Set in a dense Corsican forest, a modern home melds with its environment, offering views across the high, dry forest and a luxurious living space. The 400 square-meter house features large terraces and gardens along with a silhouette that truly becomes part of the landscape.
Designed by AW², an international architecture and interior design firm run by Reda Amalou and Stéphanie Ledoux, the home sits in the ‘maquis’ — the typical type of forest found in South Corsica. The area is known for its amazing mountains, beaches and stunning landscape. Nearby Bonifacio is one of the area towns renowned for its beauty and its gorgeous harbor.
The designers say that they wanted to create a house that disappeared into the surrounding natural landscape. They achieved this by keeping trees and plantings close to the structure and used local stone and bamboo for the construction. The result is a stylish modern home that seems to rise right out of the ground, matching and complementing the natural environment.
The couple who commissioned the design for their vacation property wanted a home that feels relaxed and features spaces that freely flow from one into another. The designers chose a layout that features views to the gardens, helping to create a link with the natural environment. The home also has terraces that extend the living space outward, at the same time helping bring a feeling of the outdoors inside.
The furnishings and the materials used throughout the home are perfect for a vacation retreat because they are unfussy and easy care. The built-in bench/sofa is ideal for lounging or entertaining because it offers plenty of seating yet doesn’t spoil the calm of the space. Retrained use of bold colors in the rooms adds sophistication, however, the main interest comes from the masterful combination of textures in the otherwise neutral layout. The open, airy feeling contributes to the relaxed yet chic vibe of the home.
The addition of natural materials throughout the house does more than just bring a touch of nature inside. The colors and textures of the wood add a warmth that helps tone down any cold, modernist feelings that might have resulted from the surrounding concrete surfaces and angular features.
The kitchen is as open and spacious as the rest of the home. Just steps away from the main living space, it is still connected. Every modern convenience is included in the stylish space, which makes use of mixed materials for a more casual yet still modern look. Gleaming stainless steel combines with sleek countertops, rustic brick, and natural wood. The unfinished, slatted ceiling adds dimension and interest and helps unify the spaces in the home.
Taking advantage of the picturesque courtyard next to the kitchen, the designers incorporated a long narrow window that spans the width of the space. This accomplishes a number of things for the kitchen. More natural light comes into the room from the narrow window, contributing to the open feeling. Also, the shape of the window is a stylish architectural feature. The room would have an entirely different feeling without this.
Open shelving would occupy precious wall space and detract from the overall minimalist appearance of the home, so it is incorporated into the staircase that leads to the master bedroom. Here too, concrete lines the walls and steps, creating a blank canvas for the light that streams in as well as the views out the windows.
Just as the main living area, the master bedroom is a wide, flowing space whose separate areas are delineated with screens and openwork brick sections. A neutral palette and minimal adornments put the focus on the eclectic mix of furniture, which is predominantly mid-century modern. Unexpected elements like the glam nightstand on one side and the texturally rich cushions add interest. The sole jolt of color comes from the voluminous blue floor-to-ceiling curtains that are perfect for billowing in the breeze when the door is open.
In many cases, a home devoid of art on the walls might lack character, but here, the design cleverly makes the outdoors and the structure itself the artful elements. By keeping things simple, the design puts the focus squarely on the outdoors, which is the main aim of a vacation home.
The bathroom is set off by the open wall, which allows the occupants to admire the mid-century-buffet-turned-vanity.
Even the bathroom takes advantage of the home’s natural location with a large sliding door that provides access to the garden. It also allows for plenty of natural light in the bathroom, which can be shielded for privacy with the neutral curtains that essentially disappear against the concrete wall of the same color.
To add light and interest to walls that might otherwise be windowless, the design incorporates a long, low maintenance courtyard. The stone on the ground and that used for the exterior wall create a unified palette that makes for a charming view out the long, narrow kitchen window.
The star of the property is the patio and pool area. Landscaping that melds with the surrounding vegetation in a complementary style uses native plants and materials that don’t fight with the local environment. This also keeps the property easy to maintain. On the patio, a series of tables creates a long dining area that is shaded by one of the natural bamboo screens. This provides enough shelter from the sun so that the area can be enjoyed for meals both day and night.
The rectangular pool is surrounded by a variety of seating areas, with plenty of lounges, sofas and chairs for sunbathing, entertaining and just relaxing. Tall modern structures topped with the same bamboo screening offer shade at poolside with minimal disruption of the view. Another poolside area features low, comfortable seating for a crowd — or just a few. Natural accents give a bit of flair to the space without cluttering.