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Month September 2014 Archive

 How Modern Transit and Highways Affect Property Values

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What happens to our home value when the busy city life and modern roadways invade? Image Source: Zack DevitoBEEP! BEEP! Do you hear that everyday? Whether you are hurrying along your daily commute, or whether you live adjacent to a busy highway— the stress and noise of modern transit seem unavoidable.While new highways are great for commuters, they are not so great for those whose homes are impacted by traffic and noise pollution.We already know that highways can impact the value of your property, as well as other neighboring communities. The resulting noise, smog, and traffic that comes with a highway obviously has a major impact on property value and quality of life.Although, highways are not all bad news, new transit ways can actually increase property values and improve traffic flow.So, let’s look a little further into some of the ways modern roadways are affecting our way of life. After all, modern transit is only growing more popular as population skyrockets and more people squeeze into busy cities.While the views may be great, living in the city brings with it traffic and highway noise/pollution. Image Source: JT LivingAs was mentioned above, noise from a busy highway has a seriously negative impact on property value. This would seem especially true for individuals whose property is closer to the highway. However, the opposite may be the case— statistical models from one transit rail study  showed that with every meter a house was located to a particular railway station, property values went up by $2.29. While this doesn’t seem like much, the study showed that houses immediately adjacent to the stations sold for 38% more.So is closer always better?  Is there some truth to the classic economic theory—when a highway is initially built, large parcels of land that previously had poor accessibility – or none at all – are suddenly undervalued?   Yes, it seems intuitive that if you go from limited transit access to immediate proximity of modern transit, then your home value will increase.However, let’s say a highway was not present during the time your home was purchased or built—wouldn’t the introduction of a busy highway decrease your property value? Well, the answer is— it depends. This study on property values and highway expansions shows that home values depend on numerous factors such as proximity, noise, emissions, vibrations etc… Simply put, it’s complicated.You may be surprised to discover that closer proximity to transit stations may drastically increase your property value. Image Source: CSS ArchitectureHighways can also create what is known as a land-locked situation. This situation can also decrease the value of a particular property. This is mostly due to its lack of appeal for buyers when they have to find an alternate route into the property.A land-locked property occurs when the Department of Transportation (DOT) turns a ‘back road’ into a highway. Most often, this happens in rural areas where DOT decides to put a highway through a current farm or farm road. After all, expansion is the name of the game, right? And a new highway usually means the future encroachment of big cities into the suburbs.When DOT does this, individuals may not be able to access their properties as they once had. They may have to go through neighbors’ properties or find new routes.When a property cannot be easily accessed by the owner, it decreases the property value—nobody wants to invest money into a property they cannot get to without a hassle. On the flip side, access to a new highway may drastically increase the value of surrounding homes. It’s all about perspective.What happens when the the big city encroaches on your quiet home? Landlocked issues and city encroachment are a source of frustration to many homeowners. Image Source: EladgonenObviously, a highway brings more traffic to the area. While this is a positive impact from a business perspective, it can be a  negative impact in a residential community. Areas that have been looked at as being good family neighborhoods may not hold this appeal once a highway is put in.Highways bring a lot of vehicles driving at various speeds. Homeowners, particularly those with children, will find this unappealing when purchasing a home. If a home is already built in a area and then a highway comes in, it becomes less appealing, for safety reasons.Parents want to know that their kids can play in the yard without having to worry about a 6-car pile up, or drunk drivers, or vehicles traveling at high rates of speed. Not to mention, the new accessibility of your home to devious people.  All of these factors will make home values decline and make it hard to sellTry to protect your assets by investigating future city plans before buying. If it is already too late and the highway has been constructed, then be creative with exterior home designs such as fences, gated courtyards, water falls to drown out noise, security and green walls that beautify and act as sound barriers.Drown out the sounds of the highway and city-life with a stone barrier wall and water fall. Image Source: Lombardi DesignAs mentioned above, not all properties are negatively impacted by highways. In fact, there are several situations where highways can actually increase property value. This is particularly true for commercial areas.Commercial properties that have limited access can benefit from the addition of a highway. More people passing through, equals more business.Of course, this increased exposure increases the profits of the business and the property value.  You do, however, want to make sure that when the highway is put in that your business can be easily and safely accessed. You may want to talk with city planners to discuss whether your business needs a traffic light, as safety and available parking can make the difference between a person dropping in, or driving on by.Not all properties are negatively impacted by highways. In fact, there are several situations where highways can actually increase property value. Image Source: RNW ConstructionAs you can see, there are numerous ups and downs to having a property near a major highway. There are so many factors to consider, and whether your home value goes up or down truly depends on accessibility, noise, location, safety and emissions etc…When purchasing a new home it is important to take into consideration the transit ways and highways around the property. If there is plans for a major highway, it could cause some noise issues, causing your property value to decrease. On the other hand if there are plans for a new transit station that makes the big-city commute more accessible, you could watch your property values soar!Are you living near a busy highway? If so, do you love it or hate it?

