Translucent glass is all that comes between the eyes of passers-by and the master bathroom in the middle floor of this San Francisco home above Dolores Park by Craig Steely Architecture.
It is an astonishing feat of privacy maintenance while fully opening a very urban home to the view.
The translucent glass has a lovely turquoise wash, reflecting the nautical theme of the view.
Other than the turquoise, the bathroom material palette is limited to a cool veined marble…
… and a matte charcoal slate, the perfect foil for the white porcelain.
A nautical theme plays out with circular porthole windows.
On the top floor of the very citified townhouse, the architects spring a surprise.
A private stairway up the side of the house leads to the clients’ very own rooftop beach shack!
Here, simple materials are reminiscent of the rough weathered woods of driftwood and boardwalks.
Nothing but glass between the lounger and the view!
Up here, marble is married to a rather more earthy pine for a semi-outdoor barbecue kitchen overlooking a hot tub in the small garden in the back.
And in the front, a living room perch from which to watch the San Francisco city lights.
When many of us renovate our homes, we’re thinking beyond just an improvement in space, functionality and looks for ourselves. We’re also thinking that down the line, when it comes time to sell, there could be a financial payoff as well. Some of us, in fact, decide to spruce up a space, specifically for that reason.
So what are the best renovations if you hope to substantially increase the value of your home? A new pool? A big fancy kitchen? A complete overhaul of the electrical wiring or old plumbing?
The answers may surprise you. According to Realtors® in the 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, smaller exterior projects are actually those that provide the best return on the investment. The report is compiled annually in collaboration with Hanley Wood’s Remodeling Magazine and compares changes in home improvement project costs with Realtors®’ perceptions of what those projects contribute to a home’s price at resale.
Here’s where you get the best return on your dollar:
1) A Steel Entry Door.
Realtors® say a steel entry door replacement returns the most money, with an estimated 101.8 percent of costs recouped upon resale (compared to an estimated 96.6 percent recoup last year). The steel entry door replacement is consistently the least expensive project in the annual Cost vs. Value Report, costing little more than $1,200 on average and was the only project on this year’s list to recoup more than 100 percent of its cost at resale on a national level.
2) Stone Veneer.
Manufactured stone veneer on the exterior is a great way to spiff up a home, and nearly always pays back —at 92.2 percent. Also in this category are fiber cement siding (84.3 percent) and vinyl siding replacement (80.7 percent).
Here’s what fiber cement siding looks like:
And here vinyl siding — we can see why clean new siding would enhance a home’s value!
3. Garage Door Replacement.
Because garage doors are often the public “face” of homes in the United States, they make a big impact on curb appeal, as you can see below. A mid-range replacement brings an 88.5 percent return on investment, and an upscale replacement 82.5 percent:
4. A Wood Deck Addition.
The return on this investment is 80.5 percent, and it’s easy to understand why. A wood deck, in effect, provides a whole other “room” to be enjoyed in good weather. Barbecues, sunning, birthday parties, and dining al fresco all become possibilities.
5. Wood Window Replacement.
Cracking warped single pane windows are one of the most obvious replacement targets with a substantial payback at 78.8 percent. The best thing about this renovation is that it also reduces utility bills, so it’s double payback!
So there you have it. Clearly, renovations with a big payback are those that provide clear curb appeal to your home. And these are not necessarily more expensive structural changes. Basically, anything that dramatically improves the aesthetics of your home is going to provide a huge payback, and not just for your wallet, but for your own enjoyment.
This surprising courtyard lightens a renovated house in the Sha Tin neighborhood of Hong Kong by Millimeter Interior Design Limited.
Parking and entrance is on the first floor next to the stair.
A strange aquarium-like light penetrates deeply into the house via this glass-boxed courtyard by the staircase.
The master bedroom suite is accessed up past the glass courtyard, so every trip up or down is next to nature.
The renovation of an existing 40-year old house transforms it into a comfortable and modern accommodation with spacious rooms.
Now, its spacious master bedroom suite has room to breathe.
Somehow the new design contains a garage, a living room, a dining room, a garden, two guest rooms, two guest bathrooms, one helper suite, a master bedroom suite with a spacious walk in closet and a study room.
The original structure of the house is preserved, but the exterior walls are clad in metal.
The result transforms an older house into a hip new urban home, while retaining the original structure without trace.
NO ARCHITECTURE has created a lovely house with a central courtyard reflected in the hexagonal cut-out in the roof.
The roof cut-out uses passive solar gain, allowing light and air inside, to a potentially dark site.
This central courtyard brings light down into the center of the home and is conceived as both uniter and divider creating space and privacy within.
Highly polished concrete floors throughout reflect the surrounding forest.
The courtyard, while continuing the surrounding indigenous landscape, also supplies a convenient kitchen garden for the family cook.
The design provides the privacy needed for family life while respecting the natural surroundings.
Other than the hexagonal cut-out, the straightforward and unassuming design predominates.
The Courtyard House is designed in such a way that any room can be a living space during the day and a sleeping space at night.
In this way it can be a house that offers a tranquil setting for introspection and work without a feeling of being overcrowded in a small space.
Now here’s a strange sight! And is that… a ski rack?
The Snow Apartment by penda is located in Zhangjiakou, Hebei, China in a famous skiing region north of Beijing.
Inspired by a melting snowfield in spring, when nature slowly revives from winter and offers a contrast of cold and warm, white and colored, the apartment is entirely white and wood.
A series of skylights offer the only daylight – as if we really have been buried in a snowdrift.
The plastered walls of ‘snow’ are suspended just above the floor with brilliant white LED under lighting – further suggesting spring melting.
To build the soft undulating ‘snow’, local craftsmen hand-plastered over wooden forms.
By ancient tradition, craftsmen in the north of China are familiar with the exacting techniques required to generate these sorts of handcrafted plaster curves.
A network of heating pipes is inside the thick plaster and emits a gentle radiant warmth through the thick plaster walls.
These cozily warmed walls of ‘snow’ are enjoyed by the client and his guests after a cold day skiing.
The layout of this strange folly is on a grid, with the extensive plaster form work attached to the wooden base.
Most of the bedrooms get some sort of a skylight like melting snow.
With seven bedrooms and several bathrooms, the very eccentric Snow Apartment provides room for the client and his friends to gather at a ski weekend-getaway that is really quite unique.