Quaint English Cottage Gets a Modern Kitchen Addition

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When kitchen designer Alex Saint of Kitchen Architecture approached the project of adding a modern kitchen to an 18th-century thatched-roof cottage in Cheshire, England, he did so with the property’s historic integrity in mind.

Instead of attempting to replicate the home’s century-old brickwork, the architect decided to build a glassed-in kitchen addition that would minimize structural changes and preserve the home’s character.

Double-glazed glass walls and ceiling help to control the temperature in the cooler months; when the sun shines, the homeowners open the full-length sliding doors to let in fresh air. The floor matches the stone terrace exactly, creating a smooth transition between the home’s outdoor and indoor spaces.

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A spacious foyer now occupies the site of the old kitchen. The new kitchen’s entryway — an opened-up outer wall that was the only structural change to the home — provides sunny views of the garden and carriage house.

Creating the addition entirely from glass presented a few structural challenges. “We had to be really careful about how we planned the layout of the kitchen, so that in the end we didn’t need to fix anything high up,” says Saint. A low stabilizing wall runs around three sides of the addition.

The kitchen was outfitted with bulthaup cabinetry in soft matte white, an ergonomic raised dishwasher, a full-height refrigerator and ample storage. Track lights and subtle uplighting keep the space illuminated at night.

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Modern Style and Sensibility In a Traditional D.C. Neighborhood

The Brandywine House, in an upscale residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., was completed by Robert M. Gurney Architect. Offering a screened porch, covered deck, rooftop deck and balconies, the contemporary L-shaped home is oriented around a large outdoor living space.

Its floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a swimming pool in the backyard. “This project is intended to be respectful of its established neighborhood while infusing a modern sensibility for aesthetics, functionality, ecology and technology,” the architect said. 

The exterior materials include stone, wood and stucco. Inside, the combination of white oak, mahogany, rosewood and zebrawood creates a warm atmosphere in contrast to the cool modern style, while expansive skylights generate shifting light throughout the day.

Even though the home has several windows and glass walls, their strategic placement in the front of the house allows for the residents’ privacy. Computer-programmed window shades, a hydronic heating system, a solar-powered water heater and photovoltaic panels also make it extremely energy efficient. [Photography by Anice Hoachlander and Allen Russ]

Extensive Renovation Reveals a Mid-Century Jewel in Seattle

Located in Seattle, Wash., Broadmoor Residence was recently upgraded and extended by the creative team at David Coleman Architecture. Opening toward an inner garden, the L-shaped mid-century home was brought back to life by an extensive transformation.

“The original house, designed in 1956 by a prominent Seattle architect, was conceived as a meandering, one-story structure on a pastoral half-acre site,” the project developers said. “The original plan was rather ambiguous, and a 1970s remodel further eroded the integrity of the plan.”

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“Our goal was to clarify the plan, improve livability and merge interior and exterior space where possible,” they said. This was accomplished in a number of ways, including adding window walls to let in natural lighting and make a seamless connection with the backyard.

A spacious open plan draws guests into the kitchen and dining area. Wood finishes are blended harmoniously with modern materials and furnishings, resulting in a dynamic, contemporary design with a warm touch. What do you think of the renovation of this mid-century home? [Photography by Steve Keating]

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Lively, Colorful Studios Celebrate Caribbean Paradise

Studio Architects completed the design of T House, a 2,820-square-foot home in Tulum, Mexico, composed of three separate studios. From an aerial view, the studios — named Earth, Wind and Fire — form the letter “T.”

“The client, a fashion designer from New York, wanted an integrated approach to a Caribbean paradise, with many textures and color accents,” the architects said. “The goal was a composition of volumes and shapes, rhythms and textures, catching the guests by surprise at every corner.”

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The private backyard features polished cement walls, surrounded by lush vegetation, and a longitudinal swimming pool. The Earth and Wind studios, on the ground floor, have views of the entrance garden and the pool; the Fire studio looks out over the back garden from the second level. Each has a kitchenette and bath.

Enjoy the virtual tour of this simple and elegant home in Mexico, and let us know what design elements catch your eye! [Information provided by Studio Architects; photography by Pablo Garcia Figueroa]

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Sustainable Tiny Home Offers Big Style, Low Environmental Impact

The terms “self-sufficiency” and “off the grid” usually call to mind concrete fallout shelters or underground bunkers, but the efficient interior of this tiny home would not be out of place in a New York penthouse or San Francisco studio.