 Modern Family Home Tastefully Decorated With Natural Light

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Rising in a new neighborhood in Cassà de la Selva, Girona, Spain, this modern family home is known as “Casa en Cassà”. From outside, its bold architectural language hints towards the carefully manicured interiors. Architects Ricard Galiana and Yago Oliva imagined an impressive space, where light creates geometric games at different times of day and sunshine accompanied meals, time spent with family and friendly encounters.Balancing the concrete appearance presented on the facade, main social areas are bright and comfortable. This mixture of raw concrete, glass and the Mangas Rug and Pouff designed by Patricia Urquiola make the double-height living room a perfect place for both entertaining and relaxing.Spreading over 580 square meters, interiors designed by Georgina Figueras attract attention with a high degree of transparency. Natural light floods the spaces, creating a permanent connection to the beauty of the ever-changing outdoors. Photographs by Nani Pujol surprise the home from different angles, making it easy to observe the slightly sloped terrain shaping the architecture. Working with 1 million Euros as a budget, architects imagined a modern family home on two levels facing south, where the family would feel at home.According to the architects, “the main rooms are distributed along a single floor divided in two concrete blocks –“night and day areas”– , with a double-height living room and a mezzanine creating a transparent space connecting both blocks. The two blocks offer the needed degree of privacy to each space while taking into consideration the private views, the street, the forest and the solar orientation. The northern backyard provides a pedestrian access in contact with the forest. The south porch-terrace faces the swimming pool.”Upstairs spaces were reserved for main social areas, private quarters and the alluring swimming pool where entertainment and panoramic views converge. Underneath, the garden and parking areas create the lower level. Let’s take a short tour of the modern family home to observe details like the mezzanine level with glass railings drawing light deep inside or the scarcity of furniture making the space appear aired and cozy…

 Perfectly Balancing Rural and Urban Lifestyles: House JA in Portugal

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Located on the north-center of Portugal, House JA by Filipe Pina and Maria Ines Costa was envisioned to combine a rural and urban lifestyle. The lot is surrounded by different types of constructions, consequence of the informal settlements, characteristics of most Portuguese city neighborhoods. The existent stone ruins, vestige of a traditional house and the configuration of the lot were the main aspects for the new project. The first principle was to separate the new and the old construction, even if they are connected inside. A stone volume represents the existent building; a concrete volume the new one.The second principle was to introduce light in the middle of the house. Two different empty spaces were generated: the entrance, and the heart of the house – the courtyard. The courtyard and the stairs are the center of the house and its living. These are the key elements for the spatial relationships between the different parts of the house, the interior and the exterior. The program was divided in two levels: the living room, the kitchen and the garage were positioned on the ground floor; the bedrooms and the library at the first floor.The suite was placed in a privileged point – the memory of the old house. The scale and the site identity were always present on the construction details and material choices: stone, concrete, steel and oak wood. Inside the white and the wood comfort. Outside a granitic and a new concrete mass were sculpted on the same way. [Information provided via e-mail by Filipe Pina and Maria Ines Costa; Photography: Joao Morgado]

