Contemporary Penthouse in Kiev Exhibits Original Arch Roofing

Ukraine-based Alex Obraztsov completed the design of a contemporary penthouse in Kiev’s city center. The concept behind the High Lounge project— “Life is wisely thrifty: all new things are made of old ones”— is inspired by a poem belonging to Russian writer Konstantin Forfanov.

Discovered on site, the original arch roofing system was exposed and adds function to the space — aside from extending the living areas, it works as a space divider as well. The steel beam structures complement the plywood panels for a bold, modern look. The newly added terrace has ample space for outdoor relaxation with breathtaking views of the city.

The living room’s dark color palette of gray and black is accented by bold colorful artworks from modern Ukrainian and Japanese painters Oksana Masj and Valerij Startsevand Kenzo Takada. The striking white lacquered kitchen and bathroom further add to the contemporary style of this penthouse. Large windows let in ample natural light during the day, while at night the soft, built-in lighting creates a warm, intimate ambiance. [Photography courtesy of Alex Obraztsov]

How to Take Stripes Off the Fashion Runways and Into Your Home

The latest fashion runway collections from designers in Europe and the U.S. were awash with stripes — from large, bold stripes to dainty pinstripes to everything in between. Home design collections are never far behind the runway trends, so if you have a love for stripes and contemporary style, now is the time to add some stripes to your home decor.

Decorating with stripes isn’t as difficult as you may think and you don’t have to make a big commitment to stripes to still have an impact on a room. Here are some of our favorite ways to take the latest off-the-runway stripes and incorporate them to your contemporary decor.

1. Paint Stripes on Walls

If you’re looking for a bold way to incorporate this trend, then painting stripes on your walls is the choice for you. But don’t go overboard — chose one main focal wall to incorporate stripes, not the entire room. Wallpaper works too.

2. Add Striped Pillows

Throw pillows are an inexpensive and simple way to dip your toes into the stripe trend. Try different combinations of stripes and colors or use a line of the same striped pillow on a sofa for a clean, minimalist look.

3. Cover Floor With Stripes

If you have an open floor plan, a bold, striped rug is a great way to incorporate this trend. Opt for rugs with high contrast tones and colors that pop.

4. Hang Striped Curtains

When painting or wallpapering isn’t an option, adding striped curtains may be all the stripe you need. Aim for rich colors and a floor-to-ceiling length that creates the illusion of taller ceilings.

5. Don’t Forget the Furnishings

For a high fashion design choice, add a striped furniture piece to your space. Whether it’s a sofa, ottoman, side table or cabinet, striped designs and upholstery are more available than ever at your local home design stores.

Pivoting Doors Welcome Nature Inside This Family Retreat in Mexico

Envisioned as a family retreat for a couple’s retirement, Casa Meztitla makes the most of the rocky landscape at the foot of Tepozteco mountain in Mexico. Studio EDAA used volcanic rock and cement blocks to partially camouflage the building walls. The only element that reveals itself to the outside world — a massive monolithic white box that emerges through the foliage.

“The house, built out of rough stone, crawls low under the trees and aligns with the vegetation-covered stone slopes,” the architects stated. “It is the creation of pure space within the natural space.”

The owners wanted the space to be connected with its surroundings without compromising privacy. The bottom level of the house opens up to the swimming pool and natural landscape with large pivoting glass doors. “Now, everyone is able to adjust their degree of exposure while keeping a constant visual relation with the outdoors,” the architects said.

One key feature of the property is an ingenious storm water management system which captures every drop of water that touches the property — this allows for an abundance of water even through the long dry season. [Photography by Yoshihiro Koitani]

Japanese Dwelling is Part Home, Part Art Gallery

Tokyo-based firm APOLLO Architects completed the design for a mixed-use living and art gallery building in Obu, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Named Gaze, the 893-square-foot project consists of three stacked floors. The first floor is created with reinforced concrete and glass, while the second and third floors are made from wood with galvanized steel siding, making the entire building from afar look like it’s suspended in air.

The owner’s art gallery is located on ground level with part of the exhibit featured underground. The surrounding glass reflects on the window for a pleasing effect for passersby.

The living areas on the second level are accessed through a separate stairway in the back of the building. A minimalist design scheme in neutral tones is a natural extension for the art gallery below. Natural light flows through the space, thanks to a series of lateral windows and skylights. All bedrooms are located upstairs, in the cantilevered third volume. [Photography: Masao Nishikawa]

Weekend Retreat in Australia Welcomes Climbers and Artists

Imagined as a weekend retreat in the Sydney Blue Mountains, Australia, Little Hartley House by Urban Possible addresses the living needs of two avid climbers — a professor and an art gallery owner. The single level, three-bedroom house features an artists’ studio, plenty of entertaining space and a sauna for after a day of climbing.

The public and private areas of the project were divided in two and connected by a butterfly roof. Potential bushfires dictated the use of tough materials, such as Corten steel, recycled blackbutt cladding and double glazing. “On the north eastern façade, a rhythm is set with repetitive Corten panels, interspersed with high pivoting doors,” the architects explained. “On the north, two tripartite sliding doors recess themselves behind the chimney leading occupants through to the entertaining deck.”

