Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 2
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Design Dilemma: Let’s Take a Dip! Our Annual Edition of Cool Pools

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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.

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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.

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A See-Through Artist’s House in the Brazilian Rainforest

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A sweetly poetic air infuses this charming garden house with parallel walls of glass in the jungle outside Rio de Janeiro.

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To preserve the 100 year old trees on the site, a narrow floorplan was created.

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Making it completely transparent kept the towering rainforest in sight.

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Within the long narrow plan, a slit in the roof down the center brings an everchanging beam of sunlight into the house – like a sunbeam in a forest clearing.

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The clients, the granddaughter of great architect Sergio Bernardes and a Colombian artist, had their own vision for architect Carla Juaçaba.

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While wildly romantic and ethereal, the house is nevertheless simply constructed of the most sturdy industrial materials, corrugated metal and glass, and is raised above ground to allow for occasional flooding.

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A tall Jacarandah tree drops its pink blossoms all around the secretive artists’ retreat.

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Its kitchen is a simple peasant’s kitchen with pots and pans all arrayed in plain sight.

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The narrow sliver of house can be fully opened all along both sides, so that the central living room becomes an open sided jungle garden pavilion.

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The island is constructed of durable concrete and set on a stone floor.

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The kitchen/living room is in the center of the simple plan, with a private bedroom and bathroom at each end.

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Sometimes the simplest plans are the most beautiful.

In this case — less really is more.

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Design Trend: Impact Windows Become Essential with Climate Change

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There’s no denying it. Climate change is here. And as the reality of larger and more intense storms sinks in, smart homeowners, particularly those along the southern coast, are looking for ways to make their homes more secure when the inevitable hits.  One of the best solutions is also the simplest — impact windowsboasting the ability to stand up to anything Hurricanes Arthur, Sandy, Tom, Dick or Harry, can dish out.

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Here’s a quick primer on what impact windows are, and how they can be an essential measure to protecting your home if you happen to live in a hurricane zone:

What are impact windows?

Impact windows (sometimes referred to as “hurricane windows”) are made with “impact resistant glass” comprised of two glass sheets sandwiching an exceptionally strong polymer interior layer. This “interlayer” means the glass won’t break into dangerous shards when hit. Instead, the glass, even if cracked, stays together, eliminating the need for protective storm shutters. (A huge time saver for anyone who has spent hours mounting storm shutters or boarding up windows).  Impact resistant glass can withstand the equivalent impact of a 2×4 travelling at 50 feet per second, which also means it’s great protection against your neighbor’s rock-throwing kids!

Do impact windows have benefits beyond storms?

Yes! This type of window helps prevent forced entry in a home as the inner layer is not easily penetrated, even if the glass is shattered.  It can be a great option for those who are concerned with home security but who don’t want to mount unsightly bars. In addition, many brands of impact windows are designed with energy efficiency in mind. The double pane insulates the inside temperature from the outside, reducing harmful UV rays, external noise, and your air-conditioning bill.  You can’t ask more than that from a couple of sheets of glass. Another fantastic benefit of impact windows is the added value to your property, and a possible reduction in hefty insurance premiums.

What about style?

Like orthopedic shoes and compression hosiery, you’d imagine that anything so practical would also have to be ugly. That’s another great feature of impact windows. It can be just as beautiful and elegant as any other type of window. Check out these beauties from Vico Windows Inc, based in South Florida.

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Impact windows can be ordered in any finish or architectural style you desire. They come not only as windows, but as doors. The door below was also done by Vico Windows.

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So if you’re a coastal dweller and concerned about increasing storm activity, it makes all the sense in the world to check into impact windows. While they cannot completely remove the danger and damage from the next tropical storm or hurricane, they can help minimize potential damage and help you breathe a little easier. And between storms, you’ll enjoy UV resistant glass that provides enough insulation to keep your home cooler during hot summers. Now that’s a bargain.