Sometimes we found ourselves looking at a house and thinking “wow…that’s a really pretty structure” without going into all the details that make us think that in the first place. It’s a feeling given by things like the design of the house, its size, the style used throughout, the combination of colors and various other things. It’s pretty houses like these ones that become memorable for all the right reasons and that leave us with a desire to one day create something similar.
A lovely house with a blackened wood exterior
Situated within a ski and golf community near Truckee in California, this holiday home enjoys some really wonderful views toward the nearby mountain range. Because the site on which it stands has a steep pitch, Blaze Makoid Architecture decided to create a stone plinth on which to perch the house. The slope thus presented the architects with a challenge while at the same time offering the advantage of beautiful and panoramic views.
The house was built with minimal interventions done to the site itself. Very few trees were removed in the process and everything else was preserved intact. From a structural point of view, the house is composed of two volumes linked by a double-height glazed entry hall. The floor plan is L-shaped and the dialogue between the internal spaces and the outdoor functions is seamless. The thing that makes this house especially beautiful, however, has to do with its appearance. More specifically, it’s the black cedar cladding which allows the house to blend with the landscape in summer and fall and to stand out dramatically in winter.
This rural retreat with walls that swing open
The landscape and the views played a very important role in the design of this house from Healdsburg, in the Sonoma Valley. That’s actually pretty common with a lot of modern and contemporary residences and retreats. A lot of times the architects opt for full-height windows which allow them to bring the outdoors in. In this case, however, the solution was quite different and did more than just connect the house to its surroundings visually. This project was a collaboration between Feldman Architecture and Arterra Landscape Architects.
The idea was pretty simple: to surround the house with glazed garage doors that act like hinged windows able to swing up in order to seamlessly open the internal spaces to the outdoors and to let not just the views but also the air, light and scent of nature into the house. The interior spaces are organized into an L-shaped plan with two separate wings. One is an entertainment volume where the lounge spaces and social functions are situated and the other is a private volume which holds the sleeping areas. This organization is perfect for the owner who likes to entertain guests quite often.
Coastal house clad in reflective glass
Every project has its own set of challenges. In the case of this beautiful home from Carmel, a beach town on the Central Coast of California, the main challenge faced by the architects at Studio Schicketanz was finding a way to let natural light inside without exposing the interior spaces to too much heat gain. The solution they found was to build the exterior walls out of textured stone and reflective glass and to give them deep overhangs. The glass reflects the beauty of the landscape surrounding the house and the neutral palette of colors used inside allow the focus to be on the views.
Modern architecture enhanced by the landscape
Sometimes it’s the house that attempts to become one with the landscape and to dialogue with the nature that surrounds it and other times the relationship is quite different. In this particular case, for example, the landscape enhances the architectural beauty of the house and its degree of privacy. This is a residence designed by Arcanum Architecture and located on a 2 acre site in Atherton, in Northern California.
The house splits the site into two sections, sitting between a driveway at the front and a garden at the back. Internally, the functions are organized into four main volumes with different degrees of openness and privacy. The entertainment space along with the kitchen and living room form one of these volumes while another houses a work area with a craft space, a study and a gym and another two contain bedrooms and private lounges. All of these spaces share in common a fluid and seamless connection with the outdoors.
A modest house in harmony with its surroundings
There are several ways in which to achieve harmony between a house and its surroundings. The strategy chosen by Klopf Architecture and their clients involved giving the house a modest design out of respect for the neighboring homes and for the natural surroundings. The house is a single-story structure located in Sacramento, in Northern California. It stands on a site previously occupied by an old ranch damaged beyond repair.
The client wanted above everything else to be able to enjoy a close connection to nature and to take advantage of the beautiful oak trees and the tranquil and serene views of the open field and nearby creek. In order to ensure that, the architects designed the house with clean and simple lines and no unnecessary details. They made sure it has a low profile and that it welcomes the outdoor in by giving it full-height windows, sliding glass doors and deep roof overhangs. They also made sure that their clients would be able to comfortably enjoy the outdoors despite the harsh weather.