‘Blairgowrie Residence’ has been created by modernist design practice FGR Architects, and showcases breath-taking views that cascade onto the ocean and scenic panoramic views from every room.

A minimalist design inspired by Mediterranean dwellings and single palette homes with views that cascade onto the ocean, Blairgowrie Residence by FGR Architects showcases stunning bay views, spectacular panoramas, large open spaces for entertaining and sprawling verdant landscaping.
Situated on the bay in Melbourne’s popular coastal town of Blairgowrie, the house is a minimalist juxtaposition of white and grey tones seeped in natural light. Designed to be a sanctuary, the dwelling comprises five bedrooms, three ensuites, two bathrooms, as well as two powder rooms, comfortably accommodating guests as well as its residents.

Quiet hidden spaces, expansive entertainment areas and access to bay views from every room were essential to the design brief. Director of FGR Architects, Feras Raffoul, explains the design challenge of augmenting the serenity of the natural environment whilst ensuring privacy and light throughout the home.
“Some of the special design considerations were to achieve bay-views from all living and sleeping rooms on the first floor while keeping the privacy for the home occupants. This was challenging with a corner block on a busy road. I think we achieved it.”
With a large open plan living, kitchen and dining area that opens onto the indoor/outdoor-entertaining balcony, and a ground level family room with a bar stretching to the infinity pool, BBQ and outdoor cinema, Blairgowrie Residence is the result of modernist FGR Architects’ vision to bring light and horizon into each room to create the perfect sanctuary for a family home.

Through selecting a single material palette of a cement-based render, commonly known as a concrete patch, the minimalist design of the residence with its modern, sleek lines sits timelessly on its own, without overshadowing the natural environment.
“This was a design approach of removing building form. A large square or rectangular built form provides design challenges to achieve maximum natural light to the core. By indenting the central part, it minimizes the distance light is required to travel from the glass facade into the floor area,” he said.
“We wanted to ensure that we had natural light penetrating into all sections of the home. We achieved this by indenting the central part of the building, allowing light to penetrate into the middle.”

Posted by Michelle Lesser at 1 October, 2014

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A High-Flying Office for High-Flying Customers

If you’re a high-flying, jet-setting, thousand dollar suit-wearing businessman, you’ll understand just how important a good office is.
In the thousands you’ve wandered into, few have the ability to inspire passion – in fact many are about as clean as a tramp’s hovel.
Untidy, uncoordinated or even just plain miserable looking workplaces are a blight on productivity everywhere. There’s even a name for them; unhealthy buildings.
So, if you’re looking to impress high-flying visitors, what should you do to give your office some kick?
A warm welcome
In so many cases, the welcome you’ll get at an office entrance will be less trumpet swelling grandeur and more like a fizzled out balloon at the end of a long and disappointing party.
But the ideal entrance doesn’t have to be as grand as a Viscount’s tea party. Work out the basics – entrance mats, a comfortable seating area, plenty of magazines to while away time spent at reception – and you’ll already be a step ahead of most businesses.
To really gild the lily, you could even install a greeter at your door to give a warm and friendly hello to any guests or major players in your industry. Naturally, this would only apply to those with frequent visitors, but it could add that grand trumpet swell to your company.
A dose of personality
So many offices have about as much personality as a faceless head atop a non-specific shape. And not only will this lead to a deflating feeling in visitors, but it’ll make employees slump through their day like they were working in a modern-day gulag.
The problem here largely lies with bosses who lack the creative imagination for interior design. But office workers don’t want to be living in black and white, so give the place a splash of colour with paintings that inspire you.
With any luck, that inspiration will trickle down to employees, creating a sprightlier workforce.
Give it a break
While your office itself should be in ship shape, where your workers are having their lunch should be equally classy.
Many workers spread germs by simply eating at their desk, allowing crumbs to spread everywhere in the office and causing any number of food-related bacteria to multiply. But with a high-end staff room to lure them away from their desks for half an hour, your workplace will be far cleaner.
Install the basics – kettle, toaster, microwave and the like – along with a few fun activities like a pool table or dartboard to give workers adequate downtime to freshen up.
More than this, a staff room kitted out with decent kitchen appliances will leave your employees with fuller stomachs and quenched thirsts – ideal for facing the rest of their day.

