Modern & Contemporary

Home Architecture Modern & Contemporary

Insanely Smart 309sf Apartment Transforms Into Gym, Theater, & Much More!

Hong Kong couple Andy and Michelle had a decision to make: should they purchase a larger apartment, or renovate the 309 square foot apartment they already had in a location they both loved? They had a long list of things they wanted that seemed unrealistic in the beginning: a full kitchen and bathroom, home theater, gym, storage, and it had to be cat-friendly (the couple owns three cats: Banoffee, Dumpling, and Tuxedo). – In a stroke of luck, Andy and Michelle stumbled upon design house LAAB, who, after 40 design attempts, came up with a way to make those seemingly-unrealistic requirements a feasible and chic reality.

A few dreary photos of Andy and Michelle's apartment pre-renovation.
A few dreary photos of Andy and Michelle’s apartment pre-renovation.


The team at LAAB ultimately came up with the idea to design the apartment around the “Form Follows Time” philosophy. This philosophy means that various spaces of the apartment, such as the bathtub in the full bathroom, can be opened or closed depending on what space you need whenever you need it. The bathtub can be covered up and used as a couch for the home movie theater, and later on it can be used as a guest bed in the guest bedroom!

The floor plans for LAAB's design for Andy and Michelle using the "Form Follows Time" philosophy.
The floor plans for LAAB’s design for Andy and Michelle using the “Form Follows Time” philosophy.

Special design elements for Andy and Michelle’s cats include a “cat walk” around the ceiling, a hidden litter box beneath the bathroom sink, cat food trays that can slide into the kitchen cabinets, and even a special den just for them. The materials, details, and mechanical systems were all designed with keeping the apartment dry, cleanable, free of undesirable smells, and all-around cat-friendly. The video below showcases Andy and Michelle, their revitalized apartment, and, of course, their cats.



Photos LAAB Design

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10+ Wineries With Absolutely Stunning Architecture

Opus One

Scott Johnson of Johnson, Fain & Pereira designed this iconic winery and finished the build in 1991. It brings together traditional European architectural elements and New World aesthetics, a combination that mirrors their epic Cabernet.


Bodegas Ysios

This spectacular winery is located in Spain’s Rioja region, and was designed by Santiago Calatrava, completed in 2001. The undulating aluminum and cedar roof mimics the mountainous terrain surrounding it, and the name honors Isis and Osiris, two Egyptian gods with close ties to the world of wine.


Castello di Amorosa

Dario Sattui wanted to build one of the most impressive wineries in the area, and did so by importing an actual castle from Italy, piece by piece, and reassembling it in Napa Valley.


Lapostolle Clos Apalta

Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, most known for producing Grand Marinier, began making wine in Chile and completed this estate in 2004. It was designed by Amercanda Architects and features six levels reminiscent of a bird’s nest.

Vik Winery

When Alex and Carrie Vik wanted to build a winery in Chile, they hosted a competition and this was the winning submission. It features a long, low slung building positioned in the middle of their 11,000 acre estate in Santiago. The shallow pool dotted by boulders not only looks cool, but also keeps the underground levels cool.


Darioush Winery

Located in Napa, this iconic winery pays honor to its owner’s Persian roots.


Dornier Winery

The only winery here that was actually designed by its founder, Christopher Dornier. It’s located in South Africa and was meant to blend seamlessly with its surroundings.


Irius Winery

A distinctly modern winery in Spain, the building was meant to resemble a butterfly.


Ledson Winery

This massive Sonoma winery became famous before the wine did, and attracted so much attention that they figured they should make some wine and open a tasting room.


Marques De Riscal

One of the most distinct wineries in the world, this beautiful structure is located in Elciego Spain and was completed in 2006 by Frank Gehry. The pink and titanium exterior looks like a ribbon as it wraps around the surface.


Mission Hill Winery

This Canadian winery is most noted for its 12-story bell tower which welcomes guests with its bell.

mission-hillPetra Winery

Near the old Tuscan village of Suvereto you’ll find this masterpiece, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta. It was completed in 2003 and features a unique cylindrical core with plants on the roof.


Bodegas Portia

Set amidst a barren looking valley, this winery in Ribera del Duero is one of Spains most distinct wineries. It looks like something out of Star Wars and the modern building was designed by Foster + Partners and opened in 2010.



It Looks Like A 200-Year-Old Crumbling Home, But Inside It’s A Different Story

We know not to judge a book by its cover, or in this case a home by its exterior. This 200-year-old stone house in Linescio, Switzerland certainly proves that better than most anything we’ve seen. Even as you walk around the outside and see the crumbling stone walls right in front of your face, you’d have a hard time believing it was recently renovated. That’s because it was only renovated on the inside.


Buchner Bründler Architekten completed this unique restoration that basically involved building a home within a home. They left the exterior more or less untouched, and built a fresh interior shell using a minimalist design approach. While the outside still retains the rugged stones that made up the original walls, the inside now has fresh concrete surfaces and modern finishes throughout. Each concrete slab was carefully brought inside and assembled; tall wood shutters fold open to reveal the original window frames, a new bathtub was sunk into the concrete floor, and a single slab was used for the kitchen counter.