 Private Penthouse in Kazakhstan Celebrating Multisensory Living

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Berlin-based studio COORDINATION has completed a new private penthouse in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Located on the 30+ floor in the highest and most prominent building of the city, the Esentai Tower, this apartment is aimed to be a place for sensory and intellectual stimulation as well as a refuge for relaxation. The brief was to create a setting purely for leisure, mainly intended for weekend breaks or short stays. Starting with a blank core & shell canvas, the space was equipped with everything necessary for a luxurious multisensory experience celebrating a unique setting.Initially intended as a three-bedroom apartment, the layout was turned into a luxurious one-bedroom loft-style space. The scope of the project encompassed the complete spatial planning, interior architecture and engineering. This included the design and selection of all surfaces, lights, built-in furniture elements, kitchen units, loose & bespoke furniture pieces, accessories, design editions and a curated, bespoke art selection. Every joint and screw was considered and carefully planned to create a completely harmonious experience.The L-shaped floor plan was composed with a clear spatial hierarchy between social and private areas. It reveals 270° city views while „leaning“ against the impressive setting of the surrounding TianShan mountains. The use of landscape-related structures and natural metaphors helped to shape the floor plan, spatial rhythm and atmospheres of the individual areas. Certain areas where emphasized by sloping and shifting and create physical sensations uncommon in a normal home. The experience is a new sensation of space, elegantly flowing without interruption.  [Information provided via e-mail by COORDINATION; Photography by Dirk Dähmlow] 

 Fresh Canadian Home Renovation Inviting Light Inside

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Springtime brings about not only seasonal changes, but opportunities for home renovation projects. Canada’s season changes are better enjoyed from a home that carries an old charm while flaunting spirited modern upgrades. Within a suburban Montreal neighborhood, this bright home was built by the owner’s father in the 1960s  and its heirloom features were respectfully dressed in modern skin. According to its architects, NatureHumaine, “the original house lacked natural light and had a series of closed rooms surrounding a central stair.” Now known as the Closse Residence, the old structure shines brightly renovated and brings a bit of modern sparkle to its neighborhood.“The first move was to open the south facade with large glazed patio doors. Removing the original partitions let the light penetrate deeply into the house. A new sculptural stair built of hot rolled steel, maple veneer, and frosted glass becomes the focal point of the house. The counter of the central island in the kitchen cantilevers 2.4 meters out from the cabinets becoming the dining table, uniting preparation and eating spaces. Two pivoting glass doors close off the entry creating a winter vestibule. The immense stone fireplace was conserved and restored. It’s textured materiality contrasts with the purity of the new elements. The exterior of the house was restored and repainted and the windows were replaced. A contemporary dormer was added to the roof of the house containing the two second floor bathrooms.”Knowing how to budget for a home renovation makes it easy to completely transform a home from dark & outdated to modern & fresh. An inherited home can be beautifully renovated, opening up interior spaces and capturing all the interior movement around a sculptural stair, as in this example of a modern dream home. This particular Canadian home photographed by Adrien Williams exhibits simplicity and brightness in an exemplary mixture…

 High-End Soho Residence Flaunting Pristine Open Spaces

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Spacious and boasting a neutral color palette that oozes simplicity and elegance, this memorable Soho residence was designed by Bulson Management and architect David Hotson. A pure white sofa thrones in the double-height living space that visually opens to every other social space in the home. With massive experience in high-end residential and commercial construction, Bulson Management and leading architect David Hotson imagined an open space where light and air flow freely. A dark piano breaks the monotony of a pure white room, while the darker library room under the mezzanine works wonders on the owners on cozy nights when all one wants to do is watch a great movie alongside loved ones.Photographed by David Paler, the welcoming home in Soho was imagined as an elegant space for socializing, enjoying good music and home cooked meals with friends and family. The modern Soho residence was tailored to the needs and desires of the owners, embedding high style and an open floor plan they can be proud of. Innovative design and simple elegance were instilled in this New York residence. This is how people live in the city, above clouds and enjoying the best that design can bring in terms of comfort, aesthetics and space.How would you like to live in this New York dream home? What would be the first thing you would do if you moved here today?

