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House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office, Tokyo

Built into a bustling residential neighborhood in Yamaguchi, Japan, House J is a minimalist dream home fulfilling practical yet imaginative solutions for family living. Designed by Tokyo-based Keiko Maita Architect Office, the structure of modest wood siding sits on a tight and narrow lot which the floorplan reflects, yet manages to escape via rooftop innovation.

All three stories feature plentiful windows facing an inner courtyard which is sprouting with a tall tree extending toward the rooftop terrace. It’s on this section of the home where all floors are linked together, becoming one interconnected space. Used as an additional outdoor “room,” this rooftop is where the family comes for privacy to relax, play and ponder. And while a clever idea, the shallow perimeter walls of this space may cause worry amongst some parents, yet this family seems to have acclimated just fine.

With a clean aesthetic characteristic of Japanese architecture, interiors are white (walls, ceilings and exposed steel beams) and wood (flooring). One must admire how considering such extreme refrain of texture, color, furnishings and works of art, the dwelling manages to possess a tranquil, welcoming elegance. White metal framed windows permit light to cascade through the inner garden’s opening penetrating all three floors. Large glass sliding doors open to the outdoor core from the main living area, inviting the children to play in the fresh air at a small set of table and chairs.

This first floor features the shared family space, kitchen and dining room, while the second story houses a tiny loft and reading room/study, with the bedrooms housed on top. Scoring points in my book for maximization of small spaces, various walls within the home slide allowing for versatility, as well as additional light and privacy.

Considering the limited square footage (although honestly, this home comes across larger than it actually is) House J possesses a most unique and simplistic modern design, as well as an enviable beauty.(via)

image © yoshiharu matsumura.

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Posted by Suzanne at 21 May, 2013

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Panorama House by Moon Hoon, Seoul

Contemporary families are seemingly increasing the “wow factor” when it comes to their residence’s floorplans and features. Once such modern dream home is the Panorama House by Seoul-based architect, Moon Hoon. Presented in three stories with a zig-zag facade of varying heights and depths, randomly-sized windows, a partial stone front and bold red entry door, this unconventional structure is built into the hillside of a new suburban neighborhood.

It’s what presents itself inside, though, that is most unique. With a focus on creating a fun and creative environment for their four children, this young couple (two teachers) embarked on an in-home entertainment concept–literally a central slide, bleacher-seating and projection cinema all rolled into one. This dynamic hub of happiness features open wooden steps on either side of the central bookshelves plus the slide itself. Now mind you, this slide was envisioned with the children in mind yet adults enjoy the whimsy, too.

The owners were seeking an environment that would encourage independence for the children, while also separating adult spaces. The architect, known for some fabulously quirky designs, propelled this strategy with a logical division of areas: the huge attic loft space with kitchenette (and sweeping views) on the top floor, the vertical slide/reading/play zone, and on the ground floor the main kitchen and children’s rooms nestled behind the study. Upstairs on the first level, the master suite, dining room, living room and large deck can be found. A clever feature any parent would appreciate is a large window overlooking the play area from the living room, allowing children to be kept in full view.

Wood flooring throughout is lightly hued, while walls are kept pristine in bright white. Most lighting is recessed or track, with a couple of mirrored metal pendants adding perk. The staircase leading to the first floor features an industrial wire-mesh railing, a striking contrast to the warm wood steps.

Sparsely furnished in typical Korean style, a few design ideas were simultaneously intentional and functional. For instance, heated flooring is vastly popular here which encourages individuals to sit upon the floor versus furnishings. Following that tradition, window frames were designed to rest just above floor level, so while conversing, reading, eating or playing, residents could easily view the outside vistas.

Moon Hoon definitely maximized the multi-functional space of this minilmalist dream home, creating a family-friendly space where all can gather to play, no matter the age! (via)

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Posted by Suzanne at 20 May, 2013

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Shelter Island Home – New York by Michael Haverland Architect

The Shelter Island Home by Michael Haverland Architect is a modern dream home perched on the highest peak of the bayfront land. Careful consideration was taken during the planning phase of this 3,400 square foot, two-story addition to engage only in design principles harmonious with the existing beach cottage, which was retained for ecological purposes.

Natural stucco, glass and steel were the primary materials of the new structure, while the two classic pitched roofs are synonymous with the traditional style of the home. Large glass windows with oversize panes are abundant and remarkable for taking in the bay views. The structures were positioned according to exposure, with the living room facing north towards Connecticut. The master suite and guest room garner added privacy in the northwest, a space which also affords the beautiful sunsets.

The original cottage features a new floorplan, allowing for a spacious kitchen, dedicated dining room, breakfast porch with built-in pine furniture, as well as four bedrooms. It is joined with the new dwelling via a central vestibule, flat roof and deck area.

