Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 3
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Think Architecture: the 4 Courtyard Houses

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A curious series of zigs and zags define the elusive shape of the 4 Courtyard Houses by Think Architecture.

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Located in Zumikon, Switzerland, the four houses are identical, each wrapped around their own courtyard.

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These interior courtyards are modular and private spaces.

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The combination of full glass walls and the courtyards creates a series of light-filled spaces.

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Each has curiously shaped skylights popped up from their roofs, giving the group a unique identity.

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The bold zig zag design anchors the group.

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Concrete and limestone is finished in two contrasting textures and colours to give definition to the zigzag shapes.

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To get the contrasting textural effect, the grey was admixed with tiny gritty grey stones, while the smooth white stucco is blended with limestone powder for a silky touch.

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“The four houses are built up in a modular way,” say the architects. “Identical in the basic conception but mirrored in the common middle and reacting individually to the particular topographic situation.”

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Mies van der Rohe Influence in Limantos residence

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A huge double-height atrium is the heart of the Limantos residence by Fernanda Marques Arquitetos Associados.

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The three-level home houses an art-loving family in the upscale neighbourhood of Cidade Jardim in São Paulo, Brazil.

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The house is set in lush landscaping on a steep 8,395 sq.ft site.

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Inspired by the spirit of Mies van der Rohe, Marques has created a timeless house for this family.

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The huge glazed structure inhabits its forest setting like a breathing creature.

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Suspended among the trees, one family member enjoys a rare reading perch.

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The wall of glazing disappears into a series of Japanese folding screens.

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A perfect spiral staircase is a work of art in itself: like curled strip of paper.

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Seen at the far end of the great room, it is completely natural and unforced.

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In creating a home for both private family life and for entertaining, Marques achieves a beautiful balance between maximum transparency and privacy.

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Design Dilemma: Cool Fireplaces to Keep You Warm

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Question: What could be better than kicking up your feet near a cozy fireplace this winter? Answer: Absolutely nothing. Cold dark months filled with snow and frigid temperatures require a warm centerpiece for relaxing and entertaining. And just because a fireplace recalls cozy feelings of tradition doesn’t mean a fireplace has to be traditional.

Check out the custom-made four-sided Acucraft gas fireplace, above. The best thing about a fire in a glass box is that it can sit in the middle of the room, allowing more people to gather around its warmth and beauty. Glass fireplaces give off radiant heat on all sides, which is a big plus in long narrow rooms where a fireplace on one end might not adequately heat a space. When it comes to glass-paned fireplaces, the amount of heat they radiate depends on whether they are made of single or dual pane glass. The look is clean, modern, and not at all fussy.

You’ll find another custom option with a totally different feel in the gas fireplace below. Wood panels and stone create the surround. Inside the fireplace are stones for decorative interest. Bonus:  theycontinue to radiate heat after the fire has been extinguished. A gas fixture allows the fire to take a long narrow shape.

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Why not go totally mod? The Italian Oggifocus Fireplace from Diligence International below looks best when a Lucio Fontana painting sits above! We especially like the minimal, curved wood mantle, that supplies just the right amount of emphasis, but in a very subtle way.

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Got a small space? This simple Emifocus fireplace, also from Diligence International looks a little bit like a ship’s porthole, or else a giant eyeball. The fireplace can be supplied with a visible flue or with the flue exiting behind. Very original!

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In the age of the ubiquitous screen, some of us just don’t want to pull ourselves away. Check out the Eurofocus fireplace below, that looks like a giant television screen. It can be placed centrally in a room or flat against a wall.

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Although the 60s are over, suspended fireplaces still hold a warm place in our hearts. That’s because they function as sculpture, right smack dab in the middle of a room. Check out the one below, also from Diligence International.

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Sometimes what’s on order is not so much a fireplace, as a stove. Stoves can generate quite a bit of heat, and they are much more flexible in terms of where they can be located. In the beach house below, a stove makes a sculptural statement and helps provide heat for both the living area and the entry way.

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The vacation house below also boasts a stove — especially cool because the stovepipe echoes the pillars found throughout the room. The result is that the stove looks like it was meant to be, not just an afterthought.

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And what do you do if you have a tall narrow space, but you’re hankering for a fireplace? Witness the Vertivision fireplace below that looks almost more like a traditional window than a fireplace.
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So if you’re thinking about adding or upgrading your fireplace this winter, know that you have a slew of great options. Fireplace doesn’t have to take the traditional shape. In fact, it can be a lot more fun when it’s a little different!

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A Gabled Interior Creates the Sense of Home – and Space

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The Hazukashi House by ALTS DESIGN OFFICE is squeezed into a tiny space in Japan’s Kyoto prefecture.

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Making the best of a typically tiny space left in urban Japan, the design disguises its long and narrow and windowless site.

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A recurring gabled motif is reminiscent of a child’s drawing of home.

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The gable motif is even carried to an extreme, but serves to illustrate the sense of belonging that defines “home”.

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Instead of windows on the ground floor, light descends from above, through skylights.

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Windows on the lower floor are simply filtered light.

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Different levels within the multiple gable cutouts create a place of refuge for the young family.

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The tiny house achieves a homey feeling, far from its urban neighbors.

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By dispensing with windows, the house is able to occupy the entire width of the narrow lot.

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A very clever use of space.

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Sweet Dutch House with a Secret Underground Space

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A most unusual design by Dutch firm Hofman Dujardin Architects hides second storey bedrooms completely below grade.

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The long and wide concrete ramp brings warm sunlight down to allow all four kids’ bedrooms to directly access the outdoors, as well as a glassed-in walkway to stairs upstairs.
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From nearby, the Villa Geldrop appears to have just a single storey and a dormer in part of its steeply pitched roof.

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As simple and charming as a child’s drawing of home,  the house is flooded with natural light.

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On the main floor housing the public spaces, the entire front is fully glazed.

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The sweetly childlike gable and the fully glazed front results in a home full of airy sunshine.

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Each panel of glazing opens up entirely from floor to ceiling to the clean fresh air outside.

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An elegantly unobtrusive fireplace avoids that forlorn look of an unwanted fireplace in summer. A tiny TV suggests homework is the priority here.

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The steep pitched roof has two dormers; one in front that houses the parents bedroom, above the kitchen.

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Another dormer is in the back of the house, housing a family room up above the living room.

A pleasant and modern Dutch home in Geldrop, The Netherlands, with an interesting secret.