Recently, we ventured to Brooklyn, New York, to visit a beautiful modernized Victorian plunked down in an urban environment. Today, we visit the opposite coast to find another beautiful, modern home, also part of the urban fabric, but this time in Los Angeles.
This Venice home by Kevin Daly Architects has a unique shape which manages to look sleek and very modern while avoiding that “cold cube” feel that many modern structures have.
Let’s take a look:
Admittedly from this street view, the home at first seems to be exactly the cold cube we mentioned above. This is, in part, intentional, as the house turns it’s back to the street to provide its residents with privacy. The lot is actually composed of two houses — a two-bedroom rear main house and a front pied-a-terre above the garage. It’s a reversal of the usual design of front main house and backyard pied-a-terre. Before the remodel, this home was a dated 1980s remodel in an American Southwestern style. With the remodel, all aspects of Southwestern style were banished in favor of a very open, modern, international look.
Below a view of the kitchen:
And here, a view of the dining room, facing out onto a courtyard:
According to the architects, the primary design challenges was allowing shared use of the home by an extended family while maintaining varying levels of privacy. The two story façade facing the courtyard became entirely glazed, which is in turn shaded by a folding, perforated metal skin that rests on an aluminum exoskeleton.
Here’s another view of the exoskeleton:
The brilliant aspect of the aluminum frame and skin is that it provides privacy from the outside, while giving the home a sense of movement that can be enjoyed from both the inside and outside, alike. It also provides for space for a wraparound patio and veranda that is partially protected from prying eyes, important in this well-trafficked pedestrian neighborhood.
Here we see a stairway to the second level from the dining room:
And here, another view of the kitchen and dining area:
And here’s the view from an upper level bathroom. All rooms have direct access out to a veranda, since outdoor living is important in California.
Here’s a closer view of the aluminum screen that wraps around the exoskeleton. This perforated skin and supporting aluminum armature was designed as a sun shade and to provide privacy and filtered natural light into the main living spaces of the house and apartment. In addition they form the support structure for balconies that extend from the master bedroom of the main house and the apartment to allow family members to see each other across the property.
We applaud this home for feeling, bright, modern, open, yet private at the same time. Here’s to California living!
This stunning all-white minimalist extravaganza is perched on the Spanish coast near the town of Calvia.
The famed turquoise waters of Mallorca give the residence a sublime turquoise and white color story.
White sofas float seemingly untethered to earth above its smooth white floor.
With a subtle suggestion of water, a sheet of glass secludes the stairway from the luxurious living space.
Wide-plank driftwood-colored wood flooring juxtaposes with art-lined walls en route to bedrooms and bathrooms.
Here a giant sliding glass wall separates a bedroom from a bathroom.
The luxurious 3 story, 5 bedroom 4,000 sq ft residence is for sale for a cool $6.5 million.
On a higher floor, a touch of black and white for relief.
On one of several decks overlooks a saltwater pool.
What looks like square cubes of blue jello catches the eye in this beach house from Los Angeles-based Studio 9 One 2.
The turquoise glass blocks are not really solid cubes of jello, or even solid cubes of glass, of course, but they have been shaped in such a way as to give that impression.
The transparency of these ‘wet’ glass ‘cubes’ is periodically interspersed with the solidity of warm dry tactile wood for a study in contrasts.
The Ettley Residence is an urban home sited just a few short blocks up from the beach, but in a city setting.
The turquoise glass forges a connection to the nearby Pacific Ocean.
One of the glass cubes forms a walkable glassed-in porch outside the master bedroom.
Underneath its glass floor, broad beams securely support its glass porch.
At night, the curtains are drawn creating an inner sanctum space within.
By recessing the bedroom behind the glassed in cube, it has privacy despite being so close to the street.
The living room is on the upper floor above the bedroom, to take advantage of the views – both out and down.
A square of thick turquoise glass (beyond the dining table) offers a view down through the glass porch of the master bedroom to the bamboo garden.
The stairs up to this living space – that is typically found on the upper level of beach houses in Los Angeles – are also encased in glass, making for a sculptural experience for guests, who appear to be walking up air.