Most eye-catching are the colorful interiors of the living room, which feature entire walls of windows which soar, following the lines of the pitched roof. Pulses of blue, green, pink, aqua and red enliven this room which is clearly meant for entertainment, games and good times. Furnishings are an eclectic mix of custom pieces, as well as mid-century styles including the varied and whimsical lighting fixtures. Scattered area rugs mimic the blues of the mesmerizing water, which meets the edge of the sloping lush green lawn immediately outside this living area. An outdoor patio with endless northwest water views features a custom mahogany dining table and chairs.

The master bedroom is bathed in both natural light off of the bay side, as well as southern light which basks the space from opposite end. A post and beam evokes the historical structure of the original house, while an exposed loft-like space brings a modern vibe to the room. The silver bed from India and mirrored accents are serene against the bright yellow lacquered bed stands. Farmhouse-style sinks with gooseneck fixtures adorn the master bath which is warm with oak wood on walls and floors. Southern exposure and lines of trees just outside bring aspects of nature in.

The Shelter Island Home by Michael Haverland Architect exemplifies how classic structures can be used as a foundation for the creation of a modern dream home, especially when abundant natural elements such as water and land aid in the overall design aesthetic.

Posted by Suzanne at 16 May, 2013

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Kempart Loft – Belgium by Dethier Architectures

An abandoned industrial bakery, the Kempart Loft in Liege, Belgium was transformed by Dethier Architectures into an ultra-modern dream home doused in severe futuristic style.

Inspired by the clients’ affinity towards precision engineering, the design team worked to create the approximately 1,660 square-foot modular space which is primarily one open area, though divided into zones by metal corrugations stemming from the pitched roof.  A centralized, podlike structure resembling an iconic Airstream trailer rests in the middle of the stark space, acting as an aerodynamic container for two bathrooms, storage and the heating/ventilation systems, as well as the flat-screen television. Doors in this unit can fold open or slide shut to induce an intensely streamlined aesthetic. Abundant uplighting throughout aids an airy sense of the space.

Interiors are virtually monochromatic in grey and white, while the gleaming brushed aluminum contributes a sleek effect to the radically minimalist home. One bathroom bursts in lime green, while the other buzzes with tangerine walls and accents. Each has a portal-type window, allowing these vivid hues to glow from within, creating pops of color to the otherwise muted living areas.

The bedroom resides in the north sector of the loft while the lounge rests at the south. This living room consists of custom-made sectional seating which was intentionally positioned so when relaxing, the residents could have sight-lines of the neighborhood street at one end and the rooftop terrace via the other. The spacious, connected kitchen is sheathed in white and stainless steel, yet surprises with bright red chairs at the dining table. A wall panel with LED read-out further adds a space-age vibe.

Unexpected is the expansive garden roof terrace, which is nearly twice the size of the interior living plan. This contrasting space engages the more organic elements of the outdoors with wood decking, brickwork and potted greenery

The Kempart Loft is a boldly reinterpreted dream loft which takes extreme minimalistic design to its outermost realms.

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Posted by Suzanne at 10 May, 2013

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Pigeon Creek Residence – Michigan by Lucid Architecture

At the end of a long winding driveway lies the Pigeon Creek Residence by Lucid Architecture. This Midwestern modern dream home is situated in western Michigan amidst a forest and wetland, and possesses a solid connection to the surrounding natural landscape.

Built for a family with two young children, the owners envisioned a spacious, warm and cozy residence. Lucid Architecture took those requests and created a mainly vertical 20’ x 80’ box structure conducive to a family lifestyle.

The timber facade features a generous amount of glazed surfaces, which allow natural light to infuse the interiors. A wide cedar deck at the front leads to the home’s entry, while continuous wood flooring throughout enhances the organic vibe of the home. Once inside, the living room, kitchen, dining area and master bedroom can be found.

With a double-sided fireplace, the living space beckons the outdoors with a 24’ wall of sliding glass doors which disappear completely to create a multi-functional room. Hues of brown, beige and gold in the sectional seating and accent rug unite with the forest, while bold pink and orange throw pillows add zest. A corrugated metal roof overhang shields direct sunlight from the space during the hot summer months, yet allows for northern light to penetrate in the winter.

Further bringing nature within this modern dwelling, the colored concrete blocks of the fireplace and chimney mimic the bark of beech trees bordering the property. A soaring ceiling slants upwards towards the main box of the house, while the same horizontal wood siding used on the exterior shows through creating warmth and character.

The kitchen is vast and contemporary with smooth black cabinetry, stainless appliances and a vivid white island with seating which is a striking offset to the space. Unique storage units mounted above the countertops glow with opaque glass doors lighted from within. A bright yellow geometric block containing some of the recessed lighting adds a perky surprise.

A cantilevered switchback staircase sits just off the kitchen and ascends to a steel-riveted glass “railing” upstairs. This clever design allows light to interchange between the levels, further enhancing the airy design.

The master suite is on the northern end of the floorplan and is highlighted by a keen sliding glass pocket door which exposes this haven to the lush outdoors. The children’s bedrooms are on the second level, as is a loft ideal for play.