 Difficult Run Residence in Virginia Parading An Abundance of Outdoor Living Spaces

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Bordering a stream in Mclean, Virginia, this green, steep seven-acre lot accommodated an old building known as the Difficult Run Residence. Robert M. Gurney Architect took on the challenge of renovating the construction and extending it with a detached garage and guest house. Additionally, “stone paths and stairways, corten steel walls, gabion stone walls, a swimming pool with an infinity edge, a reflecting pool, terraces, decks, and structured plantings continue to organize the site and provide an abundance of outdoor living spaces.” The simple narrow, meandering driveway on the property was thus replaced by a rich and visually appealing landscaped environment.Initially built in 1965, the building was gloomy and cluttered: “The space was wrapped in a muted palette of materials including dark flagstone flooring, gray stone walls and fireplaces, and dark wood walls and ceilings. In renovating the main house, all interior finishes were stripped, walls were removed, spaces were opened up and windows were enlarged and replaced, in an effort to reflect the light rather than absorb it. A series of small additions were implemented as required and located within the footprint of the existing roof.” Complex and rejuvenating, the villa is now a holiday-inspiring refuge offering pleasant surprises at every step. [Photography by Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer]

 Small Flexible O-table Inspired by Antique Brass Candlesticks

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The O-table by Ola Giertz Designstudio is a small flexible unit inspired by antique brass candlesticks. We usually move this type of candlesticks by inserting our finger into the special eye that allows us to smoothly carry the candle. This is the idea of ??a sideboard based on the same concept, a sideboard with a handle that creates a removable and changeable furniture. The name of the table comes from the circular shapes that are recurrent in the table top, the rounded legs and the round handle.The project started after seeing an increasing need for flexible and easily moving tables. We often move from place to place in the room, and for example, sit and drink coffee in our favorite chair before we maybe move to the couch or the bed. Instead of having a table at each place, you can now instead use one table as you move along. The handle makes it easy to grab and creates a firm grip that makes it easy to carry the table with one hand. The bowl-shaped table top prevents items to easy fall off if you happen to shake or bump into anything.The handle also breaks the horizontal line in the table top which creates greater dynamism. Together these forms create a soft and graphical furniture with a minimalistic touch. [Information provided via e-mail by  Ola Giertz Studio; Photographer: Carl Magnus Johansson]

 Serene Apartment Invaded by Color in Madrid

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This colorful apartment in Madrid, Spain, inspires peaceful living and an overall feeling of playfulness. The crib found on Micasa was especially designed for a young couple with a child, who moved to New York in order to build their careers. The couple only uses this place as a refuge, when they return to Spain. And what a relaxing environment it offers! As this is just a holiday home, no large amount of storage space was needed. Just two bedrooms, a bathroom and a generous living room with a balcony is enough to provide an optimum place of retreat. The casual feel of the apartment is given by colorful decorative items, magazines and books on the floors, comfortable poufs and flower arrangements. Have a look at the photos below and tell us what details you enjoy the most. Do you appreciate a colorful home design or are more attracted by sober decors?

 music studio design ideas

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If you believe that green does not work in a trendy and minimal contemporary bedroom, then think again! A green accent wall is easy to shape and it brings that much needed warmth to an otherwise cool and mundane interior. Just repeat the color in the room using vivacious bedding, accessories, nightstands or even a couple of lovely vases and you have an inviting bedroom that is both energetic and relaxing. Those who feel that an accent wall in green or décor are not your thing can still add the color by placing a couple of potted plants to fill up those empty corners. It is an easy, eco-friendly and healthy choice to turn to that will instantly alter the mood in the bedroom.

