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January 21, 2016
From cities to the countryside, the best modern design lets in a little (or a lot of) nature.
Steel swing doors in patio of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

Modern additions and a restoration transformed this 2,930-square-foot Delaware home. “The client wished to more that double the size of the house,” architect Robert M. Gurney said. “The goal was to provide the additional space as a series of smaller pavilions to allow the original historical house to be the most important part of the composition.” Steel swing doors by Hope’s Windows Inc. lead outside, and a custom standing seam metal roof slopes above the far end of the pool.

Photo by 
Courtesy of 
© Maxwell MacKenzie
Originally appeared in A Traditional Facade Hides A Light-Filled Modern Delaware Renovation
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Modern Swedish family dream getaway open deck

An adventurous family envisioned this dream getaway on Sweden’s southwestern shore. Part surf shack, part modernist abode, the 2,500-square-foot beachfront house is no fussy show home. “There is a lot of glass so you can enjoy the view and the outdoor lifestyle even inside,” the resident explains. “You live in the middle of the weather somehow. It’s a really harsh environment, as you have these southwesterly winds blowing through the house. But it is really beautiful as well.”

 

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Originally appeared in A Scandinavian Summer Home Built for Surf, Sports, and Sun
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Netherlands house with a panoramic window

Barend Koolhaas createed this minimalist gem on a small budget; its 57-foot panoramic window was inspired by traditional "Engawa" houses in Japan. Koolhaas preserved its minimalistic aesthetic by camouflaging the supporting wood beam in white laminate and nestling it in the space just beneath the ceiling. He also kept the beam small by installing a tree-like column to help carry the weight of the second floor and roof. "The actual tree that was used for it came out of the garden," the architect says. "In this way, the small forest in the garden continues into the house."

 

Courtesy of 
Jeroen Musch
Originally appeared in A Triangular Shape Helps this Minimal House Gain Privacy from Its Neighbors
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São Paulo apartment outdoor terrace with cement-tile floor

Architects Simone Carneiro and Alexandre Skaff transformed this cramped São Paulo apartment into a mid-city refuge for Simone Santos. A cement-tile floor carves a path through the dining room as it runs the length of the apartment, blurring the boundary between inside and out. 

 

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Originally appeared in This is How You Grow a Garden in the Sky
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The glass wall separating the main living area and the inner courtyard garden opens like an accordion to create a barrier-free transition. Built-in planters along the walls of the courtyard add greenery without eating into the valuable surface 
area of th

On an eight-foot-wide site in London, architect Luke Tozer cleverly squeezed in a four-story home equipped with rain-water-harvesting and geothermal systems. The glass wall separating the main living area and the inner courtyard garden opens like an accordion to create a barrier-free transition. Built-in planters along the walls of the courtyard add greenery without eating into the valuable surface area of the courtyard. 

 

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Originally appeared in A Slender Geothermal Cottage in London
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modern house with cantelivered porch

In central Spain, a pair of architects crafted this modern vacation home attuned to its pastoral setting. “Segovia is a very central region, but an underdeveloped one,” says one of the architects. “Traditionally devoted to agriculture and mainly livestock, it flourished in the sixteenth century but now that the older generations are disappearing, there is a problem of abandoned villages and fields.” The structure highlights the rural surroundings.

The top floor of the two-story, 1,614-square-foot abode barely pokes above the rocky hillside it’s built into. Sliding glass walls on two sides of the main living space open to expansive cantilevered decks showcasing the bucolic landscape.

 

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Originally appeared in A Modern House in Rural Spain
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An airy color palette drove this budget-conscious remodel in London. The ground floor of the home is both the clients' and architects’ favorite part of the home. The opened living room fulfills the owners’ wish for a private and quiet sanctuary connected to the rear garden yet removed from the noise of the front street. A key design feature was the widened rear opening, with floor to ceiling aluminum-framed Comar glass doors.

 

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Originally appeared in A Compact, Light-Filled Victorian Renovation in England
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McKenzie composes at his dining table, which, like many furnishings in the house, came from a secondhand store. The living area flows into an outside courtyard, whose slats parallel those inside, making it feel like an extension of the main house.

The McKenzie residence sits within the grid of a commercial apple orchard, its roof and upper parts floating above the trees to echo the surrounding hills. Although its steel cladding is suggestive of a barn, inside it is anything but. Its 26-by-26-foot footprint and positioning ensured that it would fit pleasingly into the grid of the surrounding orchard, lining up with the rows of trees and complementing McKenzie’s mother’s house, which dates from 1971 and was designed by the late John Scott, one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed architects. 

Here McKenzie composes at his dining table, which, like many furnishings in the house, came from a secondhand store. The living area flows into an outside courtyard, whose slats parallel those inside, making it feel like an extension of the main house.

 

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Originally appeared in Orchard Jam
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Steel swing doors in patio of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

Modern additions and a restoration transformed this 2,930-square-foot Delaware home. “The client wished to more that double the size of the house,” architect Robert M. Gurney said. “The goal was to provide the additional space as a series of smaller pavilions to allow the original historical house to be the most important part of the composition.” Steel swing doors by Hope’s Windows Inc. lead outside, and a custom standing seam metal roof slopes above the far end of the pool.

Photo by Maxwell MacKenzie. Image courtesy of © Maxwell MacKenzie.

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