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10 Simply Amazing Vacation Homes

Design-minded retreats to jump-start a getaway.

1. Miami Beach Pied-à-Terre by Alessandro Isola

A laid-back, sand-between-the-toes spirit pervades this sophisticated Miami pied-à-terre. “The look is intentionally unusual, but there’s also a sense of fun because we’re in Miami Beach,” Alessandro Isolasays. Working within the building’s minimalistic 1,500-square-foot layout, Isola creates a multipurpose two-bedroom apartment that can accommodate a couple and four children. The master bedroom doubles as a private lounge with the bed’s leather-upholstered platform and the children’s room features padded leather wall and flooring panels for a soft play area.

2. 15th-Century Croatian House by Rees Roberts + Partners LLC and Antonio Zaninovic

Rees Roberts + Partners LLC partnered with Cape Town-based architect Antonio Zaninovic to create a 2,200-square-foot island retreat off Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. As the original high walls were removed and the underbrush cleared, the elegant shapes of the olive trees were visible and revealed a spectacular view of the Adriatic Sea. Ruins once buried under rubble were repurposed as a foundation for the swimming pool and an ancient limestone cistern became a sink basin in the powder room. 

3. Hamptons Weekend House by MODE Interior Designs and CCS Architecture

Mode Interior Designs founder Sharon Bonnemazou and her husband enlisted CCS Architecture to create a “rustic, low-key, quietly luxurious” 5,000-square-feet weekend house on a secluded waterfront property in Water Mill, New York. Bonnemazou‘s vision was informed by the modernist residences she remembered from her childhood in Southern California and the style of houses her real-estate developer father built in South Korea. 

4. Marble Falls Vacation Home by Lake | Flato Architects and Plus Two Interiors Design

Lake | Flato Architects and Plus Two Interiors Design collaborated on an easygoing, contemporary vacation home and boathouse near Marble Falls, Texas. Architect Ted Flato’s design was simple: a single three-story building poised midway up the rise, 120 feet uphill from the boathouse. “The main house is nestled between the peak and the lake,” Flato says. “The configuration celebrates the land as well as the water.” The home’s structure is all about movement and connections with a freeflowing dialogue between the indoors and outdoors; only 2,700 of its 4,900-square-feet are interior.

5. Berkshires House by Tsao & McKown Architects

Tsao & McKown Architects were commissioned to build a 7,000-square-foot house in Alford, Massachusetts, facing the distant Berkshire Hills. Architect Zack McKown says, “There would be a specific view from the kitchen, during breakfast, and another from the bedroom, in the evening.” To make that possible, architect Calvin Tsaonotes, “We realized that a normal, orthogonal building wouldn’t do.” The house instead follows the path of the sun, resulting in a C configuration composed of smaller asymmetrically angled volumes, which allowed the windows to frame the unique mountain views.

6. Cape Cod Guesthouse by Hariri & Hariri

Hariri & Hariri Architecture built a 2,400-square-foot guesthouse for the Cape Code residence that was originally designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. The Hariri sisters and their client were inspired by Gropius’s Cape Code National Seashore manifesto to modernize the city’s landscape, and so they chose a “revolutionary yet livable” design. It was important “to respect the architecture of a place but at the same time push forward to our time,” Gisue Haririsays. 

7. Australian Holiday Retreat by O’Connor and Houle Architecture

There’s a pleasing balance between unpretentious simplicity and cosmopolitan sophistication in this Australian holiday retreat that Stephen O’Connor and Annick Houle designed for their own family in the village of Blairgowrie. The property’s pair of single-story structures, a main house and a separate studio with a home office, fit in nicely with the village’s summer beach-shack character.

8. Duplex Penthouse at Ski Resort by PeNDa

Architecture firm PeNDa designed this duplex penthouse apartment in the Zhangjiakou ski resort, located in the mountains north of Beijing. PeNDa designed the upstairs for their client’s own use and downstairs as semiautonomous guest quarters. Throughout the 1,800-square-foot lower level, the white walls and ceiling may remind you of the cold outside, but with radiant heating, “it’s actually very cozy,” principal Chris Precht says.

9. Hamptons Beach Cabin by Bates Masi Architects

This 600-square-foot beach cabin in Amagansett, New York, was difficult to build given its inverse proportion to size. A legal judgment allowed Bates Masi + Architects to construct the Hamptons cabin on a footprint of 15 by 20 feet, more than 6 feet above-grade, but not more than 25 feet tall. To maximize the height, glass walls help visually enlarge the bedrooms and the exceptionally lean floors and ceilings were built without integral ductwork. 

10. Scottish Beach House by WT Architecture

The clients, a family with two teenage children, wanted a Scottish beach house to spend weekends and holidays. Their 1970’s bungalow in the harbor town of Elie pays tribute to “the big, pale, southern sky,” WT Architecture principal William Tunnell says. The 3,000-square-foot beach house has two wings that frame views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth lighthouse. “As the tide flows in and out, colors reflect off the golden beach and the water,” Tunnell says. To capture those reflections, he designed the inside “as clean and simple as possible.”

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Interior Design’s Most Popular Projects of 2017

We round up the most popular projects published on in 2017.

1. Google’s NYC office by Interior Architects

In view of the High Line park and the Hudson River, an easy arm’s length from the foodie mecca of Chelsea Market, and a stone’s throw from the meatpacking district’s mayhem, Google has a new home. With space split between two Chelsea landmarks, National Biscuit Company buildings from 1898 and 1913, and revamped by Interior Architects, the search engine’s sales team enjoys impressive digs that are nevertheless decidedly understated. The goal here was to play against type by celebrating the low-tech and the local.