Austrian firm Wohnwagon has created five of these homes since starting the project in 2013. Using all natural materials, the company creates one-of-a-kind homes on wheels with a focus on sustainability and low environmental impact. Measuring only 269 square feet, each one comes with an expandable portion that gives you an extra 70 square feet when needed.

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The exterior is larch wood, known for being durable, waterproof and sustainable. The interior is lined with spruce for a light, airy look. Sheep’s wool is used as insulation to regulate both temperature and humidity. The natural elements are not limited to the construction materials; the design is simple and naturally inspired.

The true beauty of the Wohnwagon comes out when you take it off the grid. Its 31-gallon water tank is refilled using an ingenious graywater system that pumps wastewater through a filtration system located on the roof. The process of cleaning and sanitizing the wastewater takes about 24 hours.

A wood-burning stove and solar panels ensure that hot water is always available, while a bio-toilet disposes of waste separately, turning it into liquid fertilizer for your garden. The rooftop solar panels can provide energy immediately or store small amounts for later use.

tiny home - Wohnwagon - freshome
tiny home - Wohnwagon - freshome
tiny home - Wohnwagon - freshome
tiny home - Wohnwagon - freshome

A Neon Ghost Chair Inspired by Daft Punk

French Touch, designed by Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli for Joogii Design, is an acrylic ghost chair inspired by Daft Punk, Cassius and other French house music of the ’90s.

Its asymmetrical pieces are lap-joined with steel bolts and covered with dichroic film to symbolize the musical genre’s distinctively slick, sampled sound. The transparent coating is effervescent by day, flashing shades of hot pink, mint green and electric aqua. At night, it takes on darker tones of primary red, yellow and blue — kind of like house music, if you want to get metaphorical.

Says Mutzke-Felippelli of her creation: “The chair is as vibrant and mesmerizing as the combination of uplifting disco samples and heavy filters used in tracks during the heyday of the French house musical genre.” The chair comes with the playlist that inspired it, which you can listen to here.

ghost chair - French Touch - Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli - Freshome
ghost chair - French Touch - Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli - Freshome
ghost chair - French Touch - Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli - Freshome
ghost chair - French Touch - Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli - Freshome

This Ronald McDonald House Is a Modern Home Away From Home

A family with a child in the hospital faces many challenges, but housing should not be one of them. Designed by architecture firm GRAFT, the Ronald McDonald House Sankt Augustin in Sankt Augustin, Germany, was designed to provide a sense of community for families in a beautiful setting while their children receive medical care.

Everything about the building, from the floor plans to the dramatic shape and structure, was designed with a “home away from home” concept in mind. It features dynamic curves and is simple and bright throughout.

The L-shaped building has 25 apartments for families. It was built at the top of a hill, and the back faces west, giving every unit a view of the sunset and the surrounding areas.

A long table in the spacious common area brings residents together, while a stepped ramp against one wall serves many purposes, including a play place for children, a quiet working space for adults and a stage for performances. [Photography by Tobias Hein]

Small Brooklyn Apartment Remodel Will Bowl You Over

Cobble Hill, a 675-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., was gutted and creatively transformed by Co Adaptive Architecture. The innovative renovation converted the corner apartment from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom unit while still allowing for an open-concept living room and kitchen.

The highlight of the small but efficient home is a custom sliding island made from a repurposed bowling alley floor. This multifunctional piece can be used for food prep or as a dining table for dinner parties.

Exposed Brick

Apple boxes from New York were used for the upper cabinets, adding a practical and charming look to the kitchen. Original raw elements of the apartment were exposed and highlighted, including red brick walls in the living space, adding the only real color to an otherwise neutral-toned design.

Chic custom polished copper piping fixtures were installed in both the kitchen and bathroom, revealing plumbing elements that are usually tucked behind the walls. These distinct design choices contribute to the modern and charming appeal of this renovated Brooklyn apartment. [Photography by Peter Dressel]

Inspiring Indigo: How to Incorporate This Moody Blue Hue Into Your Home

Indigo, a natural blue dye made from the flowering Indigofera plant, has been used for centuries. While blue jeans might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of indigo, this delightful and authentic hue is as popular in interior design as it is in our longstanding favorite apparel.