Picture via.

Posted by Michelle Lesser at 29 September, 2014

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Transitioning to a Minimalist Lifestyle

We’ve written before about some of the keys to living a minimalist lifestyle. In that post we talked about the importance of keeping floors clear, having only the most essential pieces of furniture, etc. What we didn’t talk about, though, was how to go from the cluttered (we’re guessing) lifestyle you lead now to the minimalist lifestyle you desire. Let’s change that now.

For a lot of people, the idea of going from a “more stuff=more happiness” to a minimalist lifestyle seems great until they realize exactly how much downsizing is actually involved. That’s when they start to feel very possessive of all of the stuff they’ve collected. It’s only natural. It took time to find all of those decorations! And your mother in law will give you a really hard time when she visits if you don’t serve dinner on the china she insisted on giving you even though it’s the ugliest stuff you’ve ever seen.

Here’s the truth: making the transition from a “stuff” based life to a minimalist life isn’t as much about ditching a bunch of your stuff (though that certainly is part of it). It is more about figuring out what matters most to you and what you most need to have on hand every day.

Start With Basic Needs

Go through your current home. Touch every single thing you own (seriously–every last thing) and when you do, ask yourself these questions:


  • Do I use this every day?
  • Do I use this at least once every three months?
  • Do I use this at least once every year?
  • Does this have sentimental value?
  • Will you be written out of the will if you get rid of this thing?
  • Does this make me happy every single time I look at it?


The only things that you should keep actually on hand in your new, minimalist, home, are the things that you actually use every day and the things that make you happy every single time you look at them (these tend to be decorative items).

Put the things that you use at least once every few months and the things that have tremendous sentimental value/things that will get you written out of the will if you get rid of it/have to have it on hand if someone comes to visit (like the china your mother in law gave you) into a small and local storage space. That way you can easily get to them when you need them.

For things that you don’t need quick access to, but still want or feel like you need to keep (holiday decorations, for example), a portable storage unit (sometimes called a pod) is your best bet. The site recommends a portable storage unit for people who are trying to declutter because the pods are delivered and picked up. That means you don’t have to find a way to transport potentially heavy things like heirloom furniture to a storage space.

Everything else can be sold or donated (which will be handy come tax time).

Space Savers to Keep You From Panicking

One of the things that causes most new minimalists to panic is the idea of getting rid of their media collections. But remember: eReaders, mp3 players and cloud storage make it possible for you to store hundreds of books, music, shows and movies in a few small devices.

To save space in the kitchen, try hanging your pans on the wall. If you arrange them carefully, you can create a great and functional art piece that frees up space in your cabinets.

Captain-style bedding (where there are drawers under the bed) is a fantastic way to extend your clothing storage without requiring bulky dressers or a large closet.

The process isn’t going to be easy but trust us: once it’s done and you look around your clean and open minimalist space, you’ll be glad you did all of that work.




Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 23 September, 2014

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Nick Cave at Jack Shainman Gallery

Don’t miss this amazing exhibition by visual artist Nick Cave at the Jack Shainman gallery, NYC.

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Posted by Michelle Lesser at 22 September, 2014

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Contemporary Interior by i29 Architects

i29 Architects have designed this cool interior  for an apartment in Amsterdam.
This single-family apartment for four people is situated in a stately building in southern Amsterdam, NL. The original structure, with rooms for staff, a double hall and long hallways with lots of doors has been transformed into a spacious, transparent dwelling full of light and air.

