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An Oriental Screen for An Australian Getaway

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A house for an Australian family with two young children is given an air of intrigue with an Oriental inspired screened porch.

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Designed by Wolveridge Architects the design moderates some of the brilliant Australian sunshine of Victoria.

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The architects were briefed to provide a family home with plenty of outdoor space and play area for the kids and their friends.

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At the same time, the parents wanted a grownups home that reflected their tastes.

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Black provides a sophisticated accent throughout.

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Black is used effectively to provide a stunning contrast to this sunlit bathtub.

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The plan is simple and sweet.

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The house is kid friendly but it also has an adult sensibility.

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Five minutes’ walk up from Blairgowrie’s back beach, the young couple had found the land of their dreams, but it was sloped.

They wanted flat land for the kids to run around on.

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So the architect built up a flat area off the living room with earthworks.

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It was also important to have a wide open house with room for the kids to ride their bikes inside.

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But the most important requirement was that the house make a clean break from their lives in the city.

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Guz Architects Create a Soaring Roof for Rattan House

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Under a soaring wooden ceiling, an extraordinary hardwood staircase is the big feature in a new house from Guz Architects in Singapore.

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Like many houses in the sultry tropical climate, the Rattan House is designed to maximize natural ventilation.

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A highly polished tropical hardwood ceiling and wooden shutter doors gives a colonial feel to the shaded and water-cooled entry.

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Stepping stones in cool black stone skim across a koi pond courtyard.

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An angled wall of rattan allows for knickknack displays while allowing the free flow of air along a walkway to a private office.

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This upstairs walkway offers an incredible grandstand seating view overlooking a magnificent, spacious garden.

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A filmy rattan screen is slung between the rhythmic march of white pillars

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Private bedrooms and bathrooms are arrayed along the upper level, up the astounding staircase.

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What a truly stunning atrium space.

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Design Dilemma: Let’s Take a Dip! Our Annual Edition of Cool Pools

eclectic pool art home decor

In the steamy days of summer, there’s nothing better than taking a dip in the pool. So annually, with thoughts of cooling off thanks to a refreshing swim, we pay homage to the fantastically creative, arresting or unusual pools out there. Shall we get started?

First, we have to give a nod of approval to the violin-shaped swimming pool above. Designed by the New Jersey firm Cipriano Landscape Design, the pool uses glass tile and special lights for the snazzy lighting effects.

Here’s another daytime view:

 

eclectic pool art home decor

Below is another glass tile pool from the same firm. Part of the pool is in ground, but there’s a stylish glass mosaic tile lip that protrudes from one end.

traditional pool art home decor

Some of us crave a lake, or at least a pond, rather than a pool. For those, check out the natural swimming pool below, which boasts no chemicals. Instead, it relies on a constructed wetland of plants and gravel to filter the water. This “regeneration” zone is like a water garden; a variety of plants selected by a natural pool specialist or a landscape architect create an ecosystem that cleans the pool water.

contemporary landscape art home decor

Some natural pools are a little bit more constructed than the one you see above. Below are two more, that still feature a regeneration zone, but have more of the traditional look of a pool:

traditional pool art home decor
traditional pool art home decor

Some people want anything but natural. For those folks, we offer a couple of really sleek “city” pools from the Melbourne area landscape design company C.O.S. Design.

contemporary pool art home decor

And this:

contemporary landscape art home decor

Not all of us have the space for a fancy, large pool, however. For those of us with limited space, but a love of swimming, we offer these cool pools:

contemporary pool art home decor

If all you need is some space to do laps, the petite pool above, could be just the ticket. The pool is surrounded by inexpensive pea gravel and an extra-long wooden deck which can serve as a spacious entertaining space, even though the pool itself is small.

Also small but cute is this half-moon shaped pool below:

modern pool art home decor

This pool measures only 16 by 32 feet but is still large enough for the kids to splash around in. Plus, it’s cute.

And what about the in-deck pool:

contemporary pool art home decor

Although this pool is mostly above ground and measures only 10- by 25-feet, it manages to feel impressively solid, thanks to the sleek deck surround.

So as you can see, pools come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. Ready to take the plunge?

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A Stylish and Quirky Steampunk Rustic Mountain Home

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Entering Studio 80‘s Mountain Side Farr Residence is like walking into the inside of a wine barrel.

The circular entryway is lined with rough wood boards held together with metal strapping. The crazy paving flooring suggests the great outdoors.

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In every room – even a bathroom, boasting an elegant Fin-de-Siecle copper tub – there is exquisite Arts & Crafts detailing in rich dark hardwoods and quirky industrial lighting.

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Sheets of blackened steel are nailed to the fireplace in a brick-like pattern.

In another reference to the great outdoors, a swing is suspended from the rafters on a rope in front of the fire.

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A second huge rustic wagon wheel light fixture repeats the larger one in the entry “turret” entryway.

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Exposed posts, beams and window framing, and stylish vintage factory stools create a look that has a Fin de Siecle industrial quality.

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Yet another old world industrial light fixture, and a stylized metal and hardwood table are played off the Arts & Crafts woodwork.

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The children’s bedroom continues the country rustic mood with a serious patchwork quilt and an upcycled bed frame of worn timbers.

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Exposed ceiling beams draw the eye upward to yet another quirky yet dead serious light fixture.

An outrageously elegant statement sofa is contrasted against rough stained timber board and batten siding.

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The care and thought that goes into every detail; even the lighting in the bathroom, makes a very powerful impact.

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Altogether, this is a very unique and individual house, with a very well articulated design vocabulary, one that veers between the whimsically droll and the stylishly vintage, with every detail played out against rough hewn timbers and well loved materials.

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Historic Winery becomes Elegant Boutique Hotel

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On the Ionian coast of Sicily, Italian architect Antonio Iraci has led an elegant renovation of and addition to an old winery, converting it to the Zash Country Boutique Hotel.

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The barrel vaulted windows of the original winery blend seamlessly with the elegant new interiors.

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The renovation does not sacrifice its uncompromising elegance for the charm of the old.

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Some of the renovated guest rooms are in the converted winery – with its high ceilings and vaulted passageways.

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Two are set in the beautiful citrus garden, and fully glazed to make it seem as if you are sleeping outdoors.

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The public rooms are accessible to both.

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The elegant renovation was awarded the Ischia International Architecture Award, that celebrates quality in hospitality and is assigned for excellence in architecture.

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Zash Country Boutique Hotel is now a sophisticated retreat.

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The luxury hotel is set in richest and most fascinating countryside of all Italy.

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Mirrors are used above an outdoor sink to reflect the garden surroundings.

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Abundant sources of low slung lighting creates a deep sense of peace in the guest rooms.

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The setting is redolent of the historic importance of this seaside region on the coast of Sicily.

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A mirrored column in the corner of the guest room brings in some of the surrounding citrus groves the region is famous for.

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Some of the guest rooms are set deep in the former cellar of the winery and the all-white interior imparts a sense of deep repose.

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For those who love design, a sophisticated ambiance and attention to detail, the high class hotel - immersed in the scents and colors of the vast surrounding citrus groves – is now an elegant seaside destination on the coast of Sicily.