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.

Studio Schicketanz California Coast House Outdoor FireplaceStudio Schicketanz California Coast HouseBlaze Makoid Architecture California House

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.

The house embraces the slope on which it stands and makes the most of its location and exposure
The house embraces the slope on which it stands and makes the most of its location and exposure
The dark exterior allows the facade to relate to the forest behind it but has the opposite effect when everything is covered in snow
The dark exterior allows the facade to relate to the forest behind it but has the opposite effect when everything is covered in snow
The glazed surfaces help establish a smooth dialogue between the house and its surroundings
The glazed surfaces help establish a smooth dialogue between the house and its surroundings
The leisure areas make the most of the views and take full advantage of the tranquil surroundings
The leisure areas make the most of the views and take full advantage of the tranquil surroundings
The interior is modern and very welcoming and fells surprisingly cozy and intimate in spite of the glazed walls
The interior is modern and very welcoming and fells surprisingly cozy and intimate in spite of the glazed walls
The house was built using simple materials such as stone, glass and blackened wood
The house was built using simple materials such as stone, glass and blackened wood

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.

The house is a rural retreat with all the amenities and elements of a modern residence
The house is a rural retreat with all the amenities and elements of a modern residence
As the walls swing open, the interior living spaces become one with the outdoor terraces
As the walls swing open, the interior living spaces become one with the outdoor terraces
The indoor-outdoor transition is seamless and the internal spaces extend outside in a very natural way
The indoor-outdoor transition is seamless and the internal spaces extend outside in a very natural way
The high ceiling given this space a very airy and open look and provides the perfect opportunity to hang these gorgeous pendant lamps
The high ceiling given this space a very airy and open look and provides the perfect opportunity to hang these gorgeous pendant lamps
The bedrooms have hinged windows too and the views from this section of the house are really beautiful
The bedrooms have hinged windows too and the views from this section of the house are really beautiful
The interior living area seamlessly extends outside onto the patio and then the poolside deck
The interior living area seamlessly extends outside onto the patio and then the poolside deck

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.

The reflective glass allows the house to become one with the landscape that surrounds it
The reflective glass allows the house to become one with the landscape that surrounds it
In terms of design and style, the house is a seamless blend of modern and rustic elements
In terms of design and style, the house is a seamless blend of modern and rustic elements
The spaces are organized into two structures: the main volume and a guest house
The spaces are organized into two structures: the main volume and a guest house
A large stone fireplace with panoramic views on either side gives the living room a cozy look
A large stone fireplace with panoramic views on either side gives the living room a cozy look

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.

The house has a simple geometry with clean and minimalist geometry
The house has a simple geometry with clean and minimalist geometry
The extensive use of glass ensures a fluid transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces
The extensive use of glass ensures a fluid transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces
The palette of colors and materials used indoors is simple and mostly neutral
The palette of colors and materials used indoors is simple and mostly neutral
Wood was used for the floors, ceilings and most of the furniture, ensuring an inviting ambiance throughout
Wood was used for the floors, ceilings and most of the furniture, ensuring an inviting ambiance throughout
The wood on the ceiling contrasts with the structural metal beams and the concrete elements
The wood on the ceiling contrasts with the structural metal beams and the concrete elements
The outdoor spaces are expansive and serve as buffer zones between the house and the garden
The outdoor spaces are expansive and serve as buffer zones between the house and the garden
The relationship between the house and its immediate surroundings is a very harmonious one
The relationship between the house and its immediate surroundings is a very harmonious one

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.

The deep roof overhangs provide shade for the patios and terraces that extend the living spaces outdoors
The deep roof overhangs provide shade for the patios and terraces that extend the living spaces outdoors
The interior spaces welcome the natural light inside without being disturbed by the harsh sun and heat
The interior spaces welcome the natural light inside without being disturbed by the harsh sun and heat
The open plan living spaces are simple and modest, just like the outside of the house
The open plan living spaces are simple and modest, just like the outside of the house
Concrete flooring and wooden ceilings complement each other while the furnishings are kept simple
Concrete flooring and wooden ceilings complement each other while the furnishings are kept simple
The master bedroom has sliding glass doors which connect it to a large terrace
The master bedroom has sliding glass doors which connect it to a large terrace
A large terrace with a metal and fabric canopy is positioned at the back of the house while a shaded patio sits at the front
A large terrace with a metal and fabric canopy is positioned at the back of the house while a shaded patio is placed at the front

You’re reading 5 Pretty Houses Communicate With Their Surroundings , originally posted on Homedit. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Homedit on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest.

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