 Relaxing Home With Enchanting Natural Details in Washington

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Surrounded by a maze of greenery, the Urban Cabin, a project developed by the architectural studio, Suyama Peterson Deguchi in Washington, is more than a simple relaxing home. Located in the heart of a spectacular site, the  house reflects the need of man to truly connect with the environment, in order to live in harmony. The Urban Cabin was designed for a simple life. Like an escape from the crowded cities.
Surrounded by vegetation, the house (designed for a couple, already familiar with the place), is gently protected from the eyes of the neighbours, being basically “hidden” by the luxuriant vegetation. “Conceptually, the design was inspired by a picnic shelter in a forest. The ideas of a primitive picnic shelter gave direction to both the building’s form and minimal program requirements. All program elements were reduced of excesses and distilled down to the elemental.”  As you step inside the house, you observe the natural influence: an improvised tree becomes the core of the house, while the wooden tiles adorning the walls create a cozy (and authentic natural-like) atmosphere. In order to reflect the idea that the boundaries between the two environments disappear, the tiles were also extending to the outdoor lounge area, surrounding and offering additional privacy for the inhabitants, whenever they feel like enjoying a relaxing tan session…

 37 Home Library Design Ideas With a Jay-Dropping Visual and Cultural Effect

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Probably the most “sacred” room of the entire crib, the home library combines relaxation with personal growth and completes the genuine atmosphere of a modern residence or apartment. As a tribute to these contemporary indoor oases, we put together a post with 37 beautiful home libraries, bearing within knowledge and acting as a refuge from the hectic lifestyle characterizing big cities. There are many ideas from the photos below we find inspiring, starting with the circular bookshelves in the shape of an indoor dome, the attic room library or the suspended above-the-stairs shelving system. The fireplace bookshelf is also an intriguing and daring idea, provided it is never left unsupervised.
We also love reading nooks and window seats surrounded by books, which make for great relaxations spots. Depending on the features of each home, a library can be extended horizontally or vertically. Some of the photos below present seamlessly infinite walls, with a jaw-dropping effect-just imagine the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of books in the comfort of your own home! We invite you to have a look at the home library designs below and choose your favorite. What are the ideas you find most appealing and how would you integrate them in your own crib?

 wooden walls

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Adding green to the bedroom is easy if you already have a muted color scheme going in the room. It is a color that works beautifully with the likes of white, gray and even brown. While the yellowy-greens add warmth to the bedroom, the blue-tinged variants bring a touch of coolness along with a vibrant ambiance. Here is a pick of 25 gorgeous bedrooms that incorporate green in a gorgeous fashion.

 Gorgeous Modern Kavel Villa Built on a Diamond Shaped Plot

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Nested on an island near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this gorgeously modern Kavel Villa was intentionally built of a diamond shaped plot of land to take advantage of the surroundings. The island is relatively new and it will accommodate several other residential projects in the future. It’s an oasis of tranquility just minutes away from the city centre. Kavel occupies the most exceptional spot, overlooking the lake and the city’s skyline. Constructed by Studioninedots, the villa boasts an abstract geometric shape, mainly following the form of the site. The building itself surprises the viewer with its versatile appearance. It’s all a matter of perception and… angles. Sometimes it looks sleek and edgy, sometimes massive and robust.
“By introducing a spectacular concrete structure we made it possible to create a ground floor plan with maximum transparency, without any columns. This transparency increases the interaction with nature and the relationship between inside and outside. On the south side the glass facade is bended inward, creating an intimate and covered terrace. The contrast between the concrete facades and the folding glass reflect the changes of the nature around.” Interior of the house opens entirely to the landscape. The house is well-lit and properly ventilated. Rooms come with astounding views, therefore each sunset is a wonderful and crisp experience. Glossy and contemporary decorated, the interior of Kavel Villa enhances the feeling of comfort and elegance. Metallic shutters with abstract shapes adorn the first floor’s windows. They can be fully opened, allowing light inside or add a sense of privacy, when needed. [Photo credit: Peter Cuypers]

 small apartment dining room ideas

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Painting the walls might be the easiest way to add green to the bedroom along with bedding and accessories in matching hue, but think beyond the obvious if you want a truly captivating room. Painting the ceiling in green can be a fun alternative and by leaving the walls white, you will still have a neutral and versatile backdrop that will beautifully showcase wall art and sculptural décor additions. And for those who really want a personalized solution, mixing different shades to come with your own custom green hue is indeed an exciting and enjoyable alternative. This will assure that you are proud owner of a one-of-a-kind bedroom with a shade of green that you came up with.

