A Welsh house that flows over the river Ysgir

Surrounded by some of the most spectacular hill landscapes in Britain – the Brecon Beacons – this house fittingly was built as a testament to the surrounding landscape. Ty Hedfan (in Welsh, meaning hovering house) is unique, built on a site that slopes down to the meeting points of two rivers – Ysgir Fach and Ysgir Fawr. The dual design problems of a steeply sloping plot, and a no-build zone within seven metres of the river Ysgir, became an opportunity for the architectural firm Featherstone Young, which is known for having a focus on the context and area that surrounds a development.  The house cantilevers over the river bank and into the canopy of the trees, almost hovering as it does.

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Mid-century Cape Cod retreat

Built as a summer house by Paul Weidlinger, the concrete pillars below form a low elevation at the higher end of the slope, but coming closer to the pond the building stilts out at such a height that the building looks like it’s floating over the pond. Open glass in the communal areas, along with the height, make this a perfect place I can imagine just sitting back and viewing nature from. The place was built back in the early 1950s, and was almost demolished until the Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) stepped in a few years back. This is our first post back from an extended Summer break – enjoy!

Source: TheModernHouse

The Ahm House

This is a treat of a home, designed in the mid-20th century by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon – the very same who designed the Sydney Opera House.  The house has an almost brutalist quality to it, but softened for suburbia; the roof is made up of one strong line that juts out from the flat garden – underlined with thick concrete beams.

In the featured image furniture from Denmark is featured – the country Jørn Utzon is from. I wondered whether to include this image, as it is clearly from a different time to the rest of the house. Is it the same home tour if it shows a ‘before’ picture almost disconnected to what the interior is now? However, I think it is important. The picture shows what kind of interior the architect could have expected at the time that it was being built. Two famous pieces by Arne Jacobsen are shown – the armchair on the left is a Swan chair and the group of armchairs away from the foreground are Egg chairs; what makes this interesting is the muted tones chosen for these chairs – in keeping with the house style. The photos below are shared, with permission, from The Modern House.

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Note in the image below that the original style decor reflected the midcentury modern inspiration that’s found throughout the building (image from MidCenturyHome.com shown as thumbnail for fair use).

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There’s something very aesthetic about these narrow spaces.

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A 19th century apartment with original features

This is a show-stopping loft in central Stockholm. Built in the 1800s, the original flooring and beams are still in, and exposed. It’s currently available on Nooks.se and is one of the most viewed properties there. I like it, even though it doesn’t follow my personal style. If I were to move in (which probably means winning the lottery) I’d add a tonne of soft furnishings – throws, pillows, and even more rugs than they already have.

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The bright reds really work well with the exposed dark wood.

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Somehow the bamboo sticks in the vase work? I would never have guessed.

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Such a spacious shower. I love showers with high ceilings.

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Most people hide away their washer/dryer. Here they seem to have made it into a statement piece. Love. it.

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Once again I’m including the floor plan here.

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Muted, earthy tones, in this Berlin apartment

I’ve been in an earthy mood lately, it must be Spring coming. I was taking a walk around the park yesterday and could see signs of green in the trees. It almost looked like a rebirth.

If you saw the title and were expecting something more woodland-y, then I’m sorry to disappoint you; here’s a consolation gallery.  I also shared a more rural house on this site, earlier in the year.

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Style: Functionalism

It’s often seen as more of a cliche than an element of style, but the paraphrased maxim, that form follows function (or at least that it should) is an essential primer for all forms of design. It’s the idea that an object’s use should determine the way it is built and placed. There’s a contrast in the image above (credit: SEIER+SEIER) that perfectly highlights the difference between functionalism and other styles. The famous maxim comes from Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, shown in this excerpt:

“Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling. It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognisable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.

Sullivan explains that the size of a building, the spacing of its features, and so on, should as a law only be driven by the building’s function – ‘the life is recognisable in its expression’. An example of this is the two pictures below. The building is very simple, and there is no ornamentation. It’s implied that if you follow the law of functionalist, the end result will be aesthetic. And it is a specific type of aesthetic – very pared back, understated, clean, yet elegant. Some people find this boring, but there is still opportunity for variety in colours, and the surroundings of a building – the excitement is more subtle.

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Credit: Stadshem (Gyllenkrooksgatand 13)

Yet what does ‘form follows function’ mean for interiors? This is the foundation on which a lot of Scandinavian design is based. Below is part of a library designed by Alvar Aalto, a Dane, in European Russia. The room would be relatively plain if it weren’t for the wood used. The plants could be described as ornamental, and maybe in this regard the room isn’t purely functionalist, but to me it’s about softening the gap between the outside and in. That has purpose.

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Credit: Flickr user Ninara