Sunday, 29 May 2011

Luxury Eco Homes, Decking & Luxury Homes :: Grand Designs Live 2011, London

Here goes my Top 3 building ideas from Grand Designs Live 2011...

Luxury Eco Homes

This building principle caught my eye from bacaArchitects and bacaHomes
Baca Architects established their LiFE project in 2005 to identify ways in which the construction industry could help tackle rising carbon dioxide emissions and adapt to climate change, in particular to those in Flood-risk environments.

One of their ideas was to deal with rain by providing green roofs, gravel swales, flood resilient gardens, elevated buildings and rainwater harvesting to contribute towards a zero carbon footprint and flood-proof development.

images via bacaHomes
These ideas also keep a home design in harmony with it's surrounding landscape.

Anti slip decking

I prefer not to select artificial materials but I was quite impressed with this wood-substitute recycled composite decking made by Millboard
image via Millboard
Made of 50% recycled 'hard to use' timber waste it looks similar to weathered timber but without the maintenance and has the added bonus of a non slip surface.

Luxury homes with great views

Finally there was this stunning dream home in La Zagaleta in Southern Spain designed by London Architect Peter Thomas de Cruz

Peter's primary focus is on designing 
high quality 
new build and alterations to existing 
private houses.  His main design philosophy is to blur the internal and external boundaries and connect indoor spaces with nature. 
This is clearly eveident with this stunning home.

images via Thomas De Cruz photography by Simon Collins
Now that's a house with great views!

Have fun.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Garden Pods, Hanging Playrooms, Artificial Grass :: Grand Designs Live 2011, London

It was so nice to see Grand Designs Live in London. Even though in Australia our building standards and housing requirements are quite different it was nice to see a mix of different designs and ideas.
The show was clearly separated under the following different sections:
  • Gardens
  • Building
  • Interiors
  • Kitchens & bathrooms
  • Eco
As there were quite a lot of things to see each week I will focus on my 'Top Three' from each section starting with Gardens...


Here's an idea for a hanging chillout space. These alternative hanging structures are by Hang In Out and can be purchased on-line or here in Australia.
images via Hang-it-out
Designed for children and adults alike this design takes the hammock to another level. 

Made from acrylic canvas and marine sail cloth they come with UV protection, can be hung from anywhere and have additional insect screens. 

Having sat in one at the show I can vouch for how comfy they are!

Garden Pods

Long gone are the days of the 'Potting Shed'. Say "Hello" to the modern 'Man Cave' or garden pod, garden office, playroom or outdoor dining area.

These outdoor structures from Contemporary Garden Rooms have a wide collection of outdoor garden spaces to suit all your needs. 

A couple of structures caught my eye...
The Cube 
It is constructed from cedar and plywood and comes with a rubber roof. A great solution for creating an additional outdoor eating area, a relaxation room or playroom.

The myPod 
images above via Contemporary Garden Rooms 
This pod is constructed from Cedar and comes as a fully-insulated unit with double glazing, lockable doors and windows, seats and a table that folds down or stows away to make a sleeping area. 

These have been used as:
  • Outside dining rooms
  • Sleeping pods
  • Office pods
  • Kid's games rooms
  • Glamping (glamorous camping)
  • Music rehearsals pods

I know my husband would love this as his musical 'Man Cave'!

Also, if you live in the UK these units are less than 2.5m in height so no planning permission is required!

Artifical grass

More and more companies are now popping up with artificial grass as a more practical option to the real thing. This family of grass is from Easigrass in London. They have many different types for different uses and looks such as outdoor gardens, garden function areas, sports grass, indoor displays and child play areas.

I never thought that I would look into artificial grass but having lived here in Brisbane for a few years I can see the benefits such as: 

  • Pet friendly
  • Child friendly
  • No mud
  • No mowing
  • No watering

Although not a complete substitute for a well planned drought tolerant garden it allows for another option in our time poor lives and decreases the risk of those nasty ant bites!

I only know of one friend that has recently installed artificial grass here in Brisbane and that's Michelle from Paper Tree Studio. I will have to pop round soon and see how it looks and feels. 

Have fun.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Beach Huts :: Middleton, South Australia

I had forgotten how quaint those beach huts were in Whitstable so I continued my search to see if there were any more closer to home.

Is was not long before I found this beach hut complex called Beach Huts in Middleton South Australia. 

There are 12 in total surrounding a restaurant and bar, a tennis court and a communal "village hall" type room open to all guests.

images via Beach Huts Middleton
Attention to detail is evident with the selection of decor, recycled furniture, beach side finds, white washed timber floors and walls and even patchwork fabric!

A nice mix of the contemporary and the traditional.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Beach Huts and Houses :: Whitstable, England

Back in Australia now and I thought I would show a few pics from my walks around the Whitsable coast line.

Pastel painted beach huts.
Lots of great beach houses, garden courtyards and decks.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Beach House Design Ideas :: Whitstable, England

Continuing with my beach side finds along the Kent coast...

Who needs to worry about the cost of a 350sqm house when you can live in something as small as 35sqm! 

Nina Tolstrup from Studiomama has designed this cosy beach house for her own family of four as a weekend retreat on the Whitstable coast.
The total floor area is only 35sqm plus a small deck at the front and rear. The structure is built on galvanised steel stilts to prevent flooding, with the outside clad in cedar shingles and inside clad in a light softwood timber.
Loads of ideas are used here for maximising space; split floor levels separating the sleeping from the living areas with bunk beds for the kids and a mezzanine sleeping area for the parents; a compact and efficient kitchen and bathroom and a mix of reclaimed timber furniture and stackable chairs.

images via Studiomama & Ben Anders

Sea views are captured by full height glazing to the front allowing for that inside-outside feel and maximum light penetration.

For a relaxing weekend just add a bottle of wine! Have fun.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Bakery Cottage :: Whitstable, Kent

I am staying with family in Whitstable, Kent and one of my favourite past times is strolling along the beach and checking out all the beachside cottages.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful part of the Kent coast, Whitstable is still a traditional fishing village and renowned for its coloured beach huts and cute seaside cottages that line the pebbled beaches.

One such property is a beautifully restored Bakery nestled amongst a line of traditional terraced houses in Suffolk Street. To retain it's 1950's character the cottage is decorated with 50's and 60's furniture, wrought iron beds and white wash timber throughout.
It also comes with a private shingle and cobble stone courtyard garden. 
I miss those lovely courtyards!

If you are looking for a cottage in Whitstable you can check out prices here.

I did go wild with my camera and have loads more images on my beach finds for next week. Off to Grand Designs Live tomorrow.

Have fun.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Grand Designs Live :: London 2011

When I used to live in the UK one of my favourite programmes use to be Grand Designs.

The presenter Kevin McCloud would feature ordinary people building or renovating architectural masterpieces, anything from listed heritage buildings, to castles and old warehouses to houses under the ground and carbon neutral eco homes.

While I am in the UK I will be packing my camera and popping along to the Grand Designs Live Exhibition in London to see the latest and greatest in Interior and Architectural design. For anyone from Australia I think it is being held in Sydney in October.

Until I return, here's a couple of images from the latest Grand Designs Magazine and Grand Designs Live Exhibition to wet your appetite.

love this glazing to the base of the house!
love the inside outside vista between the rooms!
photography by Richard Powers from Grand Designs Magazine

images via Grand Designs Live 2011
Have fun.