Here’s another example:
Or, let’s say you have the opposite situation — a very traditional interior that you’d like to give a modern flare.
Below, this leopard print rug in this traditional interior is totally unexpected. It takes a room which would have seemed traditionally “safe” and gives it a funky, modern feel.
Below, a bold graphic rug takes fairly traditional furniture into “modern primitive” territory.
- After you’ve decided on the feel you’re after, think about the colors in your room. Choose a pattern that picks up on those. Below, black and white is the theme.
And here, the red of the chairs and the dark panel at the base of the curtains is picked up in the rug.:
- Avoid the trends, or use them in smaller doses. One reason many folks are suspicious of patterns is that patterns are inherently trendy. Remember the psychedelic prints of the 60s that later fell out of favor? Who wants to sink a lot of money into a patterned rug that will be considered miserably out of style in a year or two? For that reason, whether you’re looking for a modern rug or a traditional rug, stick to classic patterns that have withstood the test of time. Oriental rugs, stripes, tribal patterns found in kilims are always a safe bet. When you see a lot of a type of pattern — the much vaunted chevron rug for example — know that this pattern is likely to fall out of favor relatively soon. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy a chevron rug, but you may want to use this pattern for a smaller rug that might easily be changed in a few years.
Below is a chevron rug that looks great, especially when combined with the patterned wallpaper. The design vision in this room seems clear enough that the rug will hold its own as it clearly reflects the homeowners personality. But be aware that in a lesser context, chevron is likely to seem passe in a few years time. If you get a chevron rug, it should absolutely work in your interior and you should love it!