Best of est 2020 | Global Homes

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    We’re reflecting on this year’s standout international projects with seven of the most popular homes to feature on estliving.com.

    As 2020 comes to a close, our team have taken a moment to look back on the year that was by reviewing our most popular – and most-loved – global homes. From coastal New Zealand to the inner suburbs of Singapore and the French countryside, each abode is unique in both location and aesthetic, yet what unites them together is their universal excellence when it comes to design, form and function.

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    Herne Bay Hideaway by Lloyd Hartley Architects

    Herne Bay Hideaway home definitely impressed the est community as one of our most popular reads. Hidden in the Pohutukawa trees, Herne Bay Hideaway pulls the exterior water views in, capturing the soft glimmering light of Cox’s Bay, Auckland in New Zealand’s North Island. Lloyd Hartley Architects also based in Auckland, expertly transformed an uninspiring 1960s brick-and-tile home into a private family sanctuary which perfectly captures tranquil vistas within one of the city’s most prestigious suburbs.

    The clients were a young family who wanted a timeless adaption of the existing house using quality materials, maximising their environment and natural light without exposing them to the surrounding neighbours.

    The first element of the brief was to transform the orientation from facing the long driveway, to the sweeping views of the bay. On the western end, the architects added a deck to look over the water and extended the ceiling line to follow the pitch of the new roof. These additions fill the space with light, anchoring the home amongst the Pohutukawa trees and marine outlook.

    Natural materials such as untreated brass, timbers and a Fusion Granite kitchen bench all offer clean detailing for a simple palette that further highlights the views; adding warmth and a welcoming atmosphere.

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    O.P. Residence by Bruns Architecture and Lindsay Pauly

    Another winning global home, O.P Residence is situated in a family compound of five neighbouring properties. Designed by Bruns Architecture in collaboration with interior designer Lindsay Pauly together they constructed two connecting A-frame structures to create a young Brooklyn family’s retreat. Through a restrained colour palette and soft finishes, Bruns Architecture and Lindsay Pauly have created a minimal yet approachable family lake house.

    With the design objective of maximising connections to the outdoors, the unique home features two gabled buildings held by a single-storey structure, separating the entertaining space from the private bedroom wing. The facade of the home is entirely clad in black tiles recycled from rubber tyres, juxtaposed with a large white plastered chimney, reflecting the client’s admiration for monochrome interiors.

    Inside, expansive glazed windows allow for an abundance of natural light, playing softly off the matt plaster walls; its imperfections evident in the light. Through the use of reclaimed materials and a respectful colour palette, Bruns Architecture and Lindsay Pauly have cleverly designed a functional family retreat that celebrates its picturesque surrounds.

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    MA House by Studio XM

    Architect Timothee Mercier of Studio XM was asked to convert a ruinous farmhouse for his parents, located on their secluded countryside property an hour’s drive from Marseille. The old farmhouse stood untouched for 15 years after his parents had purchased the property, who decided to build a home on the neighbouring hill. It was the raw antiquity of the building that enticed Timothee to restore the decrepit farmhouse beyond its former glory.

    From the outside, the farmhouse appears in its complete original state, as Timothee kept with the proportions of the old farmhouse while revising the footprint by carefully dismembering the home in parts. Craftsmanship is a fundamental part of the MA House, realised in the custom joinery and furniture in each space – with a special mention to the custom timber bath.

    By putting the pieces of this centuries-old farmhouse back together for his family, Timothee has rediscovered an unrivalled authenticity, elevated by the handcrafted, bespoke design.

    Whidbey Island Farm Retreat by mwworks

    It doesn’t come as much surprise that the Whidbey Island Farm Retreat north of Seattle was one of our best-loved global homes this year. Designed by mwworks as a holiday home for a growing family on a densely-forested hill, the farmhouse works its way around the forest, overlooking chicken sheds, a weathered red barn and cattle fields. This is an international home which honours the agricultural heritage of its site.

    The layout is broken down into separate wings, all accessible via the courtyard, providing both connection and privacy. Accommodating up to 20 people, the four-bedroom house is designed for quality family time – from fishing trips to summer barbecues.

    The farm retreat considers the simplicity of its surrounding landscape, while still embodying a sense of modernity through its high ceilings and large windows. Polished concrete flooring throughout is paired against a selection of natural timbers, locally-sourced stone and black steel accents. Through a combination of carefully selected natural materials and a collaborative approach between designer and client, mwworks have created a home entrenched in its environment and family legacy.

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    Casa E by Marina Senabre

    Fascinating us from the get-go, Casa E by Marina Senabre represents a meeting place for contemporary and traditional architecture on the Balearic Islands. The two ivory geometric volumes may come as a surprise in the sprawling green hills of Menorca’s countryside but they tap into an architectural language that is honest and modest; the overall intention for designer Marina Senabre.

    Marina designed a small gable structure and a rectangular prism that engage in a conversation of composition and aesthetics. These two structures work independently; the larger volume housing the kitchendiningliving area and master suite. The other provides a space for guests to stay and an indoor pool; exactly the place to contemplate the Menorca countryside.

    The designer explains Casa E was designed to feel part of the surrounds. “The contrast between the purity of the geometry and the sinuous nature that surrounds the house is very important; the architecture seems to settle on the landscape in a respectful way, integrating and standing out at the same time,” she says.

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    Stark House by Park + Associates

    Well and truly classed as a standout international home for 2020, the Stark House sits in a 1980s estate, surrounded by residential developments, the Changi Prison Complex, Changi Airport and a mix of industrial and commercial structures.

    Together, Park + Associates alongside the homeowners chose to go against the grain and design a cantilevering concrete home which didn’t resemble another ‘square box’. With all of its angular concrete forms, glass and greenery and without any of the typical embellishments, the Stark House is well and truly a global home that speaks for itself.

    Every level of the home is orientated towards the trees and away from the neighbouring homes to create a private sanctuary. Predominantly composed of off-form concrete with timber imprints, this textual element is juxtaposed with Kebony timber. Park + Associates Senior Designer Adrian Gesmundo explains that with careful planning and layout, the home fosters interaction. “By being careful not to overdo the palette through mindful analysis of colours and textures, there is enough warmth in the house that prevents it from being too cold or bare,” he says.

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    The Sanctuary by Feldman Architecture

    Based in San Francisco, Feldman Architecture are well-known for their ability to create homes that are equal parts bold and simple, designing sustainable forms that react to their surroundings. One of their most recent residential builds in 2020, The Sanctuary, celebrates the firm’s commitment to natural materials and designing homes that respect the community where they exist.

    The site itself once housed a dilapidated shack, hidden behind a wooden fence overgrown with vegetation, but it was the lush bamboo perimeter and historic oak trees that created intrigue. “It felt like this urban oasis in the middle of the downtown block,” says architect Tai Ikegami.

    The architectural language was a response to the site, whereby the home was designed to leave space for two established oak trees. In order to protect the trees, Feldman Architecture yielded a floating footprint; a home on piers that takes evident cues from Japanese design. “We worked in tandem so the landscape and architecture equally challenge one another, and this is what this project is all about,” Ikegami says.

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