 Contemporary Family-Friendly Living Solution in Slovakia

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A modern family house resting in a quiet residential area is many people’s dream. Slovakia is today’s virtual design destination. Located in the village of Kyncelova near Banská Bystrica on a 11,500 square feet lot, this modern family house known as K2 House (left) is part of Pauliny Hovorka Architekti’s portfolio. Neighboring another project – called “Dom Zlomu” – designed by the same architects, this new home is being inhabited by an elderly couple who wanted to live next to their children and grandchildren. Greeted by a bold yellow entrance softening the concrete appearance, guests experience an inspiring geometric play that continues inside.
Viewed from the street, the uplifted, unusual shape of the K2 House seems intended to match the next-door neighboring home belonging to this couple’s children. Architects agree that this solution allows multiple generations to “enjoy privacy of their own living space whilst sharing common external areas”. Furthermore, “while designing the K2 House, the aim was not to create a supplement to an earlier built construction but a fully-fledged house with an independent and tailored concept.”
The elevation seen from the outside is reflected inside by two one-flight staircases connecting the different elevations while shaping three independent levels. The modern family house thus expresses this inner layout through its dynamic, unusual architecture: “The division of the building into three levels allows to meet the client´s requirement to separate thoroughly the study room from the main living area of the house making it sound-proof and independent as it is often used as a guest room.”
Some of you are already building a home – did you ever consider this family-friendly solution of living next door to your parents/grown children?

 blue geometric wallpaper

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West Elm Heath Sofa is small in scale without sacrificing classic styling. Ikea Ekero Armchair has a reversible back cushion and thin arms for the space challenged. Kyle Schuneman Monroe Apartment Size Sofa at apt2b.com has a classic, retro feel and fits in small spaces. Euro Style Calais Dining Chairs (set of 2) at 2bemod.com aren’t just for dining rooms; they can work in any space. CB2 Casbah Corner Chair can be used indoors or out, singularly in a corner or doubled up to create a loveseat with arms. The Casbah Armless Chair can be added to extend it into a chaise. Istikbal Twist Convertible Loveseat at wayfair.com comes in bright colors and converts to a sleeper. Euro Style Fenia Swivel Chair at amazon.com is small and versatile, thanks to the swivel mechanism. CB2 Flatiron Haze Apartment Sofa is sleek and streamlined at only 60 inches wide.

 Narrow House Design Cleverly Adapted to Its Site in Melbourne, Australia

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Challenged by the intricacies and opportunities of a small site in Melbourne, Australia, Inglis Architects came up with a clever narrow house design for project Fairbairn Road Residence. Masonry, timber and stone are the main materials employed for the exterior finishes, “whether through brick perforated screens, steel cantilevers or custom timber claddings”. By layering up the front elevation towards the street, the architects created depth, thus managing to powerfully distinguish the residence from its neighboring buildings.
In order to create a feeling of generosity through space and materiality, the architects reduced the functionality of the first level, which mainly accommodates the living room. Bedrooms were elevated to the tree tops on the first floor, in order to offer a high degree of privacy. “The house is refreshing. It requires minimal furnishing to feel warm and hospitable due to the soft natural finishes. The floorboards, stone and masonry here are on show and the light fittings and furniture are purposefully simple and pared back allowing the interiors to breathe. It feels raw whilst achieving elegance through composition, texture, volume light and program”. [Photos by Derek Swalwell]

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