Every weekend, the residence (now transformed into a revolving art gallery) is filled with artists and climbers. All living spaces are minimalist with a focus on functionality and social interaction is encouraged by clusters of seating units spread throughout the residence, both inside and out. [Photos by: Tom Ferguson]

Unique UK University Drawing Studio Celebrates Light

The new drawing studio at Arts University Bournemouth in Dorset, United Kingdom comes with a futuristic silhouette. Designed by renowned architect Sir Peter Cook and his office CRAB, the building celebrates “the fundamental nature of drawing and the way in which it stimulates thought”.

The 1830-square-foot creative studio is open to all artists in the university, from animators to costumes designers to architects and was built as a place especially for interaction and exchange. Central to the idea of drawing, “light” was chosen as the theme for the building’s design.

A rear clerestory window offers ample light with inspirational views of the tree canopies, while minimalist interiors in white and gray leave the room a blank slate. The oddly-shaped blue exterior is made from steel and was built in conjunction with two other facilities — an animation studio and a lecture theater.

“Through such simplicity, the act of drawing becomes a calm and considered activity within the lively world of a very busy and creative institution,” the project developers said. [Photography courtesy of CRAB Studio]

Nature-Inspired Home in Norway Accessible Only by Boat

Anchored to a rocky landscape in Larvik, Norway, this glass-walled home was especially designed as a weekend retreat for an interior architect, an artist and their two children. Designed by the architects at Lund Hagem, the site, accessible only by boat, is located within 16 feet of the water’s edge on a small island which boasts magnificent views.

The approximately 800-square-foot project named Cabin Lille Arøya is supported by stilts (solid galvanized steel columns built into the rock) and consists of two volumes. The lower volume accommodates the bedrooms and bathrooms, while the taller one shelters the kitchen, dining and living room. “The new volumes sit naturally with the existing landscape and allow for free circulation and use of the surrounding areas,” the architects said. “The building seeks to enhance the qualities of the site and make use of areas that originally had no value.”

The living room takes advantage of surrounding views thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors. Concrete finishes were paired with wooden flooring and metal fittings, for a “raw” effect, in tune with the landscape. Wooden decks clad in pine span the length of the sleeping area with a stairway that can take inhabitants up to the roof. [Photography by Alexandre Westberg]

Cozy Apartment in Bucharest Optimizes Space and Light

Located in a newly built residential complex in Bucharest, Romania, this 538 square-foot home, named Apartment No. 3, optimizes space and light. Bogdan Ciocodeică & Diana Roşu teamed up to design a cozy apartment that offers both aesthetic harmony and functionality.

“Like with any other project, we tried to envision the owners’ daily paths, from the moment they step inside the apartment, until they go to bed at night,” the architects said. “We tried to make the space as comfortable as possible, to create a positive state of mind and that homey feeling everyone longs for.”

The layout is subtly divided in two, with the kitchen, dining and living spaces located on the left, and the bedrooms and bathrooms situated on the right. From the living room couch, one can see all the other areas of the house: the dining place, the bedroom and the kitchen.

Concrete, metal and glass are complemented by softer accents of wood and smooth white textiles to create a visual and textural balance. A metal-framed room divider separates the bedroom and living area, providing quality soundproofing, while the white curtains add a stylish, fluid touch to the overall design scheme. “We paid special attention to the interior lighting which adapted to every corner, creating a dynamic, stenographic atmosphere,” the designers added. [Photos by Radu Sandovici & Andrei Mărgulescu]

A Book Lover’s Dream Home in Madrid

Studio Egue Y Seta transformed this 1950s dwelling in Madrid, Spain into a modern book lover’s dream. The residence consists of three rectangular-shaped floors topped by a gable roof and a small garden surrounds the entire house.

Inside, books abound. The living room seems like a miniature library. The custom-made solid wood bookcases that line the walls were recovered from the family’s previous home. The designers kept a bit of the home’s 1950s heritage — they suggest reading “while lying in one of the vintage armchairs from the 50s that flank the large chesterfield cognac leather sofa or when sitting around the superb dining table rescued from a disappeared nineteenth century French farmhouse.”

Another white bookcase reigns over the hallway on the top floor, with its impressive height. Next to it, there are plenty of spots to curl up with a book: the sofa, the butterfly chair, or up the metal ladder where there’s a hammock-style net suspended over the space. [Photography by Vicugo Foto]

Two-Story Glass Wall Makes Narrow Mexican Home Feel Huge

This modern residence — recently completed by Taller Estilo Arquitectura — is cleverly adapted to its long and narrow site in Yucatán, Mexico. Even though the two-level Raw House is just 19 feet wide, the interiors feel airy and bright. How? It’s one part exposed raw materials. The concrete, wood and metal fixtures aren’t hidden under space-consuming layers of drywall.

It’s another part smart layout: the back of the house is a two-story glass wall (or is it a door?) that opens up the living spaces to a small courtyard with a swimming pool. Inside, the double-height lounge space just inside and the exposed stairway to the second floor both create the perspective of an “infinite” home.

The airy and bright feeling throughout isn’t by accident either: according to the architects, passive conditioning elements are an integral part of the design. The eastern wall of the home is also sliding glass that opes than an “air chimney,” that lets in natural light and makes it possible to control the flow and the volume of air even more precisely.  [Photography by David Cervera]