Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 3
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A Mexican Holiday Home from Olson Kundig Architects

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Olson Kundig Architects bring their wonderful rustic and textural sensibilities to bear in Mexico.

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The brief was for a generous vacation retreat on a sandy beachfront.

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The clients entertain in grand style, yet remain close to the earthy traditions of Mexico.

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The sophisticated and convivial retreat is a big departure from the architects’ signature rugged macho fishing cabins.

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From a distance, the exterior appears to draw on their Pacific Northwest roots.

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But up close, the textural charm of traditional Mexican architecture is employed, with great restraint.

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The house is both urbane and supremely elegant.

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The industrial touch in this heavy center-pivot door is contrasted with the nobility of a stone floor.

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The feeling of rounded river stones is contrasted with the smoothness of marble underfoot, in this sumptuously tactile outdoor shower.

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An earthy Mexican concrete sink and a restrained rustic faucet.

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A stone pillar brings a legendary quality to the bedroom view of the sea beyond.

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There are generous public spaces that allow for both conviviality and privacy for the large family who loves to entertain.

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But most of all, the house has a timeless sense of peace.

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Exqusite Ramped Glasshouse/Butterfly Conservancy

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I love the beautifully integrated zigzag of this sloping ramp – completely encased in glass.

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The glorious CAN MANA House from Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners overlooks the ocean in coastal Spain.

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Its lovely sloping ramp accesses the second floor living room on a white ceramic platform.
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“Nature lays down the law,” say the architects. “Its wonderful setting dominates, walls become plate glass windows. Light guides us. Trees creep through construction.”
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To the right a raised pool connects the house to the vast Spanish coast beyond. “Beyond, the story of the house ends on an untouchable horizon, like all other stories.”
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Completely encased in glass, the ramp gives the sense of being outdoors.
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The white concrete floor bouncing back the sun makes the raised living room seem connected to the ground.
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Under the living room, the entire length of the ground floor houses a spacious master bedroom cum sumptuous bathing room.8 architecture
While in the back, three bedrooms use an efficient en suite design.
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While one end upstairs houses the glassed-in sloping ramp, the other end houses an elevated pool accessed by an open air stair.
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The bold patterning of sun and shadow makes this stair a sculptural statement.
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The sudden joy of encountering this deep pool is a surprise.

It is set on a tank-like building housing the mechanical system underneath. Above; you are above it all – at one with the infinity of the sky and the limitless sea beyond.
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Overlooking the pool to the city views beyond, the raised living room takes advantage of its elevation, while the bedrooms underneath have more intimate garden views.

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Adjacent to the pool, a cantilevered deck allows two trees to continue to grow up through holes in its floor.

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The architects describe the house as “A butterfly conservatory, the key thrown away: a space defined by the transparency of the windows, an infinite space where thoughts take flight at the whim of imagination.”

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Design Dilemma: Digital Art Makes A Splash

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Digital art is becoming one of the top home design trends of the moment.

If you’re confused about exactly what this term means, “digital art”  refers to the use of digital technology as an essential part of the creative process. Other terms used to describe this art is “computer art,” “multimedia art,” and the larger umbrella term “new media art”.

This year in home design, digital art seems to be supplanting other traditional art forms in which the handmade personal quality is important (paintings, drawing or sculpture.)  The aesthetic is slick, sleek and critics might argue cold and mechanical. In part, this new aesthetic is a reflection of our digital age. A younger generation of artists who grew up wielding Ipads and Iphones as toddlers are now making their imprint in the world of art.

Are you curious to see how people are incorporating digital art into their homes? Let’s take a look:

Below, check out custom digital art created on a glass shower splashback. This concept of printing a digital image on a 6 mm glass can be applied not only to splash-backs in bathrooms, but backsplashes in kitchens as well.

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Here’s an example of digital art on a kitchen backsplash:

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The great thing about digital art is that it is perfect for humid environments such as bathrooms and kitchens. It’s a clever way to add  color and interest in places that are not ideal for hanging more delicate paintings or drawings. Prints on glass can be easily cleaned with a damp sponge and will retain their luster and beauty despite weathering some tough conditions.

That being said, digital art on glass is also used in other types of environments to provide pattern and interest. The print below was first drawn by hand with a pen, then digitized and transferred to glass for a glass wall separating a bedroom from a hallway.

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Of course, not all digital art serves as just a background to other types of action. Some digital art performs as a centerpiece, taking the place of a traditional painting. For instance, the digital art piece below is simply a fine abstract art piece that would be perfect above a fireplace or in some central location in  a home.