Once up there, the upper level of the sophisticated modern home offers Los Angeles glamor in its views out across the water.
And the upper level kitchen offers a citified study in black and white offset with stainless steel and a glimpse of the Pacific.
The intriguing La Boyita Residence is located in far-away Uruguay near the coastal border with Argentina.
Martin Gomez Arquitectos designed the contemporary beach house on the country’s sandy coastline in Punta del Este.
Like an abandoned palace, the transparent beach house looks out to the east over the isolated, cool South Atlantic ocean.
The east side faces the ocean, while also putting up a transparent glass protection against ocean winds.
Outdoor living areas are sheltered from the winds off the ocean with a large courtyard.
Chunky low-slung furniture is employed in the outdoor living spaces.
A muted palette of soft neutrals captures the subtle coloration of the white sands.
A hearty fire place places logs right on an open concrete slab, almost like a table top, in the center of the great room.
The tall concrete columns are interestingly paired with sand-colored double-height curtains.
The genius here is in intriguingly combining the grandeur of palatial curtains with the brutality of concrete.
This double-height great room is flanked on both sides by low-ceilinged outdoor rooms, each having a fireplace at both ends.
By contrast with the great room, a lower roof over both outdoor patios creates an intimate, warm and sheltered outdoor area outdoors.
The sleeping wing continues this lower roof-line of the outdoor patio and is connected by glass walkway to the double-height main living area.
Altogether a very grand residence that both embraces the sea, and protects against the sometimes violent weather of the isolated region.
It turns out that the most common interior design mistakes are also the easiest to fix! And that’s good news, since many of us live with a lingering sensation that something in our interior design is a bit “off.” Take a look around and see if you are committing one of these common interior design errors.
1) Hanging art too high.
Take a good look at the photo above and below. Notice how the painting and artwork is hung so that the average person, when standing, will be able to look in the center of a painting. (In galleries, that means that the center of most paintings hovers about 60 inches from the floor.) You should aim for the same in your home. It’s important that any painting work within the context of a furniture grouping. It needs to relate. For that reason, even if you are hanging a piece in a great room with very high ceilings, you should aim to hang artwork at a level that still connects with furniture. Notice how nicely these pieces relate to the furniture groupings around them.
And here in this hallway, the piece is hung at a level in which you feel like you could become a part of the sculpture:
Note that it’s okay to go higher on a wall when you are creating a “salon” effect by hanging several paintings:
2) Going overboard with houseplants.
Plants can be a beautiful thing in a home, bringing in a bit of nature indoors and acting as a natural air purifier. But people often get carried away with lots of little cuttings in jars scattered about on every free surface. The effect is one of clutter and chaos. In fact, houseplants are best used as a sculptural element. That means going larger, paring down and thinking carefully about placement.
In the room below, three carefully-placed large tree branches add a natural, balanced note that manages to bring in lots of greenery while totally working within the clean, minimalist confines of the room:
In this room, one well-placed houseplant looks just like another sculptural element, picking up perfectly where African masks have left off:
In this ultra tiny East Village studio, one plant manages to bring the outdoors in, dispelling any feelings of claustrophobia without taking up a lot of space.
3) Retreating to Neutrals.
People are so terrified of making design mistakes that they often opt for the easiest choice when shopping for furniture or choosing wall colors. They go beige. Or gray. The effect is one endless expanse of greige on walls, rugs, couches, etc. It’s bland, boring, and totally lacks personality. And sure, it can be tasteful at times, but it’s also so safe that it lacks dynanism. The room below is a perfect example.
If you’ve got a case of the “greiges” know that it can easily be remedied by injecting a bit of color into your home in places where you feel safe doing so and at a relatively low cost.
You can paint the walls a dramatic color, or invest in an interesting patterned rug:
You can throw some patterned textiles into a room, via sheets, blankets and pillows:
You can opt for one colorful piece of furniture, such as this yellow couch:
Or this one, complete with colorful pillows and artwork to boot.
Sometimes, all you have to do is add a fluorescent pink stool!
So if you’re guilty of committing one of these design errors, take heart. It takes just a moment to fix these problems and you’ll find your home’s interior much improved.