2. NYC apartment by Hariri & Hariri Architecture

Luckily for one New York couple of empty-nesters, Interior Design Hall of Fame members Gisue Hariri and Mojgan Hariri know a thing or two about family dynamics—after all, the sisters are now in their fourth decade of running Hariri & Hariri Architecture, having previously studied together at Cornell University. And they used that knowledge to settle the couple into a more compact home while, at the same time, expanding their horizons.

3. Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá by Rottet Studio

Rottet Studio tackled not one but two Four Seasons Hotels Limited properties in Bogotá. The larger and more centrally located one, in the hopping Zona Rosa district, is the Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá. It comprises a row of three 1980’s brick buildings vaguely neoclassical in style and long operated as a different hotel. Once Four Seasons signed on, the doors closed for 16 months while Rottet and senior associate Chris Evans flew in from the U.S. to work their magic. 

4. Miami pied-à-terre by Alessandro Isola

A laid-back, sand-between-the-toes spirit pervades this sophisticated pied-à-terre. “The look is intentionally unusual, but there’s also a sense of fun because we’re in Miami Beach,” Alessandro Isola says. It’s a vision in white, accented by water tones. The apartment is one of 26 that Interior Design Hall of Fame member John Pawson conceived for the Ian Schrager Company’s Residences at the Miami Beach Edition. Working within Pawson’s characteristically minimal 1,500-square-foot layout, Isola delivered a two-bedroom that can accommodate a couple and up to four children. 

5. Belgian house by B-Architecten

First stepping into this house in the leafy suburbs of Antwerp, Belgium, architect Dirk Engelen saw an unhappy mishmash of eras. The structure, built in 1936, had been remodeled twice, first in the 1950’s and then in the 1970’s. “The original details were lost. The huge front window was half boarded-up, and the flying staircase was very ’70’s,” he recalls. Consulting the building drawings confirmed that there was nothing of the 1930’s interior left, save the old radiators. Engelen stripped out everything else, including the partition walls, resulting in an open-plan 6,400 square feet on three levels.

6. Mexico City house by Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin

Six years ago, a real estate developer bought an unremarkable 1970’s house in Mexico City with the plan of remodeling it into an exemplar of indoor-outdoor living. It proved impossible, however, to find an architect who shared his vision of transforming the building rather than demolishing it. Then luck struck. On the recommendation of a friend, the developer approached designers Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin, who eagerly accepted the challenge of overhauling the home while staying within its existing four-story typology.

7. Austin apartment by Page Southerland Page and Furman + Keil

Part of the Residences at W Austin, located in a clean-lined high-rise by Andersson-Wise Architects, the unit was purchased just in time to stop installation of the developer’s stock finishes. The sight that initially greeted Dunnam Tita as well as Furman + Keil Architects’s Philip Keil, who’d worked on the owner’s previous home, was 3,400 square feet of raw concrete. To transform it in keeping with his tastes—which lean mid-century though “not off-the-shelf,” Dunnam Tita says—she and Keil gravitated toward a materials palette influenced by Carlo Scarpa.

8. Manhattan duplex by AM/MOR Architecture

Gut renovations often yield the unexpected, but for Goil Amornvivat and Thomas Morbitzer of AM/MOR Architecture, a duplex in Stuyvesant Square proved more surprising than most. Located at the top of an 1888 former parish house, the condominium offered little indication of what was hiding beneath a mid-1990’s renovation that prioritized square footage over a logical layout. So the first move was to rip out, and eventually replace, the upper level that had created the low ceilings. Then it was time to begin probing. “It was one poke at a time,” Amornvivat says.

9. Hoshinoya Tokyo by Azuma Architect & Associates

Even travelers who love Tokyo’s high-octane pace occasionally crave a serene retreat. Somewhere to kick off their shoes, relax in a cotton kimono, and take a dip in mineral-rich hot-spring waters. However, that traditional hotel experience used to be available only elsewhere—around Kyoto or deep in the countryside. Now, at last, there is a typically Japanese inn or ryokan, complete with a proper hot-spring spa, right in the middle of Tokyo. That’s thanks to Hoshino Resorts, a company with roots stretching back to 1914, and Azuma Architect & Associates, which has designed four Hoshino properties.

10. Spa des Soules at Hôtel des Berges by Jouin Manku

Interior Design Hall of Fame members Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku renovated the acclaimed Auberge de l’Ill restaurant in 2007. In 2014 in nearby Strasbourg, they turned part of an 18th-century royal stud farm into Marc Haeberlin’s fourth restaurant, Les Haras. So when the Haeberlin family decided to enlarge the Hôtel des Berges and add a spa, client-designer trust was well established. “They essentially gave us carte blanche,” Jouin says. The sole requirement for this third collaboration, Manku adds, was for the annex to be both “sensory and spiritual,” a retreat for the body and soul. 

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Alessandro Isola Delivers a Cool Touch to a Miami Pied-à-Terre

A laid-back, sand-between-the-toes spirit pervades this sophisticated pied-à-terre. “The look is intentionally unusual, but there’s also a sense of fun because we’re in Miami Beach,” Alessandro Isola says. It’s a vision in white, accented by water tones.

Continue reading Alessandro Isola Delivers a Cool Touch to a Miami Pied-à-Terre

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