A kitchen in combination with cabinets from floor to ceiling has laser-cut front panels, all spray painted white. This pattern results in a dynamic mixture of open and closed cabinets, the holes also function as integrated handgrips. The transparency of the object’s skin gives depth to the volume which is complimented by furniture like the Grcic chair one. An atrium with open staircases brings natural light from a large roof light into the living area. Along the open staircase a wall of two stories high is covered with clear pine wood, and connects the two levels. Upstairs the master bedroom is situated next to a large bathroom with a finish of structured tiles from Patricia Urquola, glass, and wooden cabinets.

Posted by Michelle Lesser at 22 September, 2014

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The Lawn on D Installation in Boston, MA by Höweler + Yoon Architecture

If you’re planning to be in Boston any time soon don’t miss “The Lawn on D” installation by Höweler + Yoon Architecture.

“SWING TIME is an interactive playscape composed of 20 illuminated ring-shaped swings. The installation activates a temporary park between the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and D Street to create an experimental public space.

Custom fabricated from welded polypropylene, the swings are designed in three different sizes so that the community can engage, exercise, and play with SWING TIME as individuals or in groups. LED lighting within the swing is controlled by a custom micro-controller, signaling the swing’s activity level. An internal accelerometer measures the acceleration forces of the swing. When forces are static and the swings are not in use, they emit a soft, white light that illuminates the area. When the swings are in motion, the micro-controller switches the light from white to purple, creating a colorful glowing effect. SWING TIME’s responsive play elements invite users to interact with the swings and with each other, activating the urban park and creating a community laboratory for play in the Innovation District and South Boston neighborhoods.

SWING TIME is sponsored by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and located at The Lawn on D, a 2.7-acre outdoor experimental event landscape”.

Be on display until October 31, 2014.

Posted by Michelle Lesser at 19 September, 2014

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Beautiful Modern House by ONG & ONG

ONG&ONG  have completed the renovation of an early 1900′s shophouse into a contemporary family home in Singapore.

The 17BR-House is a Peranakan shophouse originally built between 1900 and 1940. The homeowners wanted to build a warm family home that would preserve the shophouse’s historical character and reverse the drastic alterations done during its previous incarnation as an office space.

In reinstating 17BR-House as a residence, an inner courtyard was created on the first floor, allowing sunlight and air to flow freely into and throughout the house. The installation of a green wall as well as the covering of the floor entirely in carpet grass transforms the courtyard into a quaint indoor garden. This space forms the visual focus for the first floor; with the absence of partition walls, there is a seamless visual transition from the kitchen at the back of the building to the living area at the front, allowing the family-oriented homeowner to interact with his children while indulging in culinary exploits in the kitchen.

A dramatic spiral staircase spanning all three levels maximises vertical circulation while skylights in the jack roof directly above the staircase provide natural illumination. Timber beams installed in the ceiling of the first floor and the roof adds an old world charm to the home.

The second floor holds two bedrooms; both share a bathroom, a long corridor lined with bookshelves and storage space, as well as equally enjoyable views, one of the traditional façade and the other of the green wall in the courtyard.

The top floor houses the master bedroom and a separate bathroom visually connected to the bedroom via a long slab of limestone that serves as the top counter of the bathroom’s vanity and continues onward into the corridor, forming a functional desk area amidst a bookshelf-lined wall. The skylight in the master bathroom illuminates both the bathroom and the balcony on the second floor with natural daylight.

The shophouse’s rear comprises a kitchen, the service quarters as well as a 7-metre long swimming pool, with traditional glazed floor tiles and a replica spiral staircase at the back reminiscent of the shophouse’s early days.

The façade’s restoration, with the reversion to a single pintu pagar door, the reinstatement of the traditional, taller windows on the second floor, and the use of shiny enamel-finished dado tiles, completes the project that goes beyond the creation of a perfect, modern family home to a preservation of an invaluable cultural heritage.

The shophouse had been in a bad state, having been stripped of its historical characteristics and renovated for office use. With much support from the client, the architects made a conscious effort to bring these traditional elements back while also reinstating the shophouse to residential use. Considering the scale of the restorative work required the final product is both a perfect home for the modern family as well as a fitting tribute to the shophouse’s history. (via)


Posted by Michelle Lesser at 17 September, 2014

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