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Here’s another digital art piece on glass which acts and feels  like a painting:

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There’s another rendition of the digital art trend that has made it into many homes. Many people are making use of their television screens as art pieces. For instance:

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And this:

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Here’s how it works: You frame a television and get software to display a digitized image on the screen when the television is not in use. Another version of this idea is to use a TV backboard of plexiglass with LED lights to create an artsy feel, as seen above.

But despite the digital trend, we predict that conventional painting and drawing isn’t going anywhere soon. Many of us could never give up the handmade and personal feel that old fashioned oil or acrylic on canvas offers.  The painting below just leaps off the walls.

 

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Design Trend: Tips on Installing A Whole House Water Conditioning System

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If you’re one of those people who gets water from a well or from a municipality with particularly bad water quality, you may have suffered through any one of a legion of problems: cloudy water, water with a “rotten egg” smell, water with a chlorine or metallic or fishy taste, or water so hard that it leaves your skin feeling tight and your hair feeling dry. And if you’ve got that “hard” water problem it’s not only a problem for your health but for the health of your home. Water filled with calcium and magnesium deposits can shorten the life and efficiency of home appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Water heaters can’t heat hard water as fast as soft water, so your utility bill goes up. In fact, tankless water heaters running with hard water often need replacing every two years. Plus, hard water leaves scaly deposits on your plumbing system which build up over time, causing clogs and corrosion that can shorten the life of your home’s plumbing system. If you have hard water you know it, just by the number of showerheads you run through over a few years time.

Fed up with all the problems brought by substandard water quality, more and more homeowners, particularly those looking for Northern California water services, are taking advantage of whole house water conditioning systems that can treat water flowing throughout the house. Not only do these homeowners get clean, filtered water to drink from the kitchen tap, but washers and dishwashers need not suffer the insults of overly mineralized water either. Plus, homeowners can again luxuriate in baths and showers that leave skin feeling refreshed, not layered with gunk.

Are you thinking of adding a whole house water conditioning system? Here are a few tips:

1) Ask the professionals. There are a number of different types of systems , from drinking water systems to whole home water softening and filtration systems. Each is designed for optimal performance based on various factors, including the source of your water (well or municipal), size of your plumbing, as well as your overall volume of water use, and level of purification needs. The best way of finding a system that will work for you is talking to the experts and evaluating your situation accordingly.

2) Drinking water isn’t needed throughout the house. It’s impractical, unnecessary, and extremely expensive according to experts at DeAnza Water Conditioning. In fact, they say, the bulk of their customers are opting for two systems — one to soften and/or filter the water for the entire house and then a separate water filtration system in the kitchen exclusively for drinking and cooking. That separate system uses advanced reverse osmosis (RO) technology to remove all of the particles that cannot be removed by standard purification.

3) Shop around and consider not only the system design and planning but technical support. Your choice of water systems will be based not only on the conditions at your house, but also on the kind of technical support you’ll be getting in the future. All water systems need maintenance and support, so you’ll want to choose a company carefully, that you know will be around over the long haul.

4) Compare apples to apples. Prices on water filtration systems can vary enormously, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Keep in mind that what’s on offer also varies enormously. Ask a lot of questions and keep the differences in mind as you assess costs.
Adding a whole house water filtration system to your home is a serious undertaking, but the benefits in terms of water quality, life extension of plumbing and appliances and, of course, the health benefits are enormous. Once you’ve made the change, you’ll never want to go back again!

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Magnificent Big Sur Glass House Descends to Ocean

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This amazing house in Big Sur, California on the slope of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is by Fougeron Architecture .

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Entered from a terrace at the top, Fall House is partly clad in copper on one side.

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Modeled on the movement of a sea slug downhill, the house has a central ‘hinge’ that is transparent.

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This means that a double height living room under the “hinge” is entirely skylit with sunshine all day.

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The effect of the glass and the height is truly exhilarating.

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The transparency of the central living room is complete on both sides as well.

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The house follows the hill downhill.

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As you descend the “sea slug” you arrive at the kitchen, barely above the waves.

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Outside the kitchen a comfortable perch for a morning coffee.

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Morning sunshine floods the master bathroom where a bath is at floor level.

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At the farthest end is the master bedroom, with a glorious perch right over the Pacific Ocean.

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This absolutely magnificent house was recently awarded an honor award from the AIA CC for excellence in architecture.