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.

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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]
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Contemporary Hillside Sardinera House Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Spain


Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, between El Portixol and Cala Blanca, the Sardinera House by Ramon Esteve Estudio lays on the top of a hillside, flanked by a headland entering the sea on a bay of turquoise waters. A set of concrete walls were employed facing different directions, compressing and expanding the views and generating several images. The vertical surfaces are limited horizontally by long cantilevers that extend towards the sea, thus creating verandas that enclose the large terrace.

According to the architects, the entrance façade, hermetical and opaque, is protected by an automatic system of adjustable blinds made of whitened Accoya wood. This covers the façade from the sun exposition and, at the same time, limits the viewing from the street. On the contrary, the East façade is much more permeable and transparent. The concrete vertical surfaces are closed by large glass panes, protected by cantilevers and sinuous curtains that bring an ethereal Mediterranean character.

On the basement floor, besides service and parking areas, there are some guest bedrooms, a gym and an indoor pool, with a sauna and a dressing room. The interior design has been entirely implemented by Ramón Esteve Estudio. The pavement is made of off-white polished concrete, continuous both inside and outside. All the timber is whitened Accoya wood. The large hanging benches in the bathrooms are made of natural stone. There is a lounge area by both swimming pools, defined by its flat cobblestone pavement.

Lavish Ornamentation Exhibited by Belle Epoque Residence in Kiev


Lavish ornamentation sets the rhythm for the dynamic Belle Epoque Residence imagined by Dream Design Studio in Kiev, Ukraine. The designers chose a luxurious decorating scheme, inspired by the Art Deco movement :”It was important to reproduce the spirit of the epoch using not only handmade techniques, but also new technologies and own understanding of contemporary and comfortable living.” The residence has four levels, each of them vividly enhancing the experience of the inhabitants.

The living and dining room are situated on the ground floor, while the first level accommodates the guestroom and the daughter’s


bedroom. The third level has a masculine feel, with spacious office area, bedroom, and subsidiary rooms. The female spaces are light and elegant; the masculine interiors are darker and more restrained.

Geometric and vegetative details are applied on the walls, floors and ceilings, complying with the Art Deco tradition. The interiors are realized in placid monochrome scales of dark brown, terracotta, cream, sandy, and silvery grey tones. Visual accents are expressed through eye-catching pieces of furniture, lighting objects and rich textures. Small Tuscan manufactures and Ukrainian workshops produced copper engraved boiseries, brass folding-screens, stone-carved and plaster cast details, designed specially for this project. Enjoy the virtual tour!