Jaw-Dropping Views Await In This Stunning Copper-Clad Beach House

A breathtaking and vertigo-inducing 250 foot drop to the Pacific Ocean provides a daunting, yet beautiful backdrop for this modern beach house. The Buck Creek House, designed by California-based firm Fougeron Architecture, marries the sea with the surf through strategic openings that frame only the most jaw-dropping views.

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The unique aesthetic of the home’s exterior make a fleeting attempt to steal your attention from the crystal blue water, but do so in vein. The back end of the home is largely opaque for purposes of privacy, and clad in shimmering copper panels that change throughout the day depending on the light. However, there is no containing the sea-side facade, which opens completely to pier over the looming shear cliff.

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The interiors are clean, sleek, and do just what only what’s necessary to supplement the ocean views. High vaulted ceilings expand the spaces vertically, allowing light and air to flow through the home with elegant determination. This spectacular beach house has three bedrooms, a cantilevered master suite and a living room that opens to an adjacent exterior courtyard.

An Old Barn Receives A Modern Facelift

An old barn in upstate New York proved an abundant source of modern inspiration for architect Kimberly Peck. On the exterior, little was done as far as architectural expression in order to preserve the traditional gabled roof form of the existing barn. The simple addition of three large sliding doors on one side open up the interior, which was the main focus of the renovation.




The old columns and beams have been left alone and remain the primary conceptual, providing a rustic framework for the secondary additions to adhere to. The result is a harmonious mixture of old and new, paying homage to the history of the barn while providing the comfort and functionality of a modern facelift.

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Diamond Shaped Dune House Appears Sunken Into The Earth

The Dune house looks half-buried in the earth, a striking sight on the island of Terschelling in the Netherlands. The unusual design comes courtesy of Marc Koehler Architects, and its diamond shape delivers a most unsual perspective of the surrounding plains and the distant North Sea.


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Inside the home you’ll find a layout that mimicks the name, creating a sense of wandering a dune as you traverse the various levels. Regardless of where you are, plenty of windows illuminate the shapes and angles inside with a dazzling light. A variety of sustainable elements went into the build, including prefab wood, solar panels, and a biomass fireplace.

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Photography: Marc Koehler Architects

Rustic Opulence Defines This Camp Martis Residence On Lake Tahoe

You’ve heard of modern-rustic, and now you’ll see what happens when sheer decadence collides with a rustic design. This spectacular modern home was designed by Swaback Partners and is situated on a large lot in the private community of Camp Martis, located on the shores of Lake Tahoe.




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“A home for the high Sierra’s that does not fall in line with the traditional regional architecture that mostly is a dark and heavy composition. Instead, the concept was to celebrate the light and airy feeling of snow and the effects that it can bring to the interiors.”

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Photos by Vance Fox

The Multipurpose Cube Inside This Home Is Pure Genius

On the outside this home appears to be your everyday little cottage, but inside things have changed quite a bit since it was originally built. A young family of four occupies the space, which saw a dramatic remodel. They removed the back half of the home, replacing it with an open living/dining room area and then added a totally unique cube/pod system in the center.

The pod may seem a bit odd at first, almost a waste of space, until you understand what it’s used for. Inside its walls you’ll find a bathroom, powder room, and pantry. It also serves as a wall to separate the playroom from the main living and dining area.

Photos by: Lauren Bamford

63.02° House Takes A Turn On Japanese Modernism

This stark, utilitarian home in Nakana, Tokyo gets its geometric namesake from the angle it takes to the adjacent street: 63.02°. All windows and doors, including the main entry, are concentrated outward from the angled facade that is prominently exposed as if sliced clean like a hot samurai sword through miso.

The abundance of exposed concrete – both interior and exterior – is common in contemporary Japanese architecture and gives the structure a juxtaposing visual heaviness that is offset by the delicately revealed curtain wall. Interiors are minimal and subdued, drawing further attention to the primary focal point that is the angled facade. The home was designed by Schemata Architecture Office.

Rare Sighting: A PreFab Home That Looks Natural In The Wild

It’s often difficult for a pre-fabricated home or building to have a cohesive relationship with its building site. Even if great care is taken to orient the factory-built structure to best highlight the important views, topography, etc., they can have a tendency to feel tacked on rather than integrated with their surroundings.

This particular project by German industrial designers Patrick Frey and Bjorn Gotte manages to come off the shelf and into the wild with a soft and subtle nuance not often seen in pre-fab.

The Summerhaus Piu PreFab Vacation Home boasts a clean, warm material palette that quickly associates it with its surrounding environment. There is some flexibility in the design and manufacturing process that allows materials to be applied smartly based on native and available materials. This gives the home a closer connection to its final resting place regardless of where that might be. Large openings bring in light, and the home is pointed out towards the best, most scenic views.