That's Interesting! 6 Designs That Defy Labels
Get inspired by the lines and textures of these homes, categorized only by the fact that they have no category
Many of the subjects for the ideabooks that I write come about by browsing through photos on Houzz. Regardless of what sorts of filters I'm using (exterior vs. living room, modern vs. contemporary, metropolitan area, search terms, etc.), I always find something new, and eventually I'll see a common strand that reveals a design story. Other times some aspects of a design are so unique that they stand apart, resistant to be lumped in with other houses. I've assembled some examples here, designs that share the trait of making me think, "That's interesting!"
What looks like a green screen punctured by a glass box is exactly that, but what makes it particularly interesting is the fact that it sits in front of a ranch house. The screen was intended "to transform the traditional into the organic transitional," as Shinberg Levinas Architectural Design describes it.
In this shot, we can see the existing house's roof above the screen and part of the front wall through the glass box, but on both counts just barely. The architectural camouflage is pretty successful, and it points to an equally thoughtful strategy in the yard.
The same designers crafted another residence where the wood exterior wraps a walk-in closet and bathroom. The designers call it a "protective shell," but it is one that is punctured by gill-like vertical strips.
The effect of the vertical strips is apparent inside the bathroom, where shadows from the trees dance on the translucent glass surface.
More strips can be found on this garage for Dan Wheeler, co-founder of Chicago's Wheeler Kearns Architects, with partner Larry Kearns, who helped build the horizontal veil.
Yet what looks like oversized siding during the day glows like a lantern at night. Beautiful.
This photograph of a residence's front yard is intriguing not only for the pillowy landscape designed by H. Keith Wagner Partnership, but also for the way the strips move through it and across the various elements. The one on the left continues under a rock before stopping at a stone wall, while the one on the right just misses a tree before it cuts through the same stone wall.
The strip cutting through the wall is actually glass with lights underneath, illuminating a path that continues into the building as a tall, narrow window. The stone of the partial-height wall is echoed in the wall of the house designed by Truex Cullins & Partners Architects, with the beam of light uniting the two.
Another interesting detail in front of the house happens at the path leading to the front door. Instead of routing the path around a tree or siting the house so the two wouldn't coincide, the two elements merge. Even though far from normal, it seems to work really well, perhaps because of the tall and skinny nature of the tree.
I'm a fan of creative uses of brick in modern designs, so I really like the way the texture of this freestanding wall — part of a three-house project by Richard Wintersole Architect — is created through the orientation and placement of bricks. The narrow openings that align with the heads of people sitting on the wood benches are a nice touch.
The last project is interesting for the way Dale Jones-Evans Pty Ltd Architecture renovated an early 20th-century landmark warehouse into residences, particularly in the way they retained and worked the 1980s columns into the design. These columns have what look like orthogonal mushroom caps, giving the interiors a strong industrial character.
The oblong column is actually wall-like, and the architects laid out the living area so the structure helps to define the different areas in the double-height space.