The Pigeon Creek Residence is a refreshing departure from the traditional design typical in this part of the country, and becomes a modern dream home perfectly suited for a family of four.

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Posted by Suzanne at 9 May, 2013

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Meatpacking Loft Manhattan by Leone Design Studio

Situated in the much sought-after Meatpacking District of Manhattan, Leone Design Studio of Brooklyn was faced with the task of creating a family-friendly modern dream home derived from a challenging floorplan.

The clients who are both in the fashion industry, were seeking interiors with a modern vibe which were conducive to both entertaining and comfortable living with their two young boys. The result: The Meatpacking Loft, a sleek, airy space with warm wood elements including contemporary storage collections of bespoke millwork. The renovation encompassed a vast area including living room, dining room, kitchen, den, master suite, children’s bedroom, bathroom and den.

The living area is a light-filled space bathed in soothing hues of cream, beige and brown, including the pale wood flooring throughout. Windows are plentiful, typically a rarity in Manhattan spaces, but this particular dwelling possess sunny exposure which contributes to the open feel of the room. The wall of custom built-ins spans the height of the ceiling and blends well with the design. It features an interesting and compact fireplace within the lower level of the woodwork. Incredible exposed rustic ceiling beams, likely from the original structure, as well as new dark wood columns, create a striking visual division between the living room and dining area.

A round dining table relaxes the space which leads to a geometric central wall and breakfast bar overlooking the main kitchen area. The grey, wood-grain cabinetry is seamless with the wall space and features an alcove housing a stainless commercial stove. White marble countertops add light to the space, as does the recessed uplighting between the wood trim and white walls.

Yet another bonus to the quintessential Manhattan apartment is a den. In this amazing home, the office is lounge-like with a contemporary sofa, chairs and coffee table. Desk and cabinets were cleverly built in to maximize square footage, while a bright red chair surprises in this otherwise neutral work-live zone

The children’s bedroom is reached by a brief flight of cantilevered stairs. It follows the minimalism aesthetic of the rest of the house yet manages to induce a cozy vibe where the boys can play and have fun. Painted white “game trophies” adorn one wall, while the other is clad in preppy plaid which contrasts the contemporary modular bunk beds and desk well. Cherry red seating pops, as does an opaque white globe lighting fixture, both creating fresh whimsy.

The master bedroom carries the muted greys of the rest of the home with contemporary furnishings and smooth white customized wall units which forge a striking accent. The bath is sheathed in natural grey stone and clean white vanities bringing forth a spa-like essence.

The Meatpacking Loft by Leone Design Studio exemplifies the modern urban dream home that so many live to covet.

Posted by Suzanne at 7 May, 2013

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Manhattan Micro Loft Manhattan by Specht Harpman Architects

Ah, Manhattan, the coveted Big Apple–full of small spaces. One such tiny apartment is the Manhattan Micro Loft, a 425 square foot, three level penthouse which recently underwent an award-winning renovation by Specht Harpman Architects. The once dull, heartless dwelling atop a six-story building on the exclusive Upper West Side was totally gutted and is now a modern dream apartment filled with abundant natural light and generous livable space.

The vertical residence was transformed into more of a two-story loft space with “living platforms” and unique interior access to the rooftop garden–a decadent element in New York City.

Although the overall living area was limited, the 25-foot ceilings of the first floor allowed for inventiveness in designing the multi-level, contemporary apartment. Beginning on the first floor, a sleek white-on-white kitchen is pristine and appears larger than it actually is with open shelving, expanded countertops and a glazed backsplash. This enhanced space opens to the double-height living room, which is reached by ascending a couple of steps.

Dark wood floors offset pure white paneling including the dual-level painted brick accent wall which brings an elegant texture to the room. A sectional sofa in pale grey rests upon a creamy-hued shag rug, which further lends keen contrast to this newly spacious area.

The staircase of rich wood and linear cable wire supports seems to float, becoming both an object of beauty and function. Storage–a rarity in any Manhattan apartment–is cleverly disguised in what seems like endless cabinets and drawers tucked away beneath the stairs. According to the designers, this was a reference to kaidan-dansu, a Japanese design tradition. Also hidden in a small corner underneath the staircase is the minimalist bathroom with large glass tiles and a hovering vanity which immediately lighten the compact space.

By taking what was originally a mere landing on the second level and outfitting it with a cantilevered built-in bed, that space is now an innovative extension, gracefully suspended over a portion of the downstairs living room. This two-story bedroom features a structural wall of windows, both fixed and opening, which cascades copious natural light into the cozy space. A secondary staircase of the same sophisticated design as the first, leads to the rooftop which is accessed through a steel-framed glass door.

This Manhattan “Micro” Loft is anything but. The team of Specht Architects was ingenious with their enviable design of a modern dream apartment in a sought-after Manhattan location.

Posted by Suzanne at 29 April, 2013

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