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A Serenely Refined Residence in New South Wales

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Smart Design Studio’s Lamble Residence on the South coast of New South Wales catches dawn’s early light over the South Pacific.

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Every room opens up to the outdoors.

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Interestingly, the public spaces are split between floors.

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The kitchen and dining is on the ground floor and opens out onto a garden in front of Gerringong beach.

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While upstairs, the laid-back living room makes the most of its exciting panoramic views of the South Pacific ocean.

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Sublimely open, the master bedroom also captures the endless sea vista from the side of the upper floor.

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Up here, large slabs of stone mark out a generous rooftop terrace that is the epitome of calm and cool design.

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Behind the bedroom, an elegant and understated grey and white bathroom continues the unhurried recurring large stone slabs.

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The unusual arrangement with the living room upstairs, kitchen downstairs ran afoul of local planning provisions, which go so far as to dictate the configuration of rooms within a site.

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Eventually the council approved the plan. So downstairs, the garage, laundry and downstairs bathrooms are at the back of the site, with the kitchen and dining room and children’s rooms in front.

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From the street, the house resembles an ark, clad in untreated cedar which will weather to a soft grey.

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The translucent door panel is beautifully played against the soft greys of the stone entry, while a wide door in untreated cedar pivots on a central hinge.

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Translucence and soft greys blend for a calming effect on the street-facing side of the house, baffling any traffic noises.

It is a quiet and refined house, and one with a serene and lasting beauty.

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Casa Till – Pure and Simple Bliss on the Chilean Coast

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Casa Till by WMR Arquitectos is simply constructed from onsite pine for a tiny carbon footprint in a staggeringly lovely setting.

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The spectacular uninterrupted panoramic views are perfectly preserved by the supreme humility of the construction.

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The client’s wish was that the house should blend into the landscape so that from a distance it would not be visible.

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Solar panels on the rooftop supply all the electricity used by the house in its extremely remote location.

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The design is just a simple straight shot with a bedroom at each end and the public living space in the center.

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A sliding wall can separate off the master bedroom at the end of the house, or incorporate it and extend the living space as seen here.

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The utmost in straightforward design, the house is not fancy or elaborate.

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This simplicity makes the staggering views all the more stunning.

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Truly a one-of-a-kind blissful dream home.

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Design Dilemma: Getting A Little Funky at Home

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

As a long, hard winter comes to an end, and the first fresh breezes of spring linger in the air, we feel a bit like changing things up at home. And namely, we feel like bringing home a bit of colorful personality that’s in your face cool. We’re calling it “getting funky.”

We’ve run across a few interiors that really seem to epitomize exactly that spirit of funkiness. Beginning with the dining rooms pictured above and below.

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

Lets face it, the room above are totally cool. It’s a combination of the Tulip Chairs, classic and mod at the same time, the psychedelic rainbow rug, and the pop abstract art right down to the Brillo sculpture on the table, that makes these two rooms feel spunky, free and fun. The eye catching, in your face, pendant lights, also add another note of cool.

And sometimes it takes just one element to funkify a room. Check out the lime green Tulip Chair below in this bedroom:

contemporary home office how to tips advice

Below, find a funky living room. What makes it so beyond the pale? We think it’s the fact that every piece of furniture is treated as a sculptural element, with an emphasis on natural, organic shapes. According to the designer who put these shapes together, the organic, curvaceous forms make the angular space feel “sensual.”

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

Here, a bookcase is the sculptural element that lends this corner office space it’s funk factor.

contemporary home office how to tips advice

Now there’s all kind of funk. There’s funky offbeat, and funky boho and funky cool. Art is an essential part of any of those looks. Below, check out a funky boho bedroom made cool by a painting of Frida Kahlo wearing a Daft Punk t-shirt.

contemporary how to tips advice

And below, a nice little funky vignette incorporates a Buddha and an eclectic mix of artwork.

eclectic dining room how to tips advice

Here’s another bedroom rendered cool by the use of a Tibetan rug as a wall hanging. Vintage furniture pieces combined in an eclectic mix also up the funk factor.

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

Wallpaper can be an interesting way to go funky.

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

And so can the use of reclaimed wood furniture.

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

Sometimes, funkiness is not about layering lots of pattern, texture and color. It can be adding just one unexpected element in an otherwise pared down space. Like this orange fixed showerhead and and handheld showerhead in a bathroom:

modern bathroom how to tips advice

Let’s recap how to go funky.

  • Be adventurous when it comes to color, pattern and texture.
  • Be eclectic. Mix eras.
  • Go sculptural. Buy furniture the way you’d buy a piece of art, thinking of line and form, not just comfort.
  • Go vintage. Many of the coolest pieces are from earlier time periods.
  • Add original art, the quirkier the better.
  • Broaden your decor to incorporate unusual elements, such as wallpaper or reclaimed wood.
  • Add just one unexpected element in a pared down space.
  • Let yourself go and have fun!

