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Glass Box Dining Room Cantilevers Out Towards Cedar Forest

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A coastal home in West Vancouver, British Columbia by Splyce Design features an entirely glassed-in box that cantilevers out towards the surrounding forest.

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The site was long and narrow, and footprint requirements precluded expanding the foundation to the side closer to the forest.

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So the architect solved the resulting too-narrow footprint by cantilevering several rooms back out to the side.

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The result is like leaning sideways over the forest floor to capture the water views.

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The reflective flooring of polished concrete further captures the native creekside vegetation, as if the diners are suspended within the forest.

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Now the remaining house footprint has some width, preventing what could have been claustrophobic.

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Even when facing into the house, the forest is right there, reflected back though full-size mirrors and floor to ceiling glazing.

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Some beautiful details include a stone bench providing continuity wall to wall.

It visually connects a pure cylinder used as a wash basin, an embedded toilet seat, while providing seating in the shower and in the drying area beyond it.

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A similar cylinder washbasin in another bathroom appears fed by a tap suspended in the forest.

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A bedroom in the back offers views down the side of the house by sharing them with the front deck.

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A wall to wall skylight over the stairs brings the joy of a huge wash of sunlight over the viewer descending from the bedrooms upstairs to the main floor.

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Bedrooms towards the back of the house are set along a walkway through the mature cedar and douglas fir to the side.

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With portions of the main and upper floors cantilevered back out past the foundation, the native creekside vegetation can grow up, under and around as an uninterrupted, wild, forest floor.

What a wonderful and light-filled home, that maximizes its forest setting.

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Isolated Tropical Villa and Guesthouse on a Brazilian Mountainside

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A holiday villa that is more outside than inside is framed in rustic wood beams and barely filled-in walls of earthy golden stucco.

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The simple tropical vacation home is sited amidst the most breathtaking unspoiled tropical rain forest on a mountainside in Brazil.

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Despite its extreme isolation, the simple retreat is comfortable and has even a spartan sort of eco-luxury.

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Sturdy furnishings are simply fashioned of local sustainable timbers.

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Here, the comforting old staple of rocking chairs on the porch take on a tropical air.

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Huge hollowed-out bamboo supplies fireside storage.

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Both TV and fire are housed side by side in the same stone fireplace.

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Stairs as rudimentary as in a chicken coop access the one bedroom above.

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This bedroom is really a cozy attic-mezzanine overlooking the living area, protected in the rafters of the same steep roof line.

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Rustic stone paving leads out from the cottage.

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Next the main villa seen here, a path leads across to another, smaller version as a replica, also in local rustic timbers and golden stucco – a guest house.

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In this guest house, a rudimentary kitchen is right at the front, almost becoming part of the tropical mountainside.

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In this guest cotage, a TV area is set deeper within the living room, while a conversation area is to the front, where guests can soak up the glorious unspoiled scenery.

Guests share the main house swimming pool seen outside.

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The remote off-grid pair is by Sarmento & Melo Arquitetura.

A very simple yet charming eco retreat.

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Warm Pine in Old Stone Farmhouse Conversion in Spain

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This historic farmhouse in rural Cantabria was renovated by Manel Casellas and Mar Puig de la Bellacasa at Barcelona studio 2260mm architects.

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The original had been extremely dark.

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The original barn had housed animals on the ground floor, with the owners on two floors above.

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Because the stone barn collapsed during the renovation, they had to completely rebuild.

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The new structurally sound framework of wooden columns, beams and staircases provides a warm contrast to the rough stone walls.

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The old stone barn is filled with fresh young wood.

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The kitchen, seen here, is on the ground floor, now lined with fresh concrete and filled with pine.

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The miracle of the renovation is how the architects were able to make a light interior while being unable to add any windows.

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As the building had historic significance, they couldn’t add new windows to bring in more light.

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A low attic maximizes two skylights in the roof that bring enough light and warmth inside.

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The all white and pine interior also helps light it up.

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Essentially the architects have inserted a light, warm and comfortable contemporary home inside the old stone box.