Its many familiar yet fresh variations means indigo lends itself to bold choices such as paint or wallpaper. But even the smallest accents — like soap dishes, drawer pulls or switchplate covers — can also make an impact.

Painting a single door or a pair of window frames in indigo sheds a whole new light on white walls. By incorporating different finishes from matte to high-gloss, indigo paint can help provide the specific vibe you’re seeking for a space.

An accent wall papered in a textured indigo design, such as raw linen, adds not only amazing color, but also texture that you can build on throughout your interiors. Bedding, drapes and furnishings such as poufs and bar carts are other great ways to incorporate indigo.

Dalara Holm of Dalara Design appreciates the Zen aspects of indigo as the color of intuition and perception. “It is helpful in opening the third eye,” she says. “It promotes deep concentration during times of introspection and meditation, helping to achieve deeper levels of consciousness. Indigo stimulates right-brain, creative activity and helps with spatial skills.”

Here are some tips on how to use this magical color effectively in your living space.

Room by Room

“Indigo is a beautiful accent color,” Holm says. “Try integrating indigo in kitchen tile, and play with accent pillows on chairs or a breakfast bench.”

Holm also favors indigo place settings; its rich color is beautiful for a more traditional setting, she says. “An impeccable combination is indigo with different shades of purple and deep blue. A mustardy yellow is a harmonious accent.”

Don’t overlook small spaces as options for rich hues. “I love deep colors like indigo in powder rooms; it makes it so dramatic,” Holm says. “In large spaces, I would use indigo as an accent wall; in bedrooms, on bed sheets or throws.”

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Shades and Textures

Eric Ross, owner of Eric Ross Interiors, has his own ideas about working with indigo. “I find a grayed dark blue/charcoal paint more pleasing,” he says. Two of Ross’s paint picks: Benjamin Moore New Providence Navy and PPG Porter Volcanic Ash.

“For indigo on the wall, I’ll go to a grasscloth in the color; it tends to have more variable shades. You can bring in indigo fabrics to create a more dimensional look and it’s not as overwhelming.”  

Ross offers this great tip: Don’t overlook art. “Sometimes you can find a landscape at night, which I always find appealing due to the navy sky and white moon,” he says. “Plus, they are very rare in art.”

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Complementary Colors

Ross suggests pairing purple shades with indigo, “particularly lilac for a more serene effect,” he says. “Do amethyst for a jolt. Turquoise is another good option and would create more energy.”

As it can be masculine to the eye, Ross likes an indigo tea kettle and cookware for a kitchen. Add in turquoise or orange to soften the look.

Ross is designing a study/home office off a master bedroom, using indigo and tan as the principal colors. He’s also bringing in celadon and gray to relate the room to the master and add a bit of lightness.

Indigo can be both calming and exciting, depending on its tone and placement in a space, and it works for all ages, genders and design styles. The sheer versatility of this glorious color offers endless options for your own creativity.

How would you use indigo to enhance your living space? Check out our photo gallery for 25 ideas to inspire you!

L.A. Bridge Project Elevates Contemporary Design

Los Angeles broke ground this month on an ambitious bridge project,designed by Michael Maltzan of Michael Maltzan Architecture.

The 3,500-foot bridge, made of up of 10 pairs of arches that will light up at night, is replacing the iconic Sixth Street Viaduct, which was built in 1932. It will span the Los Angeles River and U.S. Route 101 freeway, connecting the Boyle Heights neighborhood to downtown L.A.

“These pairs of repeated concrete arches and cable-supported roadway deck are simultaneously elegant and efficient,” the architect said. The project is scheduled for completion in 2019.

The bridge will enhance access for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, with five staircases at different points along the span along with ramps for cyclists. Additionally, the structure is being built in tandem with parks and green space being developed under and around the bridge.

“The project foresees a multimodal future for the city, one that accommodates cars, incorporates significant new bicycle connections and also increases connectivity for pedestrians to access the viaduct,” said Maltzan.

It will link “the bridge to the Los Angeles River and future urban landscapes in a more meaningful relationship.” The project is just one contributor to the recent surge in the city’s building design projects.