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Vulnerable Curtains Presage Amazing Texture Plays

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There’s a wonderful absurdity to these ephemeral curtains in the roughcast concrete block exterior of the East House by Peter Rose and Partners.

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Sited at Marth’s Vineyard in Chilmark, Massachusetts, the boxy residence has a rugged concrete shell of 10″ walls.

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By contrast, rich Douglass Fir and Alaskan Cedar interiors give the home a lantern-like warmth.

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Even the concrete is rough-cast in place; giving each block a hand-made appearance.

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The interior is warmly lined with with thermally warmed stone floors, and what appears to be some kind of pink stone walls.

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These walls are actually wood, but cut wide and placed to look like thick stone walls.

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Just as the thick internal walls are designed to resemble stone, the stone floor is planked in unusually long pieces, resembling wood.

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All the interior materials are intimate, soft and warm but extremely durable in the rough coastal weather.

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Almost like a sauna, an internal passageway is totally devoted to the Alaskan red cedar – except for a surprising slice of sunshine and blue sky above.

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Curtains move freely, suspended from the ceilings on unusual long strings.

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The bathroom is clad in tiny glass tiles and continues the same unique long suspension curtain treatment seen throughout.

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An Alaskan cedar box skylight inverts the box bathtub – and in turn all placed within a boxed alcove.

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Under the traditional planking of the Alaskan Cedar ceiling, the thermal warmth and comfort of the interiors suggest permanence.

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But in a surprise finding, the rate of coastal bluff erosion revealed a risk about the permanence of the site.

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So the 4,000 square foot house was designed to make it movable should the cliff erosion put it in harms way.

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The house is divided into wood-lined concrete boxes, including concrete under the floor and on the roof, as well as on the walls.

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The concrete box structuring meant each box could be individually lifted by crane with all the interior cladding held perfectly in place.

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Ten-inch thick cast concrete walls are relieved with sustainably harvested Spanish Cedar window frames.

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The house is designed sustainably with radiant flooring and geothermal heating and cooling – which, along with wide ventilation, cools the house in summer and keeps it sustainably warm in winter.

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Design Dilemma: Letting Light In Where the Sun Don’t Shine

modern how to tips advice

There is one simple, life-affirming need that can completely dictate the look and feel of your home: Light. With tons of sunshine flooding in, any space will feel larger, cheerful, welcoming, and functional. But should a space offer only darkness and gloom, well, suffice it to say that it becomes a space where we just don’t want to be.

When considering buying a home, potential homebuyers look for good light. When building a home, homeowners also seek to bring in light. But what happens if you already own a home that is dark and somewhat depressing? Is there anything you can do to let the sunshine in? This post is dedicated to finding solutions to lighten up the darkest home.

1. Bringing Light to a Dark Stairwell

modern staircase how to tips advice

One of the most common places for darkness in older homes is a stairwell. In existing homes built during a certain time period, stairwells were often enclosed with little natural light. Today, these claustrophobic passageways feel rather depressing. One solution to that problem is to help bounce light around, either by removing a wall completely, or, if you need a support for a handrail, installing a glass wall. The wall of glass allows light from the upper floor to filter downward into the first floor environs. At the same time, any natural light from downstairs gets to filter upstairs. Below is another stairway working on the same principle. Good ways to bring light into a stairwell include adding a solar tube or skylight in the stairwell, or windows, if possible.

contemporary staircase how to tips advice

Here’s another attempt to bounce light around a stairwell. This homeowner has not only added windows above the stairs, but went for a glass railing on the second level which allows light from  upstairs windows to penetrate through all the dark spaces.

contemporary hall how to tips advice

2. Solar tubes and skylights in any dark space.

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

Got a dark bathroom, hallway, closet or attic space? One alternative to traditional skylights is the solar tube, which can bring in tremendous amounts of light with more ease and at less cost than a skylight. The tube involves a relatively small round hole which is ensconced in a reflective material. That material allows the small opening to cast a tremendous amount of light.

Here’s another example:

modern kids how to tips advice

And here, a skylight in what otherwise would have been a dark shower adds lots and lots of bright light. Installing a glass shower door rather than an opaque shower curtain also allows light to filter freely.

modern bathroom how to tips advice

3. Open or glass walls whenever possible.

industrial home office how to tips advice

There’s a reason that open floor plans have become so popular in recent decades. Openness allows light to flow easily around a home. In many cases, though, walls are still useful. Sometimes, it’s for quiet, sometimes it’s for privacy. When this is the case, glass walls provide an alternative. They allow light to flow from room to room but can allow for privacy. Privacy is possible when glass is sandblasted or acid-etched so they are not completely transparent, as you see below.

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

And here’s another example:

industrial living room how to tips advice

So you see, darkness does not have to be an option.Think creatively, and you can get the sun to shine in even the darkest corner.