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Slide-Out Guest Bedrooms Define Odd French Holiday Cottage

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An unusual all-black holiday cottage from Atelier Raum in the French Bretagne region quietly but definitively defies local village traditions.

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A huge skylight brings brilliant light into an all-white interior room, contrasting with the dark exterior.

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This roof-wide skylight is at the base of a green roof that appears to continue the wooded hillside up another slope.

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Even stranger, this brilliantly daylit room is dug into the hillside, creating a pair of 45 degree angles with the roof slope.

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Interestingly, two guest bedrooms can be rolled entirely out of the tiny cottage, and placed facing any direction.

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Or stored inside.

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The result is a house that can be uniquely connected to the outside for a kind of camping experience.

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One enormous window connects the rule-defying cottage bedroom to its villagers.

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The eerie effect is that of a periscope peering out at unfriendly terrain.

In such a tradition-bound setting, this odd cottage is probably in exactly that relationship.

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Design Dilemma: Turning a Bedroom into a Closet

contemporary closet how to tips advice

Surely it’s a sign of the times when we find ourselves afflicted with far more things than space to store them all. In fact, that’s the case for many of us, who find ourselves overloaded with clothes, shoes, purses, and luggage. We may also happen to have a spare bedroom that remains empty most of the time. What’s the solution? How about turning that spare bedroom into an actual closet?

The plusses of this bold move are many. For one, turning an extra room into a walk-in closet can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. It may mean simply installing removable clothing caddies, or it may mean a complete overhaul with built-ins.

Here’s the simple version:

closet how to tips advice

And here’s what the fancy walk-in closet might look like:

contemporary closet how to tips advice

Another huge plus is that you are actually making a savvy use of space. If you have a guestroom and no guests, a home gym that rarely gets used, a home office that is unnecessary, due to the advent of the laptop, then turning that wasted space into a walk-in closet to store your goods and eliminate clutter in other parts of your home makes lots of sense.

And there’s one more huge advantage. You’ll actually be able to find your stuff! With easy access and great organization, you may find yourself less likely to buy more things you don’t need, since you can easily assess what you have. Just think how easy getting dressed would be in the closet below:

transitional closet how to tips advice

So what should you keep in mind if you’re thinking of creating your own walk-in closet?

1) Opt for a room with low light, if possible. A room with windows that receive bright sunlight could end up fading clothes. For that reason, you might opt to take only a portion of a room to create that closet, or you might opt for a hallway space, as you see below:

traditional closet how to tips advice

2) Consider whether you want a wall mounted or floor mounted system. Wall-mounted closets are affixed directly to the wall or hung from a rail mounted onto the wall. As you see below. They’re cheaper, and often combine coated-wire baskets and racks with hanging wood shelves for a contemporary and utilitarian look.

Floor-mounted closets are attached to the wall as well, but get most of their support from the floor.  Made of particle board panels covered with melanine, they can look like built-ins, and thus are more expensive, and traditional looking:

traditional closet how to tips advice

3) Take it beyond just the racks.

If you’re going to the trouble of converting a bedroom into a closet, go all out and think beyond just racks for hanging clothes. Consider shallow drawers for underwear, socks and belts; deeper drawers for sweaters and T-shirts; and open shelves for shoes and sweats. Throw in racks to hang ties or jewelry, and a shoe rack for shoes.

4) Consider LED shelf lighting.

LEDs use less electricity, produce less heat and can be surface mounted and plugged in, so they don’t require ceiling access.

Here’s what they look like:

contemporary closet how to tips advice

5. Do your research.

If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to build a walk-in closet, make the most of it! Visit different stores, check out various systems, and plan, plan, plan. You can hire a closet company to design your system, or you can design it yourself.You can hire a contractor to build it, or do the work yourself. Expect to spend between $500 and $1,500 if you do it yourself. If you’re looking at something fancier, you can expect to spend between $1,500 and $8,000 for a medium-quality closet, and $8,000 to $12,000 (or more) for a higher-end